EUROVETS: Round 4 official match report

The Orchid EuroVets series arrived at Sheffield’s Cookson Park circuit for Round 4. This ever popular event is growing in stature, with riders travelling near and far for competitive racing. Today saw Dave Baxter (Edinburgh) and Martyn Hollebon (Hellingly) travelling well over 250 miles to race.

Both had very early morning departures, as both arrived at the track before 11am. The hot weather and lack of cloud cover meant that three hours of watering the track hardly made a difference, the surface gradually turning into a dust bowl. Despite the track surface being less than top notch there was still plenty of excellent and exciting racing demonstrated by the vets.

The numbers were down on last years excellent turn out of 29 riders. So we had two groups, one of ten and one of eleven, evenly spread with 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.

The first group saw Mark Mulvey making five blistering starts to wrack up an unbeaten 20 point maximum, which Mark believes is his first ever full house (his memory maybe playing tricks though). Jason Keith and Dave Meanley both lost just twice each, while Steve Hodgkinson quietly went about the business of amassing 17 points to finish top of the over 50’s. Spare a thought though for Mick Aris. After last years marathon effort (which saw him go through ten races) Mick had one of those forgettable days. A win first time out was followed by two uncharacteristic slips, while in good positions, plus the only exclusion of the day, when moving at the tapes in his fourth outing. The final tally of 11 points would put him in the Over 60’s final only.

Scores – Mark Mulvey 20, Jason Keith 18, Dave Meanley 18, Steve Hodgkinson 17, Joe McLaughlin 16, John Wilson 16, Jim Graham 12, Mick Knowles 12, Rob Mawhood 12, Mick Aris 11, Dave Baxter 11.

All the series leaders (Mark Winwood, Paul Timms and Fred Rothwell) were to meet in the second group. For added spice we had Martyn Hollebon, Jason Burke and Norman Venson to throw into the mix. Martyn taking five smart wins to complete a maximum score (repeating Mark Mulveys efforts from the first group). He rode perfect lines (a considerable achievement as this was his first visit to Cookson) in his defeats of Winwood and Burke, who both put him under alot of pressure. Jason Burke was putting home track advantage to good use, executing some sublime inside passes. Jason also put in a strong inside dive on Norman Venson, a lap later he had to withstand ‘Stormin Norman’ repaying the complement. Mark Winwood was also impressing on his first visit. A first race second to Burke wasn’t helped when he was hampered as he passed the falling Phil Hemmings. But he finished with a fine outside pass on Paul Timms. Timms finished top of the over 50’s, just heading Hemmings (who once again hit the Cookson dust on more than one occasion). Series organiser Fred Rothwell was having a perfect day, two wins taking him to 16 points and top dog in the over 60’s.

Scores – Martyn Hollebon 20, Jason Burke 19, Mark Winwood 18, Fred Rothwell 16, Paul Timms 16, Norman Venson 16, Phil Hemmings 14, Terry Kirkup 13, Paul Fisher 12, Paul Dyson 11.

Next up was some repacharge races to settle the grand prix finals. Mick Aris took the Over 60’s to book grid three in the final, Davie Baxter the rider to miss out. Terry Kirkup qualified for his second final after a rapid start from grid 3 in the Over 50’s B repacharge. Phil Hemming taking the A race with Joe McLaughlin second. Paul Timms missing the the cut for the after taking a heavy fall when challenging Joe entering lap three. The re-run seeing him after settle for third place after passing John Wilson. The Over 40’s repacharge provided a feast of racing all in one heat. Jason Keith hitting the front (from grid 4) after a brilliant first bend to lead Jason Burke, Dave Meanley with Mark Winwood in fourth. The wide open spaces of Cookson means you cannot afford to take your eyes off the opposition. Keith found this out as Winwood would go around the outside with Burke sneaking up on the inside on lap 3, as those two made the major A Final.

So it was onto the finals. First up was the Over 60’s, with Terry Kirkup taking first place after a good piece of smash and grab. Fred Rothwell led with Mick Aris applying pressure on the outside. Fred came out to meet Mick (who slipped on turn one of lap 3) just as Terry pinched the inside line. Jim Graham completed the line up and took third after capitalising on Mick’s misfortune. The Over 50’s A Final was a tapes to flag win from Steve Hodgkinson. The battle behind was really close, with Fred, Joe McLaughlin and Phil Hemmings nearly side by side for parts of the race. Joe claimed second after an all or nothing outside pass on the final turn, just holding out on the run to the flag. Paul Timms gated well from grid two in the B Final for a comfortable win from John Wilson. Rob Mawhood passing Terry Kirkup for third, with the Viking already happy to have secured the Over 60’s win. Jason Keith took the Over 40’s B Final from Dave Meanley, Norman Venson and Mick Knowles.

So now it was the A Final. The unbeaten duo of Mark Mulvey and Martyn Hollebon and grids 1 and 2. Series leader Mark Winwood went from 3 with home star Jason Burke on 4. Mulvey sped from the tapes and came out to Hollebon and Winwood. Burke’s track knowledge paid off as he dropped back under coming out of turn two on the inside line, at the same time Winwood was round Mulvey on the outside. Entering turn one on the second lap and Burke hits a slippy patch and loses speed. Winwood is straight in and powers around the outside and down the back straight. Burke gives chase but they finish in one and two. Hollebon, who had sneaked past Mulvey on the inside of the end of lap one, had to withstand four laps of heavy pressure from Mulvey (who was certainly letting the Hellingley racer no he was there). A great days racing ended with trophies (supplied by Wosskow Brown Solicitors) presented by Sheffield life president Frank Knight and Pat Cain. Then a drink and pie, chips and pea supper at the nearby Niagara Leisure and Conference Centre.