PREVIEW: British Individual Championships Day 1

The British Individual Championships return to the Midlands for 2022, where all the finals are held over the August Bank Holiday weekend. For the first time since 2017 the Little League Championships will not be part of the weekend, these having been staged in July at Leicester.

Saturday sees action at Wednesfield & Leicester. At Wednesfield 3 British titles up for grabs in the Girls Under 12’s as well as the Boys & Girls Under 14’s. The first of 4 Open Semi-Finals will also be held at Wednesfield

The first action is scheduled to be the Pre-Qualifying round for the Under 14’s at 10am where 19 riders are scheduled to take part but if 16 riders or less sign on by 9.40am then the Pre-Qualifier will not take place. Of the 19 riders entered 13 of them are in the top 16 placings in the British Youth & Junior League Under 14 category, namely Ryker Jolly (Kesgrave), Shaun Kell (Norwich), Duncan Whalley (Astley & Tyldesley), Corey Burt (Wednesfield), Tom Dunphy (Bury), Jude Wilcockson (Coventry), Oscar Hammond (Kesgrave), Chester Gilpin (Coventry), the reigning British Under 12 Boys Champion Harvey Shumake (Kesgrave), Detlan Baker (Ipswich), Caspar Ellis (Astley & Tyldesley), George Whale (Southampton) and Mitchell Baker (Ipswich). Also entered are Noah Lyon (Hull), Frank White (Astley & Tyldesley), Riley Nation (Poole), Luca Woodhouse (Kesgrave), Luie Lewis (Newport) and Harvey Yard (Exeter). Kell, Jolly, Whale, Gilpin, Burt and Detlan Baker all rode in last year’s final.

The first championship to be decided will be the Under 12 Girls Championship at 11am which sees 7 riders taking part. Last years runner-up Yoanna Gilpin (Coventry) will be looking to go one better this time round. Also entered are Esmee Lewis (Newport), Lola Martin (Hethersett), who was 3rd in the Under 10 Girls Little league competition last year, Amberley Gant (Kesgrave), Maisy Baker (Ipswich), Hollie George (Newport) and Demi-Blu Harris (Kesgrave).

The British Under 14 Boys Championship final will follow at 12noon with the 16 riders who qualified via the earlier pre-qualifier and this will be followed at 2pm by the British Under 14 Girls Championship where 8 riders are entered. Poole’s Natalie Goulden returns to defend the title she won last year at Southampton. The Kesgrave duo of Lily Parr (who won the Under 12 Girls Championship last year and was 4th in this event also) and Ella Case (5th last year) are also entered, as are Autumn Smith (Coventry), Charlotte Geach (Exeter) and the Newport trio of Esmee Lewis, Ellie George and Kaitlin Jenkins.

3pm sees the first of the Open Semi-Finals take place and the 32 riders in the Open event will face 2 Semi-Finals each with the top 16 scorers after all 4 semi-finals will reach the final. Last year’s top 3 of the defending champion Mark Boaler (Horspath), the 2018 champion Josh Brooke (Great Blakenham) and Lewis Brinkhoff (Ipswich) are all in this semi-final, as are Will Jeffery (Horspath), the 2019 Champion Paul Heard (Birmingham), Ashley Hill (Ipswich), Aaron Smith (Poole) and Reece Pollitt (Astley & Tyldesley) from those who rode in last year’s final. Also in this semi-final are Ed Morton (Sheffield), Tom Savage (Coventry), Wil Bristowe (Poole), Connor Tucker (Poole), Niall Morton (Sheffield), Jake Steel (Birmingham), Leon Mower (Great Blakenham) and Matt Hill (Ipswich)

There is also action at Leicester where 2 British Champions will be crowned in the Junior & Over 60’s categories. Open semi-Final 2 also takes place at Leicester.

The action at Glover Park gets underway at midday with the British Junior Individual Championship where 15 riders will take part. 5 Poole riders are entered, Oliver Saunders, Josh Nottle, Feroze Langoo, Maddie Saunders and Kenzie Bennett. Kesgrave have a trio of riders entered, Noah Woodhouse, Charlie Parr & Torsten Jolly. Exeter have 2 riders taking part, JJ Wildman & Edward Selwood. The line-up is completed by Harry Radford (Bury), Ellis Richmond (Wednesfield), Leon Penketh (Southampton), Kielan Burton (Sheffield) and Jack Reynolds (Coventry)

The British Over 60’s Individual Championship gets underway at 2pm and will feature 4 riders who rode in this event at Newport last year. Steve Nation (Poole), the 2017 champion Paul Timms (Birmingham), Andy Collett (Exeter) and Chris Ward (Horspath). These 4 riders finished 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 9th respectively last year. Glyn Morgan (Hethersett), the current leader in the Eurovets Over 60 category, is also entered, as is Ray Pyke (Kesgrave), Colin Rowles (Poole) and Phil Gard. The reigning champion Dave Murphy (Exeter) who also won the title in 2019, has had to withdraw from this years event as he has not yet fully recovered from injuries he sustained at the British Club Championships in June.

The 2nd Open Semi-Final rounds off the days action at Leicester and features Myke Grimes (Coventry) Chris Timms (Birmingham), the reigning World & European Champion Ben Mould (Horspath), Chris Jewkes (Wednesfield), Mark Carmichael (Newport), Zac Payne (Horspath) and Ben Clarke (Ipswich) from those who rode in last year’s final. Also entered in this semi-final are Michael Baldock (Bury), Owen Wells (Ipswich), Leon Penketh (Southampton), James Porter (Ipswich), Ricki Johnson (Birmingham) Nathan Groves (Birmingham), Lewis Foxley (Hull), Adam Watson (Coventry) & the 2002 & 2008 champion Gavin Wheeler (Horspath). Payne (2015), Mould (2016) and Grimes (2017) are also all former British Champions with Grimes being one of only 2 riders to win the title with a 20 point maximum (Lee Aris being the other at at Bury in 2016).

If Mould reaches the final and wins it he will become only the 2nd rider to be World, European & British Champion at the same time (Dave Hemsley having achieved this feat in 2000-2001)