The Astra Club have attracted what is likely to be the best entry of the season for their Champion of Champions meeting incorporating the first round of the Super Seven Sidecar Series on 23rd
April at Swingfield, Kent.
Last year, at this track, England’s James Shanes took the European Crown from reigning Champion, Dutchman Jannick de Jong in somewhat controversial circumstances after the latter was excluded by the Polish referee after a first bend fall. Both are entered but to say they face stiff opposition is something of an understatement. Former European and British Champions Andrew Appleton and Paul Hurry both go as does Britain’s number one Long Tracker Richard Hall, last year’s British Masters runner up Eddie Kennett and seasoned European Campaigner Paul Cooper. Add to these England International Speedway rider Ben Barker, back from retirement David Howe plus last years third place finisher James Wright.
Perhaps one of the younger brigade could pull off an unlikely victory and you can bet that Zach Wajtknecht, Callum Walker, Luke Harris, Max Brown and Charley Powell will be giving it all . Aussie Alex Davies makes his British Grasstrack debut and don’t rule out the Cotswold Express Tim Nobes and Rob Mear, a finalist last year. In addition to Hurry & Powell local interest is maintained by Mark Giles, Martyn Sturgeon, Dave Mears and ex Kent Kings star Steve Boxall.
The 1000cc Sidecars features arch rivals Mark Cossar/Carl Blyth and Gareth Winterburn/Liam Brown and it’s worth the admission money just to see these two crews dicing at the highest yet safest speeds possible. Again though, many others shouldn’t be ruled out, including former British Champions, Colin Blackbourn/Carl Pugh, Rob Wilson/Terry Saunters and Paul Whitelam/Alan Elliott. Myles Simmons/Kevin Woodley always go well on this track and Matt Fumarola/Gareth Williams made both finals on this track last year. For the mechanically minded watch out for new power units for Wilson and a returning George Penfold while Paul Johnson is confident his Kawasaki is a winner after recent testing.
Astra are once again delighted to be staging the first round of the 500cc sidecar Super Series and those who witnessed the superb show these crews put on last year definitely want more. Literally all the top British crews will be on show including last year’s winners Mitch Godden/Paul Smith, former European Champions Josh Goodwin/Liam Brown and multi British Champions Shaun Harvey/Danny Hogg. All female crew Natasha Bartlett/Ciara Southgate went very well just about everywhere last year and are expected to be even quicker this season.
The track, at Swingfield postcode CT15 7HF, is situated off the A260 Folkestone to Canterbury road will be signposted from the A2 and M20 Motorway and camping is available from Thursday. On Sunday practice will be from 11am with a parade of riders leading to the first race at 1pm.