• 2019 Early Cuttings

  • Welcome everyone to the new year, although that seems a long time ago now.

    AGM: This will take place on 9th March 2019 at Billingshurst Village Hall starting 2pm. Everyone welcome to attend. If you would like to join us on the committee and help shape the way the club operates then you still have time to put yourself forward. Please contact any member of the committee.
    Rules and Regs for 2019: Very little change from a racing perspective apart from ALL competitors/teams to have a working 2kg fire extinguisher in their pits at every meeting.
    Tuned Honda GX200/Loncin equivalent engines can now be used but in Group 2 only.
    Honda GX390 engine: This engine was tested early in November and was found to be more powerful than the other tested engines and therefore we decided not to allow its use.

    Junior Class: We are intent on introducing a junior class into our racing programme in 2020 and we will be using this coming season to test its feasibility. The major hurdle of insurance has been cleared thanks to Pete Hammerton, although how he managed to clear a hurdle I’ll never know.
    This is obviously at a very early stage at the moment, but hopefully more details will be announced at the AGM.

    Race Calendar: Now out on Facebook and the website; a lot of old favourites and a couple of newer ones. Well done to Richard Atherton and Pugs Reeves for persevering with this difficult task.

    New Club Logo Competition:  In response to the concerns raised on Facebook  recently regarding the logo, I would like to repeat what I wrote in the Autumn Cuttings sent out in September re the new logo competition.
    There have been on-going discussions about replacing the existing club logo for something a little more up to date. However, we are hoping that instead of replacing it, someone can design a new logo which will complement the current logo. 
    If you are one of those who would like to see the club with a new visual identity, then put your artistic flair to the test and design us a logo. The brief is simple. Anything goes. As a bit of encouragement, we are going to run it as a competition. It is open to everyone of any age, and will be judged in 2 categories, those under 14 years, and those above. At this stage, we cannot guarantee that the winning design will be adopted, but the prize in each category will be a hoodie in the winner’s design. Entries to be in by the AGM please. 
    No restrictions on the design so let your imagination run wild and put pen/paint to paper and draw. Then send them in.

    Finland 12 hour or MOWING ON ICE:  Out of a total of 39 entered teams, 18 came from the UK, and 10 of those came from the BLMRA. The week before the race the temperature was -32 degrees with 1 metre layer of snow which had to be constantly removed to keep the lake cold. On race day it was plus 2 deg and raining. The ice was melting and lots of teams had trouble with the amount of water on the track causing belts to slip; others had tyre problems. Richard Atherton’s team, MWA, (Richard Atherton, Peter Sque and Joseph Fowler), took the lead on lap 32 and led for 1 hour until they retired due to belt problems.
    Les Racing (Les Pantry, Stuart Johnson and Gary Botting) took the lead 5 hrs into the race and slowly increased their lead to 5 laps.  However, as the race is run on a lake, the continually melting ice meant the track was deemed to be unsafe as more cracks kept appearing, and so the race was stopped for safety reasons after 7 hour in.
    Les Racing was declared the winner with 130 laps, Cool Mowings (Billy Kavanagh, James Weaver and Andy Green), 2nd and Team Tanswell (Ian and Sean Tanswell and Sean Jonas), 3rd. Knight Ice Riders (Mike Cresswell, Pugs Reeves and Paul Johnson) on a modified Group 2 came a very impressive 5th.
    Well done to all those who took part. Now we just need to repeat that winning streak at the 12 hour!
    And Finally: Finally, I would like to thank Graham Tibbenham for writing the Late Autumn Cuttings way back in early November last year. These should have gone out before Christmas, but unfortunately got waylaid in all the festivities. So I’ve renamed them.  
    Very Late Autumn Cuttings
    And that folks is, as they say, a wrap, with the BLMRA meeting at Capel and the NWLMRA 6 hour rounding ofthe 2018 season!

    Postponing the meeting by a week proved to be the right thing to do, with the storms of the previous weekend replaced by the dry dusty conditions that have plagued us for most of the season (though given the alternative, that’s a good place to be right?).
    After a flurry of mower trading on Facebook and beyond, it was great to see some newbies hit the track, taking advantage of the free entry as an opportunity to see what they have gotten themselves into and work out what’s needed to get their mowers ready for the 2019 season. Jack Page took to the track on the ex-Jon David Gazelle, Ben Russell, Daniel Kirkby and Sam Banks on the Mowclaren Atco and Chris Pickup finally kicked his Atco LM into the long grass and joined Group 4 on Gary Botting’s old MTD.
    Entertainment began on Friday night, when Mr Chairman decided to use the empty field to his advantage and test his Group 2 wheels for the first time. This should serve as a reminder to the rest of us why we insist that protective equipment is worn and fully equipped marshals and first aid is in place before we play. Luckily Ian still bounces relatively well, but it did cost him a weekends racing, a fair bit of marital bliss and left Posh Boy Atherton to organise the meeting.
    The format settled upon for the Saturday was a Pyramidal Endurance (yep, I just made that up) with races in the anti-clockwise direction increasing in length from 5 to 40 minutes before lunch and then the reverse in the afternoon.
    The first race was started to the flag and at five minutes was little more than a standard sprint race. In practice the trip over a ditch and through the trees at the bottom of the hill proved too much for Group 2 and so a shortcut saw all groups lapping at pretty much the same rate. The downhill section caught a few out, including Chris Pickup who decided to venture off further in to the trees in a style somewhat reminiscent of his meeting with the fence at Sharnfold earlier in the year.
    The 10 minute race was much of the same, but this did see two of the five Group 2s expire including myself with another lay-shaft problem and Pugs seizing his engine.
    The first 20 minute race saw a Le Mans start. After Pugs and I agreed that it was a terrible, terrible idea – this was to be the first (and only) outing of the Group 2 wheels. I must say that after you get over the fear of cornering (following Ian’s incident), the fact that your knees rub your ears and the exhaust blows straight in your face. It’s really not that bad. Really.
    The first 40 minute event wrapped up racing before lunch.
    Following lunch the forest stage was removed and the track reversed. After some frantic spannering I returned to the track on a Group 2 cobbled together from Pugs’ and my own.
    The second 20 minute race proved to be the last of the day as the dust just got too bad to make continuing safe.
    Day 1 results
    5min:   G2 - 123 Graham Tibbenham,            G3 - 43 Dean Fuller,   G4 - 44 Karl Selby
    10min: G2 - 58 Mike Cresswell,                     G3 - 43 Dean Fuller,   G4 - 44 Karl Selby
    20min: G2 - 58 Mike Cresswell,                     G3 - 41 Colin Clegg,   G4 - 63 Richard Atherton
    40min: G2 - 58 Mike Cresswell,                     G3 - 96 Kev Edden,   G4 - 44 Karl Selby
    40min:             G2 - 123 Graham Tibbenham,            G3 - 21 Glyn Saunders,          G4 - 63 Richard Atherton
    20min:             G2 - 58 Mike Cresswell,                     G3 - 8 Stu Johnson,    G4 - 63 Richard Atherton
    Then to the barbecue, Pyjama party, prize giving and disco. The marquee (following a fairly stressful lunchtime erection under the directorship of Posh to instructions Ikea would be proud of) was beautifully decorated by Vikki and the girls. The braai was as usual expertly manned by Kiwi Johnson and Pugs Reeves, and DJ Carl Williams was on the decks. I will apologise at this point for my costume (particularly to Hazel Fuller, who didn’t look at all happy!!), I was expecting to have to compete with Mark Robinson, the king of fancy dress, but as he didn’t attend it was perhaps a touch overkill! Prizes were awarded to the top three of each Group in the British Championship, Sean Tanswell won the ‘Drivers Driver’ award after a blistering season on his Handlebar Bug and thereby putting a Tanswell once again at the top of Group 3. Tiff Johnson was awarded the ‘Butter Cup’ Good Egg trophy for all of his behind the scenes help towards the 12 hour and Tricky Davies (our non-committee committee member) was awarded the Stan Cooper memorial Trophy for all of his help in and around race control throughout the season. The fancy dress awards went to Ben Thomas for the children and Myself for the Adults. The party then continued in to the night allowing, amongst others, Chris Pickup to demonstrate some of his rather frenetic dance moves! It was excellent to see so many people who didn’t race the weekend make the effort to attend the party.
    Sunday got off to somewhat of a sluggish start, with the remaining 10 and 5 minute races from Saturday completed and then the format turned to ‘make-it-up-as-you-go-along’. This included a ‘Fastest Lap’ competition and then two rounds of sprint races with Group 3s and 4s merged.  The final race of the weekend was a ‘Lucky Dip’ which saw the majority of us on unfamiliar machines; I found myself on Mr Atherton’s Wheel Horse and somehow managed to win. I’m really not sure how you folks do it for a whole meeting - my back knew all about it for a few days afterwards. That said, Karl Selby pulled the Group 2 out of the bucket and gave up after a lap…
    Day 2 results
    10min:             G2 - 58 Mike Cresswell,                     G3 - 96 Kev Edden,   G4 - 44 Karl Selby
    5min:               G2 - 58 Mike Cresswell,                     G3 - 41 Colin Clegg,   G4 - 44 Karl Selby
    Fastest Lap   
    Group 2: - 58 Mike Cresswell - 41.497          
    Group 3: - 96 Kev Edden - 37.146    
    Group 4: - 44 Karl Selby - 36.515
    Round 1:         G2 - 123 Graham Tibbenham,            G3 - 21 Glyn Saunders,          G4 - 63 Richard Atherton
    Round 2:         G2 - 123 Graham Tibbenham,            G3 - 41 Colin Clegg,   G4 - 44 Karl Selby
    Lucky Dip:      (63) Graham Tibbenham,        (41) Glyn Saunders,    (44) Colin Clegg
    Overall Results         
    Group 2:          58 Mike Cresswell, 123 Graham Tibbenham, 86 Reg Funnell          
    Group 3:          41 Colin Clegg ,          21 Glyn Saunders, 96 Kev Edden
    Group 4:          44 Karl Selby, 63 Richard Atherton, 236 Ben Russell
    So thanks to everyone who turned up and all who helped out - and all who have done so throughout the season. A big thanks this time to Darren Tebbutt and Rodge Knowlson for braving the dust and marshalling all weekend.

    The 6 Hour
    After a very promising Saturday, Sunday proved to be a tad wet, with almost constant rain from start to finish. Sixteen BLMRA teams ventured t’up north for their annual season closing 6 hour endurance race.
    Of the 40 teams that started around half finished, others succumbing to mechanical failure or dampened spirits (sorry). Northern team ‘DD Out to Play’ took the overall win, completing 119 laps of the 2km course. Group three saw a BLMRA 1, 2, 3 with ‘Mow Fear’ comprising of Richard Johnson, Glyn Saunders and Kev Edden taking the win with 103 laps followed by ‘Mower With Attitude’ and ‘Jungle is Massive’. Group 2 saw another BLMRA win with the Ratcliff staffed ‘I love the NWLMRA’ turning 60 laps and ‘The Knight Riders’ taking third.
    Of the rest, Mr Pantry’s ‘Les Racing’ managed the best BLMRA result in Group 4 taking 7th overall, ‘Mutts Nuts’ took 12th (4th in G3), ‘The Inbergreeners’ took 14th, with Ryley, Daniel and James also claiming the best newcomer trophy and the only other BLMRA finisher was ‘R&M Racing’ managing 17th. Of the non-finishers, arguably the most unlucky was Carl Andrews and James Weaver’s ‘Screw Loose Racing’ who’s Loncin expired on the first lap, closely followed by Chris Pickup and Paul Sage’s ‘Grass Man Racing’ who were going strong for 5hours and 22minutes but ultimately didn’t cross the line.  

    Elsewhere in the world
    Two items of note here. Firstly, last year saw a group of BLMRA racers venture to Bowles Farm in the USA to thrash the USLMRA (again) for their 25th anniversary. A very disappointed Mr Pantry was denied the opportunity to race due to his incident at Capel earlier in the year. The ever chirpy Charlie made the mistake of saying “Never mind Les, we can always come back next year!” Well they say elephants never forget and neither does Les.
    So the date was set, Les would take part in the USLMRA National finals in Jonesboro Arkansas on Saturday 22nd September. For what happened next, well see above really. Whilst we were postponing our meeting at Capel, the Americans were coming to terms with a shift from 98 degree heat to torrential downpours that saw the meeting completely cancelled.
    As is always the case, the USLMRA made the most of their time together and the boys had a great time, but unfortunately this does mean that they will have to take another road trip together next year…
    Secondly then, Les, Dean Fuller and Stu Johnson used the brief rest bite between Capel and the 6 hour to venture over to Germany to take part in RaciCross Numbrecht held by German club Team B1. It was another good showing for the BLMRA with Dean and Stu taking first and second in the Lawnbug class (you’re not fooling me) and Les taking 4th in the Super Standard class.
    So there we have it, 2018 done. May I and the Committee wish you a very merry Off-Season and a happy new year!
    P.S. As some of you may know, as usual I was very much first in and last out of the field at Capel. I’d like to apologise again to Jenn after ringing her when she was almost home (about 2 hours away) to let her know that I’d left the van keys in her car. D’oh. Thanks again to Andy Heather for taking me to meet her half way, I think that took the edge off it somewhat!! Thanks also to Darren Tebbutt for towing me in to the field in the first place…  
    Ian Ratcliff
    Club Chairman

    The BLMRA