Photo: Ian Groves/Sportography


With less than a week to go until track action returns to the Smallbrook Stadium in Ryde, the Wightlink Warriors are making final preparations to welcome back fans, old and new, to an exciting season of 7 fun-filled evenings that will cater for die-hard bike fans and families alike.

The main event this Thursday (22nd July) sees 12 established and renowned stars of the grass and long track fraternity do battle on the wide-open spaces of the Smallbrook circuit in the first round of the Island Masters – a 3 meeting series – which will be headlined by 4 times British Masters Grasstrack Champion Andrew Appleton (pictured).

The former Reading and Oxford speedway star will be joined by other names familiar to speedway folk with Tony Atkin, Charley Powell, Rob Fortune, and Wightlink Warrior Chad Wirtzfeld sure to have a say in the outcome of the event which has attracted local sponsorship from SES Autoparts Ltd from Newport.

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Former Wightlink Wizard Ben Ilsley has been instrumental in recruiting the riders for the Island Masters from his long-standing links to grasstrack and was clearly delighted to have brought together a competitive line-up.

He said:

“Over the winter I was in regular contact with Barry and Martin (Bishop and Widman – co-owners of the Wightlink Warriors) and we developed the idea of running a grass track meeting on the shale at Smallbrook.

“I put out some feelers and was amazed at the positive response from my grasstrack chums. From those responses it was clear the event was ‘a goer’ and with some popular names wanting to take part things just fell in to place. I can’t wait to see these lads getting stuck in.”

Supporting the main event will be six heats of pee wee and 125cc racing whilst the Wightlink Wizards will also be on track in a six heat challenge match against the nomadic Weymouth Wildcats.

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Wizard’s team manager Tony Cook said:

“All the boys are raring to go.

“We have always had good matches with the Wildcats and with most of the riders having been off track for quite a time they are all keen as mustard to go racing again.”

The 7 Summer Spectaculars will run on consecutive weeks from 22nd July. Gates open at 17:15 with the pee wee’s and juniors on track from 18:15 and the main event starting at 19:00 immediately after the grand parade of riders. Full catering facilities and grandstand seating is available with the meeting concluded by 21:30.

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