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).