British Classic Upright Championships at ‘The Boarded Circuit’, Roche
The first of the ACU British Championships of 2017 takes place this Sunday at one of the most spectacular circuits in the country; The Boarded Circuit in Roche, Cornwall. This will be the second time that the unique, multi-cornered boarded venue hosts the ‘classic’ British championships, and if last time’s competition is anything to go by, racing fans will be in for a treat at the Trebilcock Farm circuit on Sunday.
The championship is for racers of machines housing ‘upright’ engines (as opposed to the modern day ‘laydown’ engines that are the choice of modern racers). There will be 3 British championship crowns contended on Sunday; the 250cc class, 350cc class and 500cc class, and all three classes are rightly being contested by Britain’s best Upright engined riders.
The 250cc title offers several names of note, all hoping to get their hands on a British crown. Eastern centre regular and expert engineer Neil Copestake has made a fantastic start to the season in the open Upright class and will surely be a name to keep an eye on. Similarly, Ian Dudley comes fresh from a 500cc Upright win at Worcester last week. He too will compete in the quarter-litre class. British Pre 75 250cc solo champion Giles Dismore looks for a second British championship. But the man that they all must beat is current British champion Steve Carvill. The Coventry rider rode well to win the title last year and will take a good deal of catching to be overhauled in 2017.
In the 350cc class, Copestake once again joins the fray, but will be up against a whole field of high quality racers. 350cc legend Dave Mears makes the long trip from Canterbury to try and win his first individual British title in a long career full of accolades. Former European champion Gerald Short makes his first appearance at The Boarded Circuit and is always a racer to watch, even 38 years after his European glory. Man-in-form Mike Dowling takes to the 350cc class having won the Upright class at Ledbury earlier in the year. Another Kentish talent comes in the form of Chris Mackett who is enjoying another sensational season in the Pre 75 class, whilst Bristol rider Chris Malone’s exploits at the Cornwall Solo meeting showed just how talented he can be. However, the man that they all need to beat is once again the reigning champion, Cradley Heathens young star Luke Harris. The youngster is in excellent form on the speedway at present and will look to pass on this rich vein of form to retain his 350cc title at The Boarded Circuit.
Finally, the big 500cc line-up really does bring together some strong contenders and picking a potential winner is challenging. Current champion Stephen Green has started this season where he left 2016 with strong showings at both 500cc Sidecar Association’s event and GW Racing’s meeting last week. Looking to put a stop to Green’s Upright dominance is a whole host of riders. Midlander Ian Dudley rode well to win at Worcester last week and can never be counted out, whilst Mike Dowling, another Midlands based rider, proved his class by winning at Ledbury at the season opener. Dave Mears is joining this class as well as the 350 and his rival of several years, Dunkirk’s Bob Dolman got the better of Stephen Green at the 500cc Sidecar Association’s Easter Eggstravaganza a few weeks ago. Dolman, a former European Grasstrack finalist, has been at the top of the sport for many years, having finished 3rd
in the European Grasstrack championships as far back as 1987. If Dolman gets to grips with the Cornish Boarded Circuit, he could take some catching. Add to this mix Richard Andrews (Plymouth Devils current team captain), Graeme Brown (current Euro Veteran series contender) and Chris Malone (Cornwall Solo winner) as well as a whole field of potential finalists, this particular class is wide open. This is possibly the strongest line-ups of Upright racers seen since the Championship’s inception four years ago.
Supporting the main event will be the 1000cc sidecars, headed by Cornwall Solo club winners Neal Owen/Jason Farwell, who are known to perform well at this circuit, and former British Masters finalists Matt Fumarola/Gareth Williams. Westcountry racers Simon Heal/Rowland Broomfield are sure to be in the mix aboard their sweet sounding Crossplane R1 machine.
Another support class will be regulars to the Boarded Circuit; the Old and New Sidecars. This new class has stolen the show several times at this circuit, and expect more of the same on Sunday with Mark Courtney/Leon Torres and Thomas Newton/Ben Bushell set to duel once again.
Finally, a strong Quad line-up joins the meeting, with plenty of interest garnered from the Cornwall Solo meeting back in Easter. On that occasion, it was Jack Hodge who took the honours. It’ll be interesting to see what the Enduro racers make of the distinctive racing facility at Roche.
Plenty of pre-race entertainment will be on standby Saturday night with a live band and beer tent on offer for those taking up the opportunity of free camping at the venue as the club tries to create a festival occasion for Grasstrack’s opening British title of the season. Practice is set to begin at 10am with racing commencing at 12pm. Plenty of information can be found on Grasstrack Banter for this special event.
Preview by Gareth Bemister