Sunday 11th September saw the Astra Grass Track Club host the 2016 FIME European Individual Grass Track Final at the ultra-fast Swingfield circuit near Folkestone in the south east of England.
Racing was certainly very competitive on a hot and sunny autumn day and with a bumper crowd of around 3,000 spectators lining the track to witness some very exciting racing from all the riders as battled closely during the 12 qualifying heats.
The British riders put on a strong performance for the home crowd including young 17 year old Callum Walker who finished in a respectable 17th
place in his first European final. Once all the points had been totalled, the field of the top 16 point scoring riders were allocated to the three (C, B and A) Finals.
In the ‘C’ Final Grand Prix rider Chris Harris took the race win to finish in 11th
place, while Mitch Godden crossed the line in 4th
on the day.
With two ‘last chance’ places available for the winner and second place riders (in the B Final), to qualify through to the all-important A Final, racing was again extremely competitive with 19 years old James Shanes managing to gain one of the important places with a second place finish, fellow Brit Paul Cooper suffered misfortune in the ‘B’ Final with a retirement after a string of good rides earlier in the day. Cooper’s last place finish in the ‘B’ final saw him finish the day in 10th
The main final saw James Shanes and Josef Franc line up alongside defending champion Jannick de Jong (KNMV), Andrew Appleton (ACU), Matt Tresarrieu (FFM), and Dirk Fabriek (KNMV) for the ‘winner takes all’ A Final.
With all six riders keen to make a successful start and first corner, it was Jannick de Jong who fell in the first turn and was excluded from the re-run. At the second attempt, the home fans favourite – James Shanes – shot from the starting tapes and lead the race to the chequered flag, chased all the way by Frenchman Mathieu Tresarrieu and former European Champion Andrew Appleton in third place.
The Swingfield meeting also featured two supporting classes - 500cc Sidecars and the mighty 1000cc Sidecars. Following a delay to racing after a race accident during the 500cc class the decision was made to reduce the race distance to 3 laps for both the Sidecar classes.
After going unbeaten all day Josh Goodwin and Liam Brown claimed victory in 500cc class ahead of Shaun Harvey and Adam Young in second and Dave Carvill and Cameron Godden who claimed third. In the 1000cc Sidecars it was Mark Cossar and Sam Heath who dominated the proceedings to take victory over Matt Fumarola and Gaz Williams in second and Myles Simmons and Terry Saunters in third.
The ACU would also like to congratulate the Astra Grass Track club for running a first class event and to Track Racing Committee Vice Chairman and former European Champion, Paul Hurry for his role as Clerk of the Course.
European Final Results - Here
Photos – courtesy of of Jesper Veldhuizen (www.baansportfansite.nl)