Magic Mulford bursts onto the scene! FENLAND JON UNDERWOOD TROPHY GRASSTRACK – Race Report and Results
Grasstrack’s latest teenage superstar burst onto the adult scene on Sunday at Wood Walton as Fenland GTC once again staged a well-attended memorial meeting for Jon Underwood. Norwich 15-year-old Jake Mulford took to the tapes in the adult 250cc solo class for the first time in his racing career having impressed for the last three seasons in the Youth Intermediate class.
Report and Result Images by Gareth Bemister – Action Images courtesy of Mick Jenness Photography
What ensued was a faultless display by Mulford, beating former British champions and 250cc solo stalwarts David Knowles and Graham Thomas comprehensively in the process. Though Mulford didn’t meet Thomas, his impressive performance did include twice beating 2004 British champion Knowles. In his first heat, Mulford disposed of his fellow teenage starlet, Chad Wirtzfeld. After looking fast in the opening ride, Wirtzfeld failed to finish again.
Sadly, an incident involving Ryan Ashcroft caused a significant pause in proceedings, meaning that most of the day’s big finals were cancelled.The only class to run their final was the 1000cc sidecars. This was due, in part, to the fact that some of the heats were quite unbalanced. The top 6 outfits would be allowed to do battle to draw the meeting to a close.
The final was arguably the best race of the day. Early leaders Ian Lee-amies/Kieran Robb made an excellent start and did all that they could to fend off the pack. But they were rounded first by George Penfold/Bradley Steer (who had won both of his qualifying heats and looked in tremendous form) and later Will Penfold/Ricky Pay. Lee-Amies/Robb hung on for a solid third place, their best performance to date as a partnership.
The youth racing provided a huge line-up of Junior riders, meaning big gradings points were on offer. Once again, Max Perry was in excellent form. He one all of his three races convincingly. Channel Islander Thomas Vining once again was racing the day after taking part in a sand racing event in his native Guernsey. He showed no signs of fatigue though, riding consistently to finish second overall.
Oliver Bovingdon won yet another meeting in the Auto-Cadet class. This was the young Somerset rider’s fourth win of the season in what is turning out to be a great season for him. Cooper Rushen led all of the Autos/Cadets races, however. The reigning British Champion beat the reigning Auto Cadets British Champion Ollie Binns to the Cadet win.
In the Intermediate class, with Jake Mulford making the step up to the adult class, there was plenty of interest to see who would emerge. Cambridge’s Sam Norris took up the mantle, winning the opening two rides before succumbing to the ever-improving Cameron Taylor in the third ride.
Cradley Heathens speedway racer Luke Harris switched to the 350cc class for this meeting, and duly delivered an excellent performance. Despite bike problems in one ride, Harris’ two wins was enough to see off Mark Giles, who had to settle for second this time around.
The 500cc solos sparked some controversy. Heading into the final leg of races, Stephen Green and Charley Powell looked set to take three wins apiece. However, a delay in the meeting caused the abandonment of the 500cc solo final, causing a potential problem. Powell and Green were not set to meet in the third leg either. So to avoid an unnecessary tie, the decision was taking to switch Powell from one heat to another, so fans could see the two top riders clash. An unorthodox decision but one which paid off as the meeting of the event’s top two riders resulted in a satisfactory finish for the meeting. Stephen Green continued his sensational 2019 form by beating Powell and claiming the victory. Jim Rendall Trophy Champion Arran Butcher raced to a fine win in the other heat, giving him third overall.
The Upright class saw Mike Dowling clinch a perfect victory. He had to duel once again with Tim Curnock in his opening ride, but any hopes of further battles were dashed later. Curnock would not finish another race.
The Pre 75 Solos gave Neil Copestake his second victory in as many weeks. He won his opening two rides and was beaten fittingly by John Underwood in the final leg of the class. Copey’s two wins and a second were plenty to confirm the win for him.
The GT140 class was once again very well attended. Kevin Bundock, who always seems to be in the thick of the action, took the overall victory being the only rider to have managed to win two races. Darren Sargeant, Chris Mackett, Lester Denham and Glyn Stanton were all heat victors over the course of the competition, and plenty of squabbling over minor places took place also.
The 500cc sidecar class was won by Simon Beard, passengered by Shane Freeman. Shaun Hughes/Louis Bennett once again had to fight hard against rapidly-improving Phill Rowlands and Tom Rowlands to claim second. The duel for the runners-up spot was finally decided in the last heat, with Hughes/Bennett finishing second.
Fenland attracted a fine collection of riders for their event, which has become something of a cornerstone in the Grasstrack calendar. Though some of the racing was cut short, there was plenty to be pleased with in the final outcome of the meeting.
Images in the results uploaded by Michael Jenness and Lawrence Hammonds (nice to see Lawrence back behind the lens)