Astra Euro Semi! European Individual Grass Track Semi Final – Preview
This weekend (Sunday 22nd April), the Astra Grass Track Club – in conjunction with the Track Racing Committee of the ACU – will be staging the first of two Semi Finals of the FIME European Grass Track Championships at Swingfield, near Folkestone in Kent. The meeting will feature top riders from the UK, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Czech Republic and Denmark.
Heading the line-up is defending European champion James Shanes, a former Kent Kings Speedway rider, and who this year rides for Premiership side Poole Pirates. Joining Shanes are four other top ACU riders, (Paul Hurry, a former British Masters and European champion, England international Speedway rider Eddie Kennett, Swindon Speedway star Adam Ellis, and Zach Watjknecht also from Swindon and Lakeside Speedway), all of whom will be chasing one of the nine qualifying places to compete in the European Final that will be held at Tayac in the South of France at the beginning of July. Of the continentals, one to watch for is Gaetan Stella who won last year’s French Speedway Championships aged just seventeen.
Supporting the European races will be the ultra-popular 1000cc Sidecars and the field of eighteen includes the imperious Mark Cossar/Carl Blyth combination, the reigning British Champions who seem unbeatable, though the remaining crews include several former Champions all of whom will be trying their best to beat Cossar and Blyth.
A special day is planned for one young person as ‘Guest of Honour’ at the event will be eight-year-old Draven Jefferies – who’s story was recently featured in a Kent Online article. An Astra club member saw the article and suggested that Draven and his family should be invited along as guests, a suggestion that was agreed unanimously by the club. ‘We spoke to his parents and sent some videos to for him to watch and he seemed really keen, so our aim is to spoil him rotten, although we want it to be a complete surprise’ said a club official, ‘hopefully he’ll have a great day’.
The track at Swingfield is situated off the A260 Canterbury to Folkestone road and is signposted off the A20, the A2 and the A260. Food and drinks are available on site and camping is available from Thursday. Practice on the day will be early at 9:30am, there will be a parade of riders at 1.15pm with racing due to start at 1.30pm. Admission prices are £15 for Adults, Senior Citizens / Children 12-16 are £13 and Under 12’s go Free.