A fantastic afternoon weather-wise at Queen Anne High School, Dunfermline awaited the arrival of the travelling Euro-Vets family for Round Five of the 2019 Grand Prix series. Everything looked pristine around the track, which itself had its normal loose top dressing, and that did create a few anxious moments (a lot, actually!) at the crown of the pits bend but as always it's the same for everyone.
First timers taking part in this one were Fife's very own Master of Ceremonies and creator of this brilliant facility, Craig Masson. He was joined by fellow Fife Revolution Danny Peoples and from near neighbours Glasgow Cyclones, rising star (and later starter in CS!) Simon Morris also took the plunge today. Below: Craig presents current Euro-Vets Champion Mark Winwood with his award:
Simon's teammates Colin Gray and Jim Alexander nipped across country to join us for this one and as always brightened our day with their absolute enthusiasm for racing. Also great to see Super Club Astley & Tyldesley's Mark Grantham turn out for another Veteran's meeting while mad keen Steve Copping clocked a few miles getting here from his home in Norwich as did Star's World Champion Paddy Wenn. Making an extremely welcome and popular comeback (or was it just a one-off? - we hope not!) was Edinburgh star Callum Slight after a gap of some three years and zero track time prior to the match. Trip-of-the-Day award goes to Exeter's brilliant British Champion Dave Murphy with Lions Team Manager and Euro-Vets co-administrator Geoff Gamage and Londoner Chris Ward not too far behind. Biggest surprise was probably the appearance of the One and Only John Murphy, making a bit of a return to racing this summer and really enjoying his laps.
2019's most serious competitors were all there as expected, a whole rash of Euro, British and World Champions, and their meetings made for some super-fast racing although the track tends to be a one-liner when speeds are high with passing at a premium.
Some dodo left his video camera at the track and it seems to have disappeared so without having the necessary reminder tool let me just say that the top lads were superb, Birmingham, Leicester and Northumbria riders dominating once again.
Leicester's Kev Burns has had a storming year after his bad back injury and again showed his domination of the Over 40 class this year, taking the Over 35 win too, while teammate Craig Marchant continued his march to full fitness. Reigning Champion, Birmingham Monarch Mark Winwood, was right up there until he and Craig clashed in heat 20 and his subsequent exclusion cost Mark dearly in the A Final line-up. Northumbria's Jason Keith kept up his momentum to join these three in both 35 and 40 A Finals with the outcome of both decided on the first lap of each.
The critical moment when Referee Niall Morton decided Mark was to blame for Craig's fall: (credit Nia Martin Photography)
It was Leicester's amazing Norman Venson's turn to head the Over 50s event with teammate Dave Frith and ever-pressing Paddy Wenn always a threat, all three finishing on equal points in the heats!
In the Ancient Ones category, after a defeat earleir by Hull's amazing returnee Frank Auffret, Dave Murphy made a blistering gate over Frank from grid two to continue his domination of the Over 60s this year with Wednesfield's ex-Champion Phil Hemming and Northumbria's Terry Kirkup unable to offer a real threat to these two.
Below: not often ex-Speedway riders turn to the Short Track, usually the other way around, but Frank Auffret is making a huge success of it!
IF YOU SPOT ANY ERRORS PLEASE LET ME KNOW - e-mail terry at eurovets.uk or on Euro-Vets Facebook page.