ROUND UP: Read and Whitehead winners in explosive Indoor Championships
Stockport’s Jake Read and Leicester’s Lucy Whitehead were the big winners in this weekend’s 2016 season British Indoor Cycling Speedway Championships, while Wednesfield did the double in the team event, taking both senior and junior titles.
Indoor specialist, Jake Read was in scintillating form throughout the open event, making light work of his semi final and securing two second places off his outside grids in his first two outings the final. After two more wins, it all came down to the last heat, where he saw off the challenge of Birmingham’s Scott Millward to race to victory by two clear points.
A run off was required for second place, with Ashley Hill and Chris Timms both tied on 16 points. Timms used all of his skill and craft to try and make an opening, but Hill held firm to take the silver medal.The racing was top class throughout the final, with some spine tingling passing and many ridings getting to know the air fence. The bravery on show on the tight track and break neck speed was enjoyable to watch.
WATCH: Jake Read claiming his first senior British Indoor title
In the Women’s event, Lucy Whitehead and 2015 champion, Charlie-Jane Herbert were both in supreme form. Only a run off could separate the two riders, and it was Whitehead who made a lightning start from outside grids to come around Herbert.
Herbert’s impressive corner speed kept her on the back wheel of Whitehead, before making her move at the end of lap two, only to make contact with Whitehead and crash spectacularly, sadly doing ligament damage to her knee in the process. Whitehead presenting herself at the tapes for the re-run to be crowned champion for the second time.Reigning European and British outdoor champion, Lauren Hookway claimed the bronze, just missing out on the run off after hitting the safety fence while battling with Herbert early on.
In the team event, Wednesfield were untouchable in both senior and junior categories. The Wolverhampton side won by 9 clear points over nearest rivals, Ipswich, who claimed the silver. Stockport came in third, while fourth placed Great Blakenham provided the shock of the weekend by making the final four and gave their all in the final.
A disastrous start for Ipswich left them with too much to do to catch Wednesfield in the Junior event. They recovered to finished second, while Sheffield and East Park battled it out for the bronze in the latter stages, East Park just doing enough to keep Sheffield at bay.Ipswich’s Matt Hill took the gold in the U19 event. The pint-sized Suffolk racer went through the card unbeaten, while Brandon Whetton and Adam Watson battled it out in a run off for second. It was reigning outdoor European Junior champion, Whetton, who took the silver.
Stockport’s Devon Campbell was on top in the U16 event, dropping just a single point on his way to the title. Sheffield’s Ed Morton secured second ahead of East Park’s Jake White, who looked like getting a maximum return after beating Campbell, only to move at the tapes in his fourth ride.
Kesgrave’s Lewis Brinkoff once again displayed unstoppable form in the U13 event, finishing the day on a 20 point maximum to add to his already decorated trophy cabinet. Ipswich’s Ben Clarke fought hard, only losing out to Brinkoff in his final race. Clarke’s team mate, Gemma Hill secured the bronze, adding to the Hill families impressive medal haul this weekend.
In the Over 40s, Craig Marchant won his first ever British title, indoor or outdoor. The reigning outdoor World Over 40s champion had to face a run off with Leicester team mate, Mark Whitehead. He saw off his challenge to take the gold, leaving previous champion, Whitehead to accept the silver.
Evergreen Swindon racer, Steve Harris brought home the bronze medal. Notably for Steve, this weekend was his incredible 25th appearance in the British Indoor open final, in the events 29 year history, winning the event six times in total.
In conclusion the championships were a huge success. Some fine racing was witnessed across all events. The skill, speed and bravery displayed was exciting, yet tense, with moments where you could barely watch. The surface was at it’s grippiest since it moved to Coventry from Manchester 4 years ago, which certainly contributed to a superb advert for this explosive sport.