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Race Reports 99



Rounds 15 and 16

The last race weekend of the 1999 British Championship. There were scores to be settled in all the groups, especially in the Bonneted class, where there has been some very good racing all year.

SATURDAY: As usual the Group three race was on first with Satu Etheridge leading for the first 7 laps whilst everyone else sorted themselves out behind. Simon Chennel and Ron Gray started to give Satu a hard time and Ron got ahead of Simon before taking the lead. Not far behind was Andy Stemp who had by now made a lot of ground and had taken second from Simon as Satu slipped down the grid. Before long Simon had been passed by Kevin Slyfield who had made steady progress up the field with Ian Tanswell not far behind.

As the flag fell It was Ron in first with Andy second and Kevin in third.

In the Bonneted class Marcus Burton made a storming start and led away from Jason Kanabus and Mike Wallington. Mike was unable to get passed Jason and Marcus as able to stretch his lead. The others could only watch as Marcus took first with Jason second and Mike in third.

The Group Twos were up next and Steve Hodgson got the jump on Mike Cresswell to lead away. The two of them battled for the next four laps when Mike managed to get passed. Nick Durrant was hanging in the wings hoping to pick up the pieces, which never came. Mike took first with Steve second and Nick in third.

SUNDAY: The last race and everyone out to do their best. The Group Threes came out with Satu Etheridge having a battle with Paul Lovett and Kevin Slyfield right from the start. At first Paul was able to make the most of it by taking the lead but it was also Kevin’s chance to take a win as they fought to the flag. Kevin got his win with Paul having to take second and in third came Ron Gray who had fought his way though passed Simon Chennel.

The Tractors were up next with Mike Wallington and Marcus Burton having their own battle but Jason Kanabus was there to spoil the day. As Marcus and Mike fought it out through the race Jason got away to take a win with Mike in second and Steve Titcomb in third.

In Group Two Carol Smith led the title contenders away as Mike Cresswell, Bob Wilson and Steve Hodgson battled behind to take the other places. But Carol was passed on the 4th lap by Mike who was soon joined by Steve Hodgson. Bob tried to stay in touch as Mike and Steve fought all the way to the flag, with Mike in first and Steve just behind. Bob took third with Mark Head-Rapson in fourth.

The lap keepers would like to thank Bob Wilson for keeping them "sweet" every race weekend. The constant supply of chocolate has enticed them out onto the circuit to lap chart in rain or shine. As always we are very grateful for what the Lap Keepers have done over the year.


Rounds 13 and 14

The first race since the 12 hour and a great turn out of mowers, there were even 12 group twos in the Championship race.

A new venue for this year and one of the flattest tracks for a long time. The dust though was a problem but plenty of racing went on under the hot rays of the sun.


The Group 3 Championship race up first. Satu Etheridge and Debbie Harding led the Championship contenders away for a long 15 lap race. Paul Lovett and Kevin Slyfield took up the chase and passed the girls by lap 4, but they too were being hunted by Barry Stemp and Ian Tanswell riding Andy Stemp’s mower (Ian broke his steering in practice). The four of them had a great battle swapping places and by lap 10 it was Barry in the lead with Ian second and Kevin in third with Paul fourth. They all held their places to the chequered flag.

In the Bonneted Championship Marcus Burton and Mike Wallington had a superb race battling away from the start right up to the chequered flag, Marcus taking first with Mike in second. Steve Titcomb held third place hoping to pick up any pieces if the two chargers came together with Mark Packman in fourth and Ronald Davis in fifth.

The Group Two race produced a great battle at the front with Mike Cresswell being made to earn his eventual win. Steve Hodgson beat him of the line to take the lead and tried to hold Mike off who was being hounded by Bob Wilson. On the second lap Mike had grabbed the lead and Steve held on to Mike to take second with Bob Wilson still in with a shout in third.


The Group Threes started the day off with more heavy battles. Satu Etheridge and Sean Jonas spent the first two laps trading first and second until Paul Lovett gained second when Satu dropped of the track. Sean fended him off for four laps before he succumbed to Paul’s charge. He was soon passed by Andy Stemp who went on to take first and Barry got passed Paul to take third who had to be content with third.

The Bonneted had yet another excellent race with Mike Wallington and Marcus Burton going hammer and tongs at each other Mike came of worse and rolled out of first place handing the lead to Marcus who became the eventual winner with Jason Kanabus picking up second and Mike rescuing third ahead of Ronald Davis and Mark Packman.

The Group Twos had some old scores to settle with Steve Hodgson desperate to beat Mike Cresswell. As the flag dropped Mike and Steve went side by side round the track with Mike eventually claiming first place and Steve in second who had Bob Wilson hassling him in third. Mark Head-Rapson tried to hold on but as the flag dropped Mike still had the lead from Steve with Bob still in third.


RACE 6 ~ LINGFIELD - Steam Rally

Rounds 11 and 12

The last race prior to the 12 Hour saw a few extra racers getting in some more practice and testing new machines.

The dust was appalling with visibility down to a minimum. The Lap Keepers did very well to keep the charts up to date and to even know who won.

The water bouzer was on the track very regularly and everyone took the opportunity to get themselves soaked.

The Group 3 Championship was first onto he grid with Satu Etheridge leading the field away. It wasn’t long before Paul Lovett and Philip Elvin had got passed but Satu held onto third for most of the race before the inevitable, Ian Tanswell when passed and took third, three laps later he had taken second but there he remained sandwiched behind Paul and Philip.

The Bonneted got there own race for the first time with four starters. Marcus Burton led the way with Mark Packman just behind. He briefly took the lead when Marcus retired and then Mike Wallington took first. Steve Titcomb retired early on. Mike came through as the winner with Mark in second.

In Group 2 the racing was static as they came to terms with the dust. Mike Cresswell led from the start to the finish with Steve Hodgson in second and Bob Wilson in third.

On the Sunday with the track well watered Mark Aldridge was the first of the line and held of Paul Lovett who could not get passed for most of the race. Paul and Mark became the prey of Ian Tanswell by lap 12 when he passed both of them to take the chequered flag.

There were six Bonneted mowers out for their own race. Marcus Burton led away but was having his main battle with Martin King in second place on an Ariens and by mid way they had swapped places. The following lap Marcus retook his lead position and held onto it until the chequered flag. Steve Titcomb took third with Mike Wallington in fourth.

In Group 2 the race was an identical finish to the day before. Mike Cresswell took first with Steve Hodgson in second and Bob Wilson in third.


RACE 5 ~ CALDICOT - The Medieval Banquet

Rounds 9 and 10

One of the highlights each year is the Wales weekend held in the grounds of Caldicot Castle. This is arranged by David Haylins and each year there is the Banquet.

This year there was the battle of the landowners Baron and Baroness Von Ditch (Head-Rapson) and Lord and Lady Tanswell who pitched up with there 26 ft caravan, 4 bedrooms, two en-suite, two receptions and a conservatory. It had no awning, apparently planning permission had been refused by the Baron. The gate house (ex Tanswell Caravan) now occupied by C Fox the groundsman, was exempt and allowed to pitch no closer than 500yds.

The rest of the reprobates had to pitch around the race track at the foot of the castle in a separate field.

With many sore heads on Saturday morning there was a very slow start, practice taking place at 12.15 and racing underway at 1.30. There was a short pause at 3.00 as a wedding took place. Apparently the noise of racing mowers on a wedding video doesn’t sound too good.

The Group 3 Championship was led away by Simon Chennell with Colin Fox and Ian Tanswell trading places behind him. By the sixth lap Ian and Colin were passed and off into the distance with Mark Rapson trying to keep in touch. Simon had by now retired handing fourth place to Sean Jonas.

In the Bonneted class Marcus Burton and Mike Wallington exchange first place fairly regularly with Mike being the eventual winner Marcus second and Mark Packman in third.

The Group 2s had a very leisurely race with Mike Cresswell leading from the start to the finish with Bob Wilson in second and Steve Hodgson in third. Mark Head-Rapson tried to battle his way through but had to settle with fifth behind Chris Glanville-Brown.

On Sunday Marcus Burton led the field away on his Bonneted Gazelle until lap five when he was passed by Ian Tanswell and two laps later by Ron Gray who took second. Coiln Fox eventually took second from Ron and the three of them held their positions to the flag.

Marcus Burton driving a superb race, took the win in the Bonneted class with Mike Wallington second and mark Packman third.

In Group 2 Mike Cresswell led again from start to finish but behind him Bob Wilson and Steve Hodgson battled away for second place, which Bob secured as Steve fell into the clutches of Nick Durrant who took third leaving Steve with Fourth.



Rounds 7 and 8

The second new venue this year, at the foot of the hills near Calne. Some likened it to Uffington, though the cowpats were very fresh and smelly. Of course there were also a few flying about as people decided to spin the wheels.

Another revived mower racing custom took place, Jousting, but not at people. It was the person who could collect the most rings off the bales.

Saturdays Championship got underway about 1.00pm with Suzy Jee leading the field, (She went on to excel herself in the Heats by winning overall). Mark Rapson soon took the lead with Paul Lovett in hot pursuit. They soon had to contend with Colin Fox and Andy Stemp who were reeling them in. Andy got by, taking the lead and went on to win with Mark dropping to second, Paul couldn’t fend of Colin’s charge and dropped to fourth.

The tractors had there battle with Steve Titcomb beating Mike Wallington and Mark Packman retiring when his wheel fell off.

The group two’s were having there own battles with Mike Cresswell and Paul Hills having an early go at each other. Paul fell to third as Mark Head-Rapson went passed but had to settle for second as he was unable to catch his quarry!

Sunday dawned and another round of Championship battles resumed. Suzy Jee again led the field even holding back the charge of Andy Stemp. He soon went passed as did his championship rivals Colin Fox, and Ian Tanswell. Trevor Stemp soon joined in chasing his brother for first but retired handing second to Colin and third to Mark Rapson who had managed to lever his way passed Ian. In the Bonneted class Mike Wallington came home first after a steady race with Mark Packman just behind. Steve Titcomb retired early on.

The group 2 race was very uneventful Mike Cresswell led from start to finish with Mark Head-Rapson unable to close. Steve Hodgson was third and unable to do anything about mark in front. Bob Wilson got a valuable fourth place from Clive Atton, which he held to the end.

There was some excellent racing throughout the weekend, and hopefully we will return again next year.

The Group three Championship now is very close at the top, with one point separting first, second and third. In The Bonneted class Steve Titcomb has taken the lead with the others not far behind. In Group two Mike Cresswell is extending his lead but the others can still catch him.



Rounds 5 and 6

A new venue this year, tucked away in the sleepy village of Kirdford, the Mower Racing circus arrived to shatter the peace!!

The Championship on Saturday for the Group threes started with Satu Etheridge leading before handing over to Paul Lovett who had to contend with Colin Fox and Ian Tanswell battling behind for eight laps in a fifteen lap race. As the race came to a close Ian managed to grab the lead from Paul who had tangled with Colin dropping to second and fifth respectively. Philip Elvin benefited from this to take third, with Kevin Slyfield in fourth.

In Group two, Bob Wilson had returned after missing the last event. He had a point to make and was desperate for a win. Mike Cresswell sped of into the lead with Steve Hodgson not far behind. Steve race was run after three laps with Nick Durrant being elevated to second. Behind him Mark Head-Rapson and Bob Wilson were making their way though, but not quick enough. Mike Cresswell took the win with Mark second and Bob third.

After all this excitement the day ended with a beer race!

As Sunday dawned there was no Colin Fox or Ian Tanswell, but the arrival of Barry and Trevor Stemp meant there was to be a real tussle in the race.

Satu made a good start as usual but Philip Elvin, buoyed by yesterdays success, grabbed the lead fending of Barry Stemp and Kevin Slyfield, who had made steady progress though the field. On the penultimate lap Barry took the lead and cruised to the flag with Philip in second and Kevin in third.

The Group two race became a battle of the titans with Mike Cresswell and Bob Wilson battling from the start to the finish, Mike coming home first and Bob second. Paul Hills could only watch until his retirement on the penultimate lap when Mark Head-Rapson took third. The rest just had to watch.

With only five points between Mike Cresswell and Mark Head-Rapson, there should be a good battle at Heddington.



Rounds 3 and 4

Saturday is the traditional day for silly races and for the families to wander round the show prior to the main events of Sunday and Monday.

New for Saturday was Mower Polo. There were two teams, the reds and the yellows, consisting of four players parading around with flags on their helmets and swinging short polo mallets. The ball was a football which didn't last more than 30 seconds as Ian Tanswell ran it over and it burst. Luckily there was another in reserve which lasted a lot longer and what a laugh they all had. It proved such a success that a return match was held on the Sunday with both teams scores being one game each.

On Sunday normal racing resumed with the championship races for both groups on a kidney shaped track.

Bob Wilson was unfit to race and saw his championship lead lost to Mike Cresswell, as he fell to fifth in the table.

Mike had a good weekend leading both races from start to finish though Mark Head-Rapson gave him a hard time on the Sunday and settled for second and on the Monday he got third after being pipped by Steve Hodgson who claimed third spot the day before.

The Group 3 races were full of action with newcomer Alex Baylis fending of Colin Fox for the majority of Sundays race before retiring. Colin soon lost his inherited lead as the Stemp brothers, Andy and Trevor, got past with Ian Tanswell again taking first place. Colin had to be content with fourth.

On the Monday Debbie Harding on the Allen National gave the Lawnbugs a really hard time. She managed to hold of a determined charge by Andy Stemp and Ian Tanswell, only for the three of them having a coming together. Ian dropped to 7th and had it all to do. Andy got the lead with the other Stemp brother, Barry, taking second and Debbie in third. Ian had to console himself with sixth place but still maintained his lead in the championship.


Rounds 1 and 2

The start of the season certainly drew in the regular racers and a lot of new faces, which was very refreshing. There were four new tractors, all experiencing some teething problems but they were definitely keen!! Steve Titcomb and Paul Cox made alterations to the ex Header Mowersport 12 Hr machine all weekend. Paul thought he had more chance of staying upright if he changed mowers!!

The Gp3 championship race on both days was very close with Colin Fox winning on the Saturday and going top of the leader board after a very good battle with Paul Lovett. This battle resumed on the Sunday but after they made contact nearing the end of the race Colin fell to the back of the field and losing his championship lead to Ian Tanswell, who won the race

The Gp2 championship got of to a great start, along with Carol Smith in the ex Terry Sawkins machine and the group 3 defector Steve Hodgson joining in the battles. Mike Cresswell soon found that his competitive edge had been lost as Bob Wilson threw down the gauntlet and beat Mike on both days after numerous battles.

This season certainly looks to be a very competitive one..........................



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Last modified: September 30, 1999