After a season long slog up and down the country the Grasstrack National grading points have been collected and counted and we can now reveal the winners… Grasstrack Banter’s Gareth Bemister takes us through each class.. In this post we focus on the Sidecars… 500 Sidecars – The Winners are Shaun Hughes & Louis Bennett
Congratulations to young up and coming sidecar crew Shaun Hughes and Louis Bennett for topping the National Gradings List for 2018. The second generation sidecar stars have gone from strength to strength this season, competing in plenty of Grasstrack across the country. They won three meetings over the course of the season, but were virtually never off the top of the podium. They had a fine win at the big Master of Midshires meeting in July and showed just how much potential they have by mixing it with some of the best in the world at the Wimborne Whoppa last month.
The top 12 drivers from the list qualify for the British Championships in 2019. With the retirement of Barrie Bennett/Eifion Hughes and several others selling machines, Chris Neame and Scott Dunn will almost certainly become eligible for the Championships.
Just 15 drivers on this year’s list, compared to 17 in 2017. It would be nice to see a few more names joining the class in 2019. 1000cc Sidecars – The Winners are Tom Cossar & Wayne Rickards
Congratulations to Tom Cossar and (for the most part) Wayne Rickards for topping the highly competitive 1000cc sidecar National Gradings List for 2018. Tom has also been passengered by Gareth Williams on occasions, so that he can gain the vital points needed to win the Brian Stibbs Trophy, the coveted award given to the Gradings List topper. This one went down to the wire, with Colin Blackbourn/Carl Pugh so close to pipping Cossar/Rickards at the post. In fact, it came down to two moments of similar disaster for Blackbourn. Rear wheel punctures in the final at both the British Masters and the Wimborne Whoppa surely cos Blackbourn 3 or 4 points. And that was all that was needed. It was consistency which eventually seems to have been the overarching deciding factor. Blackbourn/Pugh were by far the most successful outfit, winning 8 meetings overall. But Tom, who won 4 events, packed in the minor placings and scored points consistently. But that’s racing. Tom clearly upped his game for 2018. He and Wayne successfully defended their British Clubman’s crowns, and have been in amongst the finals all season. A fully deserved title for one of the sport’s brightest young stars.
With Gareth Winterburn, Mark Cossar, Rod Winterburn, Rob Wilson, Rob Bradley and Colin Blackbourn all seeded directly into next year’s Masters, the top 24 when these are removed will be the first eligible to race for the British Clubman’s Championships.
Numbers of riders were again slightly down on last season. 38 drivers feature in this year’s lists, compared to 45 in last years. 1000cc Lefthand Sidecars – The Winners are Rob Heath and Kyle Fish
Congratulations to Rob Heath and Kyle Fish for winning the National Gradings List for the Lefthand Sidecar class. This crew really have been in amongst all of the action throughout the season. Journeys to centres outside of the South East, however, have paid off for them as they won meetings in the Midland centre.
With only 12 places available for the British Championships, all 12 of these riders should be eligible for the 2019 British Championships. Numbers are very low in this class at present, yet they have produced some very entertaining racing throughout the season. 15 drivers featured on the list in 2017.
Words by Gareth Bemister – Action Images courtesy of Darren Nokes