• May 2017 Cuttings

  • Les Pantry: For those who may not know, last weekend at Capel, Les Pantry had an accident on his gp3 mower. No one else was involved, but he fell very awkwardly and consequently caused serious damage to his body including breaking his collar bone and several of his ribs - not to mention his pride. He was taken to East Surrey hospital and later that night transferred to St George's in Tooting, London. He is doing well under the circumstances. To find the latest info, he is posting details on Facebook. From all of us at the BLMRA we wish Les a speedy recovery - we need him for the 12 hour.

    Breaking news: excellent news, Les was discharged from hospital this Friday afternoon. 
    Capel: Well Capel, the first meeting of the season has come and gone. And wasn't it eventful. It was encouraging to see that over 40 members had entered for the weekend, including a healthy number of new members, and also our first LM Class entrant. Many very good photos and videos from the weekend have been put on our Facebook page.
    Race Report below.

    Next Race Meeting: Selwood Vintage Fair Trowbridge 27/29th May. 
    Organiser: Simon Campbell. C of C: Charlie Gould and Mark Thurston.
    Remember, this a full 3 day racing meeting, although we will try to make time for visiting the show during our stay. There will be one championship race on Saturday, one on Sunday and 2 on Monday. 
    This is a new venue for us, so please try and support it. You can arrive Friday evening, but if you arrive before Simon Campbell be prepared to move if necessary. 

    For this event you MUST supply the names of everyone in your party intending to turn up to this race meeting.Email Pugs on pugs@blmra.co.uk with full details so we can add them to the list we have to submit  to the organisers. 
    Only those on the list provided by us will be allowed into the race and paddock area, everyone else will be obliged to pay and also park in the public car parks. Membership cards will NOT give you access.
    Continue to look on our Facebook page for up-to-date information.

    Championship Races: We would like the championship races to be more consistent in length. At Capel we tried  8 mins for gp2 and 15 mins for gps 3 and 4. This was possibly too long and maybe revised.

    Race Numbers: It was evident at Capel that a lot of race numbers, especially front numbers, were either unreadable or non existent (Mr Chairman take note). Without them makes it difficult to recognise mowers easily, either for lining up the grid or for commentating at shows.

    Selwood Vintage Fair: It is imperative that all numbers are legible. They WILL be checked at scrutineering. R&M Racing can supply numbers and boards if needed. See their website.

    Marshalling: At Capel we experienced a lack of enthusiasm for marshalling. It has always been the case that we rely very much on volunteers to help us race. Unwittingly, we expect them to stand out on the track for a full stint without relief. This cannot be right. Without marshals, we are unable to race. When there are not enough volunteers, or if someone has been marshalling for some time, we would be grateful if racers could relieve them or fill marshalling gaps without having to be asked. Moan over.

    Lap Scoring
    This is another area where the club is weak. Without Dean or Colin, we would be hard pushed to run the meetings. At Capel, we were lucky to have Gary Morrad to take charge of the lap scoring. There are a few others who are capable of operating the system, but if there is anyone who would be willing to learn how to use this piece of technology please let us know.  
    In early March, Dean and Colin updated the computer equipment in the trailer, so now it all runs on 4G. Well done to them.

    The club has been approached by the film company, Studio 20A. They are asking for a few "Mower Racing Families" to volunteer to take part in a film produced by Alex Thaxton. They are keen on filming the "culture" within the mower racing fraternity. They have promised not to be invasive. If there are any families out there who are not intimidated by cameras and fancy being filmed, please let Pete Hammerton or Ian Ratcliff know.

    Lastly, we are still looking for a volunteer to manage the bookkeeping. There is no need to attend any races or meetings as all info can be sent by email. All we need is someone to add the data to a Cashflow programme on a regular basis. Interested? If so, Then contact  Pete or Ian.
    Capel Report:
    Even though the numbers may have been swelled by the offer of a BBQ on the Saturday evening, we were all in buoyant mood. The blocks were picked up from Reservoir Dip, where they are normally stored, on Thursday evening just as the first rain in Surrey for several weeks, decided to fall.
    Many turned up to camp on Friday and settled down to an enjoyable evening of drink and chat amongst beautiful scenery in spite of the sounds of trains, cars and the frequent drone of low flying planes as they clawed their way into the sky having just taken off. It carried on until the early hours only to restart soon after 6 am. One of the drawbacks of sleeping under the Gatwick flight path.
    Early Saturday morning rain meant a damp start underfoot. Drivers' briefing was only 10 minutes late, welcoming the new members and advising of our rules and expectations. Setting up of track and race control followed. 
    Unfortunately for us, landowner Nick, had requested that the track should closely follow the track from last year, so the blocks that had previously been strategically dropped were now all in the wrong place. However, with a lot of willing help, the track was laid out. 
    With scrutineering, signing-on completed, and marshals in place, practice  began. 
    While practice was under way, the film crew from the BBC arrived and soon my time was taken up with them. Unusually, they were keen to film group 2, so Rob, their presenter, went out on Sam Ratcliff's mower and by all accounts really enjoyed himself although suffered from arm pump after completing 4 laps before practice finished.
    Instead of filming a mocked up race, Rob joined in gp2's first race of the day. After it finished, there followed the tedious filming, refilming and refilming of the interview. In the meantime, the others had completed 2 rounds of heats and the first full round of championship races.
    Lunch followed, and the afternoon races continued finishing with an animal race. This is the one where everyone races on the track at the same time. To save initial carnage the starts were staggered around the track.
    Being the first meeting of the season, there were a number of breakdowns throughout the weekend.
    Several spectacular roll overs were witnessed during the day as drivers ran out of talent around various parts of the track. 
    It was also heartening to see our very first LM Class mower out on the track raced by Harry Pickering. Although beset by problems, he persevered and has obviously not been put off as he has bought the Pink Ladies mower. Remember that iconic 12 hour mower? There are a few more LM mowers in the pipeline, so it shouldn't be too long before we see them in their own race.
    With racing over for the day, attention turned to food and the BBQ. Pete had arrived earlier with quantities of food, and Kiwi Johnson and Pugs Reeves got down to cooking burgers, sausages and chicken. Needless to say, all the cooked meat disappeared, with only some salad left at the end. A very pleasant evening finished with chatting while keeping warm around the fire.
    Rain fell through the night, but Sunday morning was dry and bright. With race direction reversed, practice went ahead. Again slippery first off, but soon the track dried out and became fast. A lot of exciting racing ensued and soon it was time for the second championship round of the day. Group 2 went out and Reg Funnell won in convincing form having created a substantial lead ahead of the ensuing pack. Group 3 lined up and set off. As the race progressed, Les Pantry became detached from the main bunch having had difficulty passing a slower mower. Once passed and eager to make up for lost time, he clipped a block, and was thrown from his mower. As Les continued to lay on the ground it soon became apparent that he was in trouble. The red flag went out terminating the race. The medic went across and administered first aid. An ambulance was called, and thanks to Andy Elphick for giving precise and accurate information to the emergency services, when they did arrive, they were well aware of Les's situation. Almost immediately after the ambulance arrived, a second one arrived but from the opposite end of the field. The decision was taken to close the meeting and while Les was being attended to and then lifted into the ambulance, the field was cleared. Once Les was safely on his way to East Surrey hospital, prize giving went ahead. Congratulations to all winners.
    Thanks to everyone who helped in any way following Les's accident, however small. 
    A special thanks to Charlie, who followed the ambulance to the hospital, kept Les company and then waited for Les's daughter to arrive before leaving, and to Pugs for taking Les's pickup and trailer to Mark Robinson then also going up to the hospital.

    Capel Results: 
    Group 2 
    1st      Reg Funnell
    2nd    Pugs Reeves
    3rd.    Roger Knowlson 

    Group 3
    1st.     Glyn Saunders 
    2nd.    Dean Fuller
    3rd.     Stuart Johnson

    Group 4
    1st.       Dan Godden
    2nd.     Carl Williams
    3rd.      Gary Botting

    Best newcomer: No250 Joe Stiddard-Jenkins racing on gp3 

    Championship Standings as at 13 May 2017

    Group 2 
    1st      Roger Knowlson   61 pts
    2nd    Reg Funnell           43  pts
    3rd.    Paul Johnson.       40 pts

    Group 3
    1st.     Stuart Johnson.     55 pts
    2nd.    Dean Fuller.            51 pts
    3rd.     Peter Sque.            47 pts

    Group 4
    1st.       Dan Godden.         61 pts
    2nd.     Karl Selby.              52 pts
    3rd.     Carl Williams.         33 pts

    The BLMRA