MATCH REPORT: Hill and Bacon take HSBC UK Elite GP honours at Ipswich

The HSBC UK Elite GP moved to Ipswich for the second round of the series on Saturday.

Seven riders contested a nine rider formula for the Junior event, meaning riders met only once. Pierce Bacon, Fraser Garnett and Lewis Brinkhoff 1-2-3’ed the first round at Sheffield, and this time round dropped one point each to each other.

Brinkhoff was making a tentative return after injuring his ankle at the Laurels at Poole two weeks back, but showed no signs of discomfort winning his first three heats, before finding Bacon two grids inside him.

Ben Clarke split the field, dropping a point to each of the top three while beating Eastern region squad colleagues Ethan Mitchell, James Porter and Owen Wells. Mitchell delivered 2 heat wins to lead the group after four heats.

PHOTOS: Action by Phil Clarke

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With Bacon, Garnett and Brinkhoff tied on 15 and Clarke a clear fourth it was decided to run A and B GP finals rather than a 3 man runoff, to give all the riders a fifth race. Bacon and Garnett raced clear, Clarke holding Brinkhoff for two laps before losing position to a clean pass.

The B final finished in the order from the grid, Wells leading Mitchell then Porter, Mitchell therefore dropping a position on the final points tally.

Pierce Bacon 15, Fraser Garnett 15, Lewis Brinkhoff 15, Ben Clarke 13, Ethan Mitchell 12, Owen Well 11, James Porter 10

Top 5 positions after Round 2

Rd1 Rd2 Rd3 Rd4 Total
Pierce Bacon 25 25 50
Fraser Garnett 20 20 40
Lewis Brinkhoff 18 18 36
Owen Wells 9 14 23
Ben Clarke 16 16

Ashley Hill and Lukasz Nowacki set the early pace in the 14 rider senior event with 8 points apiece from 2. Chris Timms and Myke Grimes dropped a point, and Josh Brooke dropped points to Nowacki and Timms.

The track played its part in the first half, the loose fourth bend making pickup and passing difficult. After some light sweeping, the second half provided faster more open racing.

Richard Fellgett damaged Grimes’ ambitions in heat 13, following Brooke home in the second of Brooke’s 2 grid one wins. Timms won heat 14 comfortably, after Dan Knights was excluded for crossing the line, and 15 year old Lewis Brinkhoff took a deserved win in heat 16.

PHOTOS: By Phil Clarke

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Mike Baldock took heat 17 before the top 5 settled their positions in the last three heats. Brooke tried to control the speed of heat 18, hoping that Phil Clarke could split him and Hill and force a runoff for first. Hill took the lead after a restart and set too high a pace for the veteran.

Brooke possibly regretted not going for the heat win for a runoff for second with the winner of heat 20, which turned out to be Timms, leaving Nowacki in the runoff. The runoff for third place lined up as Brooke, Nowacki and Grimes and finished in that order.

Hill was fortunate to be drawn on an inside grid against the top six, though he delivered a faultless performance on his home track, both on the loose surface of the first half and in the faster riding second half. In fact, every point dropped by the top five went to riders inside them on the grid.

Ashley Hill 20, Chris Timms 18, Josh Brooke 17, Lukasz Nowacki 17, Myke Grimes 17, Richard Fellgett 15, Mike Baldock 14, Lewis Brinkhoff 13, Fraser Garnett 12, Dan Knights 11, Luke Harrison 10, Owen Wells 9, Phil Clarke 8, Sam Hardie 8

Top 5 positions after Round 2

Rd1 Rd2 Rd3 Rd4 Total
Josh Brooke 25 18 43
Chris Timms 20 20 40
Ashley Hill 11 25 36
Myke Grimes 16 14 30
Lukasz Nowacki 14 16 30

Round 3 takes place at Hearsall Common, Coventry on Saturday 4 August, along with a pilot for the Elite GP Pairs.

Cover photo by Andy Whitehouse.