• Fresh Cuttings

  • It’s been a hectic time for both committee and race members with meetings being held in quick succession. June started with the Double 4 hour held at Bucks Green on 11th /12th in one of Mark Robinson’s fields which  was both bumpy and challenging, followed a week later with the race meeting at Sharnfold Farm in East Sussex.  The club then had a stand at the Billingshurst show on the last Sunday in June. The next meeting a week later on the 6th7th July was a return visit to the Heddington & Stockley steam fair in Dorset and finally, the last meeting before the 12 hour was the Codicote Village Fair meeting. All race weekends have been dry, which is amazing considering this year’s weather generally.  Race reports below. 
    Because of the demise of cheap and easily sourced bales the club has for quite some time been looking for viable alternatives. Thanks to Pete Hammerton, who had been scouring Ebay and other auction sites, the club has managed to buy 40 stackable plastic blocks for £400, and he then went and picked them up from a school in Stanmore. It was hoped that these would be easier to transport to different venues which proved to be the case as after the Double 4 hour, the 40 new blocks along with our current 60 small blocks were all loaded onto a single flatbed trailer and successfully moved to Sharnfold and back. 
    With less than 3 weeks now before the 12 hour endurance race, preparations for this event are in full swing.  Entries are filling up fast (39). The grass in the race field has now been cut and collected which signals the start of our advertising campaign with the large signs in the field going up last week and the posters going up this week. Letters to local residents have been posted. The track will be cut out beginning of August.
    The USA lawn mower club (USLMRA) have invited a small group of members from our club to join and race against them at their 25th anniversary event next year. It will be held at Bowles Farm, 40 miles SE of Washington DC & 60 miles SE of Dulles Airport on 27th to 29th July 2017. Pete Hammerton is currently getting ready to hit them with a 75 page power point presentation (lucky them). He and Jim Gavin are going state side on 3rd August to finalise arrangements for this joint venture. This means that our 12 hour next year will be later than usual. The date will be announced once finalised. Currently, several racing and non racing members have shown an interest. If you would also like to be considered, then let Pete know as the invitation is open to all club members.
    Open Forum at Codicote:   Topics raised included:-                                                                                                                      
    1) Lack of noise from some of the current engines that require the standard exhaust to be fitted to their engines to comply with the dyno readings. If you like the noise then use an engine not restricted by this rule.
    2) Different types of trophies presented. This year we have been trying to mix the trophies with other prizes like tools or fuel cans. Consensus was favourable, and that the large trophies given out in previous years were a little OTT. Everyone liked the idea of all entrants being given little plaques as  mementos but only for the major events like the 12hour, world champs and endurance races.
    3) Pete informed  the eager throng of next year’s US trip.
    4) LM class. The lack of interest in the LM class so far has been disappointing as it had been hoped that it would encourage new members into the club and get them out racing quickly. However, on a positive note, there have been more new members racing regularly this year in ALL groups than we have seen for several years. This year’s entry figures have all been very healthy.
    5) The availability of suitable spares. West Midlands group sell a mower in a box kit. This was something the club had considered some time ago but couldn’t make it cost effective. It was suggested that members who are willing and able to fabricate or source spares specific to lawn mower racing , whether it be bonnets, front axles, wheels, ( the list is endless), then they could be added to the website alongside Ron’s Bits. So, if you are one of these guys, please let the committee know.
    End of Year Awards Party: Booked for 19th November. Following the success of last year’s party, the venue and caterers will be the same, namely Loxwood North Hall and Billy’s. Fancy dress theme this year, book or film character. Tickets £25 per adult, again the same as last year. Available to buy from the website shop. Camping will also be available for £5 per caravan.
    Race Reports.
    Double 4 Hour:  Organiser: Mark Robinson. C of C: Les Pantry. Total Team Entries 22.   
     Although there had been heavy showers during the week leading up to this meeting, the weekend was dry with a hint of sun. The ground was very bumpy at the start of the Saturday race, but as the hours wore on so they began to wear down, giving us a dry but hard track. The meeting was well attended with a total of 20 teams. The only slight issue was that there was no one to operate the timing computer until Laura Clegg bravely stepped up to the helm. All went smoothly, or as much as the track allowed until Simon Campbell decided to try and iron out a few bumps by rolling his tractor. Not managing this, the tractor then caught fire and the race had to be temporarily halted. The race turned out to be a nail biter as on the last lap, Trojan Racing team lost a belt, managed to get the mower running again only for its rear axle to break 10 metres from the line.  Sunday morning race started wet from the overnight rain, but as the track dried out it became dusty. Saturday had seen several teams fall by the wayside, so there were fewer mowers on the track which allowed drivers to swap teams. As mentioned earlier, the blocks were all loaded onto a trailer and Richard Davies transported them to Sharnfold ready for the next weekend’s meeting.
    Day 1 Results:
     Group 2:                                 
    1st Knight Riders
    2nd Mowmorial Flight
    3rd Funrat Racing
    Day 2 Results:
    Group 3:
    1st Dans Racing That’s Who
    2nd MWA
    3rd R&M Racing

    Group 4:
    1st Smack The Pony
    2nd Sussex Slackers
    3rd Trojan Racing
    Group 2:                                 
    1st Mowmorial Flight
    2nd Knight Rider
    3rd New One With No Hair
    Group 3:
    1st R&M Racing
    2nd Dans Racing That Who
    3rd RAM Racing
    Group 4:
    1st Going Commando
    2nd Average Joes
    3rd Smack The Pony
     Sharnfold: Organiser: Pugs Reeves. C of C: Mark Thurston/Mark Robinson.  Total entries 29.                                        This year, Pugs Reeves had negotiated with the farmer allowing the use of the adjacent field for camping, giving us the whole of the field for racing. The weather however played its hand again, and rain earlier in the week made parts of the field unusable. Even so, a decent sized track was laid out, and a weekend of enjoyable racing ensued, changing the track direction on Sunday. Of particular amusement on Saturday, was the detour Pete Sque took avoiding Dean Fuller as he and his mower disappeared into a ditch and hedge. Fortunately, he was unhurt. In the absence of Charlie Gould, our regular seasoned commentator, Simon Campbell picked up the mic for the first time and alongside Dan Jones kept the crowds informed and entertained. On the way out with many people having already left, Michael Jury managed to get his vehicle stuck in the only boggy bit of the camping field on his way out. Not a problem until you realise that the vehicle in question was a horse box. With the farmer unavailable, Mark Robinson’s faithful Land Rover pulled the stricken lorry out, (with the help of several members pushing from the rear). Quite an achievement, considering the wheels on both axles had sunk down several centimetres.
    Weekend Results:
    Group 2:                                 
    1st Ian Ratcliff
    2nd Sam Ratcliff
    3rd Mike Cresswell
    Group 3:
    1st Glynn Saunders
     2nd Dean Fuller
    3rd Robert Rowlands
    Group 4:
    1st Karl Selby
    2nd Richard Davies
    3rd Dan Godden
    Billingshurst Show: Last year the club had a stall and it proved to be an excellent way of advertising the 12 hour race as well as promoting the club in general; hence the reason for being there again. It was held on one of the fine days in June. The fete starts with a procession of floats in the centre of Billingshurst and finishes in the field an hour or so later. There were 5 mowers in the procession representing the 3 groups. Dan Jones entertained the crowds as he weaved his way along the road on two wheels. Back in the field, the stall was set up, including a display of mower photos courtesy of Charlie Gould and a table of merchandise manned by Laura, Nicola and Vicky. The mowers were parked in the front for people to look at. Later in the afternoon, a 15 minute demonstration was put on in the main arena. Thanks to Pugs Reeves for organising the day.
    Heddington & Stockley:  Organiser:  Les Pantry. C of C: Simon Campbell. Total entries 28. 
    This was a welcome return to a show which hasn’t been put on for the past 3 years because of financial difficulties.  The main attraction is the display of various steam engines and agricultural vehicles. Once again the rain played its part as on Friday evening and Saturday morning, the entrance was muddy and difficult to drive over. The area for racing was fine and the track was set up Friday evening. For the first time this year bales were used for marking out the track.  Another dry weekend meant that the racing was fast and furious on a track that was difficult to overtake on, so a joker lap was introduced to make it more exciting for racers and spectators alike. On Sunday the track was reversed and the joker lap removed. A few incidents including a roll by Glynn Saunders and then a spectacular crash in the eliminator race when the grass box on Richard Cornelius group 2 mower dug into the ground and rolled his mower into a pack of other mowers. A very lucky escape.  Watch it on YouTube from Dean Fullers camera. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBl4_wJgGyU. 
    Weekend Results:
    Group 2:                                 
    1st Mike Cresswell
    2nd Ian Ratcliff
    3rd Graham Tibbenham
    Group 3:
    1st Dean Fuller
    2nd Robert Rowlands
    3rd Glynn Saunders
    Group 4:
    1st Dan Godden
    2nd Karl Selby
    3rd Richard Davies
    Codicote: Organiser: Karl Selby. C of C: Charlie Gould. Total entries 31.
    This is our 3rd visit to Codicote village fair and each time the weather has been glorious. The fair consists of a fun fair, traditional stalls with extra entertainment in the central arena and the whole thing kicks off with a procession of floats starting in the village centre making its way to the field. In the past, the fair has finished and been packed away by 6 o'clock leaving us the only occupants in a very large field. This year they had a beer tent and extended the entertainment into the evening starting with a kids disco then playing live music until midnight - a good move as they sold some very good cider !!!
    Saturday's racing is geared to entertaining the crowds with a series of short heats, adding the popular eliminator race into the agenda and finishing with a beer relay with all the chaos that entails. It was decided not to run the animal race due to the amount of dust it would have generated. As it was there was a lot of dust which was fortunately blowing away from the control tent and fair but straight towards the car park - the convertible car owners probably regretted leaving their car hoods down.
    On Sunday we are left in a large field virtually on our own which is an added attraction of this venue. This allows for a much extended track which dives downhill running off camber, a short straight then back up again before rejoining the main track. A day of heats finishing with a 15 minute animal race. The ice cream van which arrived early in the day only to disappear again at midday, made a very welcome return at 4 o’clock. Although we were the only occupants left in the field by this time a lot of ice cream was sold and consumed.
    Weekend Results:                            l
    Group 2:                                 
    1st Mike Cresswell
    2nd Ian Ratcliff
    3rd Sam Ratcliff
    Group 3:
    1st Dean Fuller
    2nd Glynn Saunders
    3rd Les Pantry
    Group 4:
    1st Dan Godden
    2nd James Walters
    3rd Richard Davies

    Championship Standings as at 17/07/2016
    Group 2:
    1st Mike Cresswell      402
    2nd Ian Ratcliff              298
    3rd Roger Knowlson    240
    Group 3:
    1st Dean Fuller            455
    2nd Stuart Johnson      253
    3rd Robert Rowlands  206
    Group 4:
    1st Richard Davies     317
    2nd Dan Godden         298
    3rd Karl Selby              240