A massive crowd of about 6000 turned out in force to watch the 17th International Bonfire Burnup at the famous boarded circuit in Tonbridge Kent at the weekend.
Ivor Matthews / Tony Miles came out an unexpected winners in an action packed 6 lap sidecar final, world long track championship runner up Kelvin Tatum cruised the solo class and European Champions Tommy Kunert / Marco Hundsrucker 'showboated' the International 500cc sidecar final to make up this year's Bonfire Burnup Champions.
The 700 metre dirt track produced some excellent racing in all classes, but it was reliability that won the day in this end of season classic. John Halsey and Jason Glenie looked likely winners throughout the qualifying heats going into the final as top points scorers, Super Cup runners up Rob Wilson / Tony Miles looked the other likely winners, although they failed to finnish in their first heat after dropping a chain on their speedway outfit. Colin Blackborn / Rob Szarek on their Steer grass outfit looked very fast until a first straight accident put them out off the rest of the meeting. Super Cup winners Craig Cheatham / Clive Reynolds (see headline news), Dave Steer / Ian Whale and John Hiscock / Symon Wall made up the final all producing consistent results all day to earn their place in the top six.
In the final it was Wilson / Miles who made the start only for the Yamaha R1 to blow up on the first corner with Halsey / Glenie tucked in behind with Matthews / Miles in third.
Coming out of the first turn Halsey stormed ahead but Matthews gave chase and the gap never looked to get any bigger, but it was Matthews determination that paid dividends in the end, as the fellow riders battled between themselves Matthews kept the pressure on Halsey who then dramatically pulled up on the last lap with clutch failure, Matthews stormed on to take the win with a hard fought and well deserved second place for John Hiscock and Craig Cheatham battling the elements on his unsprung speedway outfit taking a creditable third place overall, Halsey cruised round to take fourth and the unlucky Dave Steer who had been riding well all day went out with clutch failure as well.
In the Solos Kelvin Tatum was only headed once all day after he settled for a third place in his third heat behind the storming David Howe and Germany's Herbert Rudolph. Svab looked a class act all day and pressed Tatum hard in the final, but never threatening Tatum,s supremacy for second overall. Teen sensation Lee Complin, surely a world champion of the future showed his great ability to round the worlds number four Paul Hurry to take his first International rostrum place. David Howe faded in the six lap final to finish fifth behind Hurry and followed home by the flying dutchman Maik Groen who rode superbly throughout the heats and Ipswich Witches Jason Bunyan in seventh.
Tommy Kunert / Marco Hundsrucker were in a class of their own in the 500cc sidecar class, taking time out to ' hollywood ' with the crowd in each race by wheeling down the straight's and cruising around with the passenger waving to the crowd whilst his fellow competitors battled it out behind him. Throughout the heats Malcolm Goodwin looked the strongest opposition amongst the others but slowed dramatically in the final as the laps went by.
Eleven times Dutch champion Marco Glorie / Harry Drenth fought on to take second overall in his farewell meeting, he retired immediately afterwards bringing to an end a 23 year racing career. The current German champion and veteran racer Karl Kiel took the last rostrum place with Brian Palmer / Danny Hogg the first British crew home in fourth, Malcolm Goodwin in fifth and Chris Salisbury / Gary Hughes back in last place.
Strictly Necessary Cookies
Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.
If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again.