MATCH REPORT: Nowacki, Schmidt and Morton Laurels champions
After a series of rostrum places stretching back to 2005, Lukas Nowacki finally added the top prize to his impressive CV, dropping just one point to fellow countryman Dawid Bas on the way to a notable success in far from perfect conditions.
The Laurels usually enjoys good weather at Harbourside but wind and rain swept across the South Coast creating challenging racing conditions throughout all three events.
After 4 rides each, Lukas and Ben Mould headed the field on 15 apiece with Paul Heard and Dawid Bas on 13 and Zac Payne half a point behind after what most people thought was a generous dead heat decision with Ashley Hill in heat 6.
There were fluctuating fortunes in the final round of races as heat 18 saw Payne put the pressure on with a win from his inside gate ahead of Bas to go half a point ahead of his Polish rival while Mould could only pick up a solitary point after he and Bas clashed on lap 2.
Nowacki only needed to pick up 3 points from his gate 4 in heat 20 but that was by no means a certainty with points hungry Paul Heard along side on 3. All was quickly settled when the Wednesfield rider was adjudged to have moved at the tapes – hotly contested by both rider and onlookers who failed to see any infringement!
Luck will always even itself out over time and who would deny that Nowacki deserved his success while Horspath club mate Payne made it a double celebration for the Oxford boys. Ben Mould joined them on the roster after a cat and mouse victory over Dawid Bas for third place.
Lukas Nowacki 19, Zac Payne 16½, Ben Mould 16, Dawid Bas 16, Matt Smith 14, Paul Heard 13, Ashley Hill 12½, Brandon Whetton 12, Dean Hook 11, Jay Briggs 11, Maciej Ganczarek 11, Steve Harris 11, Josh Brooke 9, Wil Bristowe 9, Ben Higham 7, Adam Watson 7.
Referee Colin Simmons
After her Double success in the British Championships a week earlier, home favourite Macie Schmidt continued her rich vein of form with 5 unbeaten rides in a competitive field which saw a three way run-off for the remaining podium spots.
Heat 14 saw the eagerly awaited match up between Schmidt and 2016 Laurels winner Hookway but with inside grid advantage, it was the Poole rider who held on for the victory despite pressure from her great rival.
GALLERY: Photos by Graham Robins
Having dropped a point to Lizzie Rigley in heat 6, Hookway looked in danger of missing out on runners up spot but in form Chloe Pearce held off the Leicester girl in heat 15 to set up a three-way run-off between Pearce, Hookway and Rigley for 2nd, 3rd and 4th which saw Lauren spring from gate 2 and Chloe take 3rd place after Lizzie took a tumble on the rain soaked track.
Macie Schmidt 20, Lauren Hookway 18, Chloe Pearce 18, Lizzie Rigley 18, Niamh Morton 16 Krissie Mines 13, Laura Watson 13, Maddie Saunders 13, Charlie Herbert 12, Bethany Briggs 11, Emily Burgess 10, Alice Neighbour 10, Gemma Hill 9, Anna Tuttle 7, Jasmine Oddie 5, Sammi Marsh 5
Referee Peter Clarke
A new perpetual trophy for the Junior Laurels has been donated to the Poole club by the Lanning family to serve as a permanent association with former President and long-time supporter Dave Lanning, who sadly passed away last October.
In less than ideal conditions, it was the Sheffield duo of Ed Morton and Adam Watson who splashed their way to the top two podium positions with Ed reeling off four straight wins after taking 3 from his opening gate 4 race behind Sean Bennett. Watson meanwhile had to yield to newly crowned British Junior champion Harrison Bacon in heat 6 and fellow Star Morton in heat 9 – both times starting outside his opponent.
Bacon saw his challenge falter after opening with two wins with third places in his next two outings. Meanwhile local favourite Ben Tinsdale was quietly building up his points tally and a determined win from gate 4 in his final race saw him clinch the third rostrum spot.
Overall racing was fast and competitive despite the conditions and the quality of the young riders in action demonstrated just how bright the future is for the sport going forward – something which would have pleased Dave Lanning more than anyone.
Ed Morton 19, Adam Watson 18, Ben Tinsdale 17, Harrison Bacon 15, Callum Goward 14, Sean Bennett 14, Fraser Garnett 13, Carl Parfitt 13, Jack Ellis 12, Alex Harvey 11, Haydn Rowley 11, Reece Johnson 10, Devon Campbell 9, Callum Smith 9, Will Jeffery 5 (Retd inj).
Referee – Colin Simmons