MATCH REPORT: Eurovets Round 9 at Ipswich

By Terry Kirkup, Northumbria Vikings

My first thought on seeing the Eagles’ track suggested it was a vast arena and I’d be lost on it’s wide, sweeping bends. Strange how first impressions can be deceiving though, as it felt reasonably compact when racing on it, although very fast, and it had been prepared beautifully for the occasion. It is indeed wide from fence to fence across the middle but the track itself is the same width as ours, and with its overall measurement being 2 metres shorter than Cramlington it really did feel smaller than it looked.

With only 22 competitors across the three age groups (a surprisingly and disappointingly low turnout of 50s and 60s) Jim Graham, Fred Rothwell and Terry Kirkup were certain of making at least the Over 60s “A” Final while the rest of the field had to battle hard for position. So the Oldies had to race with the Over 40s which was a pretty strong group bolstered by a good influx of one-off South East riders including a bunch of very rapid Kesgrave representatives. Fred’s solution this time was to split the field into two 11-man matches running over the standard 16 heat formula with the last four places lopped off, Off we kicked at around 1:00pm, exactly the same time as the Heavens opened. They don’t ALWAYS get the forecast wrong!

The conditions were cold and wet at Ipswich

The conditions were cold and wet at Ipswich

Jason Keith was the only one of the northern-most trio to miss out on a trophy, cruel luck after scoring 18 points in his round with some great riding which included leading the Champion for 3 laps in heat 12 and a defeat of close rival Martin Hollebon earlier. He did win the Over 40’s “B” Final, with Martin pushed down to third place by a rapid Paddy Wenn, to maintain his challenge for overall third place in the series, however. Meanwhile, it was current series leader, Birmingham’s Mark Winwood who took top honours after dropping just one point to Danny Zagni when they met early on. Then came two identical clashes with the local hero and current British Over 40s Champion, Danny clearly disappointed that the “A” Final should end with him on the centre green at the pits bend during the first two stagings of the Final.

Mark had, uncharacteristically, left a fair old gap underneath him as he sped off grid one both times, and of course like a flash there was the Champ to take advantage with a strong run up the inside. That left Mark with the choice of either trying to blast around the outside or snuff out the challenge by closing Danny down, and twice he chose the latter option resulting in the two stoppages after a bout of involuntary grasstracking. Danny did have the opportunity to take his place in the second re-run but politely declined. That left his two impressive Kesgrave colleagues, Peter Ingram and Gary Brown to chase Mark home in the last race of the day.

I hope I’m wrong, but looking at Heat 3 of the Group 2 match it appears that Sheffield’s Mick Knowles, flying today on his new, ex- Kevin Smith alloy Archie may have been robbed of the chance to compete in the 40s “B” Final, although I wasn’t privy to the draw (he says, hoping not to cause offence or controversy!).

Over 40s A Final

1st – Mark Winwood – Birmingham
2nd – Peter Ingram – Kesgrave
3rd – Gary Brown – Kesgrave

Over 40s B Final

1st – Jason Keith – Northumbria
2nd – Paddy Wenn – Norwich
3rd – Martin Hollebon – Hellingly
4th – Dave Meanley – Wednesfield

Over 40s winner - Mark Winwood

Over 40s winner – Mark Winwood

The Over 50s “A” Final proved a similar outcome to the previous round, where a judicious piece of sneaking around the first bend on lap two allowed Terry Kirkup to pass Phil Hemming and Stevie Hodgkinson, scrapping hard going into the corner and drifting wide coming out. by which time the flying Paul Timms had made his getaway for yet another maximum score to add to his unassailable lead in the Over 50s class.

Over 50s A Final

1st – Paul Timms – Birmingham
2nd – Terry Kirkup – Northumbria
3rd – Steve Hodgkinson – Birmingham
4th – Phil Hemming – Wednesfield

Over 50s B Final

1st – Ray Pyke – Great Blakenham
2nd – Fred Rothwell – Pedal Sport
3rd – Jim Graham – Northumbria

Over 50s winner - Paul Timms

Over 50s winner – Paul Timms

The penultimate round of the series had only three Over 60s present so they could have tooled about on track and still reached their “A” Final. It certainly wasn’t like that, however, as Fred showed with two excellent rides in his first two outings. Jim was hit by a very unusual bout of leg cramp he hasn’t experienced before which hampered his performance this time. Ultimately though it was Jim on grid 1, Terry on 2 and Fred on 3 to end their day, taken with a decent gate by TK with Fred following him home ahead of Jim to maintain very close scores between the first two overall.

Over 60’s A Final

1st – Terry Kirkup – Northumbria
2nd – Fred Rothwell – Pedal Sport
3rd – Jim Graham – Northumbria

Over 60s winner - Terry Kirkup

Over 60s winner – Terry Kirkup

It’s always (almost always!) good to put a face to a name, and today it was a pleasure for me to meet Jamie Goldsmith, the Eagles’ Club Chairman who did the damp and unloved pits marshalling job today and got the meeting completed efficiently with his little team of helpers in somewhat miserable conditions. Jamie is one of those people who seem to exude happiness, see presentation piccies courtesy of South East camera-wielding maestro Brian Barnett.

Last event in this series – the Grand Finale at Wednesfield on Saturday 18th October at 1:00 pm.