FIRST MEETING: Reservoir Dip.
A massive thanks to both Chris and Annie Brown for allowing us to race there, after having to cancel Capel, especially as the weather this weekend was wall to wall sunshine. Report to follow.
Red Bull Cut It Event:
Entries opened on the 9th May to our members and then to the rest of the public the next day. This has proved to be an extremely popular event with all of the allocated BLMRA and public places already gone.
Red Bull have had interest from over 100 people, but have limited entries to 60 as this is a trial year and the field will not support more than that, especially with 3 separate tracks.
For those who are not aware of the relationship between Red Bull and the BLMRA, here is the brief history.
Red Bull are keen to put on a lawn mower event and their vision is that if successful, this should become an annual event. As the BLMRA is recognised as the original lawn mower club, Red Bull approached the club in December last year for our rules, regs and general advice. In discussions, they quickly realised that they needed guidance and the club agreed to help them stage their event. As this is a trial year, it was decided that it would simplify the organisation of the event if it was held under BLMRA rules. The idea was to have an entry of up to 100 mowers, but as it turned out, finding a suitable venue proved very difficult. As soon as the name Red Bull was mentioned, the price for a venue soared. In the end, Pugs Reeves negotiated with our regular venues, and managed to secure Somerset. Although this is a long way from our normal operating area, or possibly because of it, this is probably the club’s favourite site. It is also closer to the other recognised clubs in England, apart from the NWLMRA who tend to support our larger events even though they have to travel long distances. The downside is that the venue is relatively small, especially for Red Bull’s ambitious plans. The result is that entries have had to be restricted to 60, and of those 50 had already been allocated to our club to guarantee a healthy entry. Next year could be different.
ENDURANCE DOUBLE 4 HOUR:
This has been postponed until later in the year as we were able to run our first race meeting last weekend at Old Reservoir Farm instead of Capel. Anyone who entered will be reimbursed in the usual way.
BILLY KAVANAGH: Great news. Billy is OK and has been discharged from hospital having injured himself in a spectacular crash during the last gp3 championship race of the day. He fortunately only suffered sprains to knees and neck. Like Les Pantry last year, he just ran out of talent. The difference was Les was on his own a long way back from the rest of the pack, whereas Billy was in the lead by an appreciable distance.
Reservoir Dip Report:
Organiser: Ian Ratcliff. Clerk of Course: Simon Campbell.
Members started arriving and setting up camp at the Dip on Saturday afternoon on a beautifully warm and sunny day as predicted by the weather forecasts. Although a little soft underfoot everyone found a place to set up camp and socialise. The BBQ cooked by Pete Hammerton, Pugs Reeves and Stuart “Kiwi” Johnson went down a storm, especially Pete’s spicy chicken.
Sunday morning and after driver’s briefing, with race control tent up and track laid out, a slight hiccup to the procedures.
Unwittingly, we had set most of the track up on the part of the field Chris had left uncut for Annie’s wild flower meadow. Ooops.
After apologising for our mistake, instead of having to move the complete track, Chris very kindly mowed a bit of the uncut grass near race control and we moved the rest of the offending track outside of the uncut area. As an appreciation to both Annie and Chris, the club offered cans of beer to Chris, and a bottle of Prosecco to Annie. Both were well received.
Scrutineering and practice followed. Instead of testing each mower at scrutineering, Mark Thurston decided to randomly test exhaust noise levels during the day to keep things flowing.
The track cut up very quickly in certain areas in practice, so the tight corners were eased out in an effort to preserve the ground. The effects of the very wet weather at the beginning of the week began to show. The majority of the track became very spongy and energy sapping; reminiscent of the 12 hour track.
Racing continued throughout the day with the now regular format of 2 heats, followed by a round of championship races before lunch; the process being repeated after lunch with extra races added if time permits.
Although racing was mostly continuous, it took all day to run through the set programme, so there were no extra races; not that there were any complaints.
The fact that this was the first race meeting of the season and it was so unexpectedly hot meant that people were as happy to enjoy the sun and socialise as race.
Monday’s racing was a repeat of Sunday’s until the last group 3 championship round, when Billy managed to come a right cropper after just a few laps in. He started at the front of the grid and having got off to a flying start, pulled out a commanding lead. However, down in the bottom part of the field, he clipped a block and cartwheeled his way several times along the track, his mower following closely behind. He came to rest in the middle of the track. The race was red flagged, and First Aid administered. It was decided to call an ambulance in case of unseen injuries. While waiting for the ambulance, the track etc. was cleared away and the blocks returned to the edge of the field. Billy was taken off to hospital for observation, but happily he was OK. Fortunately, he had only suffered sprains to knee and neck.
After Billy’s departure all that was left to do was hand out the weekend’s trophies, thank all the marshals who stood in the full sun, the lap scorers Colin Clegg and Jen Tibbenham, and of course to Chris and Annie for the generous loan of their field at very short notice. All that remained was for everyone to start their long, slow journey home. Hopefully those travelling long distances had a sporting chance of returning home before midnight as they would have to fight with the bank holiday traffic.
Chris Pickup had travelled down from Cheshire to check that his LM mower was eligible, and ended up going round the track a few times, even though the belt kept jumping off, mainly because he had no guides to prevent it happening. He thoroughly enjoyed himself, and we look forward to seeing him again during the course of the year.
Louis, Gregg and Chris from Red Bull, arrived on Monday with the Red Bull drink girls, to try out the mower they had bought from Mark Thurston. They also enjoyed themselves, apart from running out of fuel on the track, and their comments were that it was more physical and bumpier than they had expected.
Dave Painter was there interviewing and taking photos and videos for the world’s press, as were a number of other photographers. The group from an Iranian TV network broadcasting in London, looked as though they were high as kites as they looned around the field. I would be fascinated to see and hear their footage.
Reservoir Dip doesn’t attract that many spectators, but it was good to see Susan and Mick Levy come along and socialise. Both are well and are hoping to venture down in their VW caravanette to the Red Bull meeting.
The first race of any season is always very interesting as results are often unexpected if based on the previous year’s performance, as mowers are either new or modified.
In the light of this meeting, 3 people stood out, one in each group, Steve Kingstone in gp 2, Billy Kavanagh in gp 3 and Gary Botting in gp 4.
Steve won most of the weekend’s races, giving Mike Cresswell a run for his money, which is an achievement in its own right.
Billy, having previously raced in gp 4, decided to build a handlebar gp 3 mower for this year. Although it had teething troubles, Billy himself took to this group like a duck to water, being very confident as well as competent from the start. Shame about the accident.
Gary Botting, although came second in the weekend to Dan Jones, gave a really exciting performance throughout both days. When asked, he put it down to having a new lightened mower and that he had lost a few pounds himself.
1st Steve Kingstone
2nd Roger Knowlson
3rd Mike Cresswell
1st Sean Tanswell
2nd Dean Fuller
3rd Ross Challinor
1st Dan Jones
2nd Gary Botting
3rd Dean Goodman
Championship Race Results:
Steve Kingstone 68 pts
Mike Cresswell 58 pts
Roger Knowlson 48 pts
Dean Fuller 75 pts
Stuart Johnson 41 pts
Ross Challinor 30pts
Kevin Edden 30pts
Peter Sque 30pts
Richard Atherton 30 pts
Dan Jones 65 pts
Dan Godden 48pts
Gary Botting 47 pts