Cossar claims round 2! British Sidecar Speedway Championships Round 2 – Race Report & Results
Report and Result images courtesy of Gareth Bemister – Feature image from Round 1 courtesy of Darren Nokes
After 16 hard-fought heats, some familiar faces had risen to the top of the score sheet, along with a surprise or two! Round 1 winners Paul Whitelam/Alan Elliott topped the qualification sheet. They went through their four heats unbeaten, thus qualifying first for the final and choosing the inside gate. Mark Cossar/Carl Blyth had reaped better luck in this round, though Mick Cave/Bradley Reynolds had put a stop to any thoughts of a maximum in their final ride with a rare victory over the reigning British Champions. Cave, Cossar and Whitelam qualified for the final as top scorers.
The Last Chance Semi-Final repercharge contained three of the four outfits who had been in the same position at Leicester last month. Mick Stace/Roddy Stirling had ridden excellently to win two heats and once again qualify for the repercharge. Rob Wilson/Terry Saunters and Will Offen/Josh Russell also lined up for the event. The final place was taken up by Nevill Penfold/ Kev ‘Jonah’ Jones, who put together some excellent rides, including a heat win in Heat 1 to score good points.
The repercharge system creates a nail-biting race as all four outfits fight for the final spot in the final. This race certainly delivered! As the tapes went up, it was Stace who led for the early stages of the race. Penfold/Jones had ridden a sensible first turn to settle into second, but a mistake by Stace allowed Penfold to come on terms and overtake the early leaders. Stace tried desperately to get back in front of Penfold but another mistake sent him infield, finishing his race. Stace really deserved more from an excellent night’s racing. From here Nev Penfold/Kev Jones made no mistakes and comfortably led Wilson/Saunters home, qualifying for the final.
In the final itself, Whitelam/Elliott made full use of their inside gate and duly led exiting the first turn. But Cossar/Blyth were in determined form. They stormed past the early leaders and then just kept extending their lead from there. Whitelam/Elliott still looked quick in 2nd, with Penfold/Jones delighted with 3rd place, keeping Cave/Steer at bay successfully.
Once again, the 500cc sidecars provided entertaining support for the ‘big chairs’. Three crews were at Somerset, Barrie Bennett/Eifion Hughes, Shaun Hughes/Louis Bennett and Natasha Bartlett/Curtis McAlinney. Both Bartlett/McAlinney and Hughes/Bennett gated first in Heat 1, with the Hughes taking an early lead while fathers Bennett/Hughes fought from the back to ride the outside to pass Bartlett and take second. Heat two was a replay of heat one from the gate with Bennett snr managing to past Bartlett, only for youngsters Hughes/Bennett to clip the centre green on the pit bend resulting in exclusion. This resulted in Bennett/Hughes taking first and Bartlett/McAlinney second. Heat 3 both Hughes and Bennett this time made the gate with the youngsters taking an early lead on lap one to win, Bennett second and Bartlett in third. Heat four, Hughes/Bennett and Bartlett/McAlinney were, once again equal out the gate. Shaun Hughes took the lead with Tash Bartlett fighting hard to hold off Barrie Bennett and taking second with Barrie in third. Overall results: Shaun Hughes/Louis Bennett 9 points, Barrie Bennett\Eifion Hughes 8 and Tash Bartlett/Curtis McAlinney 5.
Thank you to Barrie and Lisa Curran-Bennett for providing report from Somerset for the 500cc sidecars.
Another fantastic night of three-wheeled action at the speedway. The tournament now takes a break until mid- July, where the third round will take place at Kings Lynn. In the meantime, the sidecars return to the Oak Tree Arena on 29th June, where Australians Mick Headland and Brenton Kerr are set to join Britain’s best racers. This is not to be missed!
The British Championship standings look very interesting, with Paul Whitelam/Alan Elliott topping the points tally with an impressive haul.