After countless laps the full length and breadth of the UK, the 2018 Grasstrack National Grading points have been totted up, and Grasstrack Banter’s Gareth Bemister talks us through the solo champions. 500cc – The Winner is Arran Butcher
Congratulations to youngster Arran Butcher for topping the 500cc Solo National Gradings List for 2018. This was something that Arran was really after in 2018, having started the season at a very wet Tallington with a win. Closest to him, and making him work for the title was Daniel Winterton. Both of these riders have travelled to Guernsey and scored points on the sand as well as the Grass this year. At the final meeting of the year, ironically back at Tallington, Butcher had to finish within striking distance of Winterton to secure his Gradings List win, and the coveted Jim Rendall Trophy. He did so, finishing second to Winterton on the day- enough to finish top overall. Winterton won 7 meetings in total, whereas Butcher won just 3. But consistency wins overall, and Butcher was packing in points all over the country all season long.
The qualification for the British Masters is slightly less straightforward: Zach Wajtknecht, James Shanes, Andrew Appleton, Paul Hurry, James Wright, Andrew Whitaker, Tom Perry and Tim Nobes are already seeded into the British Masters. Therefore, they are not eligible for the British Clubman’s Championships. Also, 8 wildcards will be chosen by the ACU and the organising club to race at the British Masters. The rest of the line-up will be decided by finishing positions at next year’s British Clubman’s Championships. Competitors for this particular meeting are chosen from the National Gradings List’s running order, discounting the riders who are already seeded, and who have received wild card. Therefore, it’s too early to tell who will be in the British Clubman’s Championships, but by getting themselves on the list, these riders have given themselves every opportunity. Now they just need to ensure that they enter the meeting.
Again, numbers were slightly down on this list. Last season saw 82 riders gain gradings points whereas in 2018, only 72 riders were awarded points Pre 75 500cc – The Winner is Dave Hammond
Congratulations to Dave Hammond for winning the Pre 75 National Gradings List. Hammond also added a British title to his name this season, so this tops off an excellent day for the former Paris-Dakar rider.
The British Pre 75 Championships is currently an open event, and therefore the list does not allocate places for this.
With 28 riders on the list, we are one up on last year in this class. Upright – The Winner is Tim Curnock
Congratulations to Upright Class National Gradings Winner Tim Curnock. After being dominant all season, Curnock cruelly missed out on Pre 75 British Championship glory in August and again saw a British Championship snatched from his grasp on the very last lap of the Upright Championships. So a domination of the Gradings List is some sort of retribution. The man who rode so brilliantly to dispose of Curnock in the closing stages of that exciting British Championship final was Rhys Wilding. He duly finishes second with 6 meeting wins. Curnock must be delighted to have won 9 meetings in 2018.
The British Upright Championships is presently an open class and the gradings list is not yet official for this class.
Exactly the same number of riders featured on the 2017 list as this season: 44. 250’s – The Winner is Tim Greig
Congratulations to Tim Greig for once again topping the National Gradings List for the 250cc solo class. This is the 4th time that the Lincolnshire racer has topped the list. It is no doubt due to his dedication to a full season’s Grasstrack racing, taking in racing up and down the country, as well as his consistent results throughout. Tim has won 5 meetings in 2018, more than any other rider in the class.
The top 24 riders from this list will initially be invited to compete in next year’s British Championships event, meaning that Lee Gray, from all the way up in the North East, should get involved, and Ian Bedingfield’s excellent 3rd place at the Dig Dog Dash could be hugely significant for him going forward.
Numbers are slightly down in the 250cc class this year. 39 riders managed to score points, compared to 44 in 2017.
Posthumously, Frank Yates makes the list for the very last time, finishing 6th at Bridgwater back in July. Rest peacefully, Frank. 350’s – The Winner is Mark Giles
Congratulations to Kent racer Mark Giles for topping the National Gradings List for the 350cc Solos. Giles, who was 6th last season, really upped the number of events he was entering. Most notably, he was virtually unbeatable in the Western centre, making long trips across country to Ledbury very worthwhile. Closer to home, Giles locked horns throughout the season with his long-time adversary Dave Mears. The two put on some highly entertaining races throughout the season, but Mears only finishes 3rd overall. In his second season since his return, Wayne Broadhurst claims second place, with several consistent performances throughout the year. The Shropshire racer’s win at Tallington at the end of the season brought his total wins to 3, but it was not a match for Giles, who notched up 7 meeting victories in 2018.
The top 24 riders will initially be invited to contend for the British Championships in 2019. Several riders are on the bubble of 24th, with 7 riders tied for the 21st place. They’ll need to keep a keen eye on proceedings going into next year to see if they are called up.
Altogether, 36 riders were eligible for points in 2018, compared to 37 in 2017. However, several new names join the list such as Marcus Crutchington and Lewis Bond
Words by Gareth Bemister
Action Images courtesy of Darren Nokes