2017 BRITISH INDIVIDUALS: Grimes and Schmidt crowned champions at the HSBC UK | National Cycle Speedway Championships
Report by Andy Whitehouse
Coventry’s Myke Grimes and Poole’s Macie Schmidt were crowned champions at the HSBC UK | National Cycle Speedway Championships on Monday.
Both riders produced flawless results in their respective events, taking five wins from five in Wednesfield.
Grimes is only the second rider to take the title with a maximum 20 points and did it with a masterclass of cycle speedway riding.
The Coventry rider was challenged throughout the match by the host club’s Paul Heard who finished the day on 19 points, only dropping a point against Grimes on a hard fought heat seven that saw Newport’s Ben Mould clash with Grimes resulting with an exclusion for Mould. Grimes made no mistake on the re-run to take the four points.
Grimes said: “I’m amazed to be honest, after last years result, to come here and win is something I can’t really put into words and to do it with a 20-point maximum.
“To make a bit of history and to match someone like Lee Aris is pretty special. It’s taken six years in real time and a lot of hard work to get to this point. Hopefully taking this back to Coventry will inspire a few more youngsters to take up the sport.”
Josh Brooke took the bronze medal, Brooke who was one of the pre-race favourites did not look to gel with the track and only managed to take one win during the match in heat six that saw Andy Angell take an early walk back to the pits after an exclusion. Angell would retire injured in heat 16. Brooke made no mistake on the re-run and took the win from the tapes.
Steve Harris increased his senior appearance final tally to a record 25. The 49-year-old took two second places in heats four and six and the long Wednesfield track would prove a little too long for the veteran, but the day belonged to Grimes who made amends for the previous years second place at Exeter.
Macie Schmidt became the first riders to win the senior women’s and under 16’s titles having won the latter at East Park on Sunday.
Schmidt was a pre-race favourite but up against the likes of Michelle Whitehead and the 2016 winner Lauren Hookway the pressure would always be on Schmidt to perform on the day.
A solid start by Schmidt in the opening heat, firing from the gate to take a fairly straight forward win from Kristina Mines. Leicester’s Michelle Whitehead took the following heat whilst Hookway romped away in heat four to take her opening win.
Steady racing until the break saw the favourites mass up the points but eyes were turning towards Leicester’s Elizabeth Rigley, who had quietly taken two heat wins and a second, and going into the midway point sat joint second with Whitehead, one point adrift of the leaders Schmidt and Hookway.
It was heat 18 that saw the two leaders take to the gate, both knowing a win would seal victory, Rigley, taking a win in her final heat was sitting on 18 points, Whitehead had to win or take second to have a chance of a podium place but it was a level-headed Schmidt who did not bow to the pressure of the occasion and rode a perfect race to take her maiden Championships victory, Hookway held onto second and Whitehead took the final points to take fourth on the day.
Myke Grimes 20, Paul Heard 19, Josh Brooke 16, Brandon Wetton 15, Chris Timms 15, Ben Hingham 14, Ben Mould 13, Zac Payne 11, Lewis Osbourne 11, Ash Hill 10, Steve Harris 10, Jake White 10, Lee Kemp 9, Scott Millward 9, Leon Mower 7, Andy Angell 4.
Macie Schmidt 20, Lauren Hookway 19, Elizabeth Rigley 18, Michelle Whitehead 17, Laura Watson 15, Kristina Mines 14, Lucy Whitehead 14, Charlie Jane Herbert 13, Niamh Morton 11, Chloe Pearce 11, Samantha Marsh 10, Bethany Briggs 10, Chloe Whitehead 7, Skye Mitchell 7.
Gallery – Photos by Andy Whitehouse
Earlier in the day, Ipswich’s Harrison Bacon became the U16 Boys champion with an 18 point haul. It took a run off for second and third to decide the final podium positions. Poole’s Fraser Garnett and Ipswich’s Ben Clarke both topping off impressive weekends by finishing second and third respectively after Garnett beat Clarke to the silver.
The next crop of junior riders from little league to U18 certainly looks healthy, competitive and will provide a solid base for the sport the grow.
And so concluded a superb weekend of racing. Hats off to Leicester, East Park, Birmingham and Wednesfield for providing a smoothly ran and well attended weekend across all three days. Well done everybody.