MATCH REPORT: Battle of Britain Round 1

Report by Mike Hack, Photos by Len Priestley

Astley & Tyldesley hosted Round 1 of the Men’s Battle of Britain and Elite Grand Prix series at Gin Pit on Sunday. Two exciting matches took place on a bright and breezy afternoon.

The Battle of Britain match was keenly contested, with all four teams competitive throughout the match. The South & South Wales ran out winners, on 64 points, brilliantly led by former British Champion, Zac Payne, and current World Champion, Ben Mould, who both scored 16 points maximums. Connor Tucker weighed in with a 14 points haul and solid back up from the rest of the team. Runners-up were the North & Scotland team, on 59 points. Reece Pollitt led their scoring on 14 points, with good support from his team mates. Many observers felt that on paper, the South East & Eastern team fielded the strongest line up. However, matches are won on the track, not on paper, and they finished in third place, on 53 points. Four race exclusions undoubtedly hampered their chances. Ben Clarke was their top scorer on 14 points, whilst Lewis Brinkhoff recorded the fastest time of the match, 42.37 seconds, when winning heat 22. Last year’s series winners, the Midlands, finished 4th, on 50 points, again their cause was affected by incurring four race exclusions. Chris Timms led their challenge, finishing with 12, plus 2 bonus points.

Men’s Battle of Britain Round 1 result

South & South Wales 64 North & Scotland 59 South East & Eastern 53 Midlands 50

South & South Wales: Zac Payne 16, Ben Mould 16, Connor Tucker 14, Wil Bristowe 7 (1), J.J. Wildman 6 (1), Dan Wright 5.
North & Scotland: Reece Pollitt 14, Pawel Idziorek 12, Pierce Bacon 11, Steve Harris 8 (2), Lewis Foxley 8 (1), Adam Watson 6 (2).
South East & Eastern: Ben Clarke 14, Ashley Hill 11, Adam Peck 11, Lewis Brinkhoff 7 (1), Leon Mower 5 (1), James Porter 4, Owen Wells 1.
Midlands: Chris Timms 12 (2), Mark Winwood 11 (1), Jordan Holcroft 8, Nathan Groves 7 (1), Ricky Johnson 7, Chris Jewkes 5.

Referee – Bob Prince (West Midlands).

13 riders lined up for the Elite Grand Prix round that followed. Defending champion Chris Timms saw his hopes of a win on the day disappear, with a gate exclusion in heat 5, with Ben Clarke taking his second race win in the re-run. Ben Mould and Reece Pollitt started off with two race wins apiece, but they trailed in third and fourth respectively, behind Ashley Hill and Timms in heat 9. Clarke won heat 12, to remain the only unbeaten rider. His unbeaten run ended, when Pollitt took the race win in heat 14, before Mould won heat 16, to set up an intriguing last round of races. Timms won heat 17, to finish on 15 points, before Hill won the next race to secure a top three place on 18 points. Heat 19 proved to be the decisive race, with Mould off gate 1, on 14 points, next to Clarke off gate 2, on 15 points. Mould’s chances ended when he moved at the gate and was excluded, before Clarke made no mistakes in the re-run, to cross the line first and win the opening round of the series, with a 19 points tally. Pollitt took the win in heat 20, to finish on 17 points and secure 3rd place in the match. The day’s racing concluded when Mould beat Wil Bristowe in a run-off for 5th place. The top five riders shared the £170 prize money on the day. Pollitt recorded the fastest time of the day, 41.41 seconds, when winning heat 7.

Men’s Elite Grand Prix Round 1 result

Ben Clarke (Ipswich) 19, Ashley Hill (Ipswich) 18, Reece Pollitt (Astley & Tyldesley) 17, Chris Timms (Birmingham) 15, Ben Mould (Horspath) 14, Wil Bristowe (Poole) 14, James Porter (Ipswich) 13, Adam Peck (Gt. Blakenham) 12, Lewis Brinkhoff (Ipswich) 12, Owen Wells (Ipswich) 11, Michael Baldock (Independent) 11, Steve Harris (Astley & Tyldesley) 10, Leon Mower (Gt. Blakenham) 8.

Referee – Darren Kent (West Yorkshire).

Completed online score charts can be viewed at the North & Scotland Region’s Google Drive score charts folder, which was updated throughout the meeting: