MATCH REPORT: Women’s League Round 1

Report by Matt Parr

What a cracking opener to the Battle of Britain Women’s League 2023 at a damp but well prepared Wednesfield circuit. The team event starts the day with the South West and Wales looking to defend their title. The opening heat saw Lizzie Rigley and Chloe Whitehead set the intentions of the Midlands with a 7-3 over the N&S, giving them the lead throughout the programme. Heat 6 arrived and the SW&W closed the gap with a 7-3 of their own courtesy of electric starts from the young Poole pairing of Nat Goulden and Daisy Sherwood. Heat 7 followed and local hero Georgia Burt teamed up with Rebecca Humphies to 7-3 the SE&E. After 9 heats the Midlands were ahead with 31, SW&W 27, SE&E 17 and N&S 15. It was clear the match was evolving into 2 battles; one for the win and one for 3rd. Wednesfield’s finest Megan Burt, guest riding for the N&S, took to the tapes with Lacey Ackroyd for heat 10. Megan guided her younger team mate to ensure a shared heat with the SE&E. The traditional Women’s League 10 to 30 minute interval had the scores at N&S 25, SE&E 27, SW&W 31, Midlands 37. Amy Baynes made her first appearance for the Midlanes in heat 13 coming home in 3rd and earning 2 points for her team. A phenomenal gate in heat 16 and with a little help from her SE&E teammate Lily Parr, had Maisie Baker hurtle into 2nd place from grid 4. The young pairing secured themselves a well deserved 5-5 against the Midlands. Rachel Lammin and Lauren Hookway were too strong and experienced in heat 17 acquiring maximum points for the SW&W. The heat also saw Amelia Dodson sportingly ride for the N&S after they had a rider withdrawal. Emma Johnson took one for her SW&W team in heat 20, keeping the SE&E riders busy so her team mate could secure the win for a shared heat. With 2 heats per team left to go the scores on the doors were N&S 40, SE&E 45, SW&W 55, MIdlands 60. The Kesgrave pairing of Demi-Blu Harris and Ella Case secured overall 3rd place for the young SE&E team in heat 21 with a 6-4 over the N&S. Heat number 22 was arguably the best heat of the day, with last lap action delivering the SW&W within 1 point of overall glory and taking it to a last heat decider. The penultimate race gave young Lola Martin a fine 3 points as she guest rode for the N&S in the safe hands of team mate Laura Watson. In the final heat decider the MIdlands used their inside grids wisely, banking a heat advantage against SW&W and sealed the round 1 BoB victory.

Team Scores MIdlands 69 Top scorer Lizzie Rigley 22+2 (6)

SW&W 66 Top scorer Nat Goulden 17+4 (6)

SE&E 56 Top scorer Lily Parr 20+1 (6)

N&S 49 Top scorer Laura Watson 17+2 (6)

Referee: Bob Prince

The teams which competed in the team event. Photo by Andy Whitehouse

Individual Grand Prixs followed the Team event and after the qualifying heats the finals were hotly contested. Intermediate B final winner Lola made full use of her grid one, ahead of Hethersett team mate Amelia. Amy B and Natalie Timms rounded out the B final. Demi blasted her way to Intermediate A final victory with fellow Suffolk rider Maisie in hot pursuit. Lacey and Emma followed them home over the line in 3rd and 4th. The Expert class finals were the last races on the track. The C final found Rachel searching for her legs after her 12th hard fought race of the weekend. Ella took the C final win and 9 GP points. The B final followed grid positions with the riders finishing as they started, Laura in 1st, Nat 2nd, Daisy 3rd and Georgia 4th. The round 1 finale had arrived – Lizzie gate 1, Lily 2, Lauren 3 and Rebecca 4. Shoulder to shoulder action for 3 1/2 laps finally came to a head with Lily visiting the shale on her 23rd race of the weekend. Referee Andy Parfitt excluded Lizzie for her involvement, awarding Lily the A final win and 25 GP points. Lauren secured 2nd after being unbeaten in the qualifiers. Rebecca came home in 3rd and Lizzie picked up 16 GP points.

Expert Class podium. Photo taken by Ella Case’s mother

Intermediate class podium. Photo taken by Ella Case’s mother

New for 2023 is a nominated award for the rider of the day with each rider eligible to vote for a deserving fellow competitor. Georgia Burt accumulated the most nominations for her outstanding performance in the team and individual competitions and her contributions were much appreciated by her peers. Well done Georgia.

Georgia Burt, Rider of the Day. Photo by Andrew Parr

Thanks to Wednesfield CSC, the volunteers, all the riders and their supporters for a great meeting. Round 2 moves to the North and Bury hosting on Sunday 14th May, tapes up at 12pm.