The Wightlink Warriors Smallbrook Stadium base is becoming a home-from-home for speedway and grasstrack racer Henry Atkins (pictured) as he completed a remarkable eight-day period at the Ryde track. For the second week running, the opposition had no answer to the Devonians blistering speed and style as he returned another faultless performance. Add in a fourth 250cc grasstrack title last Sunday and a solid home debut for the Oxford Chargers on Wednesday, then it all adds up to quite a week.
After the first round of qualification heats for the Island Masters (sponsored by Foxbury Motors of Verwood) it was clear that the three big name riders, Atkins, Arran Butcher and Chad Wirtzfeld would face a limited challenge from the other participants and after some discussion the three sportingly agreed to race from a half lap handicap which gave rise to some spectacular action as they strained every sinew to make up the yardage that they had given away and they did it, mostly, successfully.
Butcher, series leader going into the meeting, again showed up well and Chad Wirtzfeld quickly got into his stride on his return to Smallbrook. As expected, the big three made the ‘A’ final alongside Harry Gent who improved during every race of Island Masters 1 and continued his good form in Island Masters 2.
So, to be a final itself enjoyed by a good size crowd who witnessed a lightning launch from Atkins that put him firmly in control from the off. An exemplary race win from tapes to flag and in doing so clocked a time of 68.8 seconds for the second time on the night – a new record for the Island Masters competition. Behind him it was Butcher who secured second place to retain overall control of the series with Wirtzfeld taking third. Main meeting sponsors SES Autoparts of Newport were on hand to witness Atkins achievements and offer congratulations at the end of the night.
A Final: Henry Atkins, Arran Butcher, Chad Wirtzfeld, Harry Gent.
B Final: Luke Tuck, Dave Hammond, Nigel Coates, Dean Cutler.
C Final: David Hollingsbee, Jon Freeman, Bill Haynes, Rob Snow.
Series scores after two rounds: Arran Butcher 23, Harry Gent 20, Dave Hammond 17, Luke Tuck 16, Dean Cutler 12, Henry Atkins 12, Chad Wirtzfeld 10, Ian Levington 9, Giles Dismore 6, Bill Haynes 6, Jon Freeman 6, Nigel Coates 6, Phil Spencer 5, David Hollingsbee 4, Rob Snow 3.
In the second round of the NORA British Upright Championship (Freelance Installations) , it was a harum-scarum encounter with plenty of close racing, some heart in mouth moments, but ultimately a set of six unpredictable heats enjoyed by riders and supporters alike. Making it through as joint top scorers were Wayne Parker and Chris Mackett and they will be joined by Dave Hammond and Graham Knowler on finals night. Unluckiest rider was probably Alex Chadd whose first race fall whilst leading looks to have cost him a final place.
Wayne Parker 8, Chris Mackett 8, Graham Knowler 6, Dave Hammond 5, Alex Chadd 4, Martin Stacey 3, Giles Dismore 2, Phil Spencer 0.