2018 BRITISH INDIVIDUALS: Day two preview

We move on to day 2 of the championships and look at the Vets categories, to be held at Bury’s Goshen Raceway.

Over 60’s

Paul Timms (Birmingham) was the victor in 2017 and will be looking to add another British title to his collection. Standing in the way are four riders with vast amounts of top flight racing experience. The North’s hopes are with Johnny Murphy (Edinburgh). The 75 year old won this title in 2009. He had a match winning performance for Edinburgh’s second team recently, showing he retains a top level of fitness. Phil Hemmings (Wednesfield) was runner up in 2017, and has a string of podium places and is a regular on the Euro vets circuit. Les Stevens (East London) also has a string of podium places, most recently when second in 2014. Colin Simmons (Newport) was third in the over 50’s in 2007, this is his first foray into the over 60’s.

Over 40’s

The eleven riders hold countless British and World titles between them, with the racing likely to be just as fast and furious as the younger age categories. Steve Harris (A and T) is the defending champion (holding the record of nine British Vets titles – five indoor, four outdoor as well as three world titles). Flying the Northern flag are Neil Howarth (Bury) and Chris Turner (Sheffield). Neil gained a England cap for the home international series at Bury in 2017, when he was unbeaten. Chris won this title in 2012, and has been close to the podium on a couple of occasions since. The vets team champions (Leicester) provide four finalists, showing why they are team champions. Craig Marchant (world vet champion in 2015) raced to the European title in Poland, so will be looking for the hat-trick. Dave Hemsley won three open world titles, the last in 2003, but is yet to win in the Vets racing. Mark Whitehead was indoor champion in 2013. The Leicester quartet completed by Craig Whitehead, who has a collection of vets team championships. Birmingham are represented by Mark and Carl Winwood. Mark is a regular on the Euro vets circuit, winning the title in 2016. Making the long trip North are Neil Lester (East London) and Rob Geach (Exeter). Rob has raced in the Euro vets series this year after returning to the sport.

Over 50’s

Steve Harris (A and T), doubles up after racing in the over 40’s as well. He will face stiff competition from defending champion Norman Venson (Leicester), who was crowned world vets champion in Australia in November of 2017. Les Stevens (East London) will also have to show his fitness, as he doubles up with racing in the over 60’s. Completing the five rider competition are Steve Clark (Newport) and Paddy Wenn (Norwich). The entertaining Paddy (Irish international) wracks up the miles racing on the Euro vets circuit, often making the podium places.

Under 16 Girls

Over in Sheffield, the finalists have the knowledge that last year’s winner (Macie Schmidt – Poole), went on to win the Womens Final, then world under 16 title and more recently the European championships.

Emily Burgess (A and T) and Maddie Saunders (Poole) will renew the rivalry they had in the under 14 Final yesterday, they are both in the Open Final as well. They will face a tough challenge from Gemma Hill (Ipswich), who will come into this final with fresh legs. Gemma won bronze at the recent Women’s European Final and stands second in the Womens Supertrax intermediate individual series. Gemma is also in the line up for Hull. Two more riders who will take their place in the Womens open final are Georgia Burt (Wednesfield) and Honey Whitehead (Leicester), they were placed 2nd and 6th in the Midlands region BYJL. Sophia Sinclair-Black (Leicester) was 3rd in the Midlands region BYJL and has impressed with her all action racing on previous visits to Cookson. Anna Tuttle (Poole) is in 3rd place in the Womens Supertrax intermediate individual and has raced Cookson before. Leah Horton (Exeter) and Amy Baynes (Coventry) will be making their Cookson debuts. Leah finished 7th in the SSW regional BYJL, with Amy taking 7th place in the Midlands equivalent. Amy is one of only nine riders to have raced in all three national rounds of the BYJL.

Juniors (under 18’s)

Last year’s winner was Brandon Whetton (Wednesfield), who went on to win the World junior crown. Fraser Garnett (Poole) won bronze last year and comes into this final as the rider on top form. The Welsh international won the Welsh junior open title earlier in the year. He was highest placed GB rider in the Euro’s, taking bronze, and currently leads the under 18 BYJL series. The Northern region have four riders, all of whom have a good chance of being in on where the title goes. Ed Morton (Sheffield) will be looking to use home track knowledge to return to the form that made him world number 4 in 2017. Adam Turnbull (Bury) won the Northern under 19 title at Edinburgh, an event where he relegated Ciaran Collins (A and T) into second place. Ciaran (an Irish international) currently lies third in the BYJL series, after a stunning performance at Coventry (in which he was the only rider to defeat Fraser Garnett). Devon Campbell (Stockport) completes the Norths quartet of races. Unfortunately due to an admin error, Devon will have to race over the Pennines after racing in the Open semi-final at Bury at 11am this morning. Not the ideal preparation. The idea was that any junior entering the Open would be seeded to Sheffield rounds (as vets would be seeded to Bury). Seems Devon slipped the net. Will Jeffrey (Horspath) and Ewan Hancock (Birmingham) along with Ed Morton, are riders who benifitted from that scenario. Will and Ewan have been racing more for their first team this season, but had time to place 8th and 3rd in their respective regions BYJL series. The Kesgrave Club have three riders representing the Panthers. Lewis and Tyler Brinkoff joined by James Porter. All three were in the SSE junior team that were victorious over the North and Scotland region here at Cookson in the Battle of Britain series, Lewis scoring an immaculate 24 point maximum that day.

Ipswich Eagles also have three riders in the line up. Pierce Bacon (Junior elite GP winner here earlier in the year) is joined by Ben Clarke (currently second in the BYJL series) and Luke Dunningham (who was a semi-finalist in the Junior European Championships). Ben Tinsdale (Poole) made it through to the Euro Championships final, and was winner of the SSW regional BYJL (finishing ahead of Fraser Garnett). Owen Wells (Hethersett), travels the length and breadth of the country to hone his skills. He’s currently in 5th place in the BYJL series. Cameron Gill (Coventry) won the Midlands region BYJL and sits 7th in the national series. He rates the Cookson track as one of his favourites, as it suits his all action style.
No predictions, other than the winner will be one of the sixteen mentioned above.