Tykes are tops in the rain
By Mike Still
A RAIN-SOAKED audience braved testing conditions in Kent last weekend to see Yorkshiremen David Chappell and Graeme Witty sweep the board at the British National Ploughing Championships.
More than 200 local ploughing champions from all over the country contested 12 classes at Park Farm, overlooking Leeds Castle, near Maidstone.
Doncaster farmer David Chappell, with 395 points, shook off the challenge of runner-up Adrian Brewer, to win the British National Conventional Ploughing title by a comfortable nine points.
Adrian Brewer, from Wadebridge in Cornwall, has won this title twice before and represented England at the World Ploughing Contest in new Zealand in 1994, and Kenya the following year.
In the Reversible Ploughing category Graeme Witty, with 493 points, had an equally convincing win over fellow Yorkshireman John Hill (478 points), to become the British National Reversible Ploughing Champion for the first time.
Both men have enjoyed an intense but friendly rivalry for over 14 years. Between them they have represented England at world level an unrivalled 16 times since 1984, four times as team mates.
David Chappell and Graeme Witty will now go to Germany next year to plough for England in the 1998 world event.
Mr Witty, who farms near Malton in North Yorkshire, is a three-times former World Conventional Ploughing Champion and is making his debut at the World Contest as a reversible ploughman. He represented England at this years European Reversible Champion- ships in the Czech Republic.
John Hill, from Hoylandswaine, and Peter Waters, from Boston, who finished third in the Reversible Championship, will journey to Wales next October to represent England in the European Reversible Championships.
Although the appalling weather produced the worst conditions for the spectators since 1989, when the event was held at Modbury, in Devon, David Chappell said afterwards: "The ploughing conditions were about as near perfect as could be. A week earlier and it was hard to get a plough into the ground."
• More pictures on page 76
British National Ploughing Results
1. David Chappell395pts
2. Adrian Brewer386pts
3. Mike Holloway382pts
1. Graham Witty493pts
2. John Hill478pts
3. Peter Waters470pts
Graham Witty becomes British reversible champion for the first time.