Feature Team Update – Team Bennett Hughes. 2018 here we come..
The 2017 season ended in August for our Feature 500cc Sidecar Grasstrack crew of Louis Bennett and Shaun Hughes… here Louis tells us about how it went and his plans for 2018 including riding this weekend at the Titans of Tallington.
“The 2017 season came to a end in very unsatisfying fashion. It was Shaun and myselfs (Louis) first full season after years of spannering and following our dads up and down this country as well as doing so on foreign shores. As fun as that was we always knew from a very young age that we would race together eventually as our dads enter their 14th season competing. We had managed to obtain our national licenses very quickly which proved that we were serious about our racing. We managed to pull of a string of results.
Managing 2nd in the Midland Center Championship, 2nd in the Southern Midland Center Championship as well as 3rd in the open British pairs with our dads. As well as these we had some massive learning curves like winning our first senior heat in Writtle, our first speedway meeting at Kings Lynn’s Adrian Flux Arena & managing to qualify for a final at Cornwall’s Borded Bash on round 4 of the Super Series. Both still being teenagers we feel that we still have a lot to learn and prove.
Last season ended after big crash at The Froxfield Flyer on bank holiday August. We were sat in 2nd, carried too much speed into the turn which was on a hill and hit our dads. I was knocked unconscious immediately & couldn’t get out the way of the following crew & was hit. Shaun was fully conscious but in a lot of pain. After being airlifted to Southampton Hospital whilst Shaun was being driven to Portsmouth Hospital we had our Kevlar suits, padding, dust mask and helmets cut off by paramedics before we arrived. After numerous scans Shaun was discarded with 2 broken clavicles (collar bones) & a broken Scapula (shoulder blade). As I (Louis) couldn’t feel my legs after the crash I was told that there was a potential risk of paralysis. I was self discharged with a broken Scapula & a broken Glenoid (shoulder socket). We both suffer a loss of kit, damaged bike & a tattered egos. Looking back on it wasn’t a very good experience but it’s one we can look back on & laugh at. We need to say a massive thank you to The Hampshire & Isle of Wight Air Ambulance Service, fellow competitors, medics & our family for their support.
The crash was 1 week prior to our first British Championship which means we have to wait for first British Championship meeting. 41 days later I was back on a bike. With Shaun’s blessing I managed another meeting with Kent driver, Tash Bartlett. I wanted to test how my shoulder was healing and it held up ok as well as learning more and more. Both of us are 100% fit and hungrier for more. We need to thank everyone who helped us in our hour in need at Froxfield and helped us with our new race kit when we had our crash. We also won most Improved crew of the team so that brightened things up for us.
2018 proves to be exciting year with us having a brand new ACE frame. Engines and gearboxes have come back from being freshened up. As well as learning on the track our dads have taught us an awful lot in the workshop on the mechanical side. Everything seems to be falling into place nicely and it proves to be an exciting season. As always we have a list of people to thank. Without them wouldn’t be able to race, we would like to thank our dads – Barrie and Eifion, Lisa, Beckii, Nam Nam, The Rand Family, Team Goodwin Brown, everyone at Minsterley MC, Rob at Home Alarms, G F Grigg, Chalky White at CW Racewear, Richard at RRE, Dave Broome from Broomie Racing & the rest of our race family.”