The Yorkshire Dales Blog

 

7th May 2017 - Blackburn retains Memorial title

YD hosted the 20th Anniversary of the Stu Nicholls Memorial Trophy on a dry but chilly day. Despite the cool breeze the racing was red hot! Graham Blackburn was the eventual winner of an exhilarating Champion of Champions. It was Watson's Yaris from York who the remaining drivers had to reel in. For 3 laps you could have thrown a blanket over the charging Class 4's, 5's',6's,7's,8's,9's and 10.
It was Jeffo's class 7 who managed to break free from the charging pack and Watson's fate looked inevitable as Jeffo was gaining by the second. However, Jeffo appeared to have mechanical problems and pulled off. It was Rawlinson's Class 10 that was the next car to break from the pack and as Rawlinson went to take the lead with 1 1/2 laps remaining he clipped wheels with the Yaris which sent him towards the barrier. Stand up Graham Blackburn going up the back straight for the final time Blackburn took the lead to retain his title for the 4th consecutive year!

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Onto class racing and a fantastic turn-out of drivers with nearly every men's class having at least two heats and a lot of lady drivers also turned up to race. Class 8's were fast and furious with some top 'national' drivers in attendance. It was Simon Graeme (YD69) who eventually took the class 8 final win with a close fought battle with a number of competitors.

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Previously mentioned in our blog's we have discussed the 'Payne Brothers' battle in Junior Specials and once again it was Chester who made it 3 out of 3 final wins at YD closely followed again by brother Elliot. Not to be outdone by brother Chester, Elliot not only won the Junior Saloons final but also the Junior Champion of Champions in his Micra.
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The Stock Hatches were out in force again getting plenty of practice for their National Championships in July and provided some close racing. It was Danny Kelly who eventually took the win. We are lead to believe that this was Danny's first final win, not a bad meeting to win your first final. Onto the Ladies Stock Hatch and it was multiple Ladies Class 1 Champion Alice Hughes racing Collin French's Ford KA. Could she be competing at the Stock Hatch Nationals? If so it would be a brave person not to back her for a trophy position if not the win.
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Other YD final winners were Jamie Smith in Class 4. Andy Jefferson in Class 7. Pam Blackburn Ladies Class 7. We look forward to seeing you all at the next meeting on 21st May which will be the final round of the Men's National Qualifiers. 1030 start.

 

23rd April 2017

Autograss returned to Thornborough on Sunday 23rd April for the first two rounds of the Dales League National Qualifiers. Although National entrees were slightly down on previous years the quality of racing did not disappoint! It was great to see so many drivers turn up from a wide variety of clubs which turned into a fantastic incident free meeting.
Where to start, I think with one of the crowd favourites, class 7. It was Jeffo who took the 'Bread Van' to two victories, his flamboyant but effective driving style is definitely a crowd pleaser. It was a shame not to see Jeffo re-appear to the action after the qualifiers but with a potential trip to Ireland for the BAS round and further qualifiers in May its understandable.

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We mentioned in our last blog about Jason Alderson in the class 5 as a person to watch. However, it was in the class 1 Micra where he shone this weekend. Taking two wins in the National Qualifiers in a competitive field was a great achievement. One of the highlights was race 2 where Jason fought his way through the field to take the win. Jason's day was cut short after the Micra took a heavy contact in the Junior Saloons. We have no doubt the Micra will be fixed and on form for the UK Championships for Jason and Rachael this coming weekend.

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Another name we have previously mentioned was Liam 'Chez' Hilton in class 8. Round 2 of the qualifiers he definitely made people stand-up and keep an eye out for him this year. A determined and mature drive allowed Chez to take victory against some very quick class 8 drivers. Can Chez go all the way and make the Nationals in the Class 8? Not to be outdone by Chez the gremlins of the Hilton Class 2 that have lasted a couple of years appear to have gone as Angie Hilton not only managed a full meeting without any mechanical problems but also won the ladies class 2 final. No doubt Angie was laughing and screaming with joy all the way around the track! If you have been on a marshal's post at YD you will know what we are on about.
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Dennis Raff hasn't entered the Nationals for a few years but 2017 sees him return to the National Qualifiers. At the last meeting Dennis had engine problems which cut short his meeting. However, he put those problems behind him and was flying in the class 9 all weekend! Two wins in the qualifiers has Dennis with one foot at the Nationals, he then went onto take a further 3 wins including the final! Dennis has entered the UK Championships this weekend and the evidence from the weekend it wouldn't be a surprise to see him in the Class 9 final or even bring a trophy back home.
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Last time we mentioned about the brotherly rivalry in Junior Specials between Elliot and Chester Payne and this weekend was no different, through the heats Elliot looked like the person to beat. However, once again in the final it was Chester who was the one to beat! The two brothers provided unbelievably close action between them and at times you wouldn't be able to get a piece of paper between of them but it was Chester who took the win for the second time this year.
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Tracey Bainbridge got stronger and stronger throughout the 2016 season and her immaculate shiny class 1 Micra appears to carry on where she left the 2016 season. Unbeaten all weekend Tracey looks keen not only hold onto the Ladies class 1 title but the Overall Ladies Club title. Tracey has entered the BAS and seeing the evidence of the weekend she has the potential to be right up at the front in that competition too.
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Class 6 has welcomed Chief Marshall Lee Nickling to the class. Having a few years out of racing Lee wanted to use this year to setup the 'ex Cavagin' fiesta. If this year is a 'setting up' year it is frightening to think how competitive he will be next year. Lee took a win in the qualifying round and then took two convincing wins through the heats not putting a wheel wrong. Come the final it would have been a brave person to bet against Lee taking the win. However, it takes a braver person to issue the Chief Marshall with a black flag but unfortunately this is what he rightly received whilst leading the final. There is no doubt some members will not let him forget about the black flag for a long long time.
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We would like to thank the 160+ drivers who attended the meeting and the hundreds of spectators that kept coming through the gate all day. Our next meeting is on Sunday 7th May and is the 20th anniversary of the Stu Nicholls Memorial. Graham Blackburn is the current memorial title holder and has been for a few years now. No doubt he will be doing his upmost to retain the title again and we look forward to seeing you drivers battle it through your respective class and then in the Champion of Champions race where the 2017 Stu Nicholls Memorial champion will be crowned.

 

2nd April 2017 - Back with a bang!

We thought we'd start a blog this year to keep everyone informed and as up-to-date as possible with what's going on with our club, so to kick off, what have we been up to so far in 2017?
We've had a positive start to the year marketing Yorkshire Dales Autograss as well as Autograss in general. We've had some fantastic flyers designed and distributed around the North East and Yorkshire; we have adverts published in the Harrogate District Directory and to top it off we held a stand at the British Rallycross season opener at Croft Circuit! We think Croft went down really well with a lot of interest from the spectators so a thank you to those members who attended the meeting and took time to talk to potential new spectators to our club.
As well as advertising, the track has had extensive work over the winter period to give the drivers the best possible track and with the continued work an even better track as the season goes on! Plans for the British Autograss Series Round 5 are also in full swing so keep an eye out for updates throughout the year.

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The first meeting of 2017 went down a storm. Great driver and spectator turnout, 3 cars deep in some places around the track, maybe some new spectators from Croft?
Sunday 2nd April saw the sun shine and 180+ drivers put on an entertaining show for all. The biggest standout performance came from Chester Payne in Junior Specials. Chester started his autograss career at the backend of the 2016 season and took the first Junior Special Final win of 2017 at YD with a very mature drive not putting a wheel wrong. We look forward to the brotherly rivalry with Elliot as the season progresses, definitely one rivalry to keep an eye out on this season.

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Jason Alderson took to his class 5 like a seasoned pro, not only was this his first meeting in the class 5 but he was switching between the fwd class 1 and rwd class 5 all day. Alderson took home top honours in class 5 after a great battle for first place which started from lap one right up to the chequered flag. We look forward to seeing how Jason progresses throughout the year.
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Credit has to go to James Bowe whose home built class 9 not only looked stunning but was extremely quick throughout the day.
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A big shout out has to go to the Stock Hatch drivers. To see four grids was great and they provided some fantastic racing, due to the numbers we provided them with a 'B' final. With the Stock Hatch Nationals at YD this year wouldn't it be great to see 60+ Stock Hatches attend the meeting? Come on Stock Hatches you know you want too!!!
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In a highly competitive class 7 field it was that man again Graham Blackburn who took home the first final win of the year for the super sevens. Can he defend the class 7 title? What we are sure of is Jeffo and Almack won't let him retain the title easily.
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There were a number of great performances by YD members throughout the weekend, including Liam Hilton in class 8 who showed amazing car control and spatial awareness, as at times drove millimetres away from the driver in front.
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We finish on a thank you to the members who helped run the meeting and we look forward to seeing you all on the 23rd April for the first round of the National Qualifiers, 1030 start.