Powell master of the South! Southern Centre Grasstrack Championships – Race Report and Results
Waterlooville MCC instigated an applauded return to Whaddon Farm, near Winchester on Sunday. This venue, which has seen many fabulous Grasstracks take place over the years, hadn’t been used for Grasstrack for ten years prior to Sunday. After extensive track preparation, the circuit produced great racing and a fitting setting for the Southern Centre Championships.
Report and Result Images by Gareth Bemister – Action images courtesy of Martin Ilsley
The 250cc solo class produced perhaps the best race of the day. Having won all of the heats, meeting secretary Ben Ilsley was in great form heading into the final. Closest to him had been Ollie Stanford, though Ilsley had seen off a challenge from the young Northamptonshire racer when they clashed, setting up a great head-to-head in the final. Despite making a poor start, Ilsley set about chasing Stanford down and on the final lap, managed to pass him, only for Stanford to sweep back past and clinch the win, right on the line.
Several racers dominated their classes. In the 350cc Solo class, Barry Powell had the beating of Upright mounted Luke Harris in all four heats, and in the Uprights, Tim Curnock was his usual dominant self. Mark Courtney/Leon Torres stormed to four excellent wins out of four in the Old/New sidecar class.
Another rider who won all of his heats was returning Martin Williams. After a significant lay off, Williams looked very fast in the 500cc solo class in all of his heats.
The Pre 75 solo class was anything but clear-cut, however. The opening race was won by Neil Copestake, but it would be his last taste of victory. Dave Hammond and Chris Mackett squabbled over the wins in the remaining three races, with Copestake finishing 3rd. Some excellent racing in the classic class, but Hammond did enough to win overall, winning two heats to Mackett’s one.
Will Offen/Steven Hargreaves ripped through the heats of the 1000cc sidecar class unbeaten. Unfortunately, a potential showdown between Offen/Hargreaves and Myles/Robbie Simmons ended when the Simmons father and son crew developed a terminal gearbox issue whilst leading their opening race. Offen/Hargreaves rode an excellent final, winning from tapes to flag. Ian Lee-amies/Kieran Robb appear to be getting back towards the form that Ian showed in the early 00’s. He hunted down and passed multi-Southern Centre Champion John Hiscock/Terry Madley to clinch second.
The youth auto cadets class provided yet another showdown between Archie Rolph and Oliver Bovingdon. Rolph, who was in sensational form following his win the previous day at Iken, once again had the beating of Bovingdon. These two have been at each other all season and their standings in the national gradings list couldn’t be tighter! Interestingly, third in the Auto Cadets, and making his Grasstrack debut, was young Max Holder, son of World Speedway champion Chris. Kayden Munday was the sole Cadet, and raced alongside the Autos all day.
Jordan Derrick produced some fine rides in the Inters class to claim victory. Vinny Smith had got the better of Derrick in their second meeting, but fell in the third, ending his day.
Thomas Vining and Austin Riches, who had fought over the Junior class 24 hours earlier in Iken, switched places this time around. Guernsey’s Vining was in determined mood and made no errors in winning the event.
The Quad class was once again well supported and produced some good racing. Once again, Lincolnshire racer Nick Wright looked favourite to win, but a problem in the final cost him the overall victory. Wiley campaigner John Elliott was quick to pounce and race home for an excellent Southern Centre victory.
After several major disappointments for Waterlooville MCC’s Grasstrack two years ago, it is remarkable to see how the club have turned things around by presenting top class club Grasstrack. It was good to see racing back at Whaddon Farm, and the venue appears to not have lost any of its magic. With plenty of new recruits to the club’s organising committee, it looks like more can be expected from Waterlooville in 2020.