UK Autograss Championship Predictions

Here are my predictions for each class for the UK Autograss Championship.

Men’s Class 1 Sponsored by DVS Tuning

There’s no defending champion in Chris Manners, but can Dad, Tim Manners (69F) carry on from where Chris left off last year? The highest point’s finisher returning for round 1 is Lee Poole (S70D) another consistent year could see him climbing further up in the points this year. Also in contention this year could be the Owen boys from North Wales Dave (NW97) and Rich (NW15) whom finished 4th and 5th respectively last year.

Ladies Class 1 Sponsored by M&M Bodyshop

Defending champion, Nicola Bettoney (M89) looks strongest for the title moving on from last year, but 2nd and 3rd placed Chloe Bishop (IK252) and Linda Lawlor (NW143) were also strong, and you should see them both hot on Nicola’s heels.

Men’s Class 2 Sponsored by Orchard Engineering

With no defending champion, or second place it is Andrew Jones (SV151) going into this year’s championship looking like a strong contender along with Sam Begle (Y143) who finished fourth in last year’s title fight. Over the year you should also look out for Paul Hinton (NASA25) in the experimental car.

Ladies Class 2 Sponsored by M&S Fabrications

Again there is no defending champion, and after ending the season strong Toni Humphrey (IK334) is definitely one to watch out for over the season, looking to improve on last year’s 3rd place in the championship. Also keep an eye out for defending class 1 champion Nicola Bettoney (M90), proven her worth in the other class I’m sure we shall see her heading the field over the year. Kelly Read (ST474) is also a contender for the title fight.

Men’s Class 3 Sponsored by AP Race Engines

One of the closest title fights last year with the decider going to the final round, it’s a shame not to see the defending champion back on the list, however we do have second place man Martin Beaney (IK316) always consistent we should see him at the top of the table. A strong performance like last year should see Martin ‘Noddy’ Roberts (PAC157), Mick Sumners (R169) and Ian Fay (WS5).

Ladies Class 3 Sponsored by AP Race Engines

Lisa Hills (WS5), the defending champion is back again and looks strong for the top spot. Sharon Douglas (C13E) is back again and with the close battles we saw from these two last season should produce an exciting battle. Also in contention is Lianne Teather (C266E), dominant performances at a couple of the rounds last year shows the potential for Lianne to be right there in the title fight.

Men’s Class 4 Sponsored by Lyndon George Landrover Specialists

Three-time UKAC champion Nick Williams (M60) is back again, but can he be beaten in the championship for the first time since its inception? Wes Johnson (IK34) has been his closest rival over the last two seasons, could this be the year that he tops him? Other names to look out for over the season are Luke Oakley (E51), Sam Leyfield (YS294) and Gary Pemberton (CA242).

Ladies Class 4 Sponsored by Lyndon George Landrover Specialists

Favourite for the title has to be defending champion Clare Horner (M60), but can she be beaten by the other entry, Helen Grainger (IK272).

Men’s Class 5 Sponsored by JL Signs

The title decider went down to the final race last year and went the way of Jamie Lane (M9), but he’s going to have his work cut out again this year by fellow league members Brian Wright (P42EM), Wayne Orton (M45) and newbie to the class Ben Harper (M11). However not far behind this league battle you should see Julian Heath (SN40), Stuart Deacon (S60D), Robert/Patrick Duncan (IK26), Nathan Peto (IK108), Mike Sullivan (C11E), Alex Puddiphatt (SN23) and Daniel Godfrey (T9).

Ladies Class 5 Sponsored by Fleetcare Services

Defending champion Diane Heath (SN40) is back again, and is one to beat, but can Barbara Harper (M11) and Cat Mumford (B20H) beat her to the title, both normally successful class 8 racers, how will they fair in the saloons. Also registered for round 1 is Janet Murray (39F), is she able to come and cause an upset to the front runners.

Men’s Class 6 Sponsored by AP Race Engines

The defending champion Jamie Hornby (ST47) is a top contender for the champion, but Martyn Janes (N10) is always a firm favourite. Other people to watch out for are Matt Baker (L117), Tony Teather (SN207) and Jamie Ivermee (G17D).

Ladies Class 6 Sponsored by AP Race Engines

There is no defending champion for ladies class 6 and with two contenders registered for Nottingham it will be interesting to see who comes out on top between Rachel Collier (IK960) and Chloe Hampson (P70EM).

Men’s Class 7 Sponsored by Prolinx Suspension Ltd

Another one of the closest title fights we saw last year with the title decider going down to the last race. With nine out of the top 10 from last season back again and other names in the mix it looks to be another close battle. Defending champion Will Barrett (R313) is back and so is Mally Wing (YD83), Paul Waldron (139F), Trevor Martin (C18E) and Lee Forster (CA98) to name just a few. But we should also look out for Lee Waldron (4F), Richard Wallbank (Y2), Karl Taylor (CA2), Ben Shell (IK59), Martyn Tinker (Y10) and Graham Blackburn (YD71).

Ladies Class 7 Sponsored by SKY Engineering

There are 7 entries for round 1 and with no defending champion registered, it looks to be a close fight at the front to take the top spot. A strong contender is current national champion Alyson Ashmore (Y2), but always hot on her heels is Pam Blackburn (YD71). Last year’s 2nd and 4th places also stand a strong chance with consistent runs over the series, which is Callie Cooper (E68) and Toni Platfoot (SN17) respectively. But we shouldn’t rule out Rachel Dewhurst (4F), Sue Thom (N60) or Jax Clamp (WS53) who are all capable of mixing it up at the front.

Men’s Class 8 Sponsored by Bennett Built Motorsport

Nine out of last year’s top 10 are back again to fight it out for the top spot. Top picks of these are defending champion Alex Hall (R411), Ben Harper (M111), Mike Mumford (160F), Richard Danby (SN49) and Dave Palmer (ARC31). But there are still plenty of others who can mix it up at the front and be in contention for the title including Paul Prior (IK66), David Saunders (C12E), Brad Gallagher (LM9), Scott Shell (IK95), Chucka Kennerley (NW161), Barry Ashmore (SC55), Barry Hathaway (C83E), and Matt Bishop (YS73).

Ladies Class 8 Sponsored by JB Marketing

An 11 car entry for round 1, all of them registered drivers and all of them capable of taking the top spot. Defending champion Clare Horner (M62) is always a strong contender, as are the rest of last year’s top four, Cat Mumford (160F), Abi Shields (N155) and Lynn Thomas (C21E). Alyson Ashmore (SC55) has entered the series this year and she is always one to watch, as are the rest of the list, Emma Shell (IK95), Barbara Harper (M111), Sandra Shields (N20), Vikki Lamb (NW83), Emile Seer (S41D) and Hope Godfrey (T12).

Men’s Class 9 Sponsored by Blue Sky Engineering

Ones to watch out for are last year’s top four championship places, defending champion Sean Collin (SN257), Allan Kerr (SB47), Mike Liddiatt (309F) and Steve Goodman (M888). Also to look out for over the year with the potential for the championship win are Tony Wilson (IK10), Jamie Hollingsbee (IK111), Marcus Mills (LUD3), Jason Richardson (P5EM), Jem Snowden (ST2) and Christine Raffel (YD171).

Ladies Class 9 Sponsored by Blue Sky Engineering

There’s only 1 entry for round 1 in Kelly Read (SC150), who is always a strong contender. However there is still a competitive list entered for the championship, Heather Evans (G41D), Dru Hollingsbee (IK111), Sophie Sheehan (PAC56), Sadie Lindsay (PHD1), Brooke Irving (SL99) and Kelly Paines (TA17).

Men’s Class 10 Sponsored by DRD Racing

Last year’s top three were separated by only 17 points, and it looks to be a close battle between them again, but out of Alex Kershaw (SC21), Andy Lee (100F) and Julian Heath (SN80) who will come out on top. However they don’t look to have an easy ride with the likes of Ian Stott (A10), Kevin Mumford (B9H), Stuart Ward (CA24), Darren Cornwell (IK77), Ken Page (IK777), Matt Duffell (L118), Kevin Hurdman (R200), Tony Jones (SR117), Matthew Booth (SR46), Sam Burbidge (ST40) and Andrew Bishop (YS37).

Ladies Class 10 Sponsored by Fleetcare Services

An almost full grid of entries sees defending champion Diane Heath (SN80) back again with her strongest competitor returning in the form of Gina Lee (100F). However this is not to rule out the other ladies, who are all capable of snatching that title, Michaela Hazell (A10), Terri Mumford (B9H), Libby Cornwell (IK77), Megan Booth (SR46) and Kelly Bishop (YS37).

Men’s F600 Sponsored by Scottish Borders Autograss Club

Defending champion, Andrew Watson (SB20), was strong all year. However this is a competitive list of entries which could see for a harder ride to the top this year, with a list including Jason Garnett (T692), Neil Smart (SC600), Andy Reeve (N28), Josh Tickle (P74EM) and Graham Dawson (SL103).

Ladies F600 Sponsored by Scottish Borders Autograss Club

Georgia Garnett (T692) is our defending champion, but can she be beaten to the title by either Charlotte Carr (LM25) or Susan Dawson (SL103).

Men’s Stock Hatch Sponsored by PRM Commercials

Last year’s top three are looking strong for the title fight this year, defending champion Wes Green (S916Y), Paul Maxim (C23E) and Gareth Yeomans (Y76). But can they be knocked off by Richard Golding (CA120), Mick Wood (L2), Barry Wasley (N363), Paul Harrington (SL90) or Jason Alderson (YD64).

Ladies Stock Hatch Sponsored by PRM Commercials

Kelly Thomas (Y76) is the only registered lady for the series, but with two other entries for round 1 in Mandy Russell (N113) and Jessica Burrows (N912) we should see a battle on the field.

Junior Saloons Sponsored by Blockleys

With no returning top four, who will we see out at the front this time out. With a competitive list of entries, it is going to be an exciting year for the young guns. Ones to watch out for include Sam Fenton (R1), Jamie Williams (M58), Emily Barrett (R10), Connor Bishop (IK252), Kieran Wetherick (IK8), Bethany Embling (C535E), Louis Jackson (N1), and Courtney Rachel Naismith (CS51).

Junior Specials Sponsored by Ratcatcher Racing

Daniel Borman (NW47) is back to defend his title, but there are plenty others who are capable of knocking him off the top, one to look out for include Matt Wright (P11EM), Jay Gallagher (LM13), Kazie Wing (YD33), Mollie Richardson (T492), Tom Lovegrove (9F), Chloe Richardson (P18EM), Molly Booth (SR48) and Jed Stott (WS110).

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Pennine Autograss 17/4

Two weeks since our last outing and we are in the same situation. Our own club meeting was cancelled mid-week, so it was a check of the fixture list to find our next destination. But then that was cancelled, and so was the next back up. So it was Pennine Autograss Club that we headed off to instead.

One of only three meetings left running this weekend, but the most central venue, it was set to be another busy meeting, especially as the first BAS/UKAC weekend is getting ever closer, leaving limited testing opportunities beforehand. And it certainly was busy with 220 drivers signed on.

With the weather conditions effecting everyone, Pennine were lucky that they hadn’t been hit too hard and were able to run the meeting, although the outfields for the trailer park, pits and spectators were wet and spongy, the track was in perfect condition to provide the fast and furious racing that we’ve been seeing this year.

With so many cars and such close racing throughout the class’ it was difficult to pick out what stood out for me, especially with the same people impressing as well. But there were a few people and races that are certainly worth a mention.

But first a mention to the track. This threw up something different to what we are used to seeing, as it was shaped in a circle, with the only straight that the drivers were doing was off the start.

The stand out race definitely has to go to the class 3 boys from heat three. The drivers involved were Barry Almond (SN27), Phil Thompson (Y51) and Ryan Power (SC83). As terrible as it sounds I can’t actually remember who took the victory from the race, but that is down to closeness between the trio and the amount of swapping and changing that took place all the way through the race. Coming out of the last bend it still could have been any of theirs.

class 3

Another race that stood out was the class 5 A final, and this was the fight for the top 4 places between the league members. This included Wayne Orton (M45), Gary Cheetham (N17), Ben Harper (M11) and Jamie Lane (M9). This was another close fight, with all of them battling for their league National Qualifying points. Again I can’t remember the final result, this time though it was due to concentrating on one of my own club members also taking part in this race, running just behind this battle.

class 5

A stand out performance throughout the day was Rob Schofield (Y70) in class 7. All day he looked completely tuned in with both the car and track, dominating in his heats with flawless drives. Not a name that is often thrown in the mix for the big titles, but definitely one to watch this year, this weekend he showed his potential against the ‘top’ names.

y70

Obviously I wasn’t flying solo, and Team Concord were being represented by Mike Sullivan (C11E) in class 5, Barry Hathaway (C83E) in class 8 and Lynn Thomas (C21E) in ladies class 8. Another successful weekend saw Mike make the A final where he finished 5th after a 3rd and 7th in the heats. Barry’s first run out in the 8 for the year saw him with a 4th and 5th in the heats and coming home 2nd in the B final. Lynn had another good run with a 3rd and 4th over the heats and a 3rd in the final.

Thank you to Andy Heath and his team at Pennine for another enjoyable days racing.

Thank you to David Bennett for the use of his photos to accompany this post.

A break this coming weekend, then the next stop is back up to Nottingham Autograss Club for the first round of the UK Autograss Championship, and this time I’m supposed to be getting into the driver’s seat too.

 

Trent Autograss 3/4/16

So the plan for this weekend was to be at our own season opener at Concord Essex, but as seems to be the problem for many clubs at the moment, it was cancelled due to poor track and field conditions.

Instead, we headed away again, this time to the Trent club, as did many other people who had been planning on racing at other venues this weekend, as out of the 6 scheduled meetings this remained the only one running.

When you have to queue up to get into the field you know that it is going to be a busy meeting and with an approximate number of 230 drivers signed on for the day it certainly was. However this didn’t faze the Trent team, even despite the poor conditions of the field coming into the circuit due to the unexpected rain overnight. A short delay in the start time was the only effect of this.

What didn’t disappoint was the quality of racing, and despite the amount of cars there were there wasn’t many stoppages. The club ran two heats, A and B finals all within around 5 hours.

Mosley

Over the course of the day there was some fantastic racing across the board, but there were a few things that stuck out for me.

First up was the dominance of local man Stu Whitehouse (T5) in his class 8 during the two heats. In these races he seemed untouchable, pulling a gap to the rest of the field each time. However this dominance wasn’t so present in the final, although a super drive still saw him work his way up the field to finish 2nd.

Whitehouse

The opposite of this stood out for in relation to the class 3 of Sam Gould (NS334). Those from the Autograss world will know what this car and driver combination is capable of and what is almost expected of them. A surprise to me was that this didn’t appear during the heats, although they were still both strong drives. But when the final came we saw what could be considered normal service resumed, back at the front with a dominant win.

Gould

What also stood out, and was also present at my last meeting at Nottingham, is the force of the class 7’s from the Scunthorpe club. Not only was there so many of them at this meeting, but they were also so competitive with many of them running at the front of the pack. Karl Mosley (SC82) ‘The King of Sideways’ entertained all day in his true driving style, this also got him the win in the final too. Second in the final was Andy Holtby (SC61) one of the class’ most successful drivers of recent year. Also racing this weekend was Tom Page (SC19), Abi Mosley (SC950), Rich Lee (SC700), Jake Lee (SC212), Martyn Dunmow (SC59), Chaz Edley (SC69) and John Lawler (SC200).

Class 7 SC

There were three drivers flying the Team Concord flag this weekend, we had Mike Sullivan (C11E) in class 5, Barry Hathaway (C183E) in class 7 and Lynn Thomas (C21E) in ladies class 8. Mike had the most successful day, qualifying for the A final with two 3rd places and a competitive run saw him come home in 5th. Barry had a good run in his races, with this being the car’s first ever meeting, showing it’s potential with a 4th and 5th in the heats and a 5th in the B final. Lynn also had good heat results with a 3rd and 4th, but was unable to complete the final after collecting damage in the first bend.

Sully

Thank you and a huge well done to Karl Bedford and his Team at Trent for putting on a superb meeting, especially considering the numbers and conditions. Showing what true Autograss is about.

Thank you to David Bennett for the use of his photos to accompany this post.

Next up for me is hopefully a meeting at my own Autograss club, Concord Essex, on the 17th April. I’ve got everything crossed that this meeting goes ahead.