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EQUESTRIAN


Getting Personal


Carl Tonks - he’s had enough of Brexit!


Who are you? Carl Tonks, Head Groundsman of Ripon Racecourse.


Family status? Married.


Who’s your hero and why? The wife - I could not do anything without her.


What’s been the highlight of your grounds career so far? Winning Racecourse Grounds Team of the Year.


If your younger self saw you now, what would they think? You are not going to leave a beautiful corpse!


Which famous people wind you up? Anyone famous (fame is not aspirational).


What job would you love, other than your own? Isle of Man TT Legend.


What was the most embarrassing moment in your life? An incident involving saddle soap!


Brexit or Remain? Are we still discussing this?


What is your favourite film? Uncle Buck.


What scares you? Humanity. What would your


autobiography be called… and who would play you in the film? Touching Cloth - Ryan Reynolds. Apparently people come up to him in LA asking ‘what’s the going at Ripon’.


What is your favourite sport? Motorcycle road racing.


What would you cast into Room 101? Humanity!


Which historical time and place would you most like to visit? Quarter past three last Tuesday (I had a lovely sausage roll).


Do you have a lifetime ambition? To spend quality time with family.


114 PC August/September 2019


Carl and the team on his wedding day (left to right): Ted Pyman, David White, Carl, Martin Johnson, John Ireland, David Dalton


Which three people, living or dead, would you invite to a dinner party? Dinner party? Really!


What’s the best advice you have ever been given? Volunteer for everything.


What’s your favourite piece of trivia? Grass grows by the inch, and dies by the foot.


What’s your favourite smell? Chips.


Which three albums would you take to a desert island? Pearl Jam - Ten, Simon and Garfunkel - Wednesday Morning 3am and Weird Al Yankovic - Poodle Hat.


What’s the daftest work- related question you have ever been asked? Did that hurt?


What’s your favourite piece of kit? Our irrigation system.


What three words would you use to describe yourself? Not All There.


What is the single most useful thing you could tell a 16-year-old groundsperson/ greenkeeper? Get educated.


What talent would you like to have? Telepathy.


What law/legislation would you like to see introduced? Euthanasia.


Image: Rumour has it that I only got married to obtain a smart picture of the team. They were my guard of honour!


to slip over the turf. So, the theory was, if we had out-front rotary mowers, the grass would stand up, and you wouldn’t get as much stolonic growth and lodging of the plant. The theory worked, but the technology, for us, wasn’t there.”


“We generally cut about twice a week at a height of 3.75 inches, which is dictated by the BHA. We will then reverse cut, even though it’s a rotary mower; two cuts before the race meeting will be in the direction of travel, so the nap of the grass is up to requirements. After the race meeting, we will cut in the opposite direction and repair all the divots with a soil


and seed mixture.”


“During the season, we will go through sixty to eighty tonnes of soil and use three bags of seed per race meeting. I tend not to go over the top with the quality of seed, not because I am tight, but you tend to find, with predation, we will lose a certain percentage and it will get kicked out again. How soft the going is will determine the amount of damage, sometimes meaning if it’s really soft, we could have holes as deep as four inches, so at least half of that seed is never going to see the light of day.” I asked Carl if he ever uses a heavy roller to help take out the hoof marks. “I tend not to roll as


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