MATCH REPORT: Heard wins Frank Knight Memorial meeting
The Frank Knight Memorial meeting opened the 2018 season for Sheffield, with line-up featuring Elite riders alongside riders from past years of Frank’s involvement with the Sheffield Club.
A week of tireless work, which started on Monday with the removal of the final snow covering, produced a fast firm race surface. The riders produced some top class racing, on what was the first Saturday of decent weather this year.
It was clear from the early races that the big three of Paul Heard, Chris Timms and Myke Grimes would dominate proceedings, so it proved with the three finishing in that order for the podium. All three were clearly quicker than the other riders (they were the only ones to post a sub 40 second race time – Heard the overall quickest on the day with 38:16 in heat 11, just 0.35 outside the track record at this point of the season a testament to his fitness).
After three races each Heard led on an unbeaten 12, with Timms (a loser to Grimes) and Grimes (a loser to Heard) on 11. Then on 10 came surprise packets Kyle Holland and Cameron Gill. Both had given Heard (the GB captain) a scare in heat 2 as they led him to the first bend before all three came to a halt after a collision.
Gill had also thrilled to crowd in heat 7 with a tremendous burst of speed to produce an outstanding outside pass on Steve Harris and Ed Morton to win on the last corner.
Timms produced two great moves to beat Heard in heat 14. Firstly was a great first bend move from grid 4 to pass going into turn 3, only for both riders to clash and end on the floor. The re-run saw Heard lead for two laps before Timms came through to leave the top three tied on 15 points.
Heard was the first to complete his five races, winning heat 17 after a terrific scrap with Steve Harris, which was achieved with a sublime pass on the exit of turn 4 on lap 2. Timms made no mistake from grid 1 in heat 18 to move onto 19 points also. Grimes (the British Champion) then joined the 19 club by winning the last race.
Frank’s son (Jeb) made the draw for the run-off, putting Heard on 1, Timms on 2 and Grimes on 3. A tactical first bend allowed Heard to make a break and pull two bike lengths clear. Timms and Grimes were chasing hard, until Grimes came to grief on the exit of turn two on lap two (the firm track surface playing its part as his front wheel washed out).
Timms was now freed to push hard on Heard,the Wednesfield Ace was equal to the pressure and stormed away to win in a time of 39:19 (Timms conceding defeat on the back straight and congratulating Heard on his win).
The sixteen riders had produced some excellent racing, all of which Frank would approved off (and that’s the main reason everyone was here for). Sheffield plan to expand the racing for next and future years to have an Elite competition and a secondary competition.
Paul Heard (Wednesfield) 19, Chris Timms (Birmingham) 19, Myke Grimes (Coventry) 19, Adam Watson (Sheffield) 16, Cameron Gill (Coventry) 14, Steve Harris (A & T) 14, Kyle Holland (A & T) 14, Ed Morton (Sheffield) 13, Rich Hudson (Sheffield) 12, Chris Turner (Sheffield) 12, Luke Morton (Sheffield) 11, Sam Haines (Sheffield) 9, Sam Hardie (Coventry) 9, Kielan Burton (Sheffield) 7, Mick Knowles
(Sheffield) 7, Dave Robinson (Unattached) 4, Steven Webber (Sheffield) 1.