2017 CLUB CHAMPIONSHIPS: Newport claim open title | Poole Club Champions
Newport are the new British Open Club champions, after a cool performance in Horspath, Oxfordshire, saw them pull away, as their closest rivals made costly errors. Poole scooped the overall Club Championship trophy, with victories in U16 boys and U16 girls categories along the way.
Newport, Great Blakenham, Ipswich, Birmingham, Poole and East Park came through their semi finals unscathed to line up in the open final.
Great Blakenham’s Josh Brooke took an excellent opening heat win from grid three and team mate Lewis Osborne followed suit to get the Suffolk side into an early lead.
A couple of second places and a win for Jacob Soper for Newport meant they found themselves level with Great Blakenham after the first round of races.
Meanwhile, Birmingham registered two heat wins courtesy of Ricki Johnson and Scott Millward, which left them just one point behind.
However, the joy was short lived for Birmingham in the second round of races, as both Johnson and Millward picked up exclusions, and then two last places, which effectively ended their challenge.
Newport edged away by the half way stage courtesy of two wins from reserve Jack Harrold and Ben Mould. Great Blakenham kept themselves in the hunt with one win and two seconds, as the top two sides began to pull away from the rest of the pack.
Disaster struck for Blakenham in heat 14, when Lewis Osborne was disqualified for moving under orders, his back wheel seemingly giving way on the greasy starting grids.
It meant another win for Harrold of Newport, but they ran a last in the following race, which Blakenham’s Brooke won to haul them back in contention. That was short lived though, as Adam Peck committed another gate foul in the following heat.
Newport took full advantage, winning three of their four races in the third round of heats and pulled a huge 11 point lead over Ipswich and Great Blakenham in joint second.
PHOTOS: See Graham Robins’ photos in the slideshow below
It was a lead they would never surrender after a lively final six races. The title was secured in heat 22, as Jack Harrold completed his maximum and took the trophy back home to South Wales, which never looked in doubt after Blakenham’s challenge faded.
Great Blakenham took second, while Poole’s consistency paid off and finished third, on a day where gate exclusions cost teams dear.
Harrold starred for the Welshmen, but received solid back up from British Champion Ben Mould, with Adam Bennett and Jacob Soper also providing race wins on their way to victory.
Ecstatic team boss Nicky Evans commented: “It’s still sinking in. I’m absolutely over the moon with what the lads achieved for our club today.
“It’s by far one of the proudest achievements in our clubs history and also my managerial career. I cannot praise the boys in the squad who travelled up to ride and support the team today.”
On the other hand, Great Blakenham will rue their gate exclusions, which gave them an uphill battle in a very competitive final. They would likely have pushed Newport all the way to the wire without them.
Elsewhere in the championships, Poole took the U16 and U16 Girls titles on their way to taking the overall Club Championship title. Their U16 team were in fine form in today’s final, racing away to reclaim the coveted trophy. Kesgrave battled hard on their way to the runners up spot, with Coventry and Stockport jointly taking a hard fought third place.
Yesterday, Leicester took their 12th consecutive women’s title as well as the Over 40s.
Last year’s club champions Ipswich secured the U14s title and Exeter took the U12s, while Poole took the first ever U10s Little League club match on Saturday.