MATCH REPORT: Midlands edge thriller in South East

Kesgrave welcomed the visit of the Midlands to Twelve Acre Approach for the fourth round of the Supertrax Battle of Britain on Sunday.

The unbeaten elite men’s South East & Eastern team held a slender two point advantage over the Midlands coming into this top of the table clash and a tight encounter was expected.

The healthy crowd were not disappointed, being treated to some excellent, close racing and were not deterred by the passing showers.

The SE&E started confidently and had built a two point lead after four heats with Lewis Osborne and Ashley Hill scoring a 6-4 in heat one and then sharing the points in next three heats.

The SE&E extended their lead in heat 5 to four points but, sadly, the Midlands’ Carl Parfitt fell heavily and took no further part in the match.

The match swung in the Midlands’ favour in the next three heats with exclusions for the SE&E in each.

PHOTOS: South East and East v Midlands by Andrew Parr

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Matt Hill and Lewis Osborne were excluded for moving at the tapes and Jamie Chittock for failing to finish. The Midlands had converted a four point deficit into a lead of seven points by heat 8, a lead which they were to hold until the end.

A 7-3 in heat 9 for Leon Mower and Matt Hill over Ewan Hancox and Scott Millward reduced the SE&E arrears to three points at the break.

The solid Paul Heard and Lee Kemp pairing increased the Midlands lead to five points in heat 10, which was followed by three tied heats. Unfortunately, heat 13 saw the second retirement of the day with a wrist injury for SE&E’s Charlie Rumbold.

Paul Heard showed his class by winning heat 14 following an exclusion for Myke Grimes for moving at the tapes and thus minimising the damage.

The Midlands’ lead was reduced further in heat 15 with the exclusion of Ewan Hancox for pushing Richard Fellgett off the track. Richard and Josh Brooke reducing the deficit to just one point.

The next three heats were drawn with wins for the impressive Brandon Whetton, Lewis Osborne and Myke Grimes. Tension was running high as the Midlands prepared to defend the slenderest of leads in the two nominated heats.

Occupying the outer gates, the SE&E needed at least a draw from heat 19 to have any realistic chance of overall victory. Lewis Osborne and Ashley Hill duly obliged taking second and third with winner, Paul Heard, supported by Scott Millward.

Myke Grimes and Ricki Johnson represented the Midlands in the final heat with opponents Matt Hill and Josh Brooke still one point behind but now having the advantage of the inner gates.

Tension was ratcheted up even more as the referee, much to the Midlands’ disappointment, called all four riders back to the tapes for a restart following a fall for Matt Hill at the first bend.

There was absolute silence as the riders were under orders at the tapes and it was Josh Brooke who led away but, with Matt Hill in last place, the Midlands were still in the ascendancy. Any thoughts of the SE&E turning the deficit around were quickly dashed when Josh Brooke slid out; Ricki Johnson and Myke Grimes gratefully sweeping past to take victory for the Midlands.

The crowd enjoyed fabulous, nail biting entertainment from two excellent well matched teams. The Midlands and the SE&E are both now on six points, and with just two rounds remaining, the fight for the title intensifies.

Best wishes to Carl and Charlie for a speedy recovery.

SE&E 94
Lewis Osborne 16+1(6), Ashley Hill 15(6), Josh Brooke 18(6), Jamie Chittock 6(5), Matt Hill 16+1(6), Charlie Rumbold 6(4), Leon Mower 8+2(3), Richard Fellgett 9(4)

Midlands 100
Brandon Whetton 15+1(5), Carl Parfitt 2(2), Scott Millward 13+1(6), Lee Kemp 10(5), Myke Grimes 15+2(6), Ricki Johnson 19+1(6), Ewan Hancox 4(4), Paul Heard 22(6)

Referee: Shaun Dyball

In contrast to the seniors, the junior match was anything but close with a strong Midlands team overpowering their young SE&E counterparts.

Damien Pelacyzk and Carl Parfitt scored a 7-3 for the Midlands in the first heat and a rider from the Midlands then crossed the line first all further heats, scoring a maximum seven in nine of the fourteen heats.

Heat 11 was the only heat in which the SE&E outscored the Midlands as Haydon Rowley was excluded for forcing Reece Johnson off the track.

With only two rounds remaining, the Midlands are in a strong position to be crowned champions having amassed eight points to their closest rival, the North & Scotland, on four points.

SE&E 51
Reece Johnson 8+1(4), Charlie Long 5+2(4), Owen Wells 6+1(3), Ben Harvey 5+3(3), Keanu Bowers 6+3(4), Alex Harvey 10+1(5), Ben Clarke 5+1 (3), Charlie Johnson 6(2)

Midlands 88
Carl Parfitt 9+3(3), Damien Pelacyzk 16(4), Haydon Rowley 6+1(4), Cameron Gill 12+1 (4), Jake White 12+1(4), Brandon Whetton 10+2(3), Ewan Hancox 11+1(3), Josh Whetton 12(3)

Referee: Gary Brown

SE&E and Midlands junior teams