MATCH REPORT: British Veterans Championship

Harford Park, Norwich, was the setting for the British Over 40s & Over 60s Individual Championship which was sponsored by Jacksons Coffee, a coffee shop located in the Castle Meadow Shopping Centre in Norwich.

24 riders entered initially but 4 of these withdrew, leaving 20 riders to chase the 16 spots (plus 2 reserves) for the final. Ipswich rider Darren Mitchell and Norwich’s Steve Copping were the 2 riders to miss out.

Of the riders who did qualify 3 of those were contesting the Over 60’s championship, Les Stevens (East London), Roger Carter (Hethersett) and the 3 time and defending champion Bob Prince (Birmingham). Les had also entered the Over 40’s championship so would be eligible for an Over 40’s award as well whereas the latter 2 were only entered for the Over 60’s section.

After 2 rides in the final, the Kesgrave duo of Peter Ingram and Danny Zagni led the way having both won their 1st 2 races with Mark Winwood (Birmingham) and Paddy Wenn (Norwich) 1 point behind. The 2 unbeaten riders met in heat 12 and it was Ingram who made it 3 wins from 3 with Zagni dropping his 1st point of the match. 2nd places from their 3rd rides for Winwood and Wenn meant they shared 3rd place along with Gavin Parr (Northumbria), who after a 3rd in his 1st race, won his next 2.

Ingram made it 4 from 4 in heat 13 before Zagni won heat 14 to take his score to 15 points. Hellingly’s Martyn Hollebon took heat 15 and Parr took heat 16 to leave him on 14 points, 1 behind Zagni and 2 behind Ingram. Winwood and Wenn each took 2nd places in their 4th rides to leave them on 13 points,3 behind Ingram.

Heat 18 was the race which would have a big say in who would take the podium spots and what a race it turned out to be. It featured 4 of the 5 leading riders at that stage, Winwood, Wenn, Parr and Ingram for whom a race win would seal the title. The positions constantly chopped and changed throughout the race and in the end it was Wenn who was deemed to have crossed the finishing line ahead of Parr by the width of a tyre, despite protests that Parr had got up to win but the result stood. This result meant that both riders finished with 17 points and would have to have a run-off for at least one of the podium places.

With Ingram in 3rd this put him on 18 points and left him sweating on the outcome of heat 19 where Zagni had the chance to wrap up the title with a win which he did with a superb gate from gate 2. This made Ingram the runner-up meaning the run-off between Wenn and parr was for 3rd place which the Northumbria rider won after winning the toss for gate positions and leading all the way.

Bob Prince made it 4 consecutive Over 60’s titles (to go with his Over 50’s title which he won at Coventry) ahead of Les Stevens and Roger Carter, a fine achievement for the Birmingham rider as he continues his over 60s dominance.

Well done to all who took part in a good afternoon’s racing, especially Danny Zagni and Bob Prince for winning the much cherished white jerseys.

Incidentally many have asked what happened to Steve Harris and why he didn’t defend his title. Rumour has it, his flight was delayed after attending a wedding in Poland. It was a mighty shame Steve wasn’t able to compete this afternoon, whatever the reason.