MATCH REPORT: Lions overcome Stars
At 11.00 am on the morning of the match against the Lower Dicker circuit was not looking in a raceable condition after overnight heavy rain. There was still light rain falling but the forecast was it would clear with outbreaks of sunshine to follow. Step forward Team Hollebon , that is brothers Martyn and Neil who both spent the next 2 and 1/2 hrs working on the track surface. After continuous raking, brooming and finally tyre packing the track was in near perfect condition to race on, although a little damp in places. The Stars team arrived and looked a tad apprehensive considering the amount of rain that had fallen, and the track not looking it’s usual best. Now with the Stars having travelled with their strongest team, on paper, this was not going to be an easy ride for Hellingly compounded by the non-availability of Steven Archer and Jamie Morley. This was the first visit to Hellingly for Steve Copping for Norwich, and due to rider shortages, the “Lions” tempted Barrie Geer back in the saddle after some 14 years break, but even so, confident of a win was not very forthcoming.
On to the match and Stars captain, Jamie Medler won the flip of the coin and chose gates 1-3 in heat one. This proved to be a shrewd move as the Stars strongest pairing of Chris Cullum and Paddy Wenn kicked off with a 6-4 advantage over Ed Ridley and a rather subdued George Morley. Matters were quickly rectified in heat two with Jim Cox trapping from gate 1 and Neil Hollebon joining him up front from the exit of the first bend to record a maximum 7-3 to the “Lions” over Medler and Tom Blackmore. Time now for the two debutants, Barrie Geer for the “Lions” and Steve Copping for the Stars. Martyn Hollebon came from gate 4 and was 2-3 bike lengths ahead on the exit of the first bend going on to take the chequered flag with ease. With Steve learning what the Dicker circuit has to offer and Barrie finding the going tough with very limited training under his belt, Hellingly were grateful to grab a 6-4 and a 4 point lead after the earlier setback. Neil Hollebon took the flag in heat 4 but Ed Ridley was made to race hard for his 4 points in ht 5. Martyn Hollebon took heats 6 & 8 to bring the score card to Hellingly 44 Norwich 35. Heat 8 was a strange one as young Tom Blackmore was excluded for exceeding the 1 minute at the start. No reason was given as to why he took so long to reach the starting grid as the other three riders were all waiting. Heat 9 was another 6-4 to the “Lions” bringing the interval and time to do some track work, although it has to be said the surface was holding up very well. At this time in the match, Hellingly had both Martyn and Neil Hollebon yet to be headed by an opponent along with Ed Ridley dropping only 2 points after three rides each. With an off par George Morley, Jim Cox short of practice laps along with back to the saddle Barrie Geer, an 11 point lead eased the pre-meeting concerns.
With the track surface now back to near perfection the racing was, in fact, a lot closer after the interval. Over the last seven races, Hellingly scored a total of 35 points whereas Norwich managed 34 points. Heat 16 nominated was an all junior event as the final result was never in danger. Hellingly fielded the two reserves , Harry Sexton and Harry Ridley and Norwich did much the same using Tom and Will Blackmore. The race was a shared event with Tom taking the win for the Stars and the two Harry’s second and third for 5 points each bringing the match to a close with an unexpected 12 point win for Hellingly. Neil Hollebon went unbeaten with Martyn being defeated the once by Paddy Wenn, and Ed Ridley scoring a credible 15+1 being elevated to ride at no 1. Overall it was a solid workmanlike performance by the “Lions” heat leaders that won the day and the 12pt defeat for Norwich did not reflect their effort.
Neil Hollebon 19+1(5r), Martyn Hollebon 19(5r), Ed Ridley 15+1(5r), Jim Cox 11+1(5r), George Morley 9+1(5r), Harry Sexton 6+1(3r), Barrie Geer 3(3r), Harry Ridley 3(1r)
Paddy Wenn 15+2(5r), Chris Cullum 15(5r), Gary Colby 15(5r), Jamie Medler 13+1(5r), Tom Blackmore 9(6r), Steve Copping 5(5r), Will Blackmore 1(1r), Dave Blackmore DNR