MATCH REPORT: Sheffield on the rise after successful individual club championships
The Stars’ Cookson Park track was the venue for the Annual Sheffield Club Individual Championship, which combined with the final round, of eight, of the Hallamshire Go Ride Grand Prix last weekend.
A total of 24 riders took to the track, the best attendance since 2014 and the days of the Elite League, boosted by the Saturday morning bike club sessions led by British Cycling’s enthusiastic coach, Rob Mace (pictured). The squash ladder format for the qualifying races proved very popular and provided excellent racing throughout.
The highest score achieved was 16, by Ed Morton and Duncan Horton (making an outstanding debut, this being his first time on a cycle speedway bike), with 11 the lowest score. Twenty different riders won at least one race, with only Kielan Burton winning more than twice (he managed three wins and two last places).
During the qualifying races there were some notable wins from Niamh Morton (heat 2), Edward Balfour (heat 11), Nigel Howard (heat 13 – getting the better of Ed Morton, Adam Watson and Kyle Holland), Joe Brownell (heat 16), Duncan Horton (heat 22 – a brilliant inside pass on Jack Brownell), Neve McDermott (heat 29) and Isabella Frost (heat 30).
Duncan Horton 16, Ed Morton 16, Sam Haines 15, Adam Watson 15, Kielan Burton 14, Neve McDermott 14, Edward Balfour 13, Joe Brownell 13, Kyle Holland 13, George Martin 13, Logan Perkins 13, Laura Watson 13, Jack Brownell 12, Isabella Frost 12, Charlie Mawhood 12, Kit Hawkins 11, Joe Horton 11, Jordan Howard 11, Nigel Howard 11, Luke Morton 11, Niamh Morton 11, Archie Rawling 11, Steven Webber 11, Jacob Bloomer 6.
First of the finals was the Go Ride Grand Prix, with riders graded for grid positions on their performance during the qualifying heats. The only final not to have the winner come from grid one was the Open Final. Ed Morton managing to pass Kyle Holland, with Nigel Howard in hot pursuit. Adam Watson left on the grid when his chain-ring snapped. Those to make the most of grid 1 were Joe Horton (under 8), Joe Brownell (under 10), Kielan Burton (under 13) and Laura Watson (Women).
The top three for the 2017 Grand Prix series were:
Under 8 – 1st George Martin (130), 2nd Jacob Blooomer (96), 3rd Joe Horton (75)
Under 10 – 1st Kit Hawkins (118), 2nd Joe Brownell (100), 3rd Neve McDermott (63)
Under 13 – Kielan Burton (145), 2nd Logan Perkins (103), 3rd Jack Brownell (98)
Women – Anna Perkins (63), 2nd Alice Unwin (50), 3rd Niamh Morton (45)
Open – Luke Morton (117), Sam Haines (97), tied 3rd Kyle Holland (70), Ed Morton (70).
So we moved to the final race action of the home season and the Sheffield Championship Finals, nine to race for (the Vets final a walkover/cycle over for Luke Morton – the only vet racing).
The Under 6s started proceedings with an excellent contest eventually won by Jordan Howard (showing he’s got his Dad’s determination) from Jacob Bloomer. Joe Horton took the win in the under 8s, showing huge promise having started just six weeks ago, from Edward Balfour, George Martin and Charlie Mawhood.
Joe Brownell used all of his experience to win the Under 10 final from Kit Hawkins. Neve McDermott in third with Archie Rawling in fourth. Kielan Burton held off a hard challenging Logan Perkins to claim the under 13 title, Jack Brownell and Isabella Frost in the minor places.
The Under 16 final was re-run after Niamh Morton took a spectacular fall on the back straight of the third lap, probably catching her foot in the front wheel while chasing hard to catch Sam Haines. The re-run kept the same positions with Sam taking the chequered flag from Niamh, with Kielan Burton and Logan Perkins filling the minor places.
Luke Morton won the Clubman final ahead of impressive debutant Duncan Horton. Jack Brownell gaining third after Steven Webber took a big fall while trying to pass. Steven had also crashed in the qualifying races when taking a nudge from Joe Brownell (Jack deciding to copy his younger brother).
Laura Watson gained the Womens title, holding off Niamh Morton. With Neve McDermott and Isabella Frost just happy to be in the same race as the Womens GB pair. Ed Morton made a strong start from grid one to win the Under 19 Final from Adam Watson, Sam Haines and Steven Webber.
For the senior final Adam was on grid one as he was out to defend his title, and prevent Ed from completing the Under 19/Senior double that had been done by Adam himself in 2016, Kyle Holland (2015) and Pawel Idziorek (2014). All was going well until the exit of turn 4 on the end of the second lap. Adam (on Laura’s bike) coming down very heavily after the bike shed its chain, with the hard chasing Ed Morton and Nigel Howard also brought down in the melee.
With a hole in his knee, it meant Adam was unable to take his place in the re-run. Ed gleefully sped away to complete the double victory, hard chased by Nigel while Luke Morton took third place ahead of Laura Watson.
Now the Club’s resources and members will continue to train to help keep the fitness levels up for Adam, Ed, Laura and Niamh, who depart these shores on 10th November to compete in the World Championships in Australia.