MATCH REPORT: SE&E defeat Midlands in round one
Reigning Supertrax Battle of Britain champions, South East and East, put in a strong performance in the opening round of the elite men’s series on Sunday.
The South East and East were missing Charlie Rumbold but included Adam Peck in their line up, while the Midlands were notably without Paul Heard, Scott Millward and Matt Smith for the crunch match.
After a shared heat 1, the Midlands drew first blood in heat 2, with Myke Grimes powering round from grid 4, ably assisted by partner Lee Kemp, who tucked in to third place to give the visitors a 2 point lead.
After another shared heat, a disastrous three race streak did some serious damage to the Midlands’ chances. Firstly, Ricki Johnson moved at the tapes, leaving Ewan Hancox alone on grid 4 and conceding a 7-2.
Controversy reigned in the next heat, when Michael Baldock came to grief on the first turn after clashing with Ashley Hill, the Coventry rider unable to remount because of a shed chain, further into the race Leon Mower dived on Timms, cross the white line with both wheels in the process before being brought down by the Birmingham rider’s leg.
The referee disqualified Timms for a leg, much to the disgruntlement of the Midlands camp, who felt Mower committed the first offence. The resulting 7-0 effectively killed the match.
Further misery was piled on the Midlands after Brooke and Matt Hill worked from the first bend a 7-3 against Grimes and Kemp. The Midlands hit back with a 6-4 from Whetton and Jewkes, but found themselves 50-36 points down at the break.
The Midlands gave themselves some hope with a 7-3 after Adam Peck moved under orders, only to concede two 6-4s in the next two heats.
Both sides traded heat wins, with Whetton and Johnson bring home a 7-3 before Myke Grimes was excluded after three first bend restarts and the away side conceded another 7-2.
Whetton and Kemp hit back with their own 7-2, as Peck was excluded for excessive force on Kemp as the Midlands started to run out of races. Heat 18 was shared, meaning bar any disasters, the South East and East would keep the points in East Anglia.
There was time for one more heat advantage to the SE&E in an entertaining race, with Grimes almost getting his team mate Baldock to the front, but for Brooke to pull off a slick move down the back straight to split the pair and hit the front, relegating Baldock to the back in the process.
The South East and East looked strong all day and did what they needed to win the match. The Midlands can point to heats 4-6 for where it all went wrong, which saw the SE&E pull an unassailable lead in what was very close racing on the track and a good meeting for the healthy crowd.
South East and East 102
Lewis Osborne 14+2, Ashley Hill 15+1, Richard Fellgett 7, Adam Peck 12+1, Matt Hill 18, Josh Brooke 21+1, Dan Knights 8+2, Leon Mower 7+2
Ewan Hancox 5, Chris Timms 12, Lee Kemp 11+1, Myke Grimes 14, Chris Jewkes 13+1, Brandon Whetton 18+2, Ricki Johnson 15, Mike Baldock 3
The elite junior class enjoyed their first full 20 heat formula and treated the onlookers to an entertaining meeting.
The Midlands started strong with a 6-3 and 7-2, the latter courtesy of a Lewis Brinkoff tape exclusion. The home side chipped away, scoring four 6-4s and a 7-3 in the next 7 heats, with the Midlands only able to level off heat 5 and get a 5-4 in heat 8 with Reece Johnson deemed cause of the stoppage.
After the break Adam Cooper was sent back to the pits for not leaving enough racing room with team mate Jame Porter taking the win. A 7-2 meant SE&E pulled away to 8 points clear in heat 12, after Ewan Hancox was excluded for excessive force and got some nasty looking face grazes in the process.
The Midlands received a lifeline with Porter being excluded and Ben Clarke moving under orders in the rerun, bringing the scores down to just one point.
Harrison Bacon and Tyler Brinkoff reassert the home side’s lead in heat 16 with a 7-3 over Jimmy Wassall and Josh Whetton. The Midlands could only square off the remaining heats as the SE&E top riders raced to victory, with only Damian Pelacyzk able to respond with a heat 20 win.
An excellent match with two well matched sides delivered a fine spectacle of racing. The elite junior Battle of Britain competition is fast becoming a jewel in the crown for UK cycle speedway racing, and many of the juniors on show on Sunday will be causing the elite men to look over their shoulder in the next few years.
South East and East 99
Pierce Bacon 19+2, Tyler Brinkhoff 17+2, Lewis Brinkhoff 18+1, Reece Johnson 4, Harrison Bacon 20, Adam Cooper 7+1, James Porter 6, Ben Clarke 8
Jimmy Wassall 10, Damian Pelaczyc 21+1, Ewan Hancox 13+3, Josh Whetton 15, Tyler Bould 12+1, Cameron Gill 12+1, Jake Steel 4+1, Ben Wells 7+1
Photos by Phil Clarke