Preview: Island Masters Round 2 & Upright Qualifier Round 2
This week's oval track action will be important for two sets of competitors as the Wightlink Warriors welcome back the racers who are more used to grass than shale as they stage Round 2 of the Island Masters series which sees the grasstrack riders chase around Smallbrook on their specialist equipment and in support will be the second group of eight riders looking to qualify for the grand final of the NORA British Upright Championship next month.
Star of the Island Masters Round 1 was undoubtedly Arran Butcher (pictured) who rode unbeaten and he’s back looking to keep the run going, but that won’t be easy as he comes up against last week’s Handicap meeting winner (and coincidentally Oxford Chargers team-mate) Henry Atkins fresh from his fourth win in the ACU British Grasstrack Championship at 250cc level last weekend. Challenging their supremacy could be Chad Wirtzfeld. The former Wightlink Warrior has been in sensational form on both grasstrack and longtrack this season and he has been invited back to put his impressive form on display around Smallbrook once again.
In addition to the three riders already mentioned, others expected to line-up should include Luke Tuck, Harry Gent, Dave Hammond, Dean Cutler, Nigel Coates, Barry Coates, David Hollingsbee, Bill Haynes and Jon Freeman.
Turning to the Upright Championship eight more hopefuls enter the arena and regular speedway and grasstrack followers will recognise many of those competing. Although it’s hard to predict who the top four will be former Oxford racer Wayne Parker has been to the island on several occasions to assess and practice on the track having targeted this Championship as his 2022 priority, whilst the meeting will see the return of Alex Chadd who rode for Team GM last year winning five out of six heats.
The riders for the Upright Qualifying Round are Graham Knowler, Alex Chadd, Giles Dismore, Chris Mackett, Martin Stacey, Wayne Parker, Phil Spencer, Dave Hammond.
Warriors’ co-owner Barry Bishop said, “Bearing in mind the unusually hot conditions of late, both meetings will prove to be a rigorous test of man and machine and an exciting night is in store.
We will be doing our utmost to offer up the best track conditions that we can thanks to our magnificent band of volunteers and with lots going on around the stadium I know it will be a great family night out.
Foxbury Motors (Verwood), Freelance Installations and SES Autoparts have selected a great meeting to sponsor and I’m truly grateful to them for that”.
Gates at Smallbrook open at 17.15, pre-meeting demonstrations will be on-track at 18.10 before the main event at 19.00. All the usual stadium facilities will be available.