MATCH REPORT: Men’s Battle of Britain & HSBC UK Elite Grand Prix

Report by Mike Hack, Photos courtesy of Alan Davies

Astley & Tyldesley hosted this year’s final round of the Men’s Battle of Britain and HSBC UK Elite Grand Prix series at Gin Pit on Saturday afternoon. On a dry, cool day, the Gin Pit circuit was in perfect condition for racing – damp, firm, smooth and grippy.

Disappointingly, the South & South Wales team again failed to fulfill a Battle of Britain commitment in the North & Scotland region. However, the three remaining regions dished up some terrific racing, in a closely fought encounter, over 18 heats. The Midlands team narrowly won the previous round, by a single point, and they again emerged victorious, beating the North & Scotland team by three points, to win this year’s Battle of Britain series, truncated due to early season Covid pandemic restrictions. The Midlands fielded a solid scoring team on the day. Reece Pollitt was best for the North & Scotland team, dropping just two points, while Ed Morton bounced back well after two last places. The South East & Eastern team boasted the match’s two best riders in the unbeaten Ben Clarke, and Ashley Hill, who lost only to Ed Morton in heat 9. The pair recorded the day’s two fastest times, 41.71 (Ben) and 41.78 seconds (Ashley), in heats 7 and 3 respectively. However, missing riders cost the team any chance of victory.

Men’s Battle of Britain Round 4 result

Midlands 61 North & Scotland 58 South East & Eastern 54

Midlands: Chris Jewkes 16 (1), Chris Timms 15 (1), Craig Marchant 11 (1), Mark Winwood 10 (2), Jake Steel 9 (1).

North & Scotland: Reece Pollitt 14, Ed Morton 13, Kris Ramsden 9 (2), Harry Radford 8, Lewis Foxley 7 (2), Niall Morton 7.

South East & Eastern: Ben Clarke 19 (1), Ashley Hill 19, James Porter 9, Eryk Motala 7.

Referee – Chaz Whalley.

Midlands team, winners of the Men’s Battle of Britain series
Ashley Hill leads from Harry Radford, Eryk Motala and Kris Ramsden in the BoB match

The final round of the HSBC UK Elite Grand Prix series followed. Birmingham’s Chris Timms started the day as the series leader and he made no mistake in the match, riding superbly to record a 20 points maximum, and regain the title which he won in 2018. His toughest race looked to be in heat 14, when he lined up on grid 4. However, Ashley Hill moved on grid 1 and was excluded, with Timms rounding Kris Ramsden on the first lap in the re-run, to win the race. Ben Clarke maintained his impressive form and lost only to Timms in heat 3, with Reece Pollitt a further point behind in third place. Ed Morton recorded both the slowest and fastest winning race times – 55.13 and 42.03 seconds in heats 9 and 17 respectively.

Men’s HSBC UK Elite Grand Prix Round 4 result

Chris Timms (Birmingham) 20, Ben Clarke (Ipswich) 19, Reece Pollitt (Astley & Tyldesley) 18, Ed Morton (Sheffield) 17, Kris Ramsden (Bury) 15, Lewis Foxley (Edinburgh) 14, Ashley Hill (Ipswich) 13, Niall Morton (Sheffield) 12, James Porter (Ipswich) 12, Harry Radford (Bury) 11.

Referee – Mark Winwood.

Overall Series Scores – Chris Timms (Birmingham) 50 GP points, Reece Pollitt (Astley & Tyldesley) 31, Ashley Hill (Ipswich) 28.