MATCH REPORT: Monarchs continue Vets reign
With a team made up of the four riders who competed in the Worlds Veterans Championship last weekend supplemented by the addition of Jason Ashford, Leicester Monarchs were always likely to have too much strength in depth for the other teams in the British Veterans Club Championship at Hull on Saturday. Indeed they could afford the luxury of having former double British Champion, Phil Howells in the pits in a non-riding role.
Leicester were clear winners of the first semi-final and entering the last race it looked like defending champions Kesgrave would join them, but with a fall meaning they only claimed a single point, it meant that they were tied on points with Northumbria. Danni Zagni took full advantage of the draw for grids and led Gavin Parr until the final bend when he was judged at fault for a coming together and it was Northumbria who qualified as runners-up.
In the second semi-final Astley & Tyldesley put up a fight until the end but it was Poole and Birmingham who went through to the final.
In the final Leicester were ahead after the first set of races and steadily built on that lead, only once failing to be in either first or second place, with the rides being shared out among the quintet. The real battle was for the remaining places. Northumbria took full advantage of having the inside grids in the final block of races and after Gavin Parr and Jason King had taken wins, an excellent second place by Terry Kirkup in heat 15 put them onto 34 points with Poole and Birmingham tied on 33 points.
Poole had the unbeaten Steve Harris in the final heat and he duly powered away for his maximum. Behind him Jason Keith out for a reserve ride held onto second place, which would have put Northumbria level with Poole for second, but eventually Craig Marchant made the pass and as he did so forced King wide letting Andy James snatch third place for Birmingham. This then left Birmingham and Northumbria tied for third on 35 points, but in the run-off Gavin Parr off grid two made no mistake in defeating Mark Winwood to clinch third place.
Much credit goes to Andy Schofield and everyone at the Hull club for their presentation of the event and to Paul Stephenson and team for an immaculate racing surface. Thanks also to The Co-operative Funeralcare for their sponsorship of the event
Kev Burns 11, Craig Marchant 11, Mark Whitehead 11, Jason Ashford 10, Norman Venson 9
Steve Harris 16, Pete Chant 8, Dave Murphy 8, Colin Rowles 5
Gavin Parr 12, Jason Keith 12, Terry Kirkup 7, Shane Gray 2, Neil Magee 2
Mark Winwood 13, Andy James 8, Steve Hodgkinson 7, Paul Timms 7