MATCH REPORT: British Champions take dramatic victory

British Open Club Champions Gt Blakenham ran out winners by 1 point from Ipswich in the South-East & Eastern regional play off final, despite being 5 points down with 2 heats to go.

The healthy crowd were treated to a real cracker of a match, as Kesgrave and Hethersett also took heat wins and despite falling behind the 2 big guns on points, never stopped battling and deserved more for their efforts.

Blakenham led at the half way stage by 2 points, Ipswich impressively taking points off them from the outside grids, but with Blakenham’s ‘B’ team riding a solid first half this gave them the edge after 16 heats.

Ipswich edged closer in the next 4 heats before Blakenham handed them the initiative. First Ashley Hill took advantage of some slack defending by Peck to dive up the inside and move the Whitton team level before Ashford moved under orders to give ipswich a free run and a 4 point lead. Brooke and then Osborne won the next 2 heats to bring it back to 2 leading into the final set of races.

Bowers and Cooper finished their matches with race wins to cap a solid display. Newly crowned British junior champ Ben Clarke caught Harrison napping to take the chequered flag before Dan Knights levelled the match, taking advantage of Jonjo Slaughter hitting a back wheel and falling on the 2nd bend.

With Blakenham off the unflavoured outside grid Ipswich had the advantage, and they looked to have sealed the match when Matt Hill raced away from Ashford and then Peck fell on the very first bend when his pedal caught the ground to give Ipswich a healthy 5 point lead.

Lewis Osborne showed some of the match winning prowess he demonstrated at Leicester, when he picked off the high flying Richie Fellgett and relegated him to 3rd place, bringing the gap to 3 seemingly not enough to hand his team the victory.

Then in heat 32 with Ash Hill on 2 and only needing to beat Liam Webster or Tyler Brinkhoff, the Ipswich man, who has been a rock for the Suffolk team all year, inadvertently moved under orders and was sent back to the pits by referee Shaun Dyball, handing the initiative back to Gt Blakenham; win the heat, and they were through.

And with Josh Brooke in the last heat, they duly obliged, the Suffolk man holding his nerve to get in front from the start and race away to take the chequered flag and the meeting, much to the delight of the Blakenham supporters, sheer amazement of the rest.

All in all a great advert for the sport, with all the teams contributing heat wins and action all through the meeting.

The Brinkhoff brothers were unlucky with tapes exclusions for Kesgrave but showed their potential well, and Ben Harvey continued his fine form of late with another solid display.

Hethersett missed a heat leader or 2 but Leigh Cossey and Harley Hamill were always in the thick of the action.

Ipswich and Blakenham showed what quality teams they are with a closely fought battle, Blakenhams ‘B’ team in the end being the deciding factor, out scoring their ‘A’ team counterparts with all of them reaching double figures.

Wednesfield, A&T and the Home team Poole, will complete the final on 23rd September, in what should be a real spectacle.