MATCH REPORT: Final win for Hellingly in East London

Hellingly arrived at the East London circuit bathed in glorious sunshine to be met with a full strength London side. After a few laps to warm up, the Lions found the track a bit loose in places but very fast.

This was the final league match for both teams, and the result was not going to effect either teams league position. With this in mind, Hellingly named Neil Hollebon at no. 9.

The Lions won the coin toss and chose gates 1-3 in heat 1. Jim Cox off gate 1 flew from the tapes (probably his best gate of the season) closely followed by captain Jesse Moore to race away to an untroubled 7-3 win.

Heat 2 had East London’s number 1, Nick Gunkell, on gate 1, Hellingly’s Steven Archer on 2, Sid Stanley of East London on 3, with the Lions’ Dan Welch on 4. Dan shot from the gate to meet with Nick Gunkell at the first bend giving him a bump, resulting in a big gap, which Steven Archer found to his delight and raced off to an easy win.

The race for the minor placings was a corker, with Dan Welch unable to find a way past Nick Gunkell, they both tangled with Dan coming off worst, falling very heavily. He did manage to remount and finish to a shared heat bringing the scores to East London 13, Hellingly 17.

Heat 3 was a majestic win for Martyn Hollebon, tapes to flag for another 5-5 heat score. Hellingly then kicked in with three 7-3s and another 5-5 in heat 7, where George Morley gated from 1 to a superb win.

With the scores now 27-43 to the away side, Richard Austin, then Nick Gunkell were race winners for the Londoners in heats 8 and 9 receptively, to end the first half. The Lions now had a 14 point advantage, and with Dan Welch feeling the effects of his first race crash, he took no further part in the meeting.

At the start of the second half with the match score 43-57 in favour of Hellingly, Martyn Hollebon also elected to stand down from his last three rides to give the younger reserves a chance to prove their worth.

These tactics proved to be a winner, as the last 7 races were all much closer and more entertaining. Hellingly were to end the match winning by a 15 point margin, but respect to the East London side, who apart from a very young Grace Austin, were all classed as veterans, and were certainly not disgraced.

East London 72
Mark Renna 15+1, Les Stevens 7+1, Nick Gunkell 12+2, Sid Stanley 4, Richard Austin 19+2, Neil Lester 8, Kevin Smith 4, Ian Olson 2, Grace Austin 1.

Hellingly 87
Jesse Moore 17+3, Jim Cox 13, Dan Welch 5+1, Steven Archer 16, Martyn Hollebon 7+1, Eddie Ridley 9, George Morley 8, Jamie Morley 6+2, Ethan Page 6, Neil Hollebon DNR.