The curtain was brought down on Short Track UK’s fourth championship season with some amazing tales of heroism and a master-class in powersliding by the world’s greatest-ever exponent of the art, in front of a good-sized crowd at Scunthorpe Speedway track on Sunday afternoon (19/10).
The master class came courtesy of US legend, the six-times AMA National Flattrack champion and seven-times 600cc US Dirttrack champion from Pennsylvania, Chris Carr.
Whether on his 450cc KTM or on the massive Woods Rotax, the 41-year-old was untroubled by the very best of Europe’s racers in this, the fastest growing motorcycling discipline in this continent but itself based on its hugely popular Stateside cousin, Flattrack: sweeping to first place in both the main Silkolene-sponsored STUK event and also the event for larger machines, the Sunnydecks Thunderbikes.
Both events were up to Round Seven of their year-long championships and it was within the all-important championship standings – and in the Junior event for 12 to 15 year old – that the main drama was reserved.
Leading the way in the Silkolene Short Track rankings was reigning champion (also winner in STUK’s inaugural season of 2005), the Italian Marco Belli.
This year a CCM Works rider (the Bolton-based firm who provided the only other champion, Lee Complin back in 2006), Belli was in a convincing position going into the final round; but the one thing he didn’t need was an injury: and this was the one thing he got, when taking a heavy tumble in practice on the Saturday.
A dislocated shoulder led to the racer from Varese spending most of the rest of the 24 hours before racing in the local hospital and a giant question mark lay over his participation.
However, dirt track motorcycling racers are made of far sterner stuff; and Belli returned to track not just to compete but to finish a brave third in the Grand Final and hold off the overall title challenge of the Brit immediately ahead of him in that race (both some distance behind the awesomely impressive Carr), one-time King’s Lynn and Sheffield Speedway rider, Peter Boast.
Suzuki -mounted Boast’s second place on the day was enough for him to clinch overall runners up; with another convert from Speedway, Aidan Collins grabbing the overall third place on the rostrum though only sixth on the afternoon.
Pete Boast said: "It's just as well he beat us all, otherwise we'd all be off to America! We had a good weekend with the weather and there was a good sized crowd which made for a good weekend."
Collins might have fared better if he could have taken a front grid berth in the 12 lap final and that looked on the cards when he led Belli and Lincs-based Tim Greig in the second semi.
However, a bad slip-up on lap five let the chasing pair through; and it was the Italian and Grieg who were to line up at the front of the grid alongside the imperious Carr and Boast.
One time Virgin Mobile R6 Cup racer Rusty Hodgson, who’s been largely off the scene this year, took the repechage route to the final, tucking in behind Cheshire’s CCM rider Richard May in the do-or-die Last Chance Final.
Carr was jet-powered from the start in the final and brought the stadium to its feet with a cornering style which could only be described as pure poetry in motion!.
Boast also had a view of the Californian-born one-time holder of the World Motorcycling Land Speed Record-holder’s exhaust in the Thunderbikes Final but the Market Rasen based racer had the consolation of defending his title in that event.
Seventh on the day, Kevin Armstrong finished as runner-up overall from CCM's May. Boast and Jon Lee on a monster 710cc Honda had in fact managed the near-unique feat of holding Carr at bay for three laps in the TB Final before his class clicked in and he steered his 600cc machine (with just a rear brake) past the hapless Brits.
Hats off to normally unsung Steven Coles - for the Cambs rider achieved the amazing distiction of a heat win over Carr, when the American's Woods Rotax developed cut-out problems: one to tell the grand-kids about for King for the day,Cole!
Also ultimately to defend the title he captured in 2007 was to be 15-year-old Tom Woolley but it was remarkable that the teenager from Burton was even on track: having broken his collar-bone exactly two weeks’ earlier in a crash (like Belli, in practice) at King’s Lynn.
Undaunted and riding through the pain barrier, Woolley held off the challenge of 16-year-old Ben Baker (the Skegness-based junior also making the senior final after a incredible 4th. place in the second semi) to overhaul him at the top of the leaderboard at the most vital of times.
The Welbourns ST Quads provided the usual exciting action with Caister’s Alan Hooker emerging was winner: on the afternoon and overall.
Round 7 Silkolene Shorttrackuk Championship Grand Final Result
1st #4 Chris Carr 450 KTM
2nd #54 Peter Boast 450 Team Suzuki
3rd #1 Marco Belli 510 CCM
4th #10 Tim Greig 450 ASR Honda
5th #11r Ben Wells 450 Revs Suzuki
6th #90r Aiden Collins 450 Buckingham Van Sales Honda
7th #76 John Lee 710 Scooter Farm Honda
8th #7r Ben Baker 250 Kawasaki
9th #77 Steve Hall 525 KTM
10th #9r Richard May 450 CCM
11th #49 Rusty Hodgson 450 CCM
12th #71 Glyn Pocklington 450 Helmets4u Honda
Sunnydecks Thunderbikes Final Result
1st #4 Chris Carr 600 Woods Rotax
2nd #54 Peter Boast 650 Suzuki
3rd #76 Jon Lee 710 Scooter Farm Honda
4th #28r Steve Coles 650 Honda
5th #9r Richard May 710 CCM
6th #79r Guto Llewelyn 600 Husaberg
7th #61r Kevin Armstrong 600 C&J Rotax
8th #13r Gary Inman 600 Scooter Farm Rotax
9th #59r Steve Hillary 750 Harley-Davidson
10th #22r Mike Ryan 600 CCM Rotax
11th #31 Dave Arnold 600 Scooter Farm Rotax
12 th #47Anthony Brown 600 Yamaha
F T Experience CCM Junior Championship Result
1st #1 Tom Woolley CCM 230 FT
2nd #7 Ben Baker CCM 230 FT
3rd #4 Tom Welbourn CCM 230 FT
Welbournes Shorttrack Quad Round Result
1st #1 Alan Hooker...................350 Banshee
2nd #8 Mark Hooker.................350 Banshee
3rd #2 Paul Munnery................520VLS
4th #12 Ian Willerby..................450 Yamaha
Helmets4u Rider of the Day:
CCM F.T. Experience Junior, Tom Welbourn