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Greeves Scrambles Series Review 2015

The season opener at Marks Tey in March got the bumper eleven round 2015 Greeves Championship series off to a flying start with some very close racing . The pattern was set for the championship with Gary Smith on his QUB, Matt Valentine on a Griffon Twinport, Matt McCulloch also QUB mounted and Ricky Widdowson battling it out with occasional cameos from the next wave of riders: Sam Heitman, Richard (Griffon Slayer) Hayward flying his immaculate 250 Challenger, Kim Morley, (your GRA Committee member for Scrambles) doing his usual starting fast / finishing slower routine using a pre-season hip replacement as his excuse of choice, on his QUB, Dave “Goldfish” Watson, Patrick Bathgate making a welcome return to the series on his Twinport Griffon, and Michael Eustace on his super quick Hawkstone.

The series would take us next from our home track of Marks Tey, onto a slippery Maylandsea, in April, where Andy Zyzylowski (Andy Z) would join in the fray. A good Challenger battle commenced with Mike Bell, John Asprey and, of course, Wayward Hayward the Griffon Slayer leading that class. At the front there were wins for Matt McCulloch and Dave Watson, and two seconds for Matt Valentine, with a heroic third place for Michael Eustace on his Hawkstone.

Rounds 3, 4 and 5 were back to back weekends, starting with a welcome return to Sproxton, with our fantastic hosts at Northampton MCC, Pete Griffiths and Colin Hill. Despite this being early in the season, we were met with a very dry track – probably the dustiest I have raced at. The racing was fast and furious, and often “blind”, and my memories are of Michael Eustace flying at the front on his little Hawkstone, mixing it up with the big boys, and battling all day long with the Griffon Slayer who won that day 2:1. If you want to see classic scrambling at its best, Sproxton is well worth the trip next year.

The following weekend was another great classic meeting at Stebbing - probably the most enjoyable track and day out you can have on the Classic Scrambles scene. If you are reading this and get inspired to come and see the action, or indeed get a bike and join in, then Stebbing is a must with great spectator viewing. The paddock flowed over, as did the main car parking; fans came for a great day out with the famous water splash providing the entertainment! Ricky Widdowson had his best ever season with some fast and stylish riding and led the Championship up until the final round.

And then the following weekend onto the Mortimer Classic – where we also entered an all Greeves team in the Mortimer 100 Miler team race, consisting of Dave Higgins (QUB), making a pilgrimage up from the west country , Andy Z (Challenger), Michael Eustace (Hawkstone) and Kim Morley (MDS – then QUB). Team “Greeves and Mortimer” came in a creditable 10th. Many thanks to our support crew of Chairman Rob and fellow committee members Dick Faggetter and Jack Chalk and the GRA hospitality suite .

In the main event the following day, GRA member Andy Z got cross rutted and broke his ankle, but still managed to get points in the following race!! A tough competitor indeed, but a reminder that scrambling is fun but also a dangerous sport.

Fellow combatant Dave Watson, on his day always a fast contender, earned a new nickname “Goldfish” after coming off three times at the same place in different laps and races. He was pushing too hard down the straight before the tricky chicane and drop off.

The next round was back to home turf at Marks Tey, where there were again titanic battles - notably with Dave Watson and Matt Valentine. Scott Chappell made a welcome return this round and did me a favour keeping ahead of Richard Hayward, making it a big Challenger battle, with Mike Bell also in close pursuit.

Round 8 took us back to Woodford, Northamptonshire near Kettering, again anther superb event put on by Northampton MCC. It got a little slippery, with Graeme Smith, showing his old speedway skills, achieving a Greeves Championship first by crashing and coming off three times on the same corner, same race, same lap thanks to a tangle with the ropes and posts. When not racing we had the National pre-84 sidecar championship round to entertain us flying around the muddy track.

Nothing however could prepare us for the Pre-65 round at Gosfield: a continual deluge made for tough racing in very slippery conditions, but it was still a memorable meeting with Gary, Ricky and the Matts giving a masterclass in racing in wet conditions. Paul Graves and Richard Hayward also scored well. The conditions brought out a lot of gallows humour with Rob Dickerson, Mike Bell, Trevor Mansfield and John Bathgate providing the pit banter and mickey taking.

Onto the penultimate round at Maylandsea where Craig McCoo joined the fray with two solid rides first time out on his nearly immaculately prepared QUB - a feature of a great winter re-build thread on the forum. His second race was hampered somewhat by losing the left footpeg, but with a huge grin he still finished. Welcome back to Greeves, Craig!

Sam Heitman joined us on this round and got a win on his very quick 360 Challenger and Adrian Dickerson flew round on his Hawkstone for a creditable 6th place in the first points race.
As we approached the final round at Marks Tey – Mike Bell had already won the Challenger class from Richard Hayward and Graeme Hayward, and Mike’s son Adam had clinched the Hawkstone Class – a great family double , finishing ahead of Michael Eustace and Adrian Dickerson.
At that time Ricky Widdowson and Matt Valentine were leading the championship with Matt McCulloch and Gary Smith in 3rd and 4th but Matt and Ricky had a clash at the Weston Beach race, so it was up to Gary and Matt M to fight it out, which they did, producing the racing of the series, with Gary edging it and taking the Championship from Matt M, Ricky and Matt V. I clung on for 5th overall with Richard 6th. And so a great Greeves Championship came to a close – these are the trophy winners .

We had a bumper season with often 30+ bikes across each start – thanks to all of the over 70 riders who competed throughout the 11 meetings of a long season and made this series special. It was the best season ever, with lots of thrills, spills, close racing and fun all the way through the field and camaraderie, humour and friendship in the pits.

A big thanks to all those GRA folks who came and watched and helped out when the inevitable mechanical gremlins came and of course to Terry Sewell of TDS for his sponsorship and commentary and photographs provided by Coin Sparrow, Brian Catt and Michael Eustace.
The biggest thanks of course goes to the guys who make it all happen: Dave Harper and Geoff Nunn our ex Greeves factory gurus, race organisers, lap scorers, supporters, mentors, advisors, mechanics – you name it, in a season they do it all and make it the best classic Scrambles race series anywhere.

If you enjoyed reading this, take a look at the Greeves Championship thread in Events on the Forum, where you will also see racing footage from my GoPro of most of the races, or search for Kim Morley on Youtube. Why not come and join us next season, watch the races or come and give it a go!

Riders: don’t forget to get an entry in for the Kendall Classic in by the end of January. If we get over 20 we can have a Greeves Championship round there next year. Also next season, we will make Stebbing and the Mortimer 100 miler Greeves camp out weekends.

Kim Morley - GRA Committee, Scrambles Representative