MATCH REPORT: BYJL South-East & Eastern Regional Round 4

It was a warm welcome to a total of 32 riders to the Hellingly circuit to contest all the age categories in Round 4 of the British Youth and Junior League which also incorporated the South East Grand Prix sponsored by Edwards Taxi’s from Hailsham. It has to be said that the Lower Dicker Rec was in spectacular condition looking very picturesque and blessed with unbroken sunshine temperature in the mid -twenties.
Racing kicked off at midday with three groups, under 8’s, under 10’s and girls all racing in a mixed programme. Connor Jarret from Norwich Stars took the Under 8’s title racing unbeaten and looking a class act in this age group with Logan Farber from Great Blakenham taking the runner up spot.
The under 10’s final was an all Kesgrave affair with the winner’s medal going to Luca Woodhouse who also rode unbeaten all afternoon. Oli Edmunds was runner up, Oscar Hammond third with Lily Parr fourth. Now even though Luca took the spoils, young Lily deserves a mention as her technique from the tapes was electric, often leaving her opponents somewhat adrift. Unfortunately, Lily was the only one to test out the new safety improvements to the fence on the exit of the first bend. The under 12’s was won by the favourite, Ryker Jolly and the girls by Phoebe Hammond, again both from Kesgrave.
Time now for the under 14’s and the final turned out to be the race of the day. Noah Woodhouse of Kesgrave had raced through the heats unbeaten and red hot favourite to take the spoils. The final line up was local sensation Harry Sexton (Hellingly) on gate 1, Torsten Jolly (Kesgrave) gate 2, Noah Woodhouse (Kesgrave) gate 3 and Kai Gowers (Ipswich) on gate 4. As expected, Noah led to the first bend, but unfortunately, he fell bringing down two others riders so the race was stopped by the referee and ordered a re-run with all four riders. Tapes went up for the restart and this time local boy Harry Sexton was first to the corner pushing the others wide and exiting the first bend in the lead. This really brought the spectators to their feet, cheering and shouting encouragement for their particular favourite. With what was the race favourite Noah now out of contention; it was left to fellow club mate Torsten Jolly to chase down our local boy Harry Sexton. For 3 and 3/4 laps, Harry looked every bit in control and encouraged by the cheering from the crowd that gained volume with every lap. Perhaps big time nerves or lack of experience, who knows, but Harry rose out of the saddle a tad early exiting the final bend for his final drive to the tapes and lost a little rear wheel traction. This small error gave Torsten the option to take the outside faster line around Harry and reached the chequered flag less than half a wheel in front of Harry. The crowd showed their appreciation with generous applause for all four riders with a rather dejected looking Noah finishing in third place.

It was under 18’s time now with home rider George Morley for Hellingly looking to be the pre-start favourite. This was not to be as James Porter of Ipswich rode to five untroubled wins to take the title with George runner up. The senior event went to another Ipswich rider, Fraser Harris, also having five race wins. Lions rider Steven Archer was also in the final, but after being pushed wide his race was over and finished fourth. The last final of the day was the vets which Stefan Jolly of Kesgrave defeated home rider Ed Ridley who was riding on borrowed machinery.
With all the racing over for the day, thanks all round to riders and supporters for making the trip to Hellingly, most of which came from Norfolk and Suffolk. Of course, the biggest thanks must go to the meeting sponsors Edwards Taxi’s of Hailsham. It was a very successful day for the Lions with no less than 10 riders performing, four of which were riding in their very first competitive meeting. Well done and thank you for your efforts, Dylan Geer, Harry Sefton, Paul Edwards and Alicia Ellis.