Four lifelong Grasstrack supporters have taken steps towards organising Grasstracks in the future. Gareth Bemister, Ben Ilsley, Russell Little and Luke Russell are responsible for the 8000 member-strong Facebook group ‘Grasstrack Banter’ and have now formed a club, with plans to host racing in 2021.
The Facebook group with which these four are administrators for has steadily grown over the last eight years. It now boasts a huge amount of information, photos, race reports and videos. Almost all who are linked to Grasstrack regularly use the group for the latest information in the sport. Throughout the lockdown, the page has seen a Saturday night ‘beer tent’ quiz become successful, and the page has spawned ‘The Grasstrack Banter Podcast’. This too has been well-received and exceeded all expectations. The organisation has also held three successful ‘awards’ evenings, with help from the Bristol club for their first two. All three of these events have been highly successful. The next step for Grasstrack Banter is to run events.
“We have always wanted to run our own meeting, and now feels like the right time. Through Ben’s links with Waterlooville club, we have gained a brilliant venue at Owslebury, with history in the sport.
We are hugely grateful of all of the ladies and gentlemen who have organised Grasstrack throughout the years that we’ve been alive. It is now time for us to try and pay back some of that by running high standard Grasstrack racing.”
The boys are very keen to announce their intentions, aiming to run big meetings akin to the British Masters within five years, and even hopes of resurrecting international standard meetings like the Ace of Aces in time.
“We have big ambitions. We love this sport and want to see it succeed. We have fond memories of the big meetings of the past, the Aces, the Burnup, the Berks Bonanza etc and want to bring that sort of meeting into the 21st century.”
Grasstrack Banter Promotions hope to bring some fresh new ideas to the sport, as well as taking careful guidance from the people that have worked so hard for so many years to keep the sport alive. Features such as pre-paid tickets, card payment, membership discount and a professionally laid-out circuit are all in the club’s plans.
“We want to be markedly different. We want to stand out. We are looking into all sorts at the moment, but we want the circuit to be a racing venue to be proud of. Sponsorship banners, uniformity in our bunting, logos, branding and even our track markers are a must. We have already gained some generous sponsors and we want to do them proud by making it all feel special from the moment you come through the gate.”
Grasstrack Banter as a brand already has ventured into the clothing domain, with help from one of the key partners of the club, Custom Clothing by Impress Promotion. Grasstrack Banter branded face masks have become a popular purchase, and caps, t shirts and hoodies with the Banter logo on them have been more and more common.
“Grasstrack Banter isn’t just our brand. It is for all of us involved in the sport. We have absolutely no interest in lining our pockets by running big meetings. We want the meeting to raise money so it can be ploughed straight back into the sport. We will be very transparent about that. If you buy Grasstrack Banter branded clothing, after manufacturers cost, everything else will go straight back into the club to pay for these big ambitions that we have!”
Plenty more information will become available very soon, with more details about the first meeting which will be held by the club at their Owslebury venue. A brand new website, an online advertising campaign, a launch video and the return of the popular Grasstrack Banter Podcast will all be released very soon. We look forward to seeing the plans of the club’s first meeting, ‘Bantasia 1’, very soon.