Grasstrack

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Grasstrack
Grasstrack.jpg
500 cc Grasstrack bike
Presence
Olympic No
Paralympic No

Motorcycle Grasstrack is a form of motorcycle racing which typically, in its current form, takes place on a flat track consisting of two straights and two bends usually constructed in a field. Mountain and hillside tracks are also common in the UK, creating more technically demanding circuits. It is one of the oldest types of motorcycle sports in the UK with the first meetings having taken place in the 1920s. Postwar grasstrack circuits included "permanent" venues such as Brands Hatch and Mallory Park which were not simple oval shapes, although solo motorcycle races were run in an anti-clockwise direction. Later, these were converted into tarmac circuits with races using the more common clockwise direction associated with modern roadracing. Competitors of the postwar era included now-famous names such as Bernie Ecclestone and Murray Walker. In the modern era, it is generally similar to Speedway with races usually taking place over 4 laps from a standing start. Unlike Speedway, which has 4 riders per race, Grasstrack racing can have many riders in each heat and the circuit is normally longer allowing higher speeds. Grasstrack has three solo classes, 250 cc, 350 cc and 500 cc together with three sidecar classes; left-handed 500 cc and 1000 cc (turning left) and right-handed 1000 cc (turning right).

Many famous Speedway riders such as 1976 world champion Peter Collins started their racing careers in Grasstrack. Some Speedway riders continue to take part in national Grasstrack meetings when their schedule permits.

The British Grasstrack season usually starts in early spring around the Easter holidays and runs through the summer/autumn months. More spectacular racing takes place at larger roped tracks including the Poacher and ASTRA Champion of Champions and Grand Slam meetings in Kent and in particular the most exciting meeting of all at the famous Rhodes Minnis circuit.

The pinnacle of the domestic Grasstrack season is the British Masters Championships. This official ACU championship is where the British champion is crowned in the mainstream 500 cc solo and 1000 cc right hand sidecar classes. The current British Masters champions are Andrew Appleton (500 cc solo) and Mark Cossar/Carl Blyth (1000 cc RH Sidecar).

In Europe the same sport is often called Long Track racing. This is exactly the same setup as British grasstrack which has tracks normally around 600–800 meters in length, but is held on the continent with tracks up to 1000–1200 meters in length and with speeds reaching 90 mph – 100 mph. The machinery used is the same as are the riders.

Grasstrack Motorcycles[edit]

Grasstrack racing motorcycles look quite similar to Speedway machines but there are different engine capacity limits for each class. In the UK there are classes for 250 cc (normally 2 stroke engines), 350 cc and 500 cc bikes (usually 4-stroke engines). Unlike Speedway bikes which have no gears, Grasstrack bikes usually have a 2 speed gearbox. Both Speedway and Grasstrack bike have no brakes. The only other main difference is that speedway bikes have no rear suspension and are shorter in length, usually by around 10–12 inches.

Also there is a class called Pre-75. These are bikes that have been made before 1975. The three classes in Pre-75, are 250, 350 and 500 cc.

As well as solo racing, sidecar racing is also quite popular and often very spectacular. There are mainly three recognised classes, 500 cc (using solo 4-stoke engines) and two 1000 cc classes (using stock road bike engines). Again, they all run on methanol, and the 500 cc class and the 1000cc Lefthand sidecar class run anti-clockwise around the oval track, and the 1000 cc class clockwise. The reason behind the difference in direction is often asked, the main reason being the origin of each class. The 500cc sidecars having been developed in mainland Europe, where drivers drive on the right of the road. The 1000cc sidecar has been developed in the UK where road users drive on the left. Therefore, the sidecar wheel is always found on the nearside of the vehicle.

The fastest recorded oval lap record is held by UK's Kelvin Tatum MBE at Rastede (1000 m Grass/Sand surface) in Germany at an average speed of 144.31 km/h.

Junior Grasstrack racing[edit]

Riders can start in Grasstrack racing at a young age (6 years old in the UK). Junior Grasstrack clubs cater for riders with motocross bikes as well as Grasstrack machines.

Organisation[edit]

Whilst there are several Grasstrack racing clubs in the UK, the sport is regulated by the governing body of British motorcycle sport, the Auto Cycle Union (ACU) who organise an annual British championship.

British Championships[edit]

The British Grasstrack Championships take place at two separate events. The 250 cc and 350 cc solo, 500 cc sidecar and 1000 cc Left Hand sidecar championships take place at the ACU British National Championships. The 500 cc Solos and 1000 cc Right Hand Sidecar Champions are decided at the ACU British Masters Championships. Qualification for the National Championships are by way of a National Gradings List. There is a British Masters Qualifying event held to determine qualification for the British Masters Final event.

The current ACU British Champions are Harland Cook (250 cc Solo), Richard Smith (350 cc Solo) Andrew Appleton (500 cc Solo), Shaun Harvey/Danny Hogg (500 cc Sidecar), Dave Penfold/Richard Webb (1000 cc Left Hand Sidecar) and Mark Cossar/Carl Blyth (1000 cc Right Hand Sidecar). The ACU British Under 21 Champion is Tom Perry.

The British Championships are important events, particularly for 500 cc solo and 500 cc sidecar riders. The results of the championships determine who is to represent the nation on an International level for the FIM World Longtrack Championships and the UEM European Sidecar Championships. More recently a World Championship has emerged for 1000 cc Right Hand sidecars. Qualification is determined on results from both the British Masters event and the British Sidecar Speedway Championships. Many 500 cc solo riders race Grasstrack for their profession, therefore a good result in the British Masters is essential.

List of British Grasstrack Champions[edit]

Year 250 cc Solo 350 cc Solo 500 cc Solo 500 cc Sidecar 1000 cc Sidecar LH Sidecar
2013 Harland Cook Matt Etherington Josh Goodwin/Liam Brown Will Penfold/Adrian North
2012 Harland Cook Andy Mellish AustraliaCameron Woodward Shaun Harvey/Danny Hogg Mark Cossar/Carl Blyth Dave Penfold/Richard Webb
2011 Craig Drury Jason Handley Andrew Appleton Josh Goodwin/Liam Brown Rod Winterburn/Liam Brown Dave Penfold/Richard Webb
2010 Harland Cook Richard Smith Andrew Appleton Shaun Harvey/Danny Hogg Mark Cossar/Carl Blyth Dave Penfold/Richard Webb
2009 Harland Cook Jason Handley Lewis Denham Nick Radley/Abi Radley Mark Cossar/Tom Cossar No Winners
2008 Paul Cooper Richard Smith Jason Handley Shaun Harvey/Danny Hogg Rob Bradley/Shaun Simpson Terry Nicholas/Michael Raymond
2007 Paul Cooper Jason Handley Glen Phillips Shaun Harvey/Danny Hogg Colin Blackbourn/Paul Whitelam Jnr Terry Nicholas/Michael Raymond
2006 Neil Taylor Jason Handley Andrew Appleton Shaun Harvey/Danny Hogg Rob Bradley/Shaun Simpson Martin Cuff/Steve North
2005 Lee Street Jason Handley Paul Hurry Shaun Harvey/Danny Hogg Rob Wilson/Ian Whale Tony Penfold/Steve Fish
2004 David Knowles Lewis Denham Paul Hurry Shaun Harvey/Danny Hogg Paul Whitelam/Kevin Jones Tony Penfold/Carl Bell
2003 Adam Shipp Paul Cooper Joe Screen Lester Goodwin/Andrew Stevens Rob Bradley/Tristan Winterburn Hywel Phillips/Aled Thomas
2002 Adam Shipp Jason Handley Paul Hurry Lester Goodwin/Andrew Stevens John Halsey/Jason Glenie Terry Nicholas/Mike Harrison
2001 Paul Cooper Jason Handley Kelvin Tatum and

Glenn Cunningham (shared)

Lester Goodwin/Andrew Stevens Rob Bradley/Tristan Winterburn and

Gary Jackson/Carl Pugh (shared)

Hywel Phillips/Aled Thomas
2000 Lee Street Tony Atkin Kelvin Tatum Lester Goodwin/Clive Goodwin Rob Wilson/Tony Miles Martin Cuff/Jason Relf
1999 Mark Wadsworth Tony Atkin Kelvin Tatum Lester Goodwin/Clive Goodwin John Halsey/Jason Glenie Hywel Phillips/Jamie Moss
1998 Richard Smith Jason Handley Rained off-No Champion Lester Goodwin/Clive Goodwin Rained off-No Champions Martin Cuff/Jason Relf
1997 Jason Stott Tony Atkin Paul Hurry Paul Miller/Dave Collin Gary Jackson/Mick Stace Barry Geer/Robin Geer
1996 Mark Wadsworth Jason Handley Kelvin Tatum Paul Miller/Dave Collin Gary Jackson/Mick Stace No Winners
1995 Carl Wilkes Paul Hurry Joe Screen Paul Miller/Lester Goodwin Roger Measor/Shane Lapham Neal Owen/Andrew Evans
1994 Mark Wadsworth Tommy Palmer Simon Cross Kevin Leide/Dick Oldroyd Roger Measor/Shane Lapham Luke Patcholl/Julian Browning
1993 Graham Thomas Tony Atkin Mark Loram Brian Palmer/Scott Dunn Ivor Matthews/Peter Jones Bill Penfold/Nigel Shaw
1992 Graham Thomas Andy Riley Joe Screen Kevin Leide/Alan Pithouse Ken Lane/Mark Edwards Tommy Penfold/Liam Chivers
1991 Mark Wadsworth Andy Riley Mark Loram Cecil Taylor/Ian Thompson Richard Piggott/Martin Bailey John Fish/Gary Moore
1990 Mark Wadsworth Andy Riley Simon Wigg Carl Squirrell/Lyn Green Steve Smith/Keith Wall Terry Patcholl/Luke Patcholl
1989 Mark Wadsworth Joe Screen Simon Wigg Cecil Taylor/Alistair Haggarty Steve Dewison/Dave Ward Dave Penfold/Keith Miles
1988 Andy Phillips Andy Phillips Steve Schofield Cecil Taylor/Tex Goodwin Steve Dewison/Dave Ward John Fish/Martin Smith
1987 Mark Wadsworth Simon Cross Martin Hagon Cecil Taylor/Tex Goodwin Steve Dewison/Dave Ward Barry Huggett/Nigel Shaw
1986 Mark Wadsworth Steve Schofield Simon Cross Nick Radley/Shaun Harvey Roger Measor/Dave Harris Ernie Penfold/Dave Apps
1985 Mark Wadsworth Steve Schofield Simon Wigg Nick Radley/Chris O'Connell Roger Measor/Dave Harris Dave Penfold/Tom Penfold
1984 Mark Wadsworth Steve Schofield Martin Hagon Nick Radley/Chris O'Connell Alan Blewitt/Barry Metcalfe Ernie Penfold/Dave Apps
1983 Mark Wadsworth Steve Schofield Simon Wigg Cecil Taylor/Mal Goodwin Steve Smith/Trevor Pye Barry Huggett/Nigel Shaw
1982 Mark Wadsworth Steve Schofield Simon Wigg Nick Radley/Chris O'Connell Ted Tucker/Dave Ward Jim Penfold/Steve Dempsey
1981 Dave Baybutt Steve Schofield Simon Wigg Clyde Cardy/Allan Morrison Dennis Teasdale/Keith Chapman Mick Turrall/Tony Strivens
1980 Jeremy Doncaster Steve Schofield Trevor Banks Steve Smith/Trevor Pye Steve Smith/Trevor Pye Ernie Penfold/Nigel Shaw
1979 Dave Baybutt Clayton Williams Trevor Banks Clyde Cardy/Allan Morrison Dave Heath/Ray Andrews
1978 Mark Wadsworth Gerald Short Brian Webb Rob Stoneman/Rowland Broomfield Steve Smith/Trevor Pye
1977 Mark Nicholson John Britcher Chris Baybutt No event Ken Smith/Mick Burr
1976 Chris Baybutt John Britcher Brian Maxted No event Ted Scott/John Atkinson
1975 Dave Brown Chris Morton John Britcher No event Alan Artus/Graham Higgin
1974 Chris Baybutt Gerald Short Chris Baybutt No event Ted Scott/John Atkinson
1973 Dave Baybutt Stan Luck Brian Maxted No event Steve Smith/Roy French
1972 Chris Baybutt Peter Collins Don Godden No event Cecil Taylor/Brian Knight
1971 Tony Black Peter Collins Brian Maxted No event Roger Measor/Trevor Bullock
1970 Mervyn Price Chris Pusey Chris Pusey No event Gerry Wheeler/John Holt
1969 Dave Baybutt Chris Pusey Brian Maxted No event John Miell/David Miell
1968 Chris Stewart Bill Bridgett Andy Ross No event Dave Hunter/Brian Cox
1967 Fred Watts Chris Stewart Don Godden No event Mick Webster/John Justice
1966 Don Godden Tony Black Tony Black No event Mick Webster/John Justice
1965 No event Tony Black Don Godden No event Dave Hunter/Ivan Kitching
1964 No event Alf Hagon Reg Luckhurst No event Bryan Rust/Dave Heath
1963 No event Alf Hagon Reg Luckhurst No event Nigel Mead/Dave Hunter
1962 No event Alf Hagon Alf Hagon No event Bryan Rust/Dave Heath
1961 No event Alf Hagon Denys Goodacre No event Bill Evans/Ian Paskin
1960 No event Alf Hagon Austin Cresswell No event Bill Evans/Ron Jones
1959 No event Alf Hagon Alf Hagon No event Freddie French/Gordon Wosley
1958 No event New ZealandMurray Briggs New ZealandMurray Briggs No event Chris Vincent/Ivan Kitching
1957 No event Martin Tatum Martin Tatum No event Bill Evans/Ron Jones
1956 No event Austin Cresswell Alf Hagon No event Bill Evans/Ron Jones
1955 No event Denys Goodacre Martin Tatum No event Bill Evans/Ron Jones
1954 No event Alf Hagon Alf Hagon No event Bill Evans/Ron Jones
1953 No event Sid Mintey Austin Cresswell No event Derek Yorke/Jim Green
1952 No event Sid Mintey Austin Cresswell No event Derek Slate/AN Other
1951 No event Sid Mintey Dick Tolley No event Cyril Smith/AN Other

European and World Championships[edit]

The FIM, the World's motorcycle racing authority run a World Longtrack series as well as a World Team Cup. Although both events are named 'Longtrack', they often are competed for on Grass. The World Longtrack series competitors must qualify through a series of Qualifiers. Riders must be selected by their nations motorcycling authority. Riders then must compete in Qualifying rounds and hotly contested Semi Finals before reaching the World Longtrack series proper. The World Team Cup involves each team consisting of 3 riders racing each other for points. The top team at the end is the winner. Germany have won this event both times it has been run.

The UEM hold a European Grasstrack championship, where qualification is similar to the World Longtrack. However, the competition culminates in a one-day event. The UEM also holds a European Championship for sidecar competitors. 500 cc sidecar machines from several countries compete in 2 semi finals, and the championship is decided on a one day final.

List of World Longtrack Champions[edit]

European Individual Championship (1957-1970)

Year Solos
2013 Sweden Joonas Kylmakorpi
2012 Finland Joonas Kylmakorpi
2011 Finland Joonas Kylmakorpi
2010 Finland Joonas Kylmakorpi
2009 Germany Gerd Riss
2008 Germany Gerd Riss
2007 Germany Gerd Riss
2006 Germany Robert Barth
2005 Germany Robert Barth
2004 Germany Gerd Riss
2003 Germany Robert Barth
2002 Germany Robert Barth
2001 Germany Gerd Riss
2000 England Kelvin Tatum
1999 Germany Gerd Riss
1998 England Kelvin Tatum
1997 Germany Tommy Dunker
1996 Germany Gerd Riss
1995 England Kelvin Tatum
1994 England Simon Wigg
1993 England Simon Wigg
1992 Switzerland Marcel Gerhard
1991 Germany Gerd Riss
1990 England Simon Wigg
1989 England Simon Wigg
1988 Germany Karl Maier
1987 Germany Karl Maier
1986 Denmark Erik Gundersen
1985 England Simon Wigg
1984 Denmark Erik Gundersen
1983 United States Shawn Moran
1982 Germany Karl Maier
1981 England Michael Lee
1980 Germany Karl Maier
1979 Germany Alois Wiesbock
1978 Germany Egon Muller
1977 Sweden Anders Michanek
1976 New Zealand Ivan Mauger
1975 Germany Egon Muller
1974 Germany Egon Muller
1973 Denmark Ole Olsen
1972 New Zealand Ivan Mauger
1971 New Zealand Ivan Mauger
1970 Norway Jon Odegaard
1969 England Don Godden
1968 Germany Manfred Poschenreider
1967 Germany Manfred Poschenreider
1966 Germany Manfred Poschenreider
1965 Sweden Bjorn Knutsen
1964 Denmark Kurt W Petersen
1963 Sweden Bertil Stridh
1962 Sweden Bertil Stridh
1961 Finland Timo Laine
1960 Germany Josef Hofmeister
1959 Germany Josef Hofmeister
1958 Germany Josef Hofmeister
1957 Norway Basse Hveen

List of European Grasstrack Champions[edit]

Year Solos Sidecars
2012 Germany Stephan Katt Germany Tommy Kunert/Markus Eibl
2011 Germany Martin Smolinski Netherlands William Mattijssen/Nathalie Matthijssen
2010 England Andrew Appleton Germany Tommy Kunert/Markus Eibl
2009 Germany Stephan Katt Netherlands William Mattijssen/Nathalie Matthijssen
2008 France Stephane Tresarrieu GermanyTommy Kunert/Markus Eibl
2007 Netherlands Theo Pijper Netherlands William Matthijssen/Nathalie Matthijssen
2006 Germany Stephan Katt Germany Tommy Kunert/Bernard Kreuzer
2005 England Paul Hurry Netherlands Sven Holstein/Desiree Daubert
2004 Netherlands Theo Pijper Germany Tommy Kunert/Bernard Kreuzer
2003 Germany Gerd Riss Germany Tommy Kunert/Hermann Bacher
2002 Germany Sirg Schutzbach Germany Josef Onderka/Martin Wamprechtshammer
2001 Netherlands Maik Groen Germany Tommy Kunert/Marco Hundsrucker
2000 Czech Republic Zdeněk Schneiderwind Germany Josef Onderka/Martin Wamprechtshammer
1999 Germany Bernd Diener Germany Tommy Kunert/Hermann Bacher
1998 Czech Republic Zdeněk Schneiderwind Germany Josef Onderka/Uwe Kuhberger
1997 No Event Germany Josef Onderka/Uwe Kuhberger
1996 Australia Steve Johnston Germany Tommy Kunert/Marco Hundsrucker
1995 England Kelvin Tatum Germany Tommy Kunert/Wolfgang Maier
1994 Germany Robert Barth Netherlands Marco Glorie/Harry Drenth
1993 England Richard Musson Germany Karl Keil/Joachim Reeg
1992 Netherlands Anne Van Der Helm Germany Josef Onderka/Wolfgang Huber
1991 Russia Rif Saitgareev Germany Josef Onderka/Richard Wolf
1990 Germany Robert Barth Germany Josed Onderka/Richard Wolf
1989 Germany Robert Barth Germany Josef Onderka/Josef Feigl
1988 Germany Frank Kehlenbeck Germany Karl Keil/Joachim Reeg
1987 Czech Republic Roman Matousek Germany Josef Onderka/Frank Onderka
1986 England Simon Cross Germany Josef Onderka/Frank Onderka
1985 England Clayton Williams Germany H. Pagel/J.Zaddach
1984 England Martin Hagon Germany Michael Datzmann/Robert Datzmann
1983 Germany Christian Brandt Germany Michael Datzmann/Robert Datzmann
1982 England Jeremy Doncaster Germany Michael Datzmann/Robert Datzmann
1981 England Neil Farnish Germany Michael Datzmann/Robert Datzmann
1980 Germany Willi Stauch Germany Oliver Bauer/Paul Steiglbrunner
1979 England Gerald Short No Event
1978 England Chris Baybutt No Event

See also[edit]

External links[edit]