South Eastern Centre Championship 2012

Proceedings were delayed at the last event to be held at Collier Street as a heavy mist engulfed the circuit. Once the mist had cleared, practice began and it was almost immediately obvious that the slick racing surface at the Kings of Speed had been replaced by a grippy one. The wet weather had left the circuit quite wet, but by no means as wet as it has been in the past! The circuit was fast…seriously fast.

Race 1 (250cc Solos) 1st. James Shanes, 2nd. Ashley Hill, 3rd. Chris Still, 4th. Trevor Clarricoats, 5th. Jon Shanes, 6th. Gary Cook, 7th. Aidan Kingsmill. Time. 1.23.14

An expected big win from James Shanes (who had kept up with Martyn Sturgeon for two laps in practice) who never looked troubled. Chris Still had slotted into a comfortable looking 2nd until he slowed dramatically on the back straight, allowing Ashley Hill and Jon Shanes past. Still managed to work his way back up to 3rd, but Hill had pulled a distance. Drama occurred on the last bend as Ross Lingham free wheeled into the turn faster than Jon Shanes, who was leading him. Before Lingham could turn out of the bend, he clipped the back wheel of Shanes Snr and had a painful looking tumble.

Race 2 (350cc Solos) 1st. Matt Etherington, 2nd. Richard Smith, 3rd. Nathan Irwin, 4th. Mark Giles, 5th. Dave Mears, 6th. Michael Peters. Time: 1.21.14

This ferocious looking 350 line up got off to a cracking start as Smith, Irwin, Giles, Mears and Etherington all arrived in the first bend together. But it was Etherington who carved through the opposition to lead the pack down the back straight. His lead never looked safe though as Richard Smith worked hard to catch him and almost pass him coming out of the last corner. Nathan Irwin, who started well, went backwards after the first bend. He was forced to graft for his 3rd place.

Race  3 (Uprights) 1st. Wayne Barrett, 2nd. Robin Pilcher, 3rd. Lee Oakley, 4th. Paul Morfey, 5th. Adrian Harden. Time: 1.27.26

The ever-growing Upright class got off to a dramatic start as early leader Steve Daw shed a chain coming down the back straight. Misery too for British Champion Chris Still; he was heavily filled in entering the first bend. He managed to get going but pulled out after three laps. And another retiree was Richard Andrews. The Devonshire former speedway rider packed up on the top bend whilst holding a solid second place. All of the dramatics meant that Wayne Barrett had a fairly straightforward victory and a good start to his South Eastern Championship campaign.

Race 4 (500cc Solos) 1st. Martyn Sturgeon, 2nd. Mark Baseby, 3rd. Adam Filmer, 4th. Mitch Godden, 5th. Steve Daw, 6th. Dan Berwick, 7th. Harley Prebble. Time: 1.15.17

This race had to be rerun after an over-zealous first bend by Mark Baseby caused him to career into Martyn Sturgeon and then run Adam Filmer and Mitch Godden very wide. The race was stopped and Race 5 was run. In the rerun, it was faller Martyn Sturgeon who brushed himself off to make a fantastic start. This time, Baseby made a dreadful start and had to work his way through to second. Steve Daw was slow away too, and had to work hard for 5th. The top five all looked very quick.

Race 5 (500cc Solos) 1st. Mark Stiekema, 2nd. Cory Gathercole, 3rd. Rodney McDonald, 4th. Gareth Hickmott, 5th. Stuart Mears, 6th. James Theobald, 7th. Matt Saul, 8th. Warren Atkinson. Time: 1.14.25

Race 5 was the first completed 500cc Solo race of the day, and what a race it was! Australian Cory Gathercole and Dutchman Mark Stiekema fought tooth and nail over the lead for four incredibly fast laps. Gathercole plugged away on the inside whilst Stiekema opted for a fast, wide line. On the last bend, it looked like Stiekema had overdone it in the dirt but he just had enough to keep a wheel in front of Gathercole. A fantastic race by these two riders. With Rodney McDonald in 3rd, it made it a top three for overseas riders.

Race 6 (LH Sidecars) 1st. Dave Penfold/Richard Webb, 2nd. Martin Cuff/Kyle Fish, 3rd. Andrew Evans/Darren Morris, 4th. Andy Pack/Michael Chittenden, 5th. Dave Aungier/Chris Berwick. Time:1.32.30

The three time British Champions made no mistake in their opening ride, leading from start to finish. Former champion Martin Cuff kept Penfold honest, but never looked like he’d catch him. The entertainment was provided by Andrew Evans/Darren Morris, who were forced to chase a Andy Pack/Michael Chittenden. The Welsh crew eventually found a way around Pack late on in the race.

Race 7 (LH Sidecars) 1st. Charlie Ridley/Steve Bowles, 2nd. Paul Marley/Nick Barker, 3rd. Billy Penfold/Gary Potter, 4th. Eirwin/Alex Balman, 5th. Mike Downs/Steve Standing. Time: 1.33.81

Eirwin/Alex Balman were the first to show in the first bend, chased keenly by the rest of the pack. As the race went on, the Welsh father and son crew fell back through the field as they were attacked on the outside. Ridley/Bowles looked super quick, with their machine sounding sweeter than ever. The last bit of misery came for Balman on the last straight. The Exup just wouldn’t find any drive exiting the corners, leaving them vulnerable. Billy Penfold/Gary Potter took full advantage exiting the final turn, tucking up the inside.

Race 8 (1000cc Sidecars) 1st. Andy Gribble/Ben Schofield, 2nd. Paul Whitelam/Alan Elliott, 3rd. Rob Wilson/Terry Saunters, 4th. Mick Stace/Nick Barker. Time: 1.32.77

For most, the 1000cc sidecar class looked like a duel between two former masters champions; Rob Wilson and Paul Whitelam. So when it was Cornish crew Andy Gribble/Ben Schofield who made a flying start, the form book was tipped on its head. Gribble/Schofield looked mighty fast, pulling away from Whitelam/Elliott. Nick Barker, who had been passengering Paul Marley in the previous race, was trying his hand turning right for the day but began his day with a learning curve: When leaving the start, the machine tipped and turned infield, Mick Stace unable to counter-balance the problem. Still, Nick looked great from here on and newbies are always welcome!

Race 9 (1000cc Sidecars) 1st. Robbie Wilson/Bradley Steer, 2nd. Pete/Steve Colvin, 3rd. Trevor/Andy Colvin, 4th. Ryan Partridge/Gary Shearer, 5th. Nevill Penfold/Graham Ashby. Time: 1.36.37

Robbie Wilson/Bradley Steer made a cracking start, leading the field into the first bend. He held the lead from tapes to flag but all five of the outfits stayed in close proximity of one another. Trevor Colvin was under attack throughout the race from Ryan Partridge who couldn’t find a way past.

Race 10 (1000cc Sidecars) 1st. Steve Smith/Fraser Sutherland, 2nd. Mark Warren/Mark Wilkes, 3rd. John Hiscock/Carl Bell, 4th. Paul/Steve Standing, 5th. Will Offen/Nicky Owen. Time: 1.35.01

Steve Smith/Fraser Sutherland managed to marginally lead fast starting John Hiscock/Carl Bell going into the first bend. They were able to come across Team Renegade, filling them in. Hiscock slowed due to loss of visibility on the back straight, removing his goggles and letting Will Offen/Nicky Owen through. Offen then chased Smith and pushed him hard into the top bend but sadly was forced to retire on the last lap with a front wheel puncture.

Race 11 (250cc Solos) 1st. Shanes, 2nd. Still, 3rd. Hill, 4th. Shanes, 5th. Clarricoats, 6th. Cook, 7th. Kingsmill. Time: 1.19.95

This time, James Shanes didn’t get away as well as in the previous race, but normal service was resumed by the exit of the first turn and he sped away. Chris Still looked quick this time, keeping Ashley Hill at bay.

Race 12 (350cc Solos) 1st. Irwin, 2nd. Giles, 3rd. Smith, 4th. Mears, 5th. Etherington, 6th. Lawrence Barber. Time: 1.16.78

Another great 350 race was started with another tight first turn. Dave Mears and Mark Giles entered the first bend together with Nathan Irwin carving a gap up the middle of them. Giles managed to get himself in front but Irwin snuck underneath him exiting the top bend. First heat winner Matt Etherington clearly had machine problems as his motor popped and banged its way to the chequered flag.

Race 13 (Uprights) 1st. Daw, 2nd. Barrett, 3rd. Andrews, 4th. Pilcher, 5th. Oakley, 6th. Morfey, 7th. Harden. Time: 1.19.69

Wayne Barrett this time got away in front of Daw and lead him for a lap. But Daw dived underneath Barrett entering the pit bend and took a big lead. Richard Andrews won a good battle for 3rd with Robin Pilcher. Steve Daw, on the last bend, ran incredibly wide. So much so that he nearly threw away his big lead. But Barrett wasn’t quite close enough to pounce on the mistake made by Dawzy.

Race 14 (500cc Solos) 1st. Stiekema, 2nd. Sturgeon, 3rd. Baseby, 4th. Filmer, 5th. Hickmott, 6th. Powell, 7th. Theobald, 8th. Saul. Time: 1.14.12

Mark Stiekema won this race convincingly. He was clearly relishing the grippy racing surface, although it nearly caught him out exiting the top bend on the last lap. He was almost completely off the machine before managing to regain his composure and ride home for a strong victory.

Race 15 (500cc Solos) 1st. Gathercole, 2nd. Daw, 3rd. Godden, 4th. McDonald, 5th. Mears, 6th. Atkinson, 7th. Prebble. Time: 1.12.16

This time, Cory Gathercole looked super fast. He got in front on the first bend and never looked like being caught. The entertainment was unsurprisingly provided by Steve Daw. Again, he made a dreadful trap but fought his way up to third before disposing of Mitch Godden late on in the race.

Race 16 (LH Sidecars) 1st. Penfold/Webb, 2nd. Marley/Barker, 3rd. Pack/Chittenden, 4th. Aungier/Berwick. Time: 1.31.59

A straightforward race this time around. All of the crews were fairly spread out by the time they hit the first bend.

Race 17 (LH Sidecars) 1st. Ridley/Bowles, 2nd. Cuff/Fish, 3rd. Penfold/Potter, 4th. Evans/Morris, 5th. Downs/Standing. Time: 1.33.13

Race 17 made up for the lack of drama in the previous race as the top four fought hammer and tongs over the win. Two outfits connected coming off of the line, leaving them back in the back. This left Billy Penfold and Eirwin Balman to lead into the first bend. Penfold managed to get himself into the lead but was hunted down by Charlie Ridley. Ridley found a gap up the inside of Penfold and lead once again. On the last turn, whilst holding 2nd, Billy Penfold slipped wide, leaving a huge hole for  Martin Cuff to use to his advantage. Great race.

Race 18 (1000cc Sidecars) 1st. Whitelam/Elliott, 2nd. Smith/Sutherland, 3rd. Stace/Barker, 4th. Penfold/Ashby, 5th. Partridge/Shearer. Time: 1.27.43

Race 18 spelled disaster for Andy Gribble/Ben Schofield. The Cornish crew once again made a fantastic start but this time were rounded by Paul Whitelam entering the first bend. Gribble KHR Suzuki was clearly finding far too much drive exiting the turns as the crew struggled to turn the machine. Steve Smith took advantage and got up the inside of Gribble. On exiting the pit bend, Gribble tried to cut underneath Smith, but the bike again found too much drive and reared up violently, throwing Andy off the front of the machine and hard onto the floor. A lengthy delay ensued as Andy was attended to. Before too long, the distant sound of the air ambulance was heard and Andy was airlifted to hospital. Let’s hope he makes a full recovery soon.

In the rerun, Paul Whitelam/Alan Elliott made no mistakes, making the start and leading from tapes to flag. The circuit conditions had clearly changed as the sun had baked the track surface, making it even quicker. Whitelam’s time was 5 seconds quicker than the previous fast time. Further back, Nevill Penfold/Graham Ashby were enjoying their return to the sport. They connected hard with the back of Mick Stace/Nick Barker exiting the top turn, injuring Barker. Penfold/Ashby were put back a place for this incident as they had managed to pass Stace after ramming him. Later, Nevill apologised to all involved for the incident! The light had already began to fade by this point and as Nick Barker was attending to, the announcement was made that after Leg 2’s completion, races would be run under 3 laps.

Race 19 (1000cc Sidecars) 1st. Wilson/Steer, 2nd. Warren/Wilkes, 3rd. Offen/Owen, 4th. Hiscock/Bell, 5th. Standing/Standing. Time: 1.30.85

Robbie Wilson/Bradley Steer made another electric start to lead the pack. John Hiscock/Carl Bell tried to find a way around Wilson, but just took too much dirt and allowed Mark Warren/Mark Wilkes past. Further misery for Hiscock occurred a lap later as Will Offen/Nicky Owen barged their way past going into the pit bend. A second win for Wilson and a second runners up spot for Warren saw their day’s coming together nicely.

Race 20 (1000cc Sidecars) 1st. Wilson/Saunters, 2nd. Trevor/Andy Colvin, 3rd. Pete/Steve Colvin. Time:1.30.37

Trevor/Andy Colvin made a fine start in this race and held Rob Wilson/Terry Saunters at bay for two laps. Wilson has won a lot of races at Collier Street in the past 30 years and was not ready to be outdone. He produced a fine line coming out of the top bend, tucking underneath Colvin and leading into the pit bend. From there, he pulled away.

Race 21 (250cc Solos) 1st. Shanes, 2nd. Hill, 3rd. Still, 4th. Shanes, 5th. Cook, 6th. Kingsmill Time: 56.53

Another win by James Shanes. A good scrap for 2nd saw Chris Still and Ashley Hill locked in battle. Still, mounted on a two-stroke, was much quicker out of the start, but the drying track suited the JRM a little better and Hill was able to pass Still.

Race 22 (350cc Solos) 1st. Giles, 2nd. Smith, 3rd. Irwin, 4th. Etherington, 5th. Peters. Time: 56.53

Matt Etherington, who won the first heat, made a good gate this time but was forced wide by Mark Giles. Giles was able to get himself in front, but it was Richard Smith who pushed him on every corner for four laps, plugging away on the inside. Etherington continued on a brave wide line but could make no impression on the front three. Giles was the third different winner in three heats; a testimony to this incredibly competitive class.

Race 23 (Uprights) 1st. Barrett, 2nd. Daw, 3rd. Andrews, 4th. Pilcher, 5th. Oakley, 6th. Morfey, 7th. Harden. Time: 57.11

Wayne Barrett once again got himself in front in the first lap but Steve Daw again got underneath him entering the pit bend on lap 2. However, again Steve Daw hit grip in the middle of the final corner, running wide. He allowed Barrett back up the inside and this time Barrett made no mistake.

Race 24 (500cc Solos) 1st. Stiekema, 2nd. Gathercole, 3rd. Sturgeon, 4th. Baseby, 5th. Powell, 6th. Theobald. Time: 53.94

Mark Stiekema made a cracking gate and lead for the whole race. He did seem to be struggling with conditions a little as he straightened up in the middle of the bend, but was fast enough to hold the lead. Martyn Sturgeon held 2nd for most of the race until Gathercole got up the inside of him coming out of the top bend. Charley Powell and James Theobald fought over the final placings keenly, with Powell coming out on top.

Race 25 (500cc Solos) 1st. Godden, 2nd. Filmer, 3rd. Daw, 4th. McDonald, 5th. Hickmott, 6th. Mears, 7th. Atkinson, 8th. Prebble. Time: 55.22

A tapes to flag victory for Mitch Godden, who simply flew out of the gate. Steve Daw again made a poor start and did well to chase down and pass Rodney McDonald. He ran out of laps to catch Adam Filmer however.

Race 26 (LH Sidecars) 1st. Penfold/Webb, 2nd. Cuff/Fish, 3rd. Evans/Morris, 4th. Aungier/Berwick. Time:1. 06.04

Another convincing win for Dave Penfold/Richard Webb. They looked the safe money for retaining their South Eastern title. Andrew Evans had got himself into 2nd but stopped on the back straight and allowed Cuff through. He spent the rest of the race trying to round Cuff, but couldn’t get his second place back.

Race 27 (LH Sidecars) 1st. Marley/Barker, 2nd. Ridley/Bowles, 3rd. Penfold/Potter, 4th. Downs/Standing, 5th. Pack/Chittenden. Time: 1.08.09

Paul Marley/Nick Barker took advantage of a quick start to win the race from start to finish. Billy Penfold has also made a good start, but a determined Charlie Ridley forced his way up the inside of him on the top bend. Andy Pack had problems on the start line and had to restart the machine. A huge win for Marley, who was lucky to have a patched up Nick Barker on board after his argument with Nevill Penfold’s sidecar outfit.

Race  28 (1000cc Sidecars) 1st. Offen/Owen, 2nd. Penfold/Ashby, 3rd. P.Colvin/S.Colvin, 4th. Partridge/Shearer. Time: 1.10.71

A relatively clear victory for Will Offen/Nicky Owen. All four crews held position for all three laps. Good to see Nevill Penfold on the pace in this race.

Race 29 (1000cc Sidecars) 1st. Wilson/Saunters, 2nd. Warren/Wilkes, 3rd. T.Colvin/A.Colvin, 4th. Standing/Standing. Time: 1.08.11

Trevor/Andy Colvin once again made a fantastic start but this time Rob Wilson was able to come across him. On lap two, Mark Warren inflicted more pain on the Colvin crew, sneaking up the inside of them for their third second place of the day. A fine day’s racing for Warren/Wilkes.

Race 30 (1000cc Sidecars) 1st. Whitelam/Elliott, 2nd. Smith/Sutherland, 3rd. Hiscock/Bell, 4th. Wilson/Steer. Time: 1.07.43

A dominant win for Paul Whitelam/Alan Elliott saw them coming to form at the right time. Maximum crew Robbie Wilson/Bradley Steer this time struggled out of the gate. Down on power due to a misfire, they couldn’t find a way past John Hiscock/Carl Bell. Smith/Sutherland could make no dent in Whitelam’s healthy lead.

Race 31 (250cc Solos) 1st. Shanes, 2nd. Hill, 3rd. Still, 4th. Shanes, 5th. Cook, 6th. Kingsmill. Time: 58.42

The race was once again for second as James Shanes tore away from the opposition to take his first South Eastern Centre title. Ashley Hill and Chris Still again fought keenly over 2nd. It came down to the final corner as Ashley Hill took a tight line and past Chris Still on the run to the line.

Race 32 (350cc Solos) 1st. Smith, 2nd. Giles, 3rd. Irwin, 4th. Etherington, 5th. Peters. Time: 56.61

In this incredible 350cc event, Richard Smith became the fourth different winner in four heats and he made sure he won it when it counted the most. Because of his consistent top three finishes, he was able to clinch the victory in this heat and the South Eastern Centre title overall. He was made to fight incredibly hard for it as Irwin, Giles and Smith all locked together for a whole lap of the Collier Street circuit. Irwin dropped back after this and it was between Giles and Smith. With Giles riding a wide line, Smith was able to come under him hard and lead going over the line. A fabulous end to a fabulous championship.

Race 33 (Uprights) 1st. Daw, 2nd. Andrews, 3rd. Barrett, 4th. Oakley, 5th. Pilcher, 6th. Morfey, 7th. Harden. Time: 56.70

Steve Daw was left to rue the thrown chain in his opening heat. He romped to victory in the final Upright race, but it wasn’t enough to win the title. Wayne Barrett must have realised that 3rd would be enough as Richard Andrews forced his way past during the late stages of the race as Barrett trailed round a wide line. If only Daw had not pulled up in his opening race, this could have been a blockbusting last heat decider.

Race 34 (LH Sidecar Final) 1st. Penfold/Webb, 2nd. Cuff/Fish, 3rd. Marley/Barker, 4th. Evans/Morris, 5th. Penfold/Potter. Time: 1.29.68 (4 laps)

The Left Hand Sidecar Final was arguably the race of the day. It was Paul Marley/Nick Barker who once again shot out of the gate and lead the chasing pack. Dave Penfold/Richard Webb were not in any mind to lose their title and quickly caught up with Marley. Coming into the pit bend, they carried a little more speed than Marley and barged their way past and into the lead. Marley/Barker ran very wide after the contact and collided with Martin Cuff/Kyle Fish as they rejoined the racing line. This allowed Cuff through to second. As the race began to quieten down, more drama occurred on the final turn as Steve Bowles parted company with Charlie Ridley and the machine. With no passenger, Ridley was carried by the machine hard into the boards, splitting the boards. Luckily, nobody was injured and running repairs were carried out on the boards. But Dave Penfold and Richard Webb were once again crowned South Eastern Centre Champions.

Race 35 (500cc Solos Final) 1st. Gathercole, 2nd. Sturgeon, 3rd. Godden, 4th. Daw, 5th. Filmer, 6th. McDonald, 7th. Baseby. Time: 1.11.26 (4 laps)

Cory Gathercole made no mistakes in the final. The Aussie made a flying start and never looked like being caught. Mark Stiekema, who had started so well early on in the day, came to a grinding halt entering lap 2 whilst holding 3rd. Again, Steve Daw made a poor start and rode well to get himself up to 4th. Cory Gathercole though looked quicker than he had all day in taking a South Eastern Championships. Hopefully, we will be seeing lots more of him on the Grass Track scene in 2013.

Race 36 (1000cc Sidecar Final) 1st. Whitelam/Elliott, 2nd. Wilson/Saunters, 3rd. Smith/Sutherland, 4th. Wilson/Steer, 5th. Warren/Wilkes, 6th. Offen/Owen. Time: 1.29.16 (4 laps)

Potentially the last ever 1000cc sidecar final at Collier Street (and lets be honest, there has been some belters) provided no real surprises as Paul Whitelam/Alan Elliott lead from start to finish. Rob Wilson/Terry Saunters used a wide line on the first bend to gather speed after a poor start. They hit the top bend very fast and were able to round Steve Smith/Fraser Sutherland. From there, the race was ran out with very little incident. Paul Whitelam/Alan Elliott have added another South Eastern Centre Championship to their collection.

Race 37 (Unlimited Solos) 1st. Godden, 2nd. Sturgeon, 3rd. Daw, 4th. Smith, 5th. Giles, 6th. Still, 7th. Hill. Time: 1.15.66

A determined Mitch Godden made an electric start in the Unlimited Final and never looked like being caught; an appropriate winner of a trophy that has had his name on it plenty of times before. Steve Daw was again forced to fight past Richard Smith and Mark Giles, who were locked in their own scuffle. 

Overall Top Three


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