MATCH REPORT: Frith Clubman King

Coventry based rider Dave Frith was a deserved winner of the highly successful staging of the inaugural Clubmans Trophy at the revived Brandon Bees track on Tuesday evening.

In a hugely enjoyable meeting, held at Bretford Playing Fields set in the rolling Warwickshire countryside, Frith beat a largely equal field representing stalwart club men and veteran riders of the sport.

The Brandon Bees track, reinstated by ex Whoberley Witches rider Rob Hardie, looked resplendent as the riders were introduced on parade. The whole facility had been restored to its best, with the heavily watered track surface lending itself to some superb racing.

Frith, who lives in Coventry but races for Leicester, triumphed against young Coventry rider Dan Drewett in a tie-breaker, after both riders had finished on 19 points.

It was Frith, the 1983 British Junior champion, who set the early pace by taking a hotly contested heat 1 from Drewett, with ex world champion Ray Oliver in third place.

An exciting heat 2 followed, with the returning Joe McLaughlin, back in action after suffering from pneumonia and a blood clot, showed all his experience to win off the outside gate, from a fast chasing Ollie Morris.

The pre meeting dark horse Matthew Hambidge of Coventry, who has shown rapid improvement recently and who started his career on the Brandon track, showed excellent early form to emerge near the top of the leaderboard.

Dave Frith holds off Dan Drewett. Photo by Ray Andrews.

Dave Frith holds off Dan Drewett. Photo by Ray Andrews.

Popular Birmingham rider Paul Timms, Coventry`s Shaun Reynolds, Mick Knowles of Heckmondwike (Yorkshire), together with the ace gating Oliver, all kept in contention for the silverware and provided excellent entertainment for the onlookers.

However, it was Frith and his young challenger Drewett, who eventually finished on 19 points each to tie for first place, with Frith dropping his only point to Timms in an exciting heat 20.

In the resulting race-off, Frith won the toss for grid positions, and took the favorable inside lane. Frith led out of the gate but Drewett mounted a ferocious four lap challenge but the wily Frith held on to win.

Timms took third place on the podium, just ahead of shock merchant Knowles, who had travelled from Sheffield to take part. Oliver was in close attention and he can be very satisfied with his successful comeback season.

It was an outstandingly successful evening at the picturesque Brandon Bees venue and local officials are set to announce further events at the venue shortly.

Podium (L-R): Paul Timms, Dave Frith, Rob Hardie (Brandon), Dan Drewett

Podium (L-R): Paul Timms, Dave Frith, Rob Hardie (Brandon), Dan Drewett. Photo by Ray Andrews.

Clubman’s Trophy – Full result:

Dave Frith (Leicester) 19
Dan Drewett (Coventry) 19
Paul Timms (Birmingham) 17
Mick Knowles (Heckmondwike) 16
Ray Oliver (Coventry) 15
Matthew Hambidge (Coventry) 15
Steve Hodgkinson (Birmingham) 14
Joe McLaughlin (Coventry) 13
Bob Prince (East Park) 13
Shaun Reynolds (Coventry) 13
Josh Hill (East Park) 9
Ollie Morris (Coventry) 9
Adam Tipton (Wednesfield) 9
John Whetton (East Park) 7
Joe Andrews (Coventry) 7
Dave White (East Park) 5

Referee: Mr Josh Marsh (Coventry)

Meanwhile, the Brandon track turns its attention to newcomers and junior development today (Saturday 9th July), with the launch of the `Dirt Bike Club` for beginners.

The new sessions will run from 10am to 11.30am each Saturday morning and will enjoy a six week run. An official British Cycling coach will supervise all the sessions.

The new club is expected to attract dozens of excited youngsters weekly from Rugby and the surrounding East Warwickshire villages, such as Ryton, Brandon, Pailton, Monks Kirby and Wolston.

Aimed at 5 to 18 year olds, each session will give new and first time riders the basic skills of the sport of Cycle Speedway and a chance to take part in racing. Bikes and safety equipment will be provided. All sessions at the Dirt Bike Club are free.

Backed by the Coventry, Warwickshire and Solihull Sports Partnership, and supported by British Cycling, the Dirt Bike Club will enable youngsters to use the safe off-road Brandon Bees track – Warwickshire’s only cycling facility.

Dirt Bike Club Flyer - 2016

A Brandon club spokesman said: “All youngsters have to do is to turn-up on any of the next six Saturdays from 9th July at 10am for an action packed introduction to a wonderful sport. We will even loan you a bike at each of the sessions to have your first go.

“Cycle Speedway is a really great sport for young people and is by far the cheapest entry-level cycle sport in the UK. It gets youngsters into an extremely healthy activity and being off-road, is free of the dangers of traffic”.

The Dirt Bike Club launches on Saturday 9th July and continues in July on the 16th, 23rd and 30th. It then continues on Saturday 6th August and Saturday 13th August.

The full address of the Dirt Bike Club is: Brandon Bees Cycle Speedway club, Bretford Playing Fields, Brandon Road, Bretford, Rugby, Warwickshire. Post code is: CV23 0LA.

Turning to senior action, Coventry return to Elite League action Sunday (10th July), when they face a tough encounter at Ipswich at the Whitton Sports Centre, 2pm start.

Team boss Lee Marsh calls up brilliant Manchester based teenager Adam Watson and local youngster Dan Drewett, whilst the impressive Michael Baldock returns from injury.

The Coventry club will promote the annual BMS Ltd sponsored Junior Classic at the Hearsall Common track this Friday evening, 15th July, at 7.30pm. The event is now in its fourth year.

Sixteen top under 13s riders, from around the Midlands, will battle for the silverware provided by Lutterworth based BMS Ltd. Coventry`s flying Ben Wells will be among the leading contenders.

The event will also feature races involving Coventry`s latest intake of new riders and a BBQ will be available to spectators throughout the meeting.

Racing last Sunday afternoon at Hearsall Common, Coventry slipped to another Midland League defeat, this time by the 98-80 score-line to powerful Wednesfield Aces on a dusty circuit.

The home side once again were hampered by their inability to track anything like their strongest side but they can take heart from the continuing improvement of their younger riders at this level, whilst Joe McLaughlin made a welcome return, scoring in all his outings.

Coventry point scorers:

Myke Grimes 16, Ray Oliver 13, Mason Phillips 12, Dan Drewett 11, Matt Hambidge 11, Matthew Lawrence 7, Joe McLaughlin 6 and Jake Slatter.