This year’s British Masters Grass Track Championships for 500cc solo and 1000cc sidecars takes place this Sunday at Swingfield, Nr Folkestone in Kent. Hosted by the Astra Club the event features every top rider in the country in both classes, nobody is missing.
The solo line up is headed by current Masters and European Champion James Shanes who has been in top form all season and last weekend finished an outstanding World Long Track GP series with overall fourth place. Who can challenge him? Well take your choice from an evenly matched group of riders including two former Masters and European Champions in Paul Hurry, who’s comeback year after a nine-year absence through serious injury is gaining momentum and Andrew Appleton who loves this track having won two previous at this venue Or perhaps it could be one of several Speedway riders who have successfully combined the two disciplines this season. Fast starting Eddie Kennett who has competed in several meetings home and abroad is the obvious choice but watch out too for former GP runner Chris Harris, England International David Howe, former Division Two riders champion James Wright, Australian Alex Davies who recently won the South Eastern Centre Championships or perhaps Steve Boxall who is returning to his roots. Others capable of causing an upset include European regulars Paul Cooper, Richard Hall and another returnee Clubmans Champion Jamie Rodgers. Two to watch for the future Are Callum Walker, already a European finalist and Luke Harris who has had some good results this season against strong opposition. There is also the big question of how will Adam Ellis, French resident and brought up on their tracks but now a very promising Speedway rider with Swindon Robins, are. Ellis has only one previous grass meeting in the UK to his name this season but he went like the proverbial rocket that day and on that form could be a serious danger to the regulars.
Multi Masters Champions Mark Cossar/Carl Blyth who, other than mechanical trouble, have not been beaten this season have to start as slight favourites but luck has deserted them several times on Masters day and big rivals, father and son team Rod and Billy Winterburn, also multi and current champions, `will be waiting to pounce. Interest here too in the choice of machinery as the former use Suzuki whereas the latter Yamaha Crossplane. Other contenders are mainly former champions Paul Whitelam /Alan Elliott who last week won the coveted Lincolnshire Poacher, Colin Blackbourn/Carl Pugh and Rob Wilson/Terry Saunters. The big question in this class is how will four times winners Rob Bradley/Shaun Simpson perform. The duo have only ridden twice this season but have demonstrated many times that they will be on the pace immediately and must be a realistic threat to take their fifth crown. Best crew not to yet win the championship are without doubt Gareth Winterburn, son of Rod, who will have multi British and European passenger Liam Brown as his partner. Probably the most spectacular crew in the sport, just watch them go into the pits turn, they will undoubtedly take the title at some time. Watch out for the oldest competitors competing at the highest level John Hiscock/Terry Madley who’s combined ages exceed 140 years. They’re still capable of throwing the homebuilt Suzuki around.
The track is situated off the A260 Canterbury to Folkestone road and is signposted from the M20 and A2. Practice is at 1100, riders parade 1245pm with the first race due off the line at 1pm. Camping is available from Thursday and fresh water is on site. There is a bar from Saturday afternoon with disco in the marquee in the evening.