The Forge Flyers smashed all records with six wins from six runs during the autumn team chase season, and all roads now point to the national championship at the Fernie on 30 March and a second successive title for the squad.
The Trifast Allstars – runners-up at the 2002 national championship by just 3sec – were second twice in the autumn, serving notice that they will be snapping at the Flyers’ heels.
The Knightly Hatters and Fosse Manor Again, a revived combination featuring the offspring of the original squad and looking every bit as strong, got to within 5sec of the Flyers.
Supporters will be hoping that the Boring Gorings team, led by championship sponsor George Goring, will see a return to form.
Get set for spring
The spring action starts with open qualifiers at Taunton Vale (16 February) and VWH (23 February).
The Taunton Vale event, twice postponed last year when the course was under water, will be kicking off at a new venue, Pontispool. Event secretary Carolyn Selley promises a huge track – this will be no gentle early season run.
The first showdown of the season is likely to take place at the VWH, where the Forge Flyers hit the run of form that took them to last year’s championship.
Organisers Chris and Jo Verey describe the open course over some nice galloping Cotswold country as “inviting, but not for the faint-hearted”. The mixture of solid timber fences includes some good hedges, one with a sizeable drop, as well as some nice, well-built timber-topped walls.
“It’s early in the season, so it’s well up-to-height but welcoming and not totally mind-blowing,” says Jo.
|16 February||Taunton Vale||Mrs C Selley (tel: 01404 871543)|
|23 February||VWH||Mrs CH Verey (tel: 01285 654026)|
|2 March||Badsworth||Mrs S Hopkinson (tel: 01977 621383)|
|9 March||Warwickshire||Mrs D Welton (tel: 01295 690294)|
|16 March||Heythrop||Mrs N Gittins (tel: 01608 659936)|
|23 March||Berks and Bucks Draghounds||Miss E Barker (tel: 01256 850210)|
|30 March||Fernie (championships)||Miss K Harpham (tel: 0116 259 8476)|
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