David Howe’s successful return to grasstrack continued at the 500cc Sidecar Association’s “Eggstravaganza” Easter meeting held at the new Writtle circuit near Chelmsford, where he blasted his way to a sensational win from the fast gating and very spectacular Edward Kennett.
Howe, although unbeaten all through his heats, Kennett was always hot on his heels, and one mistake from Howe would’ve given Kennett the chance to pass, but that mistake never appeared. Howe looked as sharp as ever as he sailed through the heats. The class, like all bar the 500cc Sidecars, was run on a round robin system, but the final heat saw Howe up against Kennett again. Kennett shot from the start like a scolded cat. Half way down the straight and Kennett was 20 metres clear, and looking like he might finally get one over Howe, but David Howe was in no mood to lose his unbeaten record, he quickly caught Kennett and hounded him for the first two laps, followed closely by Rob Mear right on the pace. Howe finally slipped through exiting the first bend going into lap three when Kennett looked over his shoulder only for Howe to flash by. Once Howe passed, he extended his lead for a superb victory, showing his pleasure by punching the air as he took the win.
In the 500cc Sidecar Class, the only class to have a final, Scott Dunn & Scott Goodwin had looked a class apart, although Dan Berwick & Mark Hopkins looked to be the only crew who might give them problems in the final. And so it proved. Dunn lifted coming off the start, which allowed Berwick/Hopkins to get away after making another electric start, something they had done all day. Dunn/Goodwin quickly made it up into second place to chase after Berwick/Hopkins, and as much as he tried, Berwick & Hopkins had their sights firmly set on the win. Dunn/Goodwin looked like having to settle for second, but started to get closed down by Bennett & Hughes. As they went into lap three Dunn seemed to have a problem as the bike started to get out of control, and turned over going into the bend. The close-up Bennett doing very well not to collect the machine. Dunn rose to his feet quickly, but passenger Scott Goodwin took a little longer to recover, but did eventually get to his feet, if looking somewhat shaking by the spill. A bright future in this class looks assured for the sons of Bennett & Hughes, as Shaun Hughes and passenger Louis Bennett progressing with each meeting, and taking a race win in one heat. Although they had a spill off the start in one heat, they are definitely a young crew to look out for.
The 250cc sensation of the season and winner from the previous week at Ledbury, 15 year old schoolboy Charlie Brooks took the 250cc class with an awesome display of riding. Not always making the start, that was usually done by Tim Greig on his new Husky, Brooks simply rode round the outside of Greig to make it look so easy, but Greig was always in the firing line and getting hassled by another young rider in the shape of Arran Butcher. Having spoken with Arran before practice, he was saying he was having trouble getting off the starts, as the bike seemed to lose power, but once he got going it felt fine. It looked as though whatever they changed or tweeked worked, as although he never really made the start, he was always just a few metres behind the front two. From then on always giving Tim Greig something to think about, and finishing 3rd overall.
Rob Wilson was simply in a class of his own and this must’ve been the easiest win in the triple Masters Champion’s career to date. The real competition was the battle for second place, with Left Hand man Joe Butcher having his first go on a Right Hander. He said he was “Just having a go to see if i like it”. I think he will probably be delighted with his result of a 3rd place with experienced RH passenger Adam Cowper-Smith in the chair. Even looking like he would take a race win until Mick Stace & Kizz Ivy got up the inside on lap 3. Good to see some new crews as well in Tony Brockwell/Rick Moule, and Sam & Jack Lewsy.
Bob Dolman. Stevie Green, and Graeme Brown were the big 3 in the Upright class, it was Dolman with his years of experience that lead every race, staying unbeaten all day. Green was trying all the way, but just could not keep with the man from Kent.
Good performances in the Youth classes from Cooper Rushen in the Auto Cadets unbeaten all day, and Cameron Taylor looking very quick in the Juniors, while Max Perry taking a very good 2nd place especially after his spectacular spill at Ledbury the week before. He had some really close battles with Daniel Clark through all the heats. The Intermediates was all about 13 year old Jake Mulford. What a future this youngster has in front of him. His all action style of racing is so entertaining to watch, let’s hope he stays on the grass. Winning most of his races by the length of the straight. Here again the race was more about 2nd place, with Chad Wirtzfeld, Sam Norris, and George Fenner mixing it up in every heat, but it was Norris who grabbed the 2nd, and Fenner the 3rd.
Some of the most fiercely fought racing all day was in the GT140 class. On machines that are bog standard no one rider was able to pull well clear of the others, and most heats saw 4-6 riders battling for the lead. Eventual winner Shayne Hill took the most wins, closely followed by Jed Rolph, followed by Lewis Denham’s father Lester, who had got quicker as the day went on.
The 500cc Sidecar Club can be proud of the meeting they put on. Very smoothly run, 30 races run in 2 hours, and all done by 4:30pm. With a 44 race program the next meeting is on May 14th at the same track. Don’t miss it.
Report by Bob Ruffle of Grasstracksport.com images by Martin Isley
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