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Motorcycle Grasstrack is a form of motorcycle racing which typically, in its current form, takes place on a flat track consisting of two straights and two bends usually constructed in a field.[1][2] It is one of the oldest types of motorcycle sports in the UK with the first meetings having taken place in the 1920s.[1]

Grasstrack
Grasstrack.jpg
500 cc Grasstrack bike
Presence
OlympicNo
ParalympicNo

HistoryEdit

In the United Kingdom, kidney-shaped circuits were sometimes used to include a right hand bend, and undulating hillsides were also used to increase the challenge for riders.[1] The events traditionally occurred after haymaking and before harvesting season on newly-cut fields.[1] Postwar grasstrack circuits included "permanent" venues such as Brands Hatch and Mallory Park which were not simple oval shapes, although solo motorcycle races were run in an anti-clockwise direction. Later, these were converted into tarmac circuits with races using the more common clockwise direction associated with modern roadracing.

In the modern era, it is generally similar to Speedway with races usually taking place over 4 laps from a standing start. Unlike Speedway, which has 4 riders per race, Grasstrack racing can have many riders in each heat and the circuit is normally longer allowing higher speeds. Grasstrack has three solo classes, 250 cc, 350 cc and 500 cc together with three sidecar classes; left-handed 500 cc and 1000 cc (turning left) and right-handed 1000 cc (turning right).

The British Grasstrack season usually starts in early spring around the Easter holidays and runs through the summer/autumn months. More spectacular racing takes place at larger roped tracks including the Poacher and ASTRA Champion of Champions and Grand Slam meetings in Kent and in particular the most exciting meeting of all at the famous Rhodes Minnis circuit.

The pinnacle of the domestic Grasstrack season is the British Masters Championships. This official ACU championship is where the British champion is crowned in the mainstream 500 cc solo and 1000 cc right hand sidecar classes. Many famous Speedway riders such as 1976 world champion Peter Collins started their racing careers in Grasstrack. Some Speedway riders continue to take part in national Grasstrack meetings when their schedule permits. Grand Prix road racers John Surtees and Gary Hocking also began their racing careers in grass track competitions.[3][4] Other competitors from the postwar era included now-famous names such as Bernie Ecclestone and Murray Walker.

In Europe the same sport is often called Long Track racing.[5] This is exactly the same setup as British grasstrack which has tracks normally around 600–800 meters in length, but is held on the continent with tracks up to 1000–1200 meters in length and with speeds reaching 90 mph – 100 mph. The machinery used is the same as are the riders.

Grasstrack MotorcyclesEdit

Grasstrack racing motorcycles look quite similar to Speedway machines but there are different engine capacity limits for each class. In the UK there are classes for 250 cc (normally 2 stroke engines), 350 cc and 500 cc bikes (usually 4-stroke engines).[1] Unlike Speedway bikes which have no gears, Grasstrack bikes usually have a 2 speed gearbox.[1] Both Speedway and Grasstrack bike have no brakes.[1] The only other main difference is that speedway bikes have no rear suspension and are shorter in length, usually by around 10–12 inches.

Also there is a class called Pre-75. These are bikes that have been made before 1975. The three classes in Pre-75, are 250, 350 and 500 cc.

As well as solo racing, sidecar racing is also quite popular and often very spectacular. There are mainly three recognised classes, 500 cc (using solo 4-stoke engines) and two 1000 cc classes (using stock road bike engines). Again, they all run on methanol, and the 500 cc class and the 1000cc Lefthand sidecar class run anti-clockwise around the oval track, and the 1000 cc class clockwise. The reason behind the difference in direction is often asked, the main reason being the origin of each class. The 500cc sidecars having been developed in mainland Europe, where drivers drive on the right of the road. The 1000cc sidecar has been developed in the UK where road users drive on the left. Therefore, the sidecar wheel is always found on the nearside of the vehicle.

The fastest recorded oval lap record is held by UK's Kelvin Tatum MBE at Rastede (1000 m Grass/Sand surface) in Germany at an average speed of 144.31 km/h.

Junior Grasstrack racingEdit

Riders can start in Grasstrack racing at a young age (6 years old in the UK). Junior Grasstrack clubs cater for riders with motocross bikes as well as Grasstrack machines.

OrganisationEdit

Whilst there are several Grasstrack racing clubs in the UK, the sport is regulated by the governing body of British motorcycle sport, the Auto Cycle Union (ACU) who organise an annual British championship.

British ChampionshipsEdit

The British Grasstrack Championships take place at two separate events. The 250 cc and 350 cc solo, 500 cc sidecar and 1000 cc Left Hand sidecar championships take place at the ACU British National Championships. The 500 cc Solos and 1000 cc Right Hand Sidecar Champions are decided at the ACU British Masters Championships. Qualification for the National Championships are by way of a National Gradings List. There is a British Masters Qualifying event held to determine qualification for the British Masters Final event.

The current ACU British Champions are Zach Wajtknecht (250 cc Solo), Tom Perry (350 cc Solo) James Shanes(500 cc Solo), Josh Goodwin/Liam Brown (500 cc Sidecar), Richard Webb/Jake Pope (1000 cc Left Hand Sidecar) and Rod Winterburn/Billy Winterburn (1000 cc Right Hand Sidecar). The ACU British Under 21 Champion is Luke Harris.

The British Championships are important events, particularly for 500 cc solo and 500 cc sidecar riders. The results of the championships determine who is to represent the nation on an international level for the FIM World Longtrack Championships and the UEM European Sidecar Championships. More recently a World Championship has emerged for 1000 cc Right Hand sidecars. Qualification is determined on results from both the British Masters event and the British Sidecar Speedway Championships. Many 500 cc solo riders race Grasstrack for their profession, therefore a good result in the British Masters is essential.

List of British Grasstrack Champions[1]Edit

Year 250 cc Solo 350 cc Solo 500 cc Solo 500 cc Sidecar 1000 cc Sidecar LH Sidecar Under 21
2017 Henry Atkins Rob Finlow James Shanes Josh Goodwin/Liam Brown Mark Cossar/Carl Blyth Richard Webb/Jake Pope Zach Wajtknecht
2016 Jed Collins Tom Perry James Shanes Josh Goodwin/Liam Brown Rod Winterburn/Billy Winterburn Will Penfold/Ricky Pay Luke Harris
2015 Zach Wajtknecht Tom Perry James Shanes Josh Goodwin/Liam Brown Colin Blackbourn/Carl Pugh Will Penfold/Ricky Pay No Winner
2014 Zach Wajtknecht Harland Cook Andrew Appleton Shaun Harvey/Danny Hogg Rod Winterburn/Liam Brown Martin Cuff/Colin Clarke James Shanes
2013 Harland Cook Matt Etherington  Cameron Woodward Josh Goodwin/Liam Brown Mark Cossar/Carl Blyth Will Penfold/Adrian North Josh Dingle
2012 Harland Cook Andy Mellish  Cameron Woodward Shaun Harvey/Danny Hogg Mark Cossar/Carl Blyth Dave Penfold/Richard Webb Tom Perry
2011 Craig Drury Jason Handley Andrew Appleton Josh Goodwin/Liam Brown Rod Winterburn/Liam Brown Dave Penfold/Richard Webb Tom Perry
2010 Harland Cook Richard Smith Andrew Appleton Shaun Harvey/Danny Hogg Mark Cossar/Carl Blyth Dave Penfold/Richard Webb Tom Perry
2009 Harland Cook Jason Handley Lewis Denham Nick Radley/Abi Radley Mark Cossar/Tom Cossar No Winners Jamie Rodgers
2008 Paul Cooper Richard Smith Jason Handley Shaun Harvey/Danny Hogg Rob Bradley/Shaun Simpson Terry Nicholas/Michael Raymond Jamie Rodgers
2007 Paul Cooper Jason Handley Glen Phillips Shaun Harvey/Danny Hogg Colin Blackbourn/Paul Whitelam Jnr Terry Nicholas/Michael Raymond Lewis Denham
2006 Neil Taylor Jason Handley Andrew Appleton Shaun Harvey/Danny Hogg Rob Bradley/Shaun Simpson Martin Cuff/Steve North Lewis Denham
2005 Lee Street Jason Handley Paul Hurry Shaun Harvey/Danny Hogg Rob Wilson/Ian Whale Tony Penfold/Steve Fish Lewis Denham
2004 David Knowles Lewis Denham Paul Hurry Shaun Harvey/Danny Hogg Paul Whitelam/Kevin Jones Tony Penfold/Carl Bell Jamie Rodgers
2003 Adam Shipp Paul Cooper Joe Screen Lester Goodwin/Andrew Stevens Rob Bradley/Tristan Winterburn Hywel Phillips/Aled Thomas Chris Harris
2002 Adam Shipp Jason Handley Paul Hurry Lester Goodwin/Andrew Stevens John Halsey/Jason Glenie Terry Nicholas/Mike Harrison Andrew Moore
2001 Paul Cooper Jason Handley Kelvin Tatum and

Glenn Cunningham (shared)

Lester Goodwin/Andrew Stevens Rob Bradley/Tristan Winterburn and

Gary Jackson/Carl Pugh (shared)

Hywel Phillips/Aled Thomas Matt Read
2000 Lee Street Tony Atkin Kelvin Tatum Lester Goodwin/Clive Goodwin Rob Wilson/Tony Miles Martin Cuff/Jason Relf Ryan Tolley
1999 Mark Wadsworth Tony Atkin Kelvin Tatum Lester Goodwin/Clive Goodwin John Halsey/Jason Glenie Hywel Phillips/Jamie Moss
1998 Richard Smith Jason Handley Rained off-No Champion Lester Goodwin/Clive Goodwin Rained off-No Champions Martin Cuff/Jason Relf
1997 Jason Stott Tony Atkin Paul Hurry Paul Miller/Dave Collin Gary Jackson/Mick Stace Barry Geer/Robin Geer
1996 Mark Wadsworth Jason Handley Kelvin Tatum Paul Miller/Dave Collin Gary Jackson/Mick Stace No Winners
1995 Carl Wilkes Paul Hurry Joe Screen Paul Miller/Lester Goodwin Roger Measor/Shane Lapham Neal Owen/Andrew Evans
1994 Mark Wadsworth Tommy Palmer Simon Cross Kevin Leide/Dick Oldroyd Roger Measor/Shane Lapham Luke Patcholl/Julian Browning
1993 Graham Thomas Tony Atkin Mark Loram Brian Palmer/Scott Dunn Ivor Matthews/Peter Jones Bill Penfold/Nigel Shaw
1992 Graham Thomas Andy Riley Joe Screen Kevin Leide/Alan Pithouse Ken Lane/Mark Edwards Tommy Penfold/Liam Chivers
1991 Mark Wadsworth Andy Riley Mark Loram Cecil Taylor/Ian Thompson Richard Piggott/Martin Bailey John Fish/Gary Moore
1990 Mark Wadsworth Andy Riley Simon Wigg Carl Squirrell/Lyn Green Steve Smith/Keith Wall Terry Patcholl/Luke Patcholl
1989 Mark Wadsworth Joe Screen Simon Wigg Cecil Taylor/Alistair Haggarty Steve Dewison/Dave Ward Dave Penfold/Keith Miles
1988 Andy Phillips Andy Phillips Steve Schofield Cecil Taylor/Tex Goodwin Steve Dewison/Dave Ward John Fish/Martin Smith
1987 Mark Wadsworth Simon Cross Martin Hagon Cecil Taylor/Tex Goodwin Steve Dewison/Dave Ward Barry Huggett/Nigel Shaw
1986 Mark Wadsworth Steve Schofield Simon Cross Nick Radley/Shaun Harvey Roger Measor/Dave Harris Ernie Penfold/Dave Apps
1985 Mark Wadsworth Steve Schofield Simon Wigg Nick Radley/Chris O'Connell Roger Measor/Dave Harris Dave Penfold/Tom Penfold
1984 Mark Wadsworth Steve Schofield Martin Hagon Nick Radley/Chris O'Connell Alan Blewitt/Barry Metcalfe Ernie Penfold/Dave Apps
1983 Mark Wadsworth Steve Schofield Simon Wigg Cecil Taylor/Mal Goodwin Steve Smith/Trevor Pye Barry Huggett/Nigel Shaw
1982 Mark Wadsworth Steve Schofield Simon Wigg Nick Radley/Chris O'Connell Ted Tucker/Dave Ward Jim Penfold/Steve Dempsey
1981 Dave Baybutt Steve Schofield Simon Wigg Clyde Cardy/Allan Morrison Dennis Teasdale/Keith Chapman Mick Turrall/Tony Strivens
1980 Jeremy Doncaster Steve Schofield Trevor Banks Steve Smith/Trevor Pye Steve Smith/Trevor Pye Ernie Penfold/Nigel Shaw
1979 Dave Baybutt Clayton Williams Trevor Banks Clyde Cardy/Allan Morrison Dave Heath/Ray Andrews
1978 Mark Wadsworth Gerald Short Brian Webb Rob Stoneman/Rowland Broomfield Steve Smith/Trevor Pye
1977 Mark Nicholson John Britcher Chris Baybutt No event Ken Smith/Mick Burr
1976 Chris Baybutt John Britcher Brian Maxted No event Ted Scott/John Atkinson
1975 Dave Brown Chris Morton John Britcher No event Alan Artus/Graham Higgin
1974 Chris Baybutt Gerald Short Chris Baybutt No event Ted Scott/John Atkinson
1973 Dave Baybutt Stan Luck Brian Maxted No event Steve Smith/Roy French
1972 Chris Baybutt Peter Collins Don Godden No event Cecil Taylor/Brian Knight
1971 Tony Black Peter Collins Brian Maxted No event Roger Measor/Trevor Bullock
1970 Mervyn Price Chris Pusey Chris Pusey No event Gerry Wheeler/John Holt
1969 Dave Baybutt Chris Pusey Brian Maxted No event John Miell/David Miell
1968 Chris Stewart Bill Bridgett Andy Ross No event Dave Hunter/Brian Cox
1967 Fred Watts Chris Stewart Don Godden No event Mick Webster/John Justice
1966 Don Godden Tony Black Tony Black No event Mick Webster/John Justice
1965 No event Tony Black Don Godden No event Dave Hunter/Ivan Kitching
1964 No event Alf Hagon Reg Luckhurst No event Bryan Rust/Dave Heath
1963 No event Alf Hagon Reg Luckhurst No event Nigel Mead/Dave Hunter
1962 No event Alf Hagon Alf Hagon No event Bryan Rust/Dave Heath
1961 No event Alf Hagon Denys Goodacre No event Bill Evans/Ian Paskin
1960 No event Alf Hagon Austin Cresswell No event Bill Evans/Ron Jones
1959 No event Alf Hagon Alf Hagon No event Freddie French/Gordon Wosley
1958 No event  Murray Briggs  Murray Briggs No event Chris Vincent/Ivan Kitching
1957 No event Martin Tatum Martin Tatum No event Bill Evans/Ron Jones
1956 No event Austin Cresswell Alf Hagon No event Bill Evans/Ron Jones
1955 No event Denys Goodacre Martin Tatum No event Bill Evans/Ron Jones
1954 No event Alf Hagon Alf Hagon No event Bill Evans/Ron Jones
1953 No event Sid Mintey Austin Cresswell No event Derek Yorke/Jim Green
1952 No event Sid Mintey Austin Cresswell No event Derek Slate/AN Other
1951 No event Sid Mintey Dick Tolley No event Cyril Smith/AN Other

The British Sand Ace Championship takes place on Guernsey. The current champions are Zach Wajtknecht and Rod Winterburn & Billy Winterburn.

European and World ChampionshipsEdit

The FIM, the World's motorcycle racing authority run a World Longtrack series as well as a World Team Cup. Although both events are named 'Longtrack', they often are competed for on Grass. The World Longtrack series competitors must qualify through a series of Qualifiers. Riders must be selected by their nations motorcycling authority. Riders then must compete in Qualifying rounds and hotly contested Semi Finals before reaching the World Longtrack series proper. The World Team Cup involves each team consisting of 3 riders racing each other for points. The top team at the end is the winner. Great Britain are the current World Team Cup Champions.

The UEM hold a European Grasstrack championship, where qualification is similar to the World Longtrack. However, the competition culminates in a one-day event. The UEM also holds a European Championship for sidecar competitors. 500 cc sidecar machines from several countries compete in 2 semi finals, and the championship is decided on a one-day final.

List of World Longtrack ChampionsEdit

List of European Grasstrack ChampionsEdit

Year Solos Sidecars
2017   James Shanes   William Matthijssen/Sandra Mollema
2016   James Shanes   William Matthijssen/Sandra Mollema
2015   Jannick de Jong Event cancelled due to accident at practice
2014   Jannick de Jong   Josh Goodwin/Liam Brown
2013   Jannick de Jong   Tommy Kunert/Markus Eibl
2012   Stephan Katt   Tommy Kunert/Markus Eibl
2011   Martin Smolinski   William Mattijssen/Nathalie Matthijssen
2010   Andrew Appleton   Tommy Kunert/Markus Eibl
2009   Stephan Katt   William Mattijssen/Nathalie Matthijssen
2008   Stephane Tresarrieu  Tommy Kunert/Markus Eibl
2007   Theo Pijper   William Matthijssen/Nathalie Matthijssen
2006   Stephan Katt   Tommy Kunert/Bernard Kreuzer
2005   Paul Hurry   Sven Holstein/Desiree Daubert
2004   Theo Pijper   Tommy Kunert/Bernard Kreuzer
2003   Gerd Riss   Tommy Kunert/Hermann Bacher
2002   Sirg Schutzbach   Josef Onderka/Martin Wamprechtshammer
2001   Maik Groen   Tommy Kunert/Marco Hundsrucker
2000   Zdeněk Schneiderwind   Josef Onderka/Martin Wamprechtshammer
1999   Bernd Diener   Tommy Kunert/Hermann Bacher
1998   Zdeněk Schneiderwind   Josef Onderka/Uwe Kuhberger
1997 No Event   Josef Onderka/Uwe Kuhberger
1996   Steve Johnston   Tommy Kunert/Marco Hundsrucker
1995   Kelvin Tatum   Tommy Kunert/Wolfgang Maier
1994   Robert Barth   Marco Glorie/Harry Drenth
1993   Richard Musson   Karl Keil/Joachim Reeg
1992   Anne Van Der Helm   Josef Onderka/Wolfgang Huber
1991   Rif Saitgareev   Josef Onderka/Richard Wolf
1990   Robert Barth   Josed Onderka/Richard Wolf
1989   Robert Barth   Josef Onderka/Josef Feigl
1988   Frank Kehlenbeck   Karl Keil/Joachim Reeg
1987   Roman Matousek   Josef Onderka/Frank Onderka
1986   Simon Cross   Josef Onderka/Frank Onderka
1985   Clayton Williams   H. Pagel/J.Zaddach
1984   Martin Hagon   Michael Datzmann/Robert Datzmann
1983   Christian Brandt   Michael Datzmann/Robert Datzmann
1982   Jeremy Doncaster   Michael Datzmann/Robert Datzmann
1981   Neil Farnish   Michael Datzmann/Robert Datzmann
1980   Willi Stauch   Oliver Bauer/Paul Steiglbrunner
1979   Gerald Short No Event
1978   Chris Baybutt No Event

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Grasstrack Champions". speedwaychampions.com. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  2. ^ "Grasstrack GB". grasstrackgb.co.uk. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  3. ^ Noyes, Dennis; Scott, Michael (1999), Motocourse: 50 Years Of Moto Grand Prix, Hazleton Publishing Ltd, ISBN 1-874557-83-7
  4. ^ "Gary Hocking". ozebook.com. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  5. ^ "Long Track Champions". speedwaychampions.com. Retrieved 20 March 2017.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit