Masterful! Master of Midshires Grasstrack – Race Report and Results
Well, what a great day’s racing it was for the annual Master of Midshires Grasstrack meeting, right in the middle of the country. Concerns were clear about dust and eventually the hot weather did get the better of the organisers. But after a gargantuan effort to keep the circuit as wet as possible, it was only the finals that we lost to dust, as the baking hot sun dried up the circuit.
Report and Result images by Gareth Bemister – Images courtesy of Martin Ilsley
The one final of the day that did take place was the 250cc Solo final. The class had been super-competitive all day. The in-form rider of the day was Plymouth Devils’ rider Henry Atkins. He stormed to 3 wins, beating one of the seasons stand out performers, Charlie Brooks in each heat and toppling former British champion David Knowles, who also looked in fine form. Journeyman Tim Greig began his afternoon well with a fine win over a quality field, and another British champion getting amongst the front runners was Graham Thomas. He took a solid win on the way to the final also.
The final itself was as ferocious as expected, with several riders pushing for the victory. But by the third lap, Atkins had established a good lead and road his way to victory, followed home by Knowles with Brooks initially coming 3rd, but was deemed to have left the racing circuit and was dropped to 4th, leaving Graham Thomas to be awarded 3rd. A similar fate was suffered by Adam Hawker, who came home 8th, but was dropped back to 9th. Banter admin Russell Little engaged in a duel with Tim Greig over 6th place, and surprised us all (and himself!) by overcoming the in-form racer.
The 350cc solos provided some excellent racing, with Belle Vue Colts star Andy Mellish having to work through a competitve field in his heats to win on a maximum. Dave Mears, having driven through the night with the 500cc sidecar fraternity, came closest to beating the former British champion, holding him at bay for 3 laps in an entertaining 2nd heat.
The Upright class saw another speedway star taking the crown, albeit a retired racer. Peter Carr managed to get the better of Stephen Green in two of the three heats, although Green was by no means outclassed, scoring a victory over ‘The Motor’ in their second heat. It looked poised for a final heat showdown between the two when the meeting was curtailed. Some tremendous racing in this class from the front to the back.
Despite a depleted field, the 500cc solos proved highly competitive, although Edward Kennett looked in dominant form. He won all of his heats convincingly. most impressive of all was his third win. Heading into the first bend, he managed to fend off a challenge from Tim Nobes, who had also won his opening two rides. During the first bend melee, Kennett’s steel shoe came off but he was able to show what a skilled motorcyclist he is, completing the four laps at a similar speed to his previous heats. Zach Wajtknecht rode well all day to finish 2nd. Only Nobes had managed to topple the newly crowned Under 19 British Speedway champ.
The 1000cc sidecars provided some fantastic racing. Mark Cossar/Carl Blyth were in their usual devastating form, winning all of their heats by a considerable margin. The talking point of the day though came from Guernsey racers Clint Blondel and Kev Bennett. The Channel Islanders put in two excellent performances, holding at bay some of the best crews in the country. They were duly awarded with riders of the day and the Paul Pinfold trophy for their performances. Entertaining races happened in every heat and there are too many to describe here…you’ll have to see GrasstrackSPORT on Vimeo to see it for yourself!
Finally, the 500cc Sidecar Super Series came to the Master of Midshires, and several crews were up against logistics! The rearranged European Final in Tayac took place the night before and several crews drove through the night to get to the circuit. Fresh from their 4th place in the Euro Final, Mitchel Godden and Paul Smith went through the card unbeaten, adding maximum points to their series tally. Multi-British champs Shaun Harvey and Danny Hogg rode well for their second place, whilst former European champs Josh Goodwin/Liam Brown picked up a heat win in the final rounds of heats. The best non-Euro final crew, Scot Dunn, with new passenger Scott Gutteridge looked excellent in the heats.
The B Final was run before the meeting was abandoned and initially Dan Berwick/Mark Hopkins took the chequered flag before being docked a place, leaving Barrie Bennett/Eifion Hughes to be awarded the B Final win.
Even though the event ended abruptly, some of the racing witnessed throughout the day was sensational. The event had attracted a big crowd and a huge entry. Everything that could have been done to keep the dust at bay was done, but in the end, it was just too hot. We did see 40 excellent races before the meeting was curtailed.