Saturday April 20, 2019 at 11:31am
A mammoth line-up of competitors congregated at Ledbury MCC's superb Herefordshire venue for the 2019 Ledbury Leader, producing over 70 races! The day was chilly, but the racing was anything but, culminating in a fantastic 1000cc sidecar final. Highlights of the day. As mentioned, the 1000cc sidecar final was one to remember. After going through the heats unbeaten Matthew Fumarola and Gareth Williams looked like they would be battling fellow maximum crew Kieran Hicks and Kieron Ivy for the win. But fresh from a terrific display at the previous evening's sidecar speedway event, Tom Cossar and Wayne Rickards turned the form-book on its head, rounding early leaders Hicks/Ivy and not looking back. A star-studded 500cc Solo line-up was won by former European Grasstrack Champion James Shanes. He was unbeaten all day as he got his Grasstrack season off to the start he hoped for. James Wright, who sat out most of last season, was a pleasing name to see competing once again. He rode well to finish 2nd. Reigning British 350cc champion Tom Perry was looking fast all afternoon, but couldn't topple the two James' in front of him. Another returning name which will please many race fans was 4x British 350cc champion Tony Atkin. He could manage 5th, behind consistent performer Charley Powell. Any newcomers to the class should not be disheartened by their performances among this company. European finalists, speedway riders and British champions made up a tough line-up of 500cc solos. Elsewhere, several perfect performances took place. British 500cc sidecar champions Josh Goodwin/Liam Brown went through the card unbeaten, as did Upright Solos winner Tim Curnock. Graeme Brown performed the same feat in he Pre 75 class, but couldn't topple Curnock in the Uprights. Shaun Harvey's tireless work in getting several new riders in to the GT140 class looked all worthwhile for him. The 9x British 500cc Sidecar champion, who has built several of the machines competing in the class, took the win after some epic battles. Another speedway star Luke Harris was very quick in the 250cc class. He too went through the card unbeaten. Mark Giles' near-domination of the Western centre continued unabated. He took yet another win at this circuit in the 350cc class. Although it is so far from home, Giles has turned the Herefordshire venue into something of a personal fortress in the last 2 years. in the 350cc class. Finally, the youth classes were very well supported. The new system in the youth National Gradings List means that the larger the entry of youth riders in each class, the more points are on offer for the top placings in the meeting. Therefore, the big classes made this event an important one for several classes. Archie Rolph once again came out on top of his battle with Oliver Bovingdon in the Autos class. After a problem in one heat, Kayden Munday dropped to third in the Cadets class, and Jacob Phillips was able to capitalise, winning in Munday’s absence. The strong Junior class was won by Guernsey star Thomas Vining. The Channel Islander’s second visit to mainland this season saw him tear through the races unbeaten and giving him his second meeting win of the year. Corey Stainer had his best result to date with a second place. The oldest youth class, the inters, once again saw bad luck for Jake Mulford. The Norfolk youngster looked extremely fast once again, but mechanical gremlins robbed him of the top spot. However, perfectly placed to capitalise once again was Mickie Simpson. Simpson has started his season very well and his super-smooth riding style is turning quite a few heads. Once again, Ledbury MCC proved why they are so highly regarded in the Grasstrack fraternity by hosting a tremendous, if slightly cold, day’s racing. They have promised to turn up the thermostat for their next meeting due to take place in June.