With less than 2 weeks to go until the first round of the UK Autograss Championship, which will be hosted by the Trent club, it is that time to look ahead at the entries to see who we should be looking out for over the course of the championship.
I am going to do this in two parts, part 1 will be looking at the odd classes and the junior saloons, whilst part 2 will be looking at the even classes and junior specials and will be posted later this week.
Men’s Class 1
One of the strongest contenders for this year’s championship would be defending champion Caine Parnell (SP129), but he’s got strong competition from the rest of the entries. Ones to look out for over the year are Sam Fenton (R1), Kaine Salmon (ARC14), Dave Owen (NW97), Jonathan Crosby (N80) and Lee Poole (S70D).
Ladies Class 1
Defending champion Linda Lawlor (NW143) is the only one returning from last year’s top four, but there are new names that could give Linda a run for her money including; Bethany Embling (C535E) , Chloe Reynolds (SC630) and Hannah Hinton (IK225).
Men’s Class 3
Last year’s top four are all back again and we could easily see them all back at the front of the grid again; Adrian Herbert (S26D), Mick Sumners (R169), Ian Fay (WS5) and Martin Beaney (IK316). But we will also see strong competition in the shape of Aaron Mackenzie (SP401), Martin ‘Noddy’ Roberts (PAC157), Lee Wakefield (R388), Phil Thompson (Y51) and Adrian Joyce (WS22).
Ladies Class 3
We saw a depleted field last year, but with more entries for 2017 we’ve got plenty to look forward to. Defending champion Donna Brown (CM4) is back, whilst there are also strong contenders in Shell Sumners (R169), Jo Thompson (Y51) and Lisa Hills (WS5).
Men’s Class 5
One of the closest championship battles last year was between Julian Heath (E10) and Mike Sullivan (C11E) and this year we should see them battling hard again. Also strong though are Ben Harper (M11), Stuart Deacon (S60D), Daniel Godfrey (CA10), Lewis Richards (TA451), Brian Wright (P24EM) and Wayne Orton (M45).
Ladies Class 5
Last year’s top three, Diane Heath (E10), Natalie Green (R420) and Janet Murray (38F), are back and again look strong, but could we see an upset from Kirsty Godfrey (CA10), Barbara Harper (M11), Cat Mumford (158F) or Emily Saitch (C11E).
Men’s Class 7
Two-time champion Will Barrett (R313) is back, but so are father and son Paul (139F) and Lee Waldron (4F), who are always part of that championship battle. I could easily list the whole entry list as ones to wathc, but a few highlights come in the form of Mike Mackenzie (CA12), Paul Bacon (N60), Colin Reid (CS21), Mike Hockley (62F), Barry Hathaway (C183E) and Martyn Tinker (Y10).
Ladies Class 7
Can the defending champion, Emily Barrett (R10) hold onto her title this year? With multiple champion Clare Horner (M60) now in the class it could be difficult. And with strong racers in Nicola Mackenzie (CA141), Jo Thompson (Y55) and Sue Bacon (N60) also on the list we look set for an exciting year.
Men’s Class 9
Last year’s champion, Jason Richardson (P5EM), would have to be one of the favourites for this year’s title, but could Marcus Mills (LUD3) or Mike Liddiatt (309F) move further up the table from last year. However we could also see Martin Bugg (M14), Sean Collin (SN257), Tony Wilson (SP10), Joey Matthews (ARC6) and Jamie Hollingsbee (IK111) up at the front of the field, fighting it for the top step.
Ladies Class 9
There is no defending champion, but we still have strong racers in the form of Dru Hollingsbee (IK111), Helen Rummery (IK214) and Brooke Irving (SL99), so let’s see who can come out on top come September.
Multiple UKAC champion, Andrew Watson (SB20) is the strongest contender for the title this year, but you can’t rule out Jason Garnett (T692), Andy Reeve (N28), Matthew Hickingbotham (ST62) and Josh Tickle (P74EM). Will one of them get the upper hand and claim the title?
There are only two entries in the form of Georgia Garnett (T692) and Susan Dawson (SL103), so will it be Georgia who takes the crown again or will Susan be able to stop her.
With last year’s top two moving up into the adult classes, we are set for a new champion. Will Baxter Pargeter (N45) or Tom Herbert (S31D) promote themselves to the top, or will we see Tom Marshall (ST6), Sorren Powell (T777), Lewis Woodruff (WR72) or Rachel Alderson (YD63), to name a few, take the title.
Don’t forget to keep an eye out for part 2 later this week.