BRITISH WEEKEND: Full preview across all disciplines
This year sees every category of the British Individual Championships taking place in one weekend at one location. It’s going to a busy three days of thrills and spills at Ipswich, Great Blakenham and Kesgrave. 33/18 News have teamed up with British Youth and Junior League coordinator, Ross Mee to see what you can expect from 2015’s feast of individual Cycle Speedway action. We kick off the preview with the Girls Under 10s.
Girls Under 10
The weekend begins at 11am on Saturday at Kesgrave, with the Girls Under 10 final. Rosie Tidball will be there to defend her title and told 33/18 News that retaining this was her main goal for the season. Riding in the unmistakeable Tidball family style she has been in impressive form this season and is currently in second place in the BYJL Under 10’s, having won the S&SW regional rounds. Her main challenge will probably come from the two home riders Aimee Porter and Daisy Steward but the field looks to evenly matched.
Boys Under 10
Also at Kesgrave, the Boys Under 10 final runs with a full sixteen rider field, hoping to succeed Nathan Goulden as champion. With the bonus of home track advantage Oliver Reynolds, who has won all three of the National BYJL rounds, will have high hopes, but the likes of A&T’s John White, Sheffield’s Jack Brownell and Birmingham’s Connor Steel will also looking for a place on the podium, preferably on top spot.
Girls Under 13
Opening proceedings at 10am on Sunday at Great Blakenham is the Girls Under 13 final. Ipswich’s Gemma Hill and Swindon’s Alice Neighbour will once again do battle with each other – Gemma leads Alice 2 – 1 from their Under 10 title days, whilst Alice can boast a third place in this section last year. Poole Madeline Saunders is another one to look out for, along with team mate Anna Tuttle and Coventry’s Bailie Phillips.
Boys Under 13
Later on will be the running of the Boys Under 13 final. Twice British champion at U10 level, Kesgrave’s Lewis Brinkhoff has been unstoppable in the BYJL Under 12’s and it will be interesting to see if his power is enough to see off some older more experienced opposition such as Exeter’s Owen Tidball, Coventry’s Jimmy Wassall and Stockport’s Michael Preston.
Boys Under 16
There is an impressive 23 riders entered for this, all hoping to make it through to Monday’s opening final at Ipswich. With 2014 champion Brandon Whetton and four others of the top six from last year riding, this looks likely to be the perfect opener. Brandon, who looked to have one hand on the World Junior trophy three weeks ago, will be looking for some compensation by retaining his crown.
But the Ipswich trio of Ben and Alex Harvey and Pierce Bacon will be hoping for some home track advantage, whilst Haydn Rowley, Adam Watson and Danny Taylor will all be looking to at least make it into the top three.
Girls Under 16
Sadly the Girls Under 16 final is still being run as part of the Ladies final but hopefully the girls will be recognised with their own final in future where there is a straight competition. Lily Gedge was the 2014 winner and will be looking to defend her crown on her home track, but she will face a challenge in particular from the much improved Lizzie Rigley, runner-up in 2014, as well as from 2014 Girls Under 13 champion Macie Schmidt who looked so impressive in the World Final where she beat some experienced riders and Sammi Marsh, another Great Britain world finalist.
Among all the drama of the World Junior Final it was Ipswich’s Matt Hill who emerged as the top British rider with third place and he will be looked to succeed Ricki Johnson as Under 19 champion.
Leading the challenge will be Ipswich team mates Richard Fellgett and Charlie Rumbold, along with A&T’s Reece Pollitt, who recovered from a first ride last in his opening race to take sixth place in the Junior world final. They will all have to contend with the challenge from Brandon Whetton who will looking to secure a duo of British titles in one weekend.
There are three finals of Veterans action this weekend. Starting with the Over 50s at 12 noon on Saturday at Great Blakenham. Paul Timms, Bob Prince and Steve Hodgkinson have all been pacesetters in the Eurovets series and will be in with a shot of the title along with the returning Dave Murphy and Edinburgh’s Lee Lawrence.
The Over 60s takes place at Great Blakenham at 4pm. Only seven riders will contest it, with multiple winner Bob Prince the favourite. Mick Aris has recovered from a bad injury to take his place, and we see the return of the infamous Vic Haines, who sadly isn’t in the open like he promised!
Kesgrave’s defending Over 40s champion, Danny Zagni has a home track advantage this year, other local boy, second place last year, Peter Ingram takes his place in the line up hoping to make the final at 12:30pm on Sunday.
They both have real stiff competition for the title though, Steve Harris is always one of the top favourites, new veterans world champion Craig Marchant is looking to make it a double and you can never rule out Sheffield’s Elite League captain and second in the world, Gavin Parr.
Other riders to watch out for include Jason Burke, third in the world Kev Burns, Norman Venson and Martyn Hollebon. A notable absentee from the draw is regular Eurovets winner, Mark Winwood.
If she can peak again after her World Final victory, Vicky Brown will be the one to beat in the Ladies final. The focus and determination that she showed at Wednesfield was very reminiscent of Sheffield team mate Andy Angell. Leading the challenge will be two Ipswich riders and British Champions, Charlie Jane Herbert and Lauren Jacobs.
Lauren Hookway, second in the World Final will undoubtedly be amongst the leaders and no Ladies Final is complete without a Whitehead or two. Lucy was the first British Ladies champion in 2006, before adding a second title in 2009, whilst Michelle is still looking for her first victory. Although she has not ridden much this year Danni Riley could well be the competition’s dark horse.
Last, but not least, the Senior Open final is as much as a lottery this year as ever. Last year’s final was the closest on record and we could see more of the same, with a plethora of evenly matched riders all capable of beating each other. Defending champion Andy Angell pulled off an impressive World final at Wednesfield, along with former British champion Mark Boaler. New world number two and runner up last year, Chris Timms is one of the favourites along with a long list of names with other world finalists Paul Heard and Ben Mould who are both due a British title after being consistently at the top of their game for seasons now. Finally you can never discount Lee Aris, he’s finished on the podium for the last two years.
Other riders worthy of a mention include the impressive Zac Payne, who had an incredible Worlds campaign, and a couple of local boys to watch out for to make the top 16, Charlie Rumbold and World Junior number 3 Matt Hill, who has been impressive all season long.
It’s certainly not a foregone conclusion, the title is more than up for grabs for many riders in the competition.
Stay tuned to 33/18 News across the weekend, as we bring you the latest results as and when we can!