PREVIEW: British Championships Day 1

With the Midlands in 2017, the North in 2018 and the South-East in 2019 having staged the Championships in its new format, where all the finals are held over the August Bank Holiday weekend, it is the turn of the South-West to stage the championships this year having being denied the opportunity to do so in 2020 thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Finals Weekend was last in the South-West in 2016 and Horspath will host the action on Bank Holiday Monday where the Under 16 Boys, Women’s and Open British titles will be up for grabs.

The action starts at Southampton on Saturday with the Little League Championships, sponsored by 33/18 Designs, at midday. This is followed by the British Under 14 Boys Championship where there are 18 riders entered which will necessitate a pre-qualifier at 2.30pm with the final to follow at approximately 3.30pm. If 16 riders or less have signed on at 2.10pm then the pre-qualifier will not be staged and the final will be at 2.30pm. The line-up includes the top 7 riders from the British Under 12 Boys Championship at Norwich in 2019, namely JJ Wildman (Exeter), Ryker Jolly (Kesgrave), Kenzie Bennett (Poole), Charlie Parr (Kesgrave), Oliver Saunders (Poole), Ireland international Shaun Kell (Norwich) and Corey Burt (Wednesfield). The host club are represented by Sonny Whale, Leon Penketh and George Whale whilst Paul Edwards and Harry Sefton represent the Hellingly club. Horspath also have 2 representatives in Tyler Seabright and Connor Legg with the line-up completed by Mason Martin (Hethersett), Detlan Baker (Ipswich), Chester Gilpin (Coventry) and Sam Stansfield (Sheffield)

The British Under 12 Boys will be the next championship to be decided and this will be a straight 16 rider, 20 heat event which is scheduled to start at 4pm but could be delayed by one hour if pre-qualifying for the Under 14 Boys championship goes ahead. Of the 16 riders entered 7 of them rode in the Little League Under 10 Boys Championship at Norwich in 2019, namely the Kesgrave trio of Luca Woodhouse, Oscar Hammond and Harvey Shumake as well as the Poole duo of Teddy Curtis and Riley Nation. Coventry’s Jude Wilcockson and Norwich’s Will Blackmore are the other 2 riders who were in action in the Under 10’s event in 2019 who are in this event. The line-up is completed by Dylan Geer and Harry Ridley (both Hellingly), Joseph Gillespie and Rudy Penketh (Southampton), Mitchell Baker (Ipswich), Noah Lyon (Hull), James Randall (Poole) and Alfie Boaler (Horspath)

Due to the number of entries received the British Under 12 & British Under 14 Girls championships have been combined as they were in 2019 at Norwich. A champions jersey will be awarded to the highest placed Under 12 rider. This event is scheduled to start at 5.30pm but could be delayed by one hour if the pre-qualifier for the Under 14 Boys championship goes ahead. Poole’s Lexie Curtis won the Under 12’s championship at Norwich in 2019 and will be looking to add the Under 14 title to that this time around. She will face competition in the Under 14 section from her fellow Poole riders Natalie Goulden and Daisy Sherwood as well as the Kesgrave duo of Ella Case and Lily Parr. Parr will also be competing in the Under 12 section as will her fellow Kesgrave rider Amberley Gant and Coventry’s Yoanna Gilpin. Parr, Gant and Gilpin were the top 3 riders in the Little League Under 10 Girls Championship in 2019 at Kesgrave