Gareth Bemister Report (British Sand Ace Championship 2012)

Condor Ferries Sand Ace British Championships

The tide finally revealed a near perfect flat surface for a track to be laid upon. The organisers quickly put out the cones, moved the commentators vans and set up the pits, ready for the much anticipated Sand Ace British Championships- the biggest Sand Racing event in living memory at Vazon Bay. The last of the surfers made their way back across the track, allowing practice to commence. The sidecars practised first and the speed was just incredible. It was obvious to all that this was going to be something special. Before too long, the whole sea wall was packed with spectators, in some places 4 or 5 deep.

Race 1 (Sidecars) 1st. Winterburn/Brown, 2nd. Lloyd/Whetstone, 3rd. Gribble/Schofield, 4th. Stace/Shearer, 5th. Headland/Little, 6th. Wynn/Masterton

The anticipation was clear for all to see as a nervous Mark Cossar came to the line a heat early in the opening race of the afternoon. He was quickly sent back into the pits, his time would come later. The first ever sidecar bend of this event saw an immediate clash. World Champion Mick Headland made a cracking start from the outside and tried to come across the pack, only to be barged wide. He went backwards from there, clearly struggling with machinery. It was Pete Lloyd/Daryl Whetstone who took up the lead and lead for three laps. However, he was riding a wide line and showed too much track to Rod Winterburn/Liam Brown who slipped by on the inside on the back straight, the waves still lapping at the outer cones. There were cones everywhere after this heat. The sidecars were running on a larger circuit than the solos, so had their own corners. Mick Stace probably took his biggest scalp to date, passing Headland in the latter stages of the race.

Race 2 (Sidecars)1st. Wilson/Saunters, 2nd. Cossar/Blyth, 3rd. Tyrrell/Courtney, 4th. Moore/Winspear

Rob Wilson/Terry Saunters, mounted on a speedway/grasstrack hybrid, leapt out of the start early and came across Mark Cossar/Carl Blyth entering the first bend. He never looked back from here. Neal Owen/Wayne Rickards looked quick on the bends, coming up the inside of Cossar/Blyth, but were visibly down on power and eventually asked too much of the Godden. It came to a halt on Lap 3 coming over the start finish line. It was still running, but was not sending any power to the back wheel…the Godden would live again. Winterburn Jnr also came to grief late in the race, coming to a grinding halt. A good win for Rob Wilson/Terry Saunters.

Race 3 (Solos) 1st. Martyn Sturgeon, 2nd. Anthony Queripell, 3rd. Dave Hammond, 4th. Scott Cresswell, 5th. Danny Boyle, 6th. Jamie Griffiths, 7th. Colin Teed

After a crash in practice, Paul Morfey took no further part in the meeting. Martyn Sturgeon and Anthony Queripell made an even start but Sturgeon pushed Queripell wide on the first bend. Queripell, with a spectacular longtrack style, pushed Sturgeon hard for two laps on a tight line before clipping one of the sidecar circuit cones on the outside, letting Sturgeon get away. Danny Boyle picked up a cone on his foot rest and amusingly continued with it attached, seemingly oblivious! The style of Anthony Queripell was poetry in motion.

Race 4 (Solos) 1st. Paul Evitts, 2nd. Scott Anderson, 3rd. Bob Teed, 4th. Aaron Pease, 5th. Kevin Bishop, 6th. Steve Tideswell

A great start by Steve Daw saw him streak away from the pack, not looking challenged. However, on the entrance to lap 3, he threw a chain going into the pit bend, gifting the lead to veteran Paul Evitts. He didn’t have it all his own way, as former Mablethorpe regular Scott Anderson showed he was at home on the sand and pushed Evitts all the way to the line. At the back, Steve Tideswell had a moment when he ran wide on the home straight, coming very close to the commentary box. For some reason in this race, only the first three were credited with a finish. The other riders clearly completed four laps, so I have included them in the results.

Race 5 (Solos) 1st. Danny Warwick, 2nd. Anthony Bougard, 3rd. Mike Clarke, 4th. Rod Melksham, 5th. Mike McLusky, 6th. John Weeks, 7th. Dave Patten

As the riders came to the line, Anthony Bougard was seen with a camera strapped to the front of his machine. Sadly, the camera was no longer there when he finished! The day started disastrously for Rob Fortune, breaking down as he left the line. Guernsey rider Bougard made a cracking start and led the first lap before being disposed of by a determined looking Danny Warwick. On the final bend, Bougard slowed right up, appearing to be in trouble. As he looked back, he saw fellow Channel Islander Mike Clarke bearing down on him and Bougard popped a wheelie down the home straight. A good ride by Rod Melksham saw him work his way back up through the back to fourth.

Race 6 (Solos) 1st. Harland Cook, 2nd. Marcus Bisson, 3rd. Mitch Godden, 4th. Martyn Guilbert, 5th. Jody Hodgson, 6th. Bill Cohu, 7th. Lee Bartlett, 8th . Dave Cleal

Harland Cook made use of an inside gate to push Mitch Godden wide on the first bend. Mitch entered the bottom bend in second, but overcooked it mid turn, allowing Marcus Bisson past. Godden had no answer to the veteran Channel Islander and was even challenged by Martyn Guilbert towards the end of the race. A great battle ensued between Bill Cohu, Lee Bartlett and Dave Cleal, scrapping over 6th place. Cook looked mighty quick in his opening heat.

Race 7 (Sidecars) 1st.Winterburn/Brown, 2nd. Owen/Rickards, 3rd. Winterburn/Winterburn, 4th. Lloyd/Whetstone, 5th. Stace/Shearer, 6th. Moore/Winspear

Great to see both Neal Owen and Gareth Winterburn still running after pulling up in their opening rides. In the first asking of Race 7, the race was stopped when Neal Owen was clear of the field. The first turn of the sidecars had been completely desecrated, meaning that there was no corner left for the riders to aim for! So the race was rerun. The Godden of Owen/Rickards looked much quicker. In the rerun, again it was the Welsh crew who leapt in front again but still suffered from a lack of power on the long, long straights compared to the crossplane R1 power of Rod Winterburn. The R1 looked like a guided missile as it tore down the back straight of the beach and past the hard working V-Twin. Again, cones were everywhere on the track and the riders had asked that marshalls showed yellow flags on the bends when there were cones in the track. Needless to say, the marshalls spent most of the races with their yellow flags out, such was the closeness of the racing. In this race, Rod Winterburn/Liam Brown were caught on the speed gun going 95mph!

Race 8 (Sidecars) 1st. Wilson/Saunters, 2nd. Cossar/Blyth, 3rd. Headland/Little, 4th. Tyrrell/Courtney, 5th. Wynn/Masterton,

Again Rob Wilson/Terry Saunters made a flying start and took off, leaving the rest of the field to scrap amongst themselves. A great four lap battle ensued between Mark Cossar/Carl Blyth and Mick Headland/Gareth Little. Both riders capitalised on the others mistakes and the race toed and froed throughout. At one point Mark Cossar struggled to remove a tear off and nearly lost control of the machine, the front wheel clearly turning inward whilst he battled with the machine with one hand. On the last bend, the Aussie ran wide, letting Cossar up the inside and winning the mad dash to the line. After a poor start by Andy Gribble/Ben Schofield, they caught the pack in the pit bend, but picked up drive violently mid corner and pulled off into the middle of the track. Another convincing win for Wilson.

Race 9 (Solos) 1st. Danny Warwick, 2nd. Harland Cook, 3rd. Scott Anderson, 4th. Mike McLusky, 5th. Martyn Guilbert, 6th. Jamie Griffiths, 7th. Kevin Bishop

A cracking start for Mike McLusky saw him lead into the first turn but he picked up drive in the middle of the turn and ran wide, dragging Harland Cook wide with him. This gifted Warwick with the chance to slide past the pair of them and lead home. The Scot went on to have a great battle with Martyn Guilbert, both riders leaning on one another and showing tremendous mutual trust.

Race 10 (Solos) 1st. Mitch Godden, 2nd. Martyn Sturgeon, 3rd. Anthony Queripell, 4th. Mike Clarke, 5th. Rod Melksham, 6th. Aaron Pease, 7th. Jody Hodgson, 8th. Bob Teed

This time, Mitch Godden showed why he has won the title five times. He shot off the start and fought off an early attack by Anthony Queripell, who pushed Godden hard for two laps. Queripell made a mistake on the pit bend which allowed Sturgeon a way through. Towards the end of the race, Mike Clarke also caught Queripell, but ran out of laps to pass him. A good chase to the line for 6th between Aaron Pease and Jody Hodgson was eventually won by the former, who looked tidy and at home on the sand.

Race 11 (Solos) 1st. Adam Filmer, 2nd. Marcus Bisson, 3rd. Anthony Bougard, 4th. Scott Cresswell, 5th. Dave Hammond, 6th. John Weeks, 7th. Lee Bartlett, 8th. Steve Tideswell

The race was won by Adam Filmer early on as he managed to get some space between himself and the rest of the pack early on. A tremendous scrap for second occurred between Bougard, Bisson and Cresswell, which allowed FIlmer even more of an opportunity to get his head down and go. Once Marcus Bisson had won the battle for second, he sought after the lead and did manage to push Filmer to the line.

Race 12 (Solos) 1st. Steve Daw, 2nd. Paul Evitts, 3rd. Rob Fortune, 4th. Danny Boyle, 5th. Dave Cleal, 6th. Bill Cohu, 7th. Colin Teed, 8th. Dave Patten

A tapes to flag win for Steve Daw who never looked challenged in this heat. He was already popping wheelies on the end of lap 1. He cruised the last two laps and still took a huge win. Another good ride for veteran rider Paul Evitts and some of the local riders had a tidy battle for 5th.

Race 13 (Sidecars) 1st. Tyrrell/Courtney, 2nd. Gribble/Schofield, 3rd. Stace/Shearer, 4th. Winterburn/Winterburn

Sadly, Richard Moore/Rob Winspear did not emerge from the pits for this one, so the race was started with only 5. Disaster struck Gareth/Nathan Winterburn on the start line as they picked up a cone as soon as they left the start, stalling the machine. They’d have to chase the pack. Matt Tyrrell/Mark Courtney, mounted on their ex-Richard Thomas Steer Honda set the pace but Gribble/Schofield reeled them in and finally dived up the inside of Tyrrell only to run wide and let Tyrrell back up the inside on the wet exit of the turn. Roger Wynn/Richard Masterton pulled up on the top bend while battling the hard chasing Winterburns.

Race 14 (Sidecars) 1st. Wilson/Saunters, 2nd. Cossar/Blyth, 3rd. Owen/Rickards, 4th. Winterburn/Brown, 5th. Headland/Little, 6th. Lloyd/Whetstone

As we looked forward to the first clash between Wilson and Winterburn, disaster struck the northern crew. Their Ducker R1 machine had a problem, meaning that Rod/Liam would have to borrow Gareth Winterburn’s machine. A messy first bend once again caused cones to litter the corner but the race was not stopped this time. Rob Wilson again got himself in front and try as he might, Mark Cossar just couldn’t keep with him. Rod Winterburn was clearly slower on unfamiliar machinery and never looked close to the top three. Australian Champion Mick Headland took a beating in the first lap and found themselves towards the back in a hard fought heat.

Race 15 (Solos) 1st. Marcus Bisson, 2nd. Anthony Queripell, 3rd. Mike McLusky, 4th. Jamie Griffiths, 5th. Aaron Pease, 6th. John Weeks, 7th. Colin Teed

A spectator was taken ill at this point and the ambulance staff on hand aided the gentleman. During the break, Bill Cohu took to the roving mic and interviewed several riders and organisers, entertaining the crowd.

When racing finally got going again, it was Marcus Bisson who impressed by taking his first win of the afternoon. He had to work very hard for it as Anthony Queripell tried to stamp his authority on the race. Mike McLusky, enjoying the extra room that the beach allowed him, held second for most of the race until Bisson started charging through. He first disposed of McLusky and then after a mistake by Queripell on the bottom bend, snuck his way underneath him too, rolling back the years.

Race 16 (Solos) 1st. Mitch Godden, 2nd. Anthony Bougard, 3rd. Scott Anderson, 4th. Martyn Sturgeon, 5th. Rod Melksham, 6th. Steve Tideswell

Race 16 saw another good gate by Mitch Godden and the only time he was challenged was on the opening lap, when Anthony Bougard pushed him hard down the back straight. After this, Godden was able to pull a comfortable lead. A good battle ensued between Scott Anderson and Martyn Sturgeon, with Anderson coming out on top.

Race 17 (Solos) 1st. Harland Cook, 2nd. Danny Warwick, 3rd. Adam Filmer, 4th. Paul Evitts, 5th. Dave Hammond, 6th. Danny Boyle, 7th. Kevin Bishop, 8th. Dave Cleal

A great start for Harland Cook this time saw him gain the upper hand on Danny Warwick. To make it harder for Warwick, Adam Filmer found himself between the two rivals. On the end of lap 1, Warwick made it past Filmer, but could make no headway on Harland Cook, who looked impressive. This made it 1 a piece when they met.

Race 18 (Solos) 1st. Daw, 2nd. Guilbert, 3rd. Fortune, 4th. Cresswell, 5th. Hodgson, 6th. Bob Teed, 7th. Mike Clarke

Huge crowd support for local favourite Martyn Guilbert was seen as he made his way to the line. This time, it was Mike Clarke who leapt out of the gate and led into the first turn, only to be overtaken by Steve Daw who rounded the entire field on turn 1. After being spurred on by a partisan crowd, Martyn Guilbert put on a fantastic show, working his way through the field from 5th to 2nd, much to the delight of the vocal followers. Daw appeared to pull up on the last lap, only to stand the machine on its end coming over the finish line. Great showboating from Dawzy.

Race 19 (Sidecars) 1st. Wilson/Saunters, 2nd. Winterburn/Brown, 3rd. Owen/Rickards, 4th. Tyrrell/Courtney, 5th. Wynn/Masterton

Rod Winterburn/Liam Brown had been let down by their machinery in their first attempt at toppling the Wilson/Saunters pairing. This time, much to the joy of the eager spectators, the familiar rumble of the crossplane R1 reverberated along the sea wall. Finally, we were to see these two race each other, and we weren’t disappointed. It was Winterburn who made the start but Wilson pushed and pushed, riding a much tighter line. After switching lines intelligently when entering the bottom corner, Wilson managed to tuck up the inside of Winterburn and sneak past going down the back straight. It all almost ended in tears when the two crews very nearly collided half way down the straight. Supreme skill from both Rod and Liam kept the Ducker right side up, Liam leaping into the chair to balance the machine perfectly. However, that spelt the end of their challenge and they had to settle for second on this occasion. This really was a fabulous, high speed race. Wilson was clocked at 97mph in this particular race.

Race 20 (Sidecars) 1st. Winterburn/Winterburn, 2nd. Cossar/Blyth, 3rd. Lloyd/Whetstone, 4th. Headland/Little, 5th. Gribble/Schofield, 6th. Stace/Shearer

A hard first bend saw Gareth and Nathan Winterburn force Cossar/Blyth wide. This allowed Mick Headland/Gareth Little through also. Cossar, however, picked up drive coming out of the turn and sped past Headland to retake second and charge after the young Winterburn crew. All seemed under control for the Northerners until the machine ‘danced’ under power halfway up the back straight, very nearly spitting young Nathan off the machine. He managed to cling on however and the crew managed to hold on to the lead. The slowing Winterburn outfit and the cones littering the circuit seemed to confuse Cossar, who possibly could have easily past Winterburn, but instead slowed. After a good first heat, Pete Lloyd/Daryl Whetstone ended the meeting miserably, popping and banging as they crossed the line. They did manage to keep Headland/Little at bay.#

Race 21 (Solos) 1st. Danny Warwick, 2nd. Martyn Sturgeon, 3rd. John Weeks, 4th. Jamie Griffiths

Race 21 saw only four finishers. Mike Clarke again made a quick getaway, only to use the sidecar corner instead of the solo corner. This let the pack through and Clarke pulled up far from the track by the rock pools, fatigued by the pressure of racing in the meeting and playing an enormous part in organising it. Danny Boyle saw his best ride of the day, forcing his way past John Weeks into 3rd, but he too pulled off on the pit bend, kicking the machine in disgust. But it really was an easy win for Danny Warwick, who never looked challenged.

Race 22 (Solos) 1st. Mitch Godden, 2nd. Anthony Bougard, 3rd. Dave Hammond, 4th. Aaron Pease, 5th. Dave Cleal

A solid tapes to flag win for Mitch Godden saw him in a strong position going into the final. Mike McLusky again made a good start, but fell foul of Anthony Bougard who lifted mid corner in the first turn, leaving the Scot no choice but to take evasive action. His race was not finished however. He set after the pack and worked his way all the way back up to third. He rounded Dave Hammond but then hit a cone when exiting the pit bend, knocking him from his machine.

Race 23 (Solos) 1st. Steve Daw, 2nd. Harland Cook, 3rd. Scott Anderson, 4th. Anthony Queripell, 5th. Adam Filmer, 6th. Jody Hodgson

Steve Daw answered many questions in this race by romping home to a huge win. Harland Cook did not have an answer for Daw’s speed. It almost went pear-shaped however as Daw ran wide on the home straight, running over several cones and becoming airborne! He regained control however and led the race home. Queripell and Anderson raced hard for 3rd, both chasing a place in the final. Sadly, neither did enough to make the A Final.

Race 24 (Solos) 1st. Marcus Bisson, 2nd. Paul Evitts, 3rd. Scott Cresswell, 4th. Rod Melksham, 5th. Rob Fortune, 6th. Bob Teed, 7th. Colin Teed

Huge vocal support for the local riders in this heat with Guilbert clearly getting the biggest cheer. This was an impressive win for Marcus Bisson who led from tapes to flag. Paul Evitts finished an impressive day with another second, but he was pushed very hard by the fans favourite Guilbert. Sadly, Guilbert pulled off going into the pit bend, leaving Evitts clear for second. As he was driven from the track on a trailer, Martyn Guilbert showboated to the crowd, swinging his goggles around his head…all great fun for the spectators.

Race 25 (Sidecar Final) 1st. Rob Wilson/Terry Saunters, 2nd. Mark Cossar/Carl Blyth, 3rd. Matt Tyrrell/Mark Courtney, 4th. Neal Owen/Wayne Rickards, 5th. Rod Winterburn/Liam Brown.

Maximum man , Rob Wilson and Terry Saunters made great use of their first choice of gate by storming out of the trap and never looking back. They looked incredibly fast as they sped down the back straight, past the ominous incoming tide. The other impressive crew, Rod Winterburn/Liam Brown really got beaten up in the first turn, emerging 5th and covered in wet sand. It was Gareth/Nathan Winterburn who emerged in second and chased after Wilson. Although they held second comfortably from Cossar/Blyth, the machine swayed violently sideways coming into the pit bend on lap 3, seemingly a puncture, bringing a sad end to the young crews chances. This left Mark Cossar/Carl Blyth in second for the fifth time of the day. After numerous trials and tribulations, the field found itself spread out. Good, consistent riding from Matt Tyrrell/Mark Courtney saw them bring home a good third place and the v-twin Godden took a good fourth. Hard luck for Rod Winterburn/Liam Brown who looked most likely to challenge the super fast Rob Wilson/Terry Saunters outfit. Another championship to add to Wilson’s impressive career statistics.

Race 26 (Solo B Final) 1st. Scott Anderson, 2nd. Martyn Guilbert, 3rd. Rod Melksham, 4th. Anthony Queripell, 5th. Scott Cresswell, 6th. Dave Hammond, 7th. Aaron Pease

This hard fought consolation final saw local favourite Anthony Queripell lead impressively for two laps before being rounded by Scott Anderson on the put bend. More joy for the crowd came on the last lap as Martyn Guilbert pulled off a fantastic move, sliding between Queripell and Rod Melksham on the exit of the pit bend, giving him a great second place.
Race 27 (Solo A Final) 1st. Danny Warwick, 2nd. Marcus Bisson, 3rd. Mitch Godden, 4th. Harland Cook, 5th. Paul Evitts, 6th.Martyn Sturgeon, 7th. Anthony Bougard

The race was stopped on the first time of asking, after Steve Daw ran wide, hit a cone and came off his machine. The stricken machine could not be moved, so the race had to be rerun. Also, Mitch Godden appeared to make a jump at the start and the start was no satisfactory. It must have been disappointing for Mitch, who had indeed found himself well clear with Danny Warwick way back in the pack. In the rerun, a much more satisfactory start was seen and it was Warwick who gated first, got round the bend and stormed home to take the title. Excellent racing for second saw Bougard, Bisson and Godden engaged in a race long battle. After a great start, Bougard tired throughout the race and cruised home. A fair effort by Bougard to be so competitive. Marcus Bisson managed to ride up the inside of Godden after he was pushed wide by Bougard on the bottom bend and Mitch had no answer to him. Towards the end of the race, Harland Cook tried to mount a challenge on Godden, but the race was already won by the impressive Danny Warwick.

After cheers from the crowd, Mitch Godden made his way to the end of the beach, turned around and stuck the machine on its back wheel, wheelieing the length of the beach. He’d lost his title, but he hadn’t lost his class.

This meeting was absolute class. Along with Teterow, Marmande and Rhodes Minnis, this meeting has the potential to be an absolute must see for all Grasstrack fans. If this meeting continues in the same vain next season, you simply HAVE to be there!

Below are full scores (including the scores from Race 4, which weren’t awarded for some reason)

52 Danny Warwick- 38
7 Harland Cook- 36
9 Mitch Godden- 36
71 Marcus Bisson- 36
15 Martyn Sturgeon- 31
10 Paul Evitts- 31
11 Steve Daw- 30
2 Anthony Bougard- 30
3 Anthony Queripell- 27
57 Scott Anderson- 26
20 Scott Cresswell- 21
6 Dave Hammond- 20
24 Adam Filmer- 20
91 Rod Melksham- 18
36 Aaron Pease- 17
5 Martyn Guilbert- 17
70 Jamie Griffiths- 16
51 Rob Fortune- 16
33 Mike McLusky -15
46 John Weeks- 15
17 Bob Teed- 13
1 Mike Clarke- 13
53 Jody Hodgson- 13
95 Danny Boyle- 12
8 Dave Cleal- 10
14 Colin Teed- 8
44 Kevin Bishop- 8
60 Bill Cohu- 6
65 Lee Bartlett- 4
26 Steve Tideswell- 3
19 Dave Patten- 3

24 Rob Wilson/Terry Saunters- 32
48 Rod Winterburn/Liam Brown- 25
37 Mark Cossar/Carl Blyth- 24
69 Matt Tyrrell/Mark Courtney- 18
49 Gareth/Nathan Winterburn- 15
12 Neal Owen/Wayne Rickards- 14
4 Pete Lloyd/Daryl Whetstone- 14
3 Andy Gribble/Ben Schofield- 12
7 Mick Headland/Gareth Little- 11
18 Mick Stace/Gary Shearer- 10
11 Roger Wynn/Rich Masterton- 5
6 Richard Moore/Rob Winspear- 4

Visit Us On Facebook