Aces are high! Maidstone Aces Grasstrack – Race Report and Results
After a season away from the sport, one of the oldest Grasstrack clubs in England, Maidstone Aces, made their return to organising on Sunday, hosting a nice little club meeting at their usual venue of Grafty Green.
Report and Result images courtesy of Gareth Bemister – Images courtesy of Graham Marsh – Video by Bob Ruffle
Although it was a very hot day, dust was kept well under control. The tight, technical circuit provided some excellent racing as riders took to the challenge of racing on, what was describe as a ‘thinker’s track’. It took a long time for the grass to come off of the circuit, meaning that conditions really did suit those that could pick their way through. Several great races were the result.
A late addition to the event, former European and British Masters Champion Paul Hurry, swept the board in the 500cc class. He looked a cut above the rest as he stormed to a maximum. Closest to him all afternoon was Gareth Hickmott, though a fall exiting the final corner in the final stopped Hickmott from joining Hurry on the rostrum. The runners-up spot was inherited by Arran Butcher, who’d rode determinedly all afternoon and thoroughly deserved the position.
The 250cc Solos provided some of the best racing of the day. Banter admin Russell Little was in top form, still buoyant from his best ever position at the British Championships two weeks ago. He took on and beat Tim Greig from behind twice in the heats. The other rider looking fast was another Banter admin- Ben Ilsley. Ilsley put in some good rides himself, though confessed that the circuit was more suited to the motocross-engined machines ridden by his rivals. In the final, once again Greig made an excellent start and Little had to give chase. But this time, Greig rode a sensible line throughout, managing to hold off Little for all four laps and clinching the 250cc win. A great final and a good win for Greig, who used all of his experience and expertise as a motorcyclist to win the event.
Veteran Brian Cornelius rolled back the years by taking the 350cc title- his first meeting win for a number of years and thoroughly deserved for a real stalwart of South Eastern centre Grasstrack. He couldn’t manage the double, however, as he competed in the Upright class also. Another veteran South Eastern ace, Bob Dolman, was doing the winning in the Uprights. Robin Pilcher claimed a solid 2nd behind Dolman, with Gordon Walker beating Cornelius to take 3rd.
The four competitors in the GT140 class put on some great races, but Chris Mackett was able to fight his way to the front and win their heats. And yet another veteran, quad legend John Elliott, took the Quads class with four immaculate wins.
In the 1000cc sidecar class, though it certainly was a different story with regards to seniority. Youngster Tom Cossar, partnered this week by Gareth Williams, fought hard on a circuit which he openly admitted he struggled to get to grips with to win an excellent 1000cc sidecar final. It looked as though Gary Shearer, reunited with ex-passenger Sam Bond for the weekend, would win the final, but Cossar gritted his teeth and disposed of Shearer/Bond with a gutsy ride. Will Offen/Josh Russell were never too far from contention either. It was an open affair with lots of outfits beating other outfits and no clear winner until late on in the final.
In the Lefthand sidecars, it was a dominant performance from Rob Heath/Kyle Fish. They took their flawlessly prepared outfit to four heat wins. Welshman Alex Balman and passenger Tim Phillips took second spot with some good rides, whilst Billy Penfold/Dan Woodbridge finished 3rd overall. Grasstrack fans are getting used to seeing Dan Berwick racing a range of machinery, and this week was no different as he appeared at the helm of father Chris’ Lefthand outfit, with Chris serving as ballast this weekend.
Tony Dart and Wayne Powell locked horns with Natasha Bartlett and Curtis McAlinney in some closely contested races. Bartlett/McAlinney managed the final outing for the class, but for the most part it was Dart/Powell who had done the winning, pushed very hard by Bartlett/McAlinney.
Altogether a successful club Grasstrack meeting at Grafty Green. It’s great to see a club with such a reputation back. They now look towards their next meeting that will be held at the same venue of 9th September.