PREVIEW: British Indoor Championships Day 1

The 2019 British Indoor Championships get underway on Saturday with 4 Semi-Finals for the Open Team Championship. The action gets underway at 9am with Edinburgh racing against 3 teams who have won this event on 9 occasions between them. Wednesfield are the most successful of these teams having won this event 6 times, the last occasion being in 2016. The 2002 winners Great Blakenham are in this semi-final, as are the current champions Birmingham who also tasted success in this event in 2015. The 2nd semi-final at 10am sees Astley & Tyldesley, 1988 winners Poole & Ipswich take to the track. They will be followed at 11am by Stockport (2006) who were 2 time winners in their previous incarnation, Kesgrave and 4 time winners Leicester. The last of the semi-finals gets underway at midday and will feature Exeter, Hethersett, Coventry & 8 time winners Horspath. Only the highest scoring team from each semi-final will advance to the final which is scheduled to start at 5.30pm

At 1pm the first Individual Championship takes place with the Under 16’s event. Lewis Brinkhoff (Ipswich) goes into this year’s competition on the back being the current British Outdoor & Indoor Under 16 Boys champion as well as finishing 2nd in the World Under 16 Boys Championship in Poland. His Ipswich team mate Ben Clarke, who finished 6th in the Under 16 Boys World Final, was runner-up in this event last year and was also runner-up in the Outdoor championship behind Brinkhoff. Rosie Tidball (Exeter), who was 3rd in this event last year, is the current British Outdoor Under 14 Girls Champion. 2 other riders go into this event on the back of previous British Championship success, Poole’s Nathan Goulden (who won the Under 14’s Indoor event last year) and the current British Outdoor Under 16 Girls Champion Gemma Hill (Ipswich). The line-up is completed by Jasmine Oddie (Poole), Kieran Whitehead (Leicester), Sian Raynor (Leicester), Connor Whitehead (Leicester), Tom Savage (Coventry), Kielan Burton (Sheffield), Kristian Mitchell (Ipswich) & Sophia Sinclair-Black (Leicester).

The Over 40’s Individual Championship (2.30pm) has a full field of 16 riders and includes 4 riders who have won this event on 10 occasions between them, namely Steve Harris (Astley & Tyldesley), the Leicester duo of Mark Whitehead and Craig Marchant as well as Birmingham’s Paul Timms. Harris is the most successful of these riders, having won this championship on 5 occasions. The Leicester duo have 2 wins each with Whitehead having won in 2013 & 2015 and Marchant taking the spoils in 2016 & 2018. Timms, who finished 7th in 2018, won his title in 2010. Craig Whitehead (Leicester) will be looking to go at least one better than last year where he finished 4th after losing a run-off to Harris. Jason Ashford (Gt Blakenham), Jason Keith (Edinburgh), Luke Morton (Sheffield) & James Collier (Newport) are also entered from those who rode last year. Also entered this year are Glyn Morgan (Hethersett), Steve Copping (Norwich), Paul Brinkhoff (Ipswich), Daniel Zagni (Kesgrave), David Martin (Hethersett), Chris Ward (Horspath) & Peter Ingram (Kesgrave). 

The Junior Individual Championship follows (4pm) and last year’s top 6 are all entered this year as well. Lewis Brinkhoff (Ipswich), Owen Wells (Wednesfield), Fraser Garnett (Poole), Ben Clarke (Ipswich), Cameron Gill (Coventry) & Adam Cooper (Gt Blakenham). Also competing are Tyler Brinkhoff (Ipswich), Nathan Goulden (Poole), Max Wells (Leicester), Louis Wright (Stockport (2006)) and the Ipswich duo of James Porter & Kristian Mitchell. Of these riders 5 of them rode in the Junior World Final earlier this year in Poland. Brinkhoff took 2nd in this, Garnett was 4th after finishing 2nd in a 3 rider run-off for 3rd, Clarke finished 6th, Gill 11th and Cooper 16th.