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To The Future

16.09.13 763 (640x427) Superb fourth round is club's climax.

After a worrying lead up to the weekend, and concerns that rain would yet again spoil another meeting, round four of the Kent Cams/Simpson Race Exhausts British Autograss Series turned out to be a brilliant event.
The forecast was for showers on Saturday and heavy rain all day on Sunday. What we actually had in the end was a glorious weekend - for the most part - that should have silenced the naysayer’s, and provided racing that showed the sport at its most exciting.
Despite lovely conditions on day one, the forecast was still a little gloomy for the second day, which prompted a change in the usual format, bringing the program of races forward in an attempt to complete the finals before the rain set in.
It was a wise decision to continue racing with the third heats on the first day; despite a few incidents for which the ambulance was required and a few occasions where the track was graded, the third heats for the men were fully completed a little after 6pm, which is a great achievement, and allowed ample time for the cleanup operation at the end of the event.
The amount of mud on the outfields made moving around spectator land somewhat problematic, but the change in event format meant that those who hadn’t made the final in the men’s classes could leave on Saturday evening, which therefore reduced the amount of work after the event towing campers, trailers and race trucks out of the venue. The finals finished at 1215, which meant an early arrival back home for the majority was a huge bonus.
The fact that there weren’t many spectators at the event was a great shame, though it’s not surprising given the forecast, but it did mean that there were fewer machines to rescue from the mud at the end of the event. We stayed behind a little while after racing was completed, and it was great to see the amount of activity and hard work on all sides as people were towed across the fields.  
While the rain prior to the event might have ruined the access roads around the venue, its effect on the usually flat, smooth track created an interesting racing surface not unlike the one at Cwmdu. Where the grading bars has displaced the loose to the outside of the track, it made for a rough and bumpy outside line that quickly caught out the over ambitious; add to that a slightly undulating racing line, and the ever increasing presence of ruts and holes as the day progressed, and the result was an old fashioned surface that favoured a considered approach. With the usual negativity in the run up to the event regarding the weather, it was good to see that the water bowser was a necessity too: dust wasn’t a huge problem really, and its presence on track was a satisfying way to negate all the negative and flippant comments about the way the meeting was expected to turn out.
What was less encouraging was the shortage of marshals and officials throughout the weekend, as the club suffered – as so many do – with work-shy members. Instead it was left to a number of well known drivers to marshal and officiate, which in itself was refreshing to see, but huge credit should be given to the usual Severn Valley members who worked hard to produce another great event.
Not all of the marshalling decisions were right, but from the majority of comments on social media, this will be an event remembered fondly in hindsight for its great forward planning, and certainly for the quality of the racing. Has this been the final round, it would have served as a good championship finale, but the Scunthorpe club are hugely capable too of producing an event in two weeks time that befits the final round of the series.
As is usually the case at the fourth round, there were a few champions crowned; most notably, Dan Mackenzie did enough here to put the class eight title out of reach of his rivals, and he is more than deserving of a title he has worked hard for over the past few years. The class eight final was one of many superb races throughout the weekend, and the amount of action on offer produced a fitting last meeting on the Withington venue before its break next year.