MATCH REPORT: Brooke and Bacon continue strong Elite GP form in round one
Pierce Bacon (Ipswich) and Josh Brooke (Great Blakenham) took the honours at a sunny Cookson Park for the opening round of the HSBC UK Elite Grand Prix series, both riders heralding from the East and South East region,starting off how they finished the 2017 series, as winners.
The junior event got the proceedings going, with a competitive field of 12 riders. Michael Preston started in a very positive fashion, winning his first two races in excellent fashion with the only sub 40 second winning times and defeat of Pierce Bacon in heat 4.
Also unbeaten after two rides was Lewis Brinkhoff. Bacon had to fight his way past Louis Wright to win his third race, going into joint leader position. This after Brinkhoff and Preston had finished behind Kaysor Mohammedi, Brinkoff benefiting when Preston tried an outside pass on Mohammedi that left an inviting gap on the inside.
Home rider Ed Morton came into contention by winning his third race, while Fraser Garnett (who had scorched round to a 39:09 winning time in heat 7) the fifth rider on 10 points or more. Preston was the first rider to complete his fourth race, winning in a time the equalled the quickest of the meeting.
Garnett then beat Brinkhoff, both moving onto 14. Heat 14 was pivotal for Bacon. He trialled behind Morton from the gate, but managed an inside pass on turn one if the third lap (a pass that saw Morton slip from first to third as Devon Campbell came through).
Bacon was now a clear leader on 15, with Preston, Garnett and Brinkhoff on 14 and Cameron Gill coming into the reckoning on 14 after winning heat 15. Brinkhoff held Preston in third place in race 16, both finished behind Campbell (who completed his races with 14, and was ruing his first race non finish due to bike failure from his grid one race).
Heat 17 was the race of the meeting even though it didn’t feature any of the leading candidates. Tom Savage led from the start, drifting Owen Wells wide on the first turn. This left room for Macie Schmidt to exploit, the Girls under 16 World Champion quick to capitalise and sprint into the lead.
Wells fought his way past Savage, but found Schmidt hard to pass. After two close attempts he eventually found the way through on the back straight of the last lap, to win a race that brought huge applause from the watching crowd.
Bacon was off grid 4 in the final race, Brinkhoff on three would tie for first if he could win. Gill, from grid one, led to the first bend before tangling with Brinkhoff, thus allowing Bacon to execute the perfect pass and sprint away for the win.
Brinkhoff got second place to tie with Garnett on 17. So Bacon was the clear winner on 19. Brinkhoff and Garnett raced off for second place, with the Poole rider winning after an audacious outside pass on turn one of lap 3 after a slight slip by Brinkhoff.
Michael Preston and Fraser Garnett went home with £10 each after picking up the prize for fastest time, both having flown round the Cookson bowl in 39:09.
Pierce Bacon (Ipswich) 19, Fraser Garnett (Poole) 17, Lewis Brinkhoff (Kesgrave) 17,
Ed Morton (Sheffield) 16, Michael Preston (Stockport) 16, Cameron Gill (Coventry) 15, Kaysor Mohammedi (Bury) 15, Devon Campbell (Stockport) 14, Owen Wells (Hethersett) 13, Louis Wright (Stockport) 12, Macie Schmidt (Poole) 10, Tom Savage (Coventry) 7.
Referee – Darren Kent
The senior event required a pre-qualifier to determine the 16 who would line up in the final. Again there was plenty of exciting racing with many races involving passing and re-passing on the wide open Cookson raceway.
Dawid Bas was most impressive, losing just once (to Chris Timms) and jointly setting the quickest time of 38:31 with Richard Fellgett. Not too shabby for a first visit to Cookson. Sam Hardie was the unlucky rider to fall foul of the qualifying, but he went down fighting in every race, showing some strong gating.
Dawid Bas (Poole) 19, Richard Fellgett (Ipswich) 17, Fraser Garnett 17, Ed Morton 15, Mark Winwood (Birmingham) 15, Chris Timms (Birmingham) 14, Adam Watson (Sheffield) 14, Michael Baldock (Coventry) 13, Tom Bewick (Wednesfield) 13, Cameron Gill 13, Kyle Holland (A and T) 12, Sam Hardie (Coventry) 10.
Referee – Andy Schofield
The qualifiers then joined the seeded Josh Brooke, Myke Grimes, Lukasz Nowacki, Ashley Hill and Steve Harris for the Grand Prix opener.
As expected the racing continued to provide the spectators with a feast of top class cycle speedway, with several big crashes thrown in.
Bas showed his intentions in heat one, winning in the fastest time of the day (38:03). Brooke was composed in winning his first two races, leaving him and Bas both unbeaten after two rides. They met in heat 10, with Brooke moving into sole leadership after Bas slipped his pedal at the start and came in third behind Fellgett.
Timms had won his two grid ones, after fighting his way from last to second in his first race to put him second on 11 after three rides each.
Brooke lost for the first time, in heat 15 to Timms, with both moving onto 15 points after four races. Bas moved onto 14 by winning heat 14 from grid 4.
Grimes put himself into a position to challenge by winning his third and fourth rides to move onto 13. The fourth ride win came in a re-run, after taking a heavy fall and bringing down Nowacki after clipping the back wheel of Holland in the first attempt. The British champion didn’t make the same mistake at the second attempt, taking advantage of a chunk of luck with the referee’s decision to take the win.
As with the Junior event, the crowd were treated to an excellent race by the four riders occupying the last four places in the event. Garnett, Bewick, Gill and Holland swapping places on every bend before finishing in that order.
No holding back by any of the four, even though there was nothing but pride at stake. Bas and Timms met in heat 18, the Poole rider speeding away from grid one to put both on 18. Brooke and Grimes met in heat 20, with the Great Blakenham rider needing a second place to join the run-off (a race win would give him outright victory).
Brooke (from grid 4) found himself at the back after the first bend, with Harris and Morton set for an upset as they led into lap two. Grimes and Harris clashed and both came down, Brooke moving into the lead as the race was stopped. The rerun saw Brooke gain the second place he needed, Grimes winning to claim fourth place.
So the first place run-off had Bas on two, Brooke (3) and Timms (4) with Timms in another Cookson run-off after tying in first place with Grimes and Paul Heard in the Frank Knight memorial Meeting.
Bas led, but he suffered misfortune when his seat pillar snapped on the exit of turn 2, almost bringing Timms off. A re-run was ordered with Bas excluded. Brooke made no mistake in the re-run, pulling clear on the third lap.
Josh Brooke (Great Blakenham) 18, Chris Timms 18, Dawid Bas 18, Myke Grimes (Coventry) 17, Lukasz Nowacki (Horspath) 16, Richard Fellgett 14, Steve Harris (A and T) 14, Ashley Hill (Ipswich) 13, Michael Baldock 12, Fraser Garnett 11, Ed Morton 10, Adam Watson 10, Kyle Holland 8, Mark Winwood 8, Tom Bewick 7, Cameron Gill 6.
Referee – Andy Schofield
Report by Robert Mawhood