MATCH REPORT: Dave Blinston Memorial Trophy
After finishing third in 2015 and second in 2016, Jake Read went one better this year to add his name to the impressive list of past winners of the “Blinner” individual held at Stockport last Saturday, 29 April.
Seven Stockport riders lined up in the 15 rider field with a couple of late additions having to be drafted in to replace last minute withdrawals.
Terry Norman, who got the better of Jake Read in heat 1, along with Ben Higham, Bury’s Danny Taylor and Sheffield’s Adam Watson were the early pacesetters after the first round of races.
Two good second places to Stockport youngsters Devon Campbell and Michael Preston in heats 2 and 3 and again in heats 5 and 6 gave them both six points each from their first two races.
A win in heat 5 put Higham on top of the leader board as none of the other first four winners could manage to make it two out of two, and although Birmingham’s Mark Winwood and Jack Lush both picked up wins, it was Read who moved into second place just one point behind Higham, with a win in heat 8.
Higham kept his winning run going in heat 10 by beating Watson to make it twelve points from three races.
Another second place for Read in heat 12, beaten this time by Astley’s Reece Pollitt, saw him stay in second place but now joined by an impressive looking Preston, the winner of heat 11, both of them two points behind Higham with ten points apiece.
Pollitt took another win from his second grid one in heat 13 to keep himself well up with the leaders as did Lush in heat 14 but not before Louis Wright, who had led for much of the race, took a tumble on the dry, dusty surface on the third lap.
Heat 15 saw Higham drop his first points of the afternoon when he finished third behind Norman and Bury’s Kris Ramsden whilst in the next race Read took the win over Watson to draw level with Higham, both set to meet in heat 20.
After four races each Higham and Read were level on fourteen points each, Pollitt and Lush tied on thirteen each with Norman, Watson and Ramsden on twelve each.
Watson won heat 17 to finish with a total of sixteen points whilst Preston rode another good race to win heat 18 beating Pollitt and Ramsden to give himself a final score of fifteen points which would eventually prove to be just one point short of a top three run-off place.
Campbell won heat nineteen to deny Norman a chance of a top three place before the two joint leaders, Higham and Read, took their place on the grid for the all important and deciding heat 20.
Read had the favourable gate one, Lush just one point adrift had gate two, Winwood gate three and Higham gate four.
Read made the start he needed to win both the race and the title on eighteen points, and although Higham got the better of Winwood he couldn’t find a way past second placed Lush which meant they both finished on sixteen points each.
Also finishing on sixteen were Pollitt and Watson which meant a four man run-off would be needed to decide second and third places overall.
Watson drew gate one, Pollitt gate two, Higham gate three and Lush gate four.
Pollitt gated over Watson to take the lead with Higham just on his outside but a good move from Lush, who dropped under on the first bend, saw him move into second as they reached the pits bend with Higham lying third.
As they finished the first lap Higham had come through on the inside of Lush to take up the chase but despite there never being much more than a bike length between them it was Pollitt who held on to win the run-off for second overall from Higham with Watson getting past Lush on the last lap to finish just outside the top three and take fourth place overall.
The awards were presented by the match referee Mr Graham Lush.
1st Jake Read 18, 2nd Reece Pollitt 16, 3rd Ben Higham 16, Adam Watson 16, Jack Lush 16, Terry Norman 15, Michael Preston 15, Devon Campbell 14, Kris Ramsden 14, Louis Wright 11, Danny Taylor 11, Mark Winwood 11, Kaysar Mohammadi 8, Laura Watson 7, Josh Hill 7.