Hinckley based Wightlink Warrior Arran Butcher retained the Island Masters track title for 2023 with a smash-and-grab raid to lift crown, seeing off previously unbeaten Warrior teammate Chad Wirtzfeld in the Grand Final.
As the heats unfolded it looked for all the world that the title was going Wirtzfeld’s way as he delivered four impressive race wins during qualification including a stunning pass on Butcher in the opening heat (pictured) and subsequently picking off opponents with ease whilst racing off a handicap marker.
Meanwhile Butcher was clearly struggling for speed, and it was only in his fourth and final qualifying race that he looked comfortable. His nine points in qualification was matched by James Laker who battled hard all night whilst the fourth Grand Finalist was wily campaigner Wayne Broadhurst.
With choice of gate in the final, Wirtzfeld opted for gate four whilst biggest rival Butcher took gate two and what a wise choice Butcher made as he bolted from the tapes, found the dirt line around bends one and two and headed for home with Wirtzfeld in pursuit. Try as he might Wirtzfeld just couldn’t find a way to close on the leader and Butcher’s fist pump as he passed the chequered flag was a combination of delight and relief whilst Wirtzfeld’s disappointment was clear to see.
Grand Final Result: Arran Butcher, Chad Wirtzfeld, James Laker, Wayne Broadhurst.
B Final Result: Nigel Coates, Dave Hammond, Luke Tuck, Max Broadhurst.
Support Final Result: Jon Freeman, Phil Spencer, Rob Wright, Rob Snow.
Attention now turns to next week with two big meetings at Smallbrook on Tuesday and Thursday (18 & 20 July) as the Women race off for the NORA British title over both nights with Katie Gordon expected to defend her title. The Wight Pairs and NORA British Open Championships have attracted plenty of interest with several Smallbrook favourites invited to take part including Jason Edwards, Brayden McGuinness, Steve Boxall, Ben Morley, Lee Complin, Arran Butcher, George Congreve, Jake Turner, and Superbike brothers Andre and Benji Compton.