• 2018 Hot Summer Cuttings

  • A very warm welcome to this summer edition of Cuttings as we rapidly head towards the 12 hour race on 4th August.



    There is now less than a week before this year’s 12 hour. Setting up in the field started this weekend with a small group marking out the track on Saturday and then on Sunday, our 12 hour chairman, Les Pantry and Vice President, Charlie Gould marked out the pedestrian fencing, paddock and pit area lines. Tiff Johnson starts the track watering and rolling process on Tuesday before the rest of us arrive on Wednesday.


    It is possible that you may not be aware that this year’s 12 Hour has been moved to another field. Not far, just up the road about 500 yds north of the Five Oaks roundabout.

    Reason is that Neil Morris, the farmer, needed to take another cut of hay off the car parking field and has offered this one as a replacement. The advantage is that it is new field for us, so that it may be smoother? The disadvantage, and it is a major one, was the timing. With less than 3 weeks to go, there was a lot of extra work that needs to be carried out. The fault is entirely mine for not being in contact with Neil beforehand and is something which I apologise for publicly to all those who work so hard to put this event on.  


    Please be aware that there is no mains water available in this field, and although we are expecting a water bowser to be on the field, you are strongly advised to bring your own drinking water. So, make sure you FILL your aquarolls and other water containers.


    Since the last Cuttings we have held five race meetings, Selwood Steam Show, the Red Bull Event, Sharnfold, the Heddington & Stockley Steam Fair and Codicote Village Fete.

    After the very wet start to the season, the meetings have got dryer and dryer. The sun is relentless at the moment and has turned the ground very hard and the tracks have become very dusty.


    British Championship Standings as at 16.07.2018:

    Group 2:

    449pts   Mike Creswell

    274        Graham Tibbenham

    145        Roger Knowlson


    Group 3:

    328 pts  Dean Fuller

    318         Sean Tanswell

    297        Stuart Johnson


    Group 4:

    407 pts   Gary Botting

    257         Dan Jones

    200         Dean Goodman


    As to my predictions in the May Cuttings for who to look out for this year?

    In gp 2, a week after Billingshurst, Steve Kingstone was knocked off his motorbike by a car and broke his leg, which required pinning from knee to ankle. Downside is that has put paid to his racing for this year. The upside, for the club anyway, is that he has been to all meetings and marshalled for us. Much appreciated Steve.

    In gp 3, Billy Kavanagh’s fortunes have been up and down; so has he. He came off again since, but is still plugging away.

    In gp 4, Gary Botting is a long way ahead. Only Dan Jones has any hope of catching him, but by his own admission, that is very slim now.

    One out of three ain’t bad.


    General News: The new lightweight plastic rakes bought to replace the old tarmac rakes have proved a success. They were used at Sharnfold to clear away the dried cut grass and Heddington & Stockley to pull the corners back in.

    Mark Ackroyd bought 2 new BLMRA banner flags to use at Le Mans. We borrowed them to use on the stand at Cranleigh and have now acquired them as they are brilliant. They have a grey background which makes the club logo on them really stand out. Thanks Mark.


    Lap Scoring: This is our Achilles heel on race days. As things stand, we rely on Dean Fuller and Colin Clegg to set up and run the lap scoring, or at least oversee its smooth running and at the moment there are less than a handful of members confident in operating the system. Vikki Reeves and Laura Clegg took on the task of writing a step by step instruction manual which should allow anybody to set up and operate the lap scoring. Now it just needs a computer illiterate to test it out. Not sure why everyone thought of me. 

    This is such a good idea, and been thought of many times but it took our lady committee member to actually get it done. Many thanks to Vikki and Laura for all the work they have put in to write them. They should prove invaluable.


    12 Hour news: There are now just 8 places left. So if you want to enter a team, book in quickly. Also, there are some teams in all groups that still need drivers, so if you want to race but have no team, get in contact with Les Pantry, our 12 hour chairman.

    Access to the new field is good as the entrance is still directly off Stanes Street (the A29). You should by now have had your packs containing race numbers, pit area etc. 

    Advertising space is still available on a few track corners and in the show programme. Prices start from £50, so if you or someone you know wants to promote their business then this is an ideal way to help the event and our chosen charity, Ingfield Manor School for Children with Cerebral Palsy,(part of SCOPE), at the same time.

    From Wednesday, the whole team will be on the field setting up. Anyone who is free at any time during the week and wants to help, will be more than welcome.

    I should like to take this opportunity to thank the 12 hour committee for all they are doing to make this yet another successful event, and to Les for taking on the role of 12 hour chairman again.


    Exhaust Noise Emissions:   Those who have been racing this year will be aware that we are in the process of trying to reduce the exhaust noise emissions in a fair and meaningful way with the objective of making our sport less obtrusive to the nearby neighbourhood. Tests are being carried out and sound levels monitored during race meetings to decide the best way to achieve this. This is an ongoing exercise and hopefully we will have come to a conclusion by the end of this season ready for next year. In the meantime, the current handbook rules still apply, but don’t be complacent.

    TAKE NOTE:  At the 12 hour the rules will be rigidly adhered to.


    Cranleigh Show:  We were invited to have a display stand and put on a short demo in the main arena at the Cranleigh show on Sunday 5th July. This is a large country show and being only a few miles from Billingshurst with an average footfall of over 5000, we decided that this was a PR opportunity for both our club and the approaching 12 hour race too good to miss. Initially being organised by Pugs Reeves, Simon Campbell took over the organising of the stand and demo 4 days before the show as Pugs was completely drained from having just completed the 3 Peaks Challenge with Colin Clegg.  Well done, guys. Great achievement.

    Simon managed to find 2 mowers from each group to put on display and later showcase in the arena. With a gleaming, freshly washed race trailer,(courtesy of Pete H and his marigolds), Mark Ackroyd’s new BLMRA banner flags, mowers of all groups including group 1, Charlie Gould’s photos (of mowers just in case you thought otherwise), and a TV running old lawn mower racing videos, the stand, adorned with bunting, looked both colourful and really inviting. We had over 300 kids sitting on the mowers throughout the day, each one sporting a free BLMRA wristband, allowing us to hand out 12 hour flyers to the parents. The arena Demo was very keystone cops but went down a storm with the crowd – and Simon got over his reluctance to commentate (strange fear for such a motor mouth).

    Best and unexpected bit?  1st prize for best stand !!   

    Huge thanks to everyone who set up and manned the stand on a very hot Sunday; Simon Campbell, Pugs and Vikki Reeves, Pete Hammerton, Les Pantry, Peter Sque, Darren Tebbbutt, Rhonda Maisey, Ian and Sue Ratcliff. 


    Selwood Steam Fair was held over the 3 days of the late May bank holiday. Although promised more room than last year, the area was still rather tight, but at least the extra space made the camping area acceptable.

    Dry on the Saturday, it rained overnight but the racing continued throughout the weekend.

    Weekend Results:

    Group 2:

    1st   Roger Knowlson

    2nd  Graham Tibbenham

    3rd  Pugs Reeves


    Group 3:

    1st   Dean Fuller

    2nd  Sean Tanswell

    3rd  Richard Atherton


    Group 4:

    1st  Gary Botting

    2nd  Dan Jones

    3rd  Dean Goodman


    The much heralded Red Bull Event was held in the Somerset village of Axbridge in the same field that we have previously used for our August Bank Holiday event. The numbers were restricted to 60 to suit the size of the field, which meant a lower turnout than originally intended. However, all those BLMRA members who wanted to compete could, as they had priority booking for 24hours before being opened up to the general public. All spaces were filled very quickly.

    The Red Bull team had been busy in the field since the Wednesday laying out 2 tracks. They had created a good sized track containing a joker lap, and a smaller track containing a jump, a scoop and a couple of banked turns. There was also a 100 metre timed drag strip.

    The day was beautifully sunny and set off the surroundings perfectly. As with all new ventures, there were a few minor teething issues, but most racers were unaware of them thanks to the professional way our 2 clerks of the day, Mark Thurston and Simon Campbell, worked with the Red Bull team to sort them out. As a result, the day ran very smoothly and racing finished ahead of schedule which, considering the high temperatures, was not a bad thing. After prize giving, including the spraying of champagne, everyone adjourned to the beer tent for the rest of the evening.

    Commiserations to Gary Botting, who earnt enough points throughout the day to start at the front for the final gp4 race, only to throw it all away on the start line. He was understandable gutted.

    Special thanks to Tony Dwight, who only came down to spectate and ended up starting and finishing the races on the small track.

    Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves, and hopefully Red Bull will think it worthwhile repeating.

    Red Bull Results:

    Group 2:

    1st  Mike Cresswell

    2nd Paul Johnson

    3rd Ian Ratcliff


    Group 3:

    1st    Dean Fuller

    2nd  Stuart Johnson

    3rd  Sean Tanswell


    Group 4:

    1st  Dan Godden

    2nd Dean Goodman

    3rd Matt Cable and Carl Dimmock


    To date, Red Bull have put out a few photos and a couple of short videos on their website. There are other videos and lots of photos from members on the BLMRA facebook page from that day.





    On Sunday we were able to race on the larger of the Red Bull tracks. Racing consisted of a series of heats interspersed with 2 championship rounds. Another hot day, so finished early as most still exhausted from the previous day and the heat. 

    Sunday Results:

    Group 2:

    1st  Mike Cresswell

    2nd  Pugs Reeves

    3rd  Paul Johnson


    Group 3:

    1st   Ross Challinor

    2nd  Stuart Johnson

    3rd   Peter Ayres


    Group 4:

    1st  Alan Davies

    2nd  Dean Goodman

    3rd  Jonathan David


    Sharnfold was another hot and dry weekend. The main cause of concern was the dry cut grass lying on the race field which despite our efforts caught fire from hot exhausts twice – thankfully only briefly. The track wore quickly and dust became a major issue on Sunday even though it was moved several times.

    Alan Davies came off his mower again chasing after Dan Jones having just lost his race lead to him, and had to take another trip to hospital. The plate that had been put in when he broke his collar bone at Somerset last year had bent. So he has to go through the operation all again. Although our thoughts are with you Alan, please be more careful next time. You are causing us too much paperwork !!! :)

    Highlight of the weekend – watching our intrepid LM driver, Chris Pickup, failing to make it round a corner and careering into a wooden fence on a gp 4 tractor lent by R&M racing. We were thinking it was down to inexperience, but it transpired that the steering had broken.  Sorry, Mon.

    Not as many spectators as in previous years, but that could have been because of the high temperatures. Dennis the farmer was happy though as they had been busy in the farm shop.

    Weekend Results:

    Group 2:

    1st  Mike Cresswell

    2nd  Ian Ratcliff

    3rd  Graham Tibbenham


    Group 3:

    1st  Richard Atherton

    2nd  Ross Challinor

    3rd  Peter Sque


    Group 4:

    1st  Gary Botting

    2nd  Karl Selby

    3rd  Carl Andrews


    Heddington and Stockley was yet another very hot weekend. This is another popular venue as the show is well worth going round with over 20 steam engines, old tractors and other old and heavy machinery. The tractor pulling is most spectacular to watch as they attempt to pull the skid down the strip, pumping out more and more black exhaust fumes into the air as the weight gets ever heavier. The noise is awesome as well. They also have dancing sheep which have to be seen to be believed. Very funny.

    The area allotted to us was the same as for the past few years, so finding a fresh area to race on is becoming very difficult. As a result of this and the current weather, the track was akin to concrete, but crumbled progressively throughout the two days producing either fine dust or pebble sized balls of earth which when spat out from the rear of the mowers became high velocity projectiles. Neither very pleasant. Being an agricultural show, the organisers had a water bowser on hand and were able to water the track both days which alleviated the dust problem.

    Weekend Results:

    Group 2:

    1st   Mike Cresswell

    2nd  Graham Tibbenham

    3rd   Paul Johnson


    Group 3:

    1st   Ross Challinor

    2nd  Stuart Johnson

    3rd   Peter Sque


    Group 4:

    1st   Carl Williams

    2nd  James Weaver

    3rd  Carl Andrews



    Codicote Race Meeting 15/16th July. This is the last race meeting before the 12 hour. It is often used as a shakedown for 12 hour mowers as we have the use of the field on the Sunday to make a large track and so it is good as a practice day for any new drivers.  It looked to be a good turnout with 30 entries including a Mr Ian Tanswell. Is he really returning to racing?

    Saturday is the Codicote village fete, and so the racing timetable revolves around the fete. A series of heats with a number of fun races at the end of the day was planned, but the dust was so bad that one of the championship races had to be postponed and the fun races had to be abandoned.

    On Sunday, with the advantage of using the whole of the field, the dust problem was reduced to acceptable levels, and so 3 championship rounds were run interspersed with heats, finishing the day with a 15 minute animal race.

    In the championship, gp2 and gp4 are now sorted. In gp3 however, the battle still rages. Coming into Codicote, Dean Fuller (2nd) trailed Sean Tanswell (1st) by just 6 points, with Stuart Johnson (3rd ) 30 points behind Dean.

    With the dust causing mayhem, Dean finished in 1st place in the first round, Sean taking 4th place and Stuart finishing in last place after getting a puncture.  On Sunday, on the much larger track, Stuart excelled himself, and finished comfortably 1st in all 3 rounds.

    Racing between Dean and Sean was very close in all 3 rounds, as they challenged each other for 2nd place throughout all of the races. However, in races 2 and 3 Dean beat Sean gaining 2nd place with Sean beating Dean in the final race. In all 3 results, the gap between them as they crossed the line was less than 2 seconds. Gripping stuff.

    Thanks to both Carl Williams for clerking, and Stuart Johnson for organising this, their first event. Stuart’s comment was that it wasn’t as easy as he expected. To be fair, mate, your job was made much worse than normal by the excessively dusty conditions. We all thought you both did a grand job, even if you did change the track to your advantage J. (only joking).


    Group 2:

    1st    Mike Cresswell

    2nd   Graham Tibbenham

    3rd    Ian Ratcliff


    Group 3:

    1st    Ross Challinor

    2nd   Sean Tanswell

    3rd    Stuart Johnson


    Group 4:

    1st    Karl Selby

    2nd   Daniel Thomas

    3rd   Dean Goodman


    Next Meeting: Corsley Show.

    The last four championship rounds will be held at the Corsley Show over the August Bank Holiday. Can’t wait.

    Thought for the day:  if you want to win trophies, then group 2 is the way to go. We are normally thin on the ground, but at Codicote it was dire, with only 2 on Saturday and 3 on Sunday. I was guaranteed a prize just for turning up.


    Finally, as I finish editing this edition, the rain is steadily coming down. Not too soon, as the 12 hour field needs softening up. Hope to see as many of you there and wish everyone racing good luck in the race and enjoy it.


    Ian Ratcliff


    Club Chairman