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Shanes makes the gains at Ledbury!

Tuesday April 5, 2022 at 3:20pm
Shanes makes the gains at Ledbury!

Initially, Sunday’s ‘Ledbury Leader’ was to have culminated in winner takes all finals for the 250cc, 500cc and 1000cc Sidecar class only. However the organising Ledbury MCC then decided to add some extra spice to the event by announcing that instead, all classes would enjoy the same race format of three points scoring heats followed by a final clash. So with that change inserted into the programme, the riders went to work and into action. With most competitors displaying very few signs of any race rustiness following the Winter break, they were to produce plenty of great entertainment and thus send the crowd home happy. For some though the day did not go quite to plan, frustrated by early season niggling mechanical gremlins which need further attention in the workshop, but overall this 2022 season opener should be considered a success.

The first class to go racing on Sunday was the 250cc solos and young Gloucestershire based Cameron Taylor started in style, quickly moving through from 3rd to take the win from Tim Greig. In his remaining two heats, Taylor proved victorious to thus safely book his final place with maximum points. Other riders to score wins in the 250cc heats were Adam Arthur and Graham Thomas. Although both those lads got to the final, Arthur did it the hard way, pushing home for a single point after stopping in his last ride. Unfortunately Arthur’s hard work was to then be undone by a fall at the first attempt to run the deciding final. At the second attempt, Jordan Derrick and Phil Thomas fell with the latter requiring medical attention. Finally at the third time of asking, the 250cc contest was completed as Taylor took the chequered flag ahead of Graham Thomas and Tim Greig.

With Tom Perry withdrawing from the meeting early on due to illness, the star of the 350cc qualifying heats was certainly Andrew Whittaker. In classy style, he won all three of his heats but was then unluckily forced to sit out the final. That was due to a seized gearbox which let him down as he crossed the finish line in his last ride! In that 350cc final, Luke Harris led the way but an apparent lack of power was to see him drop down to 5th. Taking the win was John Cox ahead of Jack Roberts and Barry Powell. Earlier in the day the very consistent Cox and Roberts had recorded heat victories.

There was drama early in the 500cc qualifying heats when James Shanes shed a chain on turn one of his opening ride. With the pressure to qualify for the final now firmly on, Shanes showed great composure to then get the job done by scoring a brace of victories. Also in flying form was the spectacular Chad Wirtzfeld whilst Tony Atkin and Ryan Ashcroft picked up crucial qualifying wins. In the final, Shanes got the holeshot only for Wirtzfeld to brilliantly dive under the leader on the exit form bend two. The race though was to then be stopped as Kai Ward and James Peter crashed. In the rerun, Shanes made no mistake by leading all the way from Wirtzfeld, Atkin and Jack Roberts.

The GT140 final was to produce the closest finish of the day with Ian Clark taking the win by a tyre’s width after a super tussle with Mark Scopes. Clark had hounded his rival all the way before making one last attempt on the last turn and thus get the required grip and drive on the run-in to the chequered flag, great entertainment! Earlier in the meeting, Scopes, Clark, Kevin Gwilliam and Mark Collins all recorded heat wins. Paul Smith was also in fine form in his first couple of outings but was then very relieved to make the final after falling when leading his last race.

Darren Phillips comfortably booked his final place in the Uprights class with three confident heat wins. Tony Atkin and Tim Curnock were also in great form in this one to set up an intriguing deciding race. And, those three riders then confirmed their dominance by filling the podium places with Malvern based Phillips bagging top slot from Atkin and Curnock as Mike Dowling got home in 4th.

John Priest and Martin Adams topped the Pre-75 qualifying score charts on 34 points apiece with Phil Kynam and Steve Newsham next best. After picking up two wins early on, Priest then won the final with a smooth ride as Newsham took 2nd with Adams 3rd.

Returning to the venue of their 2021 500cc Sidecar British Championship win, Mitch Godden/Paul Smith were again in fantastic form on Sunday, reeling off three classy heat wins before then storming to success in the final. Josh Goodwin/Liam Brown and Shaun Hughes/ Louis Bennett also picked up heat wins to safely book their places in the final. In that one with Godden controlling from the front, Hughes charged hard for 2nd despite the constant attention of Goodwin. After partnering Goodwin to that eventual 3rd place in the 500cc Sidecars, Brown ‘Doubled up’ throughout the meeting by also climbing into a chair for the 1000cc Sidecar class alongside Terry Saunters, and what a day he was to have!

With the impressive Tony Brown Challenge Cups on offer along with some very nice prize money increased on the day by an anonymous donation of £350, it was certainly all to play for in the big chairs class. Matt Fumerola/Andrew Wilson and Will Offen/Ricky Pay both went through the qualifying card unbeaten whilst Peter Lloyd/Terry Madley, Terry Saunters/Liam Brown and Trevor Heath/Sam Heath also picked up a race win each. Those qualifying races included a super three way battle between Offen, Heath and Saunters.

But in the final it was to be Saunters and Brown who was to take home that lovely silverware on display. Riding an absolute line-perfect race, Saunters coolly resisted the close attention from Fumerola and Heath to take a great win. Unfortunately for Offen, following his superb display earlier in the meeting, his day ended in disaster when his engine ground to a halt when holding 4th.

Words and images by Mike Wood


250cc 1st Cameron Taylor 2nd Graham Thomas 3rd Tim Greig 4th Simon Hammersley 5th Karl Bedingfield.

350cc 1st John Cox 2nd Jack Roberts 3rd Barry Powell 4th Liam Ashcroft 5th Luke Harris 6th George Pardoe.

500cc 1st James Shanes 2nd Chad Wirtzfeld 3rd Tony Atkin 4th Jack Roberts 5th Ben Phillips 6th Ryan Ashcroft.

Uprights 1st Darren Phillips 2nd Tony Atkin 3rd Tim Curnock 4th Mike Dowling 5th David Hammersley 6th Robert Dugdale.

Pre-75 1st John Priest 2nd Steve Newsham 3rd Martin Adams 4th Richard Warry 5th Gary Kirtley-Paine 6th Luke Tuck.

GT140 1st Ian Clark 2nd Mark Scopes 3rd Kevin Gwilliam 4th Paul Smith 5th Lester Denham 6th Jordan Cross.

500cc Sidecars 1st Mitch Godden/Paul Smith 2nd Shaun Hughes/Louis Bennett 3rd Josh Goodwin/Liam Brown 4th Richard Wenham/Sean Crawley 5th Jake Geering/Luke Russell 6th Rachel Cox/Scott Gutteridge.

1000cc Sidecars 1st Terry Saunters/Liam Brown 2nd Matt Fumerola/Andy Wilson 3rd Trevor Heath/Sam Heath 4th Thomas Newton/Dillon Newton 5th Kieran Hicks/Kieron Ivy.

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