COSSAR CRUISES TO KINGS LYNN WIN. British Sidecar Speedway Championships Round 3 – Race Report and Results
Report and Result images by Gareth Bemister – Action Images courtesy of Luke Russell
Closest to them in the heats and current second placed crew in the series, Paul Whitelam and Alan Elliott looked in excellent form too, but couldn’t match the pace of Cossar/Blyth when the two crews met. And Yorkshire father and son crew, Rod Winterburn and Billy Winterburn, threw up a surprise against odds in a hard fought ride in the final.
Cossar/Blyth’s four wins out of four could only be matched by Whitelam/Elliott going into the 3rd leg of rides. Whitelam/Elliott managed to give Cossar/Blyth plenty to think about in the early parts of the race, using every inch of the circuit to keep up as much speed as possible. The Winterburns had also put in several good rides. They won their final two heats after being headed by Whitelam/Elliott and Cossar/Blyth in their opening two rides.
Such was the openness of the event, nine different crews tasted victory over the course of the evening. Perhaps the most surprising package came in the form of Jack Penfold and passenger Kizz Ivy. The pairing have embarked in their first season as a crew on the speedway, and Jack’s first season competing. After looking fast during practice laps at the opening round in Leicester, they entered the meeting proper in Somerset for the second round, but suffered some bad luck. However, this time around the newest Penfold on the scene began to show his potential. His evening opened with a victory of sorts, beating his father Nevill in their opening heat. After this, Jack and Kizz never fell out of the top two, taking their first heat win in an excellent performance in Heat 8. Sadly, a dream final spot couldn’t be realised as disaster struck in the winner-take-all repercharge. After getting into a decent position, they collided with Rob Wilson/Terry Saunters exiting the fourth bend. Kizz was dumped from the outfit and the promising pairing were excluded from the results (which stood after ¾ race distance). Repercharge aside, they must be delighted with how well their evening went, and how promising they are as a new crew.
In the Repercharge, it was experienced Sidecar speedway specialist Mick Cave and Bradley Reynolds who led from start to finish. After a tough Heat One, where they’d finished third, it would have taken three straight wins to get them into the final. They managed two, but a determined ride from Rob Wilson/Terry Saunters in their fourth ride saw them finish second, and they would need the repercharge to get into the final, and avoid the knock-out scenario of the repercharge. In contrast, Wilson/Saunters needed the win to get themselves into the repercharge. They’d suffered a no finish in an earlier heat when they’d become locked together with Simon Beaney/Gareth Bemister in the first bend. Will Penfold, partnered this time around by Ryan Wharton, rode well all evening to collect enough points to see them into the repercharge. The race ended with Cave/Steer as clear winners, albeit over 3 laps. No injuries were sustained for Kizz Ivy, and this exciting crew move onto the final round in Belle Vue brimming with hope and ambition.
The all-important final saw a nasty looking tumble in the first corner. The four crews bunched together heading into the bend, and the Winterburn outfit collided with Whitelam/Elliott in such a way that it upset the outfit, turning it over. The outfit had sustained some minor damage and the Winterburns were forced to take part in the re-run aboard a borrowed machine; Rob Wilson stepping forward to lend the Winterburn’s his outfit.
In the re-run, Cossar and Blyth wasted little time getting themselves to the front and developed a gap between themselves and the chasing pack. Whitelam/Elliott once again began to campaign the super-fast wide line that they’d been using through the heats, whilst the Winterburns adopted a fast tight line, getting used to the unfamiliar equipment remarkably quickly. In truth, nobody could stop Cossar/Blyth, but the race for second was highly entertaining. The Winterburn crew performed a brilliant ride, catching up and passing Whitelam/Elliott for a well-earned second place.
It was yet another excellent evening of sidecar speedway, with unpredictable results, overtaking manoeuvres and immense speed seen throughout. There is now time between this round and the final round at Belle Vue’s superb National Speedway Stadium in Manchester. Going into the final round, it looks like being a two-horse race as just one point separates Britain’s best two sidecar crews at present: Mark Cossar/Carl Blyth and Paul Whitelam/Alan Elliott. Who will be crowned Britain’s Champion for 2018? Judging on the action seen so far in this series, the final is a ‘not to be missed’ occasion for sure.