MATCH REPORT: 2021 Home Internationals

Report by Mike Hack, Photos by Len Priestley

There was a great day of cycle speedway racing at Astley & Tyldesley on Saturday, for the re-arranged 2021 Home Internationals Day. The Gin Pit circuit was in pristine condition, as club members overcame the heavy thunderstorms during the week to prepare a venue befitting of the event.

First up was the Womens’ Regional Pairs Championship. The North & Scotland pair of Emily Burgess (Astley & Tyldesley) and Laura Watson (Sheffield) opened with a 7-3 win over the South East & Eastern pairing of Kesgrave’s Lily Parr and Phoebe Hammond in heat 1. The North & Scotland pair went on to record three more maximum heat wins to retain the titles that they won in 2018 and 2019 in Suffolk. This year’s win came on home territory, with Emily and Laura living in Astley and Tyldesley respectively. Emily Burgess was yards faster than her rivals, as she recorded a superb 24 points maximum score, posting the fastest time of the match in heat 1, 43.75 seconds. The South & South Wales and Midlands teams were in close contention throughout the match, and Lauren Hookway’s pass on Laura Watson in heat 12 ensured that the South & South Wales team drew level with the Midlands team, to force a run-off for 2nd place. In the run-off, Bekah Humphries led from the tapes, but Maddie Saunders pulled off a fine inside pass after two laps to take the race win and ensure 2nd place overall for the South & South Wales team.

The awards were presented by British Cycling Chief Executive Officer, Brian Facer, who thoroughly enjoyed his first visit to a cycle speedway match.

Brian Facer with Laura Watson (left) and Emily Burgess (right), winners of the Women’s Regional Pairs event.
 L-r, Lucy Whitehead, Laura Watson, Lizzie Rigley, in the Women’s Regional Pairs match.
Emily Burgess (right) leads from team mate Laura Watson and Lily Parr (left) in the Women’s Regional Pairs match.

Women’s Regional Pairs result

North & Scotland 38 South & South Wales 31 Midlands 31 South East & Eastern 20

North & Scotland: Emily Burgess 24, Laura Watson 14 (4).

South & South Wales: Maddie Saunders 19 (1), Lauren Hookway 12 (1).

Midlands: Lizzie Rigley 11 (2), Lucy Whitehead 10 (2), Bekah Humphries 10.

South East & Eastern: Lily Parr 13, Phoebe Hammond 7 (1).

Referee – Mark Winwood.

England raced to a convincing victory in the Veterans International. Paul Share, Mark Whitehead and Norman Venson all raced unbeaten, with Craig Whitehead losing only to Wales’ Mark Winwood in heat 12. Scotland kept within reach of Wales throughout the match, but the Welsh always had the upper hand and secured 2nd place in the event, finishing 6 points ahead of the Scots. Winwood lost only to Scotland’s best rider, Dave Frith, in the first reserves race in heat 5. Steve Perkins was best for the weakened Ireland team, with four second places. Fastest time of the match was recorded by England captain, Norman Venson, 43.35 seconds, in heat 10.

The awards were presented by Astley & Tyldesley Club Recruitment Officer, Corrie Burgess.

l-r, Mark Winwood (Wales), Steve Harris (England), Dave Frith (Scotland) all entering the first bend, in the Veterans International.
 England Veterans team, back row l-r, Geoff Gamage, Steve Harris, Paul Share. Front row l-r, Mark Whitehead, Norman Venson, Craig Whitehead

Veterans Home International result

England 64 Wales 45 Scotland 39 Ireland 23

England: Paul Share 16, Norman Venson 16, Craig Whitehead 15, Mark Whitehead 12, Steve Harris 5.

Wales: Mark Winwood 11, Stuart Marsh 10, Alan Nation 10, Stevie Nation 9, Pete Sadler 5.

Scotland: Dave Frith 13, Gavin Kennedy 8, Danny Peoples 7, Joe Beuckmann 6, Colin Davidson 5.

Ireland: Steve Perkins 12, Steve Copping 6, Dave Blackmore 5.

Referee – Bob Prince.

England turned in a display of ruthless efficiency in the Junior International, to record a maximum score of 72 points, with all five riders racing unbeaten. To emphasize their superiority, the Suffolk quartet of Lewis Brinkhoff, Ben Clarke, Torsten Jolly and Noah Woodhouse recorded seven race times which were faster than from any other match on the day,. Brinkhoff’s winning time of 40.35 seconds in heat 18 was just 0.27 seconds outside Andy Angell’s four years old track record. Whilst the winning outcome was never in doubt, there was a close battle throughout for second place, with the Ireland Select team pipping Scotland by two points, after the two teams were level with two races to go. New National u-16 Boys 500 metres Time Trial Track champion, Harry Radford, top scored for the Ireland Select team, whilst Fife’s Kayden Davidson was best for the Scotland team.

The awards were presented by Councillors Nazia Rehman and Chris Ready, from Wigan Council.

England Junior team, l-r, Lewis Brinkhoff, Ben Clarke, Torsten Jolly, Noah Woodhouse, Kielan Burton.
Harris Alsop (Scotland) leads Charlie Burgess of the Ireland Select team, in the Junior International.

Juniors Home International result

England 72 Ireland Select 45 Scotland 43

England: Lewis Brinkhoff 16, Ben Clarke 16, Noah Woodhouse 16, Torsten Jolly 12, Kielan Burton 12.

Ireland Select: Harry Radford 11, Charlie Burgess 10, Shaun Kell 9, Jack Reynolds 9, Owen Simcock 6.

Scotland: Kayden Davidson 11, Harris Alsop 10, Elliott Davies 8, Tom Blackmore 8, Aaron Smith 6.

Referee – Mark Winwood.

England made it a clean sweep, by winning the Senior International, but they were pushed all the way by a determined Wales team. A gate exclusion to England captain Andy Angell in heat 2 broke England’s early run of wins from their grid 1’s. Two wins by Welsh reserve Mark Carmichael ensured that England and Wales were both level on 29 points at the interval. Wales, inspired by the Poole pair of Wil Bristowe and Fraser Garnett pushed England all the way, with just four points separating the two teams going into the last race. Carmichael then collected his second exclusion of the match, as Angell took the race win, for England to seal an eight points win over Wales. Myke Grimes raced to an impressive 16 points maximum for England, inflicting the only defeat of the match on Wales captain Bristowe in heat 3, who in turn inflicted Chris Jewkes’ only defeat in heat 12. Scotland were competitive throughout, eventually finishing eight points behind Wales. Mikey Hewitson was their sole race winner in heat 16. Ireland struggled, with their three veterans and two juniors racing in their second match of the day, but credit to them for competing. Fastest time of the match was recorded by England reserve, Nathan Everett, 42.16 seconds, in heat 14.

The awards were presented by the Cycle Speedway Commission Chair, Mike Hack.

Nathan Everett (England) and Calum Ramsay (Scotland) in pursuit of Mark Carmichael (Wales) (right) in the Senior International.
 l-r, Mikey Hewitson (Scotland), Fraser Garnett (Wales), Nathan Everett (England) all on their pedals early for a quick exit from the corner, in the Senior International.

Senior Home International result

England 60 Wales 52 Scotland 44 Ireland 21

England: Myke Grimes 16, Zac Payne 13, Andy Angell 11, Chris Jewkes 11, Nathan Everett 9.

Wales: Wil Bristowe 15, Fraser Garnett 13, Cameron Gill 10, Mark Carmichael 8, Carl Parfitt 6.

Scotland: Kyle Holland 11, Calum Ramsay 10, Mikey Hewitson 8, Nathan Groves 8, Will Owens 7.

Ireland: Dave Blackmore 5, Jack Reynolds 5, Steve Perkins 4, Shaun Kell 4, Steve Copping 3.

Referee – Bob Prince.