Report: Fraser Law
For 2012 the 87th Wild & Woolly was able to return to its spiritual home of Blisworth in Northants. Last time the race was run there in 2010 the course was frozen solid with a covering of snow. This year for the world’s oldest still running motorcycle race, weeks of heavy rain left the track very wet and slippery. Once again the local villagers and Wild & Woolly die hard fans turned out en masse, with over £3000 being collected for local charities, the Air Ambulance and Help for Heroes.
From the traditional dead engine start it was current SMC Expert Champion Dale Raynor who led on lap one as the riders negotiated three new water crossings. Most riders attempted to jump these with varying degrees of success. Dale had something to prove after crashing out of contention during last year’s event. Jack Lee who won the event so emphatically last time it was run at Blisworth was lying in 6th going into the first water hole. Jack was anxious to make amends for 2011, when a collision with a slower rider robbed him of almost certain victory whilst leading. Dale fell to 8th on lap two but then set about chasing down the leaders, as Jack advanced quickly to the front of the pack. Getting stuck in the water just once after catching another riders rear wheel, Jack put on a masterful display out front.
The only rider able to stay on the same lap as Jack was Dale who closed towards the end but wasn’t quite able to secure the win. Though Dale was arguably faster on the outfield, Jack’s consistancy through the water was key in securing his second victory after one of the most exciting races for years. Behind them James Barnwell and former winner Ryan Griffiths battled hard all race finishing two laps down at the finish. Ryan struggled in the water on lap one but was still pleased to finish in the final podium position. Behind them Adam Castledine led home Matt Willis and Jon Lee, all three finishing on 13 laps.
Finishers: 1 Jack Lee- GasGas 300 (17 laps), 2 Dale Raynor- Honda 250 (17 laps), 3 Ryan Griffiths- Honda 250 (15 laps), 4 James Barnwell- Honda 450 (15 laps), 5 Adam Castledine- Suzuki 450 (13 laps), 6 Matt Willis- KTM 250 (13 laps), 7 Jon Lee- GasGas 250 (13 laps), 8 Paul Baldwin- Suzuki 250 (11 laps), 9 Marc Bates- Honda 450 (11 laps), 10 John Barnes- Suzuki 125 (10 laps), 11 Martin Streeton- Yamaha 125 (9 laps), 12 Rob Saunders- KTM 250 (5 laps), 13 Roger Titman -Yamaha 450 (4 laps), 14 Tony Homer- Yamaha 250 (4 laps), 15 Hayley Rilings- Honda 250 (3 laps), 16 James Higgins- Honda 250 (1 lap).