Shropshire Scorcher. Formula Grasstrack Championships Round 7 – Race Report and Results
The sun was shining down on Formula Grasstrack’s stars as Minsterley Motor Club held round 7 of the 2017 Championship in the heart of the Shropshire countryside.
Report by Ross Wharton – Images Courtesy of Linda Kirkland
Using a track that hadn’t seen Grasstrack action in some 33 years at the venue of Minsterley Showground, it proved to be a leveller as no one managed to dominate the Senior class.
This was not the case in the Auto Cadets as once again Ollie Binns Stormed to a 7 – ride maximum over his two fellow competitors. Returning to FGA action to take 2nd place was Jack Crewe who fought hard with FGA newcomer Harry Fletcher. Crewe heading home Fletcher in 4 of the 6 Point scoring rides. Fletcher went on to take 2nd in the final to Binns after swapping positions with Crewe in the Final.
In the Cub class, which again was mixed with the Juniors, it was Billy Budd who took maximum points over the Elder Crewe sibling, Joe. Both Cub riders giving a credible account of themselves against the elder Junior Class.
Sam Hall may have looked like he was going to continue his season with another win when he headed home friend and rival Eli Meadows in the first race of the day. But Hall was unable to repeat the feat again on the day with Meadows getting to grips with the track and making fast starts to take 5 out of 6 point scoring wins before going on the win the John Broadhurst Memorial Shield in the Final. Meadows seems to have a love for the Lea Cross tracks after winning the Tom Thomas Final in May. Nathan Alder rode consistently all afternoon to take 3rd spot with 5 third places with a second in his fifth ride getting the better of championship leader Hall. Knutsford’s Katie Gordon kept the Male rivals honest all afternoon to take 4th spot and add points to her championship. It must be said that the Cub/Junior Battles throughout 2017 have been top drawer.
In the Seniors, All eyes were on the Ashcroft Brothers. Ryan, leading the championship with brother Liam pushing him all the way after snatching victory in the Jonathon Rodgers final last time out at Hampton. One notable addition to the Line up was 2 time british 250cc champion Graham Thomas. The Shrewsbury man making a late decision to replace the unfortunate Rob Cuffin who was called into work at short notice. Thomas would bolster an all ready tough line up including Wayne Broadhurst, Phil Thomas, Glyn Stanton & Martin Adams to name but a few. Heat one looked like it was a sign of things to come with Ryan Ashcroft lining up with the Thomas Brothers. Ashcroft Managed to out gate the local brothers to storm to victory. Graham only Managing to pass his younger brother on the last lap. Broadhurst managed to get the better of Martin Adams to take a win in heat 2
The younger Ashcroft, Liam got off to a slow start in heat 3 and couldn’t improve on third place despite trying everything to pass Minsterley stalwart Steve Mace who raced to a superb 2nd behind former senior Champion Elvis Jones.
As the day progressed it appeared the usual suspects would line up for the Geoff Adams Memorial final. Graham Thomas wasn’t to be beaten in his remaining 5 point scoring rides. Ryan Ashcroft looked like it was his for the taking until disaster struck the Tividale man in his 4th ride on lap two with an ignition switch failure, this would be the only blot on the championship leaders copybook.
The 4th leg of heats also brought disaster to Clubman Phil Thomas, Whilst battling with brother Graham, he went down hard on the 3rd bend bringing a no score to his tally and eliminating him to the B final.
Liam Ashcroft managed to gather himself to rack up four wins and a 2nd to Graham Thomas to send him through to the A final.
Race 32 Brought controversy. Broadhurst and Graham Thomas tied on points for the win. Both had dropped one point to Ryan Ashcroft who had dropped down the order after his DNF. This meant Whoever won out of Thomas & Broadhurst would win round 7 and get first pick of gates. As the stormed into turn one with both riders not willing to give an inch it was Broadhurst left with nowhere to go but the dirt. Going down on turn one after clashing with Thomas. After much deliberation the Clerk of the Course allowed Broadhurst another bite of the cherry and deemed all riders were to re-start. The re-run wasn’t to be fruitful for Broadhurst and after he pushed Thomas hard for four laps there was no way through and Thomas went on to take victory and win the Meeting.
Included in the meeting was the Minsterley club members final for seniors. A who’s who of FGA with the top 8 Member from the two Minsterley meeting going into a winner takes all final. The younger Thomas, Phil, choosing to miss the finals after feeling second hand due to his spill. This left elder brother Graham to line up against Broadhurst, Glyn Stanton, Martin Adams, Elvis Jones, Steve Mace, Mick Keeling. Thomas Again took the win proving his decision to race the right one! Taking home the Derek Pinches Memorial Shield.
The Last race of the day was the Geoff Adams Memorial trophy. And what a Line up! Meeting winner Thomas, Broadhurst, The two Ashcroft’s, Jones, Adams, & both the Binns brother’s. It was to be Liam Ashcroft who sped away first from the tapes and led from tapes to flag to take his 2nd final win in as many meetings. It looked to be Thomas who was to chase the youngest rider in the final but Ryan had other ideas and past him but had no answer for his brother, Liam who won in front of a large crowd.
It’s worth noting that the Senior Line up featured 6 riders who will line up next Sunday at the British Final at Ledbury.
FGA Resume on 30th September when Whitchurch Host the Martin Parry memorial and the penultimate round of 2017.
Autos: 1st O Binns, 2nd J Crewe, 3rd H Fletcher
Cubs: 1st B Budd 2nd J Crewe
Juniors: 1st E Meadows, 2nd S Hall, 3rd N Alder 4th K Gordon
Seniors: 1st G Thomas, 2nd W Broadhurst 3rd L Ashcroft 4th M Adams 5th D Binns 6th E Jones 7th R Ashcroft 8th A Binns 9th G Stanton 10th P Thomas