Wimborne MCC organised a huge Grasstrack festival last weekend as they ran the historic ‘Whoppa’ event for the 39th
time in the club’s history, at their superb Corfe Mullen venue. It was a Grasstrack with all the trimmings as a funfair, a plethora of stalls and exhibitions, a bouncy castle, a sizeable food and drink quarter, a DJ and live music made the whole event feel like something very special indeed. On the track, the racing was fast and extremely fierce as riders vowed to put their name to this established title.
The racing began in late morning as spectators began to congregate for a whole day of racing. The Youth Junior races took place first of all, and what a tremendous curtain jerker they provided for the day’s event.
Several battles took place throughout the pack between the youngsters, each of them not willing to give an inch. As the fourth leg rides began, two riders had managed to reach the latter stages on maximums. Guernsey’s young starlet Thomas Vining had been in great form as usual. He had ridden three excellent races to win three times, each win by some distance. The other rider yet to be beaten, however, was more of a surprise. George Colvin, who was given a special dispensation to move up to the Juniors a year early at the end of the year, had put in three stunning displays in the heats to set up a head-to-head with his Channel Island adversary. Vining had been winning races convincingly, whereas Colvin had shown great spirit by fighting his way through from the back.
The meeting of these two meant that a win was up for grabs in the other heat. Rapidly improving youngster Austin Riches claimed the victory. He had not been out of the top two all day, and had had a tremendous battle with Colvin himself in an earlier heat.
In the final race, Vining would take the lead as he had done all day, with Colvin starting slowly. Before too long, however, he had wound up plenty of speed and dived past Vining. Making no mistakes, Colvin raced to the flag, taking the overall victory. These two youngsters are only 8 and 9 respectively, and have several more years in the junior class. Both will be in action at the British Championships in Cornwall on 3rd
August and will no doubt once again lock horns.
After the conclusion of the Juniors, the 250cc solo event got under way. Returning journeyman Tim Greig hit the front in the opening ride, but Russell Little, who was to be a thorn in the Lincolnshireman’s side from here on, passed him and took his first victory of the day. In the other heat, teenager Chad Wirtzfeld showed tremendous pace aboard his machine. He won his first three races convincingly. Little, who had only been beaten by Wirtzfeld himself in an earlier heat, beat Greig again in their final ride, leaving the competition in the hands of Wirtzfeld. But disaster would strike the youngster as he led his final ride. He threw a chain on the third lap of his race, falling in the process. The chain loss and fall gave the overall victory to Russell Little, who had ridden brilliantly all day.
The GT140 class was equally spectacular. The low-budget, highly competitive class once again saw lots of mid-pack battles, but Karl Rushen rose above all of the others to claim three wins heading into the final.
The final proved to be one of the best races of the day, and certainly a fabulous showcase for the class. Maximum man Rushen found himself well down the pack upon exiting the first bend, and he had lots to do. A collision with several riders on lap 1, which hampered the progress of Darren Sargeant who had been in good form before the final, gave several of the competitors heart-in-mouth moment. Thankfully, nobody dismounted and the race was able to continue. While all of the melee took place, Shaun Harvey had pulled a substantial gap between himself and the rest of the pack. Entering Lap 3, Rushen’s body language clearly showed that he thought that the win had slipped through his fingers. However, Rushen got his head down and showed great determination to catch and finally pass Harvey in the latter stages of the race to claim the first ever Whoppa GT140 title. This was simply a great race. GT140 stalwart Jed Rolph had one of his best rides to date, claiming 3rd
in this stiff contest.
There were also qualification races for both the 1000cc sidecars and the 500cc solos. George Penfold/Bradley Steer were involved in some good scraps with Clint Blondel/Kev Bennett. Both crews passed and re-passed each other, despite both qualifying comfortably. Usual 350cc rider Barry Powell dominated the 500cc solo qualifier, winning each race by a considerable distance. Devon racer Saul Bulley rode well to claim second after having to hunt down and pass Jody Hodgson. All three qualified for the main event, which would take place in the evening.
At this point in the day, a break was taken and presentations took place for the day races. The stage had well and truly been set for a sensational night’s entertainment.