It’s been a frantic May for the Grasstrack world with nine events (including two Sand Race meetings) taking place over 4 weeks. There have been plenty of changes in the standings of the National Gradings Lists over that time and some strong leads have been built. And the Battle of Britain brought us the first results of the multi-round ‘Stibbs and Rendall’ trophy leagues for the 500cc Solos and 1000cc sidecars. With more rounds to come, Charley Powell and Mark Cossar (passengered by Gareth Williams) currently sit top of the two ‘big’ leagues.
Former British 250cc Champion Graham Thomas has built a commanding lead in the quarter-litre class through a highly consistent month. His only win came at Bewdley, but he has finished second place in nearly every other event he has attended. His performance against Luke Harris at Frittenden this weekend showed that the comeback man is deadly serious about winning the 250 crown back again, 26 years after his last championship win!
Mark Giles has been very successful throughout the season and duly tops the 350cc class. Meeting wins at Bridgwater, Bewdley and Frittenden give him a commanding lead. His old adversary Dave Mears looked set to challenge him, but missing out on points in the final at Frittenden may cost Mears dearly.
The 500cc solo class is currently quite skewed by the four championship rounds that have taken place on the beach at Guernsey already. This has resulted in Channel Islanders filling four of the top five spots at present, with the best Grasstracker being Charley Powell at present. This will even itself out as more Grasstracks take place, but it is worth noting that Jordan Noel (currently topping the list) has been flying on the beach this year, and will come up against some of the best Grasstrack racers at the British Masters Qualifier next month. Last year’s winner Arran Butcher’s win at Bridgwater seems him well positioned once again.
The Upright class has been fast and furious this season. Tim Curnock has had a few knocks to his dominance, but has still managed to place well, giving him a good lead in this class. Aussie former European finalist Rodney McDonald’s entrance into the class has added plenty of intrigue. He opened his account by winning at Bridgwater. Nigel Coates and Mike Dowling are once again in amongst the front runners, and will almost certainly continue to be so throughout the season in one of the sport’s toughest classes.
The Pre 75 class has been dominated by returning racer Neil Copestake. Copey has won two meetings this month and finished second to British Champion Dave Hammond in another.
Young Welsh-border crew Shaun Hughes and Louis Bennett have built a fine lead in the 500cc sidecar class. Their consistent racing in domestic Grasstrack has included wins at Gawsworth and Bewdley. Phill and Tom Rowlands have been steadily improving and look set to challenge the youngsters, with British champions Josh Goodwin/Liam Brown not too far away in third.
Last year’s list toppers Tom Cossar and Wayne Rickards hit the top of the 2019 table for the first time this weekend off the back of a fine performance at Frittenden, coming second to elder brother Mark. Before this weekend, Cornish racer Kieran Hicks and passenger Kieron Ivy were leading. They were absent from Frittenden’s Battle of Britain and have let Cossar/Rickards nose in front. This fight for domestic supremacy in the 1000cc sidecars is sure to continue throughout the season.
Rob Heath and Kyle Fish lead the Lefthand Sidecar brigade at present, but a third in Sunday’s final meant that the winners, Tom Penfold and Will Naden could significantly narrow the gap on them in the list.
The Youth Grasstrack has continued to show promising signs of a boost this month, culminating in a tremendous youth only event on Saturday at Frittenden.
The Auto Cadets class has seen a titanic duel between Archie Rolph and Oliver Bovingdon. After Saturday’s meeting, Bovingdon’s win total this season has grown to 5, meaning that he tops the list presently.
Channel Islander Lewis Le Blanq had his first experience of racing on the Grass on Saturday. He has won three of the four rounds of the Guernsey Sand Race Championships this year and came third on Saturday. This puts him just above British Champion Cooper Rushen at present in the Cadet class.
The Junior class has been very well attended. And with the new ruling on how Gradings points are issued, big points have been on offer. Another Guernsey rider Thomas Vining has shown tremendous commitment to the cause by racing both on the beach and on Grasstracks in the mainland. He duly tops the table. Austin Riches is not too far behind him, though, having had some solid performances including an excellent win at Bewdley.
The Intermediate class has seen several stars of the future emerge this month. Jake Mulford has taken his first victory in the class, and then moved up to adult racing and really made an impression. If he continues to race in the adult class, some of the other riders may emerge as the top competitors in the class. Cameron Taylor is currently top of the list having raced all over the country. Taylor, in his first season in the Inters, has been riding steadily all season and has picked up a victory in Cornwall. Cambridge racer Sam Norris, though, has been very impressive at the end of the month, taking a glorious victory at the Battle of Britain.
June is a huge month for Grasstrack, beginning with Helsby’s Grasstrack meeting next weekend in Cheshire. After that, we head to Gosbeck in Suffolk for the second time this season on Saturday 8th
May. Then Bristol GRC host the first national event of the year; the British Masters Qualifier. This is the gateway to British Grasstrack’s grandest stage, the British Masters, which will be held in August. Top 500cc solos and 1000cc sidecars will do battle to claim the final places in the lineup for the British Masters Final in the Summer.
The week after, Ledbury host their traditional evening Grasstrack on 15th
June and Maidstone Aces will run the Kent Kracker at their venue at Grafty Green, Kent the following day.
On Sunday 23rd
June, Midshires GTC host the European Grasstrack Semi Final, featuring several top European racers. The event will also include the Master of Midshires 1000cc sidecar class and a full 500cc solo support. It really is one of the meetings of the season and not to be missed. It takes place at Fosse Way near Leamington Spa, right in the middle of the country.
Cheshire host another British Championships the following week at Gawsworth, hosting the British Upright Championships.
So plenty for Grasstrack fans to get their teeth stuck into over the next month as we continue this fantastic 2019 season. Be sure to regularly visit Grasstrack Banter for all of the latest comings and goings in the Grasstrack world. 250cc Solo 350cc Solo 500cc Solo Uprights Pre 75cc 500cc Sidecar 1000cc Right Hand Sidecar 1000cc Left Hand Sidecar Auto Cadets Juniors Inters