Despite Heavy Rain showers in the week leading up to it, The Formula Grasstrack Association kicked off their 2023 H & Supplies Ltd. Championship on Saturday.
The Rally Site Venue is situated on a hill which meant some of the bigger van’s had to be towed into the pits by club member Brian Crump. Despite this, the circuit was in fine shape and the weather was dry and sunny throughout the afternoon.
Lilly Bence continued her 2022 form into the new season by taking victory in the E-Bike class. Bence was under pressure in the opening heat when Bristol’s Eric Derrick was leading the race. Unfortunately, Derrick took nasty tumble leaving Bence nowhere to go and the two riders hit the ground. Eric was later diagnosed with ligament damage to the top of his right arm and will spend 6 weeks out. Dalton Wright made his E-bike debut to take 2nd place with Kobi Gutteridge finishing 3rd in only his 2nd outing.
Alfie Shipp dominated the Auto Cadet class by taking maximum points and a final victory in a very competitive class. Shipp looked unstoppable all day, maintaining his speed by using the outside line with Dakota Wright finishing 2nd in all his rides to earn himself 2nd overall. Lucas Astley finished 3rd in only his 2nd Grasstrack meeting after having some fantastic battles with newcomer Kaylem Bourne, who finished 4th. Alfie Salisbury made his Auto Cadet debut on a brand new KTM to finish 5th after looking comfortable all afternoon. 2022 champion Charlie Dowd had a mixed afternoon. The Eccles boy had a nasty tumble in his 2nd outing and despite riding to 3rd place in his 3rd ride, sat out the remaining point scoring rides finishing 6th overall. Dowd would come out in the final to finish 5th and hopefully gain some confidence. Newants Amelia Cross made her debut and rode steadily in her first 2 rides but unfortunately her machine expired in her 3rd ride meaning she was unable to finish the meeting.
In the Combined Cadet & Cub category, Oxford’s Chloe Davis won the Cadets, ahead of AJ Bence. Whilst Finley Theobald dominated, the cub class. The Norfolk Boy was in a class of his own, taking 7 wins. 2022 Cub Champion Logan Price rode consistently all day to take 2nd whilst Runcorn’s Jessica Cox kept it Shiny Side Up in her first Cub meeting to take 3rd.
Ollie Binns also showed his class by storming to a 7-ride maximum in the Juniors. The multi-FGA champion was in his own class. Jack Baker took 2nd place, having to work hard for his points after making poor starts. Baker would often come from 5th position to take 5 2nd places. Champion Joe Crewe came home in 3rd place and brother Jack, finished 4th. Liam Cox made his return to Grasstrack after several years away to finish 5th with Isaac Collins- Bullock 6th and Chrly Arthur in 7th.
In the senior Class, Wayne Broadhurst continues his dominance. The 2-time Senior champion was unbeaten throughout the heats and would be favourite for the A final. Mark Scopes made the long trip up from Woodbridge worthwhile to come home in 2nd place, only dropping 2 points to Broadhurst. Sam Hall took 3rd despite a tumble and re-mount in his 2nd ride. Hall took 3 race wins and tied for 3rd with Chris Timms. Timms was entertaining all afternoon, working his way through the field to score two wins amongst a pair of 3rds and 2nds. Timms was unable to make the final, gifting Hall the final rostrum spot. Former Motocross rider’s Andrew Rowson and Nick Bull tied for 5th, Rowson had battled with mechanical gremlins all afternoon whilst Bull was consistent with his results. Rowson’s issues would deny him a chance of 5th overall when his machine gave up in the final. Den Edwards kept out of trouble to finish a credible 7th whilst Former Senior Champion Phil Thomas made up the 8 for the final. Broadhurst and Scopes would charge to turn one together with Thomas making a fantastic start to join them. The 3 were stuck together for 2 laps with Broadhurst edging it, but Scopes was hard on the shrewsbury man’s rear wheel and would push him all the was to the line with only a wheel’s width in it. Thomas showed so glimpse of his former self to take 3rd. A fantastic finish to his return to racing after his awful accident at Ledbury 12 months ago. Nick Bull came home in 4th followed by Edwards, Rowson and Hall in that order.
Round 2 Takes place on the 29th April at Shawbury, Shropshire. More information on our website or Facebook pages. www.formulagrasstrack.com
E-Bikes – 1st L. Bence 46, 2nd D. Wright 42, 3rd K. Gutteridge 36
Autos – 1st A. Shipp 48, 2nd D. Wright 42, 3rd L. Astley 32
Cadets – 1st C. Davis 48, 2nd AJ Bence 42
Cubs – 1st F. Theobald 48, 2nd L. Price 42, 3rd J Cox 30
Juniors – 1st O. Binns 48, 2nd J. Baker 37, 3rd Joe Crewe 33
Seniors (Top 10) – 1st W. Broadhurst 48, 2nd M. Scopes 46, 3rd S. Hall 42, 4th C. Timms 42, 5th N.Bull 38, 6th Andrew Rowson 38, 7th D. Edwards 35, 8th P. Thomas 33, 9th K. Oszczepalski 32, 10th M. Broadhurst 31
Big thank you to both Eb Swarbrick and Martin Henfield for these incredible photos & videos that capture the excitement of our opening round for the 2023 season.
You can view the photos in the album embeds below, or click on Album names below to be taken the full photo albums on flickr.com.