Report and Photos by Scott Pritchard
The 2014 ACU British Masters Challenge took part at Orlham Farm, Leddington and was hosted by the Ledbury Club. After a Saturday of thunderstorms the track looked in amazingly good condition.
The Solos were first out and wins went to Australian Hunter Anderson ahead of Ben Millichap, Kent’s Martyn Sturgeon beat Adam Filmer, 2007 Masters Champion Glen Phillips took a win from Danny Warwick and the spectacular James Shanes beat Georgie Wood into second.
The Right-hand Sidecars first heat went the way of Myles Simmons & Kevin Woodley, with Paul Johnson on borrowed machinery and Carl Pugh in the chair with him for the first time taking the second heat. Heat three saw a big crash between Gareth Winterburn & Liam Brown and Paul Whitelam & Kieron Ivy. The coming together saw Whitelam & Ivy thrown from their machine, which led Ivy to pull out of the meeting, to be replaced by Mark Cossar. The re-run with the Winterburn & Brown crew out saw Will Offen & Nicky Owen take a win with Tris Winterburn & Henry Purcell taking heat four.
Race thirteen went the way of Mitch Godden, with Shanes, again showing his ability in fourteen, ahead of Anderson. Two of the favourites came together in race fifteen with Wood and Danny Warwick battling for four laps. Wood took the win going wide and around Warwick on the final turn. Race sixteen went to Mark Baseby ahead of Phillips.
Race seventeen was re-run following the crash of Mick Cave & Gareth Williams. Clive Stoneman & Roland Broomfield took the re-started race from Simmons & Woodley. SandAce champions Robbie Wilson & Bradley Steer in a rich vein of form took Race eighteen from Matt Fumarola & Dan Crawford. Johnson & Pugh took a second successive win, and a third win in nineteen. Winterburn & Brown came out with a bit of extra zest and took Race twenty by a mile.
James Shanes took another win in Race twenty-three ahead of Godden and in the next Phillips beat Sturgeon. Anderson then beat Baseby before the Solo’s third leg was rounded off with another success for Wood.
In Race Twenty-seven Simmons & Woodley succeeded over the unbeaten Johnson & Pugh, and then Wilson & Steer beat Will Penfold & Ricky Pay. Winterburn & Brown got a second win in Race Twenty-nine and Peter Lloyd & Daz Whetstone got a heat win in the last race before the break.
In Leg four of the Solos there were wins for Wood, Godden, Sturgeon and Shanes, leaving the Plymouth Speedway rider through to the qualifiers unbeaten.
In the Sidecars, Wilson & Steer, Winterburn & Brown, Pete & Steve Colvin and Johnson & Pugh all rounded off the heats with wins.
In the first Semi Shanes triumphed again, beating Philips into second with Dave Mears taking third. Rob Finlow and Daniel Winterton crashed out. Wood won the second Solo Semi from Warwick and Anderson.
In the first Sidecar Semi Will Offen took one of the biggest wins of his career pushing Fumarola & Crawford into second and Wilson & Steer into third. Winterburn & Brown took semi two with a win over Johnson & Pugh.
The Solo finalists were Shanes, Wood, Phillips, Godden, Warwick, Baseby, Anderson and Winterton. James went on to take his biggest career win so far with Winterton taking second in the final and Godden taking third. The overall result saw Shanes first; Godden second and third went to Wood (who pulled up on the home straight in the final).
The Sidecar finalists were Johnson & Pugh, Wilson & Steer, Winterburn & Brown, Offen & Owen Simmons & Woodley and Winterburn & Purcell. The win went to Winterburn & Brown with Wilson & Steer taking second. Johnson & Pugh took third. With all three crews ending the day on the same points the results were decided on the placing’s in the final, so Gareth Winterburn took his second challenge title with Wilson & Steer second for a consecutive season. Johnson took third as he did in 2010.
The support class, the 500cc Sidecar produced some great close racing with Simon Beard & Ant Goodwin taking three heat wins. Shaun Harvey & Danny Hogg took two wins and one each went to Nick & Abi Radley, Mark Cossar & Sam Heath and Dave Carvill & Richard Phillimore. In the Final there was no stopping Beard & Goodwin in taking the win. Harvey & Hogg took second and Radley & Radley took third.
During the interval the Calvin Palmer Air Ambulance Sidecar Challenge took place. Hannah Palmer did four brilliant laps on the back of Mark Cossar 1000cc Sidecar. It was great to see Calvin there to watch his daughter take on and complete the challenge in fine style.