MATCH REPORT: South & South Wales retain Battle of Britain

Report by Matt Davis, photos by Andy Whitehouse

The South and South Wales region was this year’s region to stage the new look changes made to the Battle of Britian competition. Host’s East Newport CSC provided everyone with a warm welcome to the Polo and what a day of great racing it turned out to be on a well-prepared track and with the sun out spectators were in fine voice supporting their riders, making it enjoyable for all to witness in what was a fine weekend of cycle speedway action.

The first action of the day featured the Junior’s match which only featured 2 regions which were South & South Wales Vs North & Scotland, Both the Midlands and East failed to field a team.

Selected by Manager David Makepeace. Lining up for the South & South Wales

1, JJ Wildman

2, Leon Penketh

3, Kenzie Bennett

4, Sam Marsh

5, Feroze Langoo

6, Owen Geach

George Whale with brother Sonny Whale sitting at reserve.

For the North & Scotland featured

1, Harry Radford as Captain

2, Joe Brownell

3, Tom Dunphy

4, Duncan Whalley

5, Jack Brownell

6, Sam Stanfield

The First half led by South & South Wales captain Kenzie Bennett, along with the strength in depth within the S&SW team was clear to see the talent on show as the S&SW led the North at half–time 51 to 28 featuring five 7-3 heat advantages out of 8 races.

The 2nd Half action was pretty much evenly balanced but ultimately the damage was done in the first half the North did have more heat wins in the second half but only resulted in 5 all heats. The Final score after 18 heats was South & South Wales 101 North & Scotland 76

After the match S&SW Junior Manager David Makepeace said “I’m one happy man, it was a privilege to manage such a great group of young talented riders who rode as a solid team from 1 – 8.”

So, with the S&SW Juniors claiming the honour of being Junior Battle of Britain Champions it was onto the S&SW Senior to take centre stage and defend their title as Current Battle of Britain Champions.

The North region fielded a strong lineup featuring the one and only Steve Harris providing excellent track knowledge from his Swindon days. But unfortunately, both Midland’s & East Region’s failed to field a team. So, the Senior match just like the junior’s match featured only 2 regions the S&SW vs North & Scotland.

South & South Wales Manager Matt Davis fielding a strong lineup which consisted of both youth and experience. After impressing in the junior match, Matt Davis called up JJ Wildman, Kenzie Bennett and Leon Panketh into the senior lineup.

1, Lukas Nowacki – Captain

2, Dan Bock

3, Mark Carmichael

4, Kenzie Bennett

5, Owen Johnson

6. JJ Wildman

7, Adam Bennett

8, Leon Penketh

Selected By Mike Hack lining up for the North & Scotland

1, Reece Pollitt

2, Mike Baldock

3, Lewis Foxley

4, Steve Harris – Captain

5, Kris Ramsden

6, Harry Radford

7, Tom Dunphy

After a dominant first half by the S&SW Team in front of team sponsor Dave Strong the S&SW led at half time 45-32. After a half time team talk by Davis “we need to race smart not silly, we are half way there, this is ours to lose, we need to stay switched on”. After learning the North claiming the line in the 2nd half, the scores stayed pretty much the same with smart team riding the South boys, keeping the North lads at arm’s reach success was achieved. After 18 heats the match finished South & South Wales 97 North & Scotland 77 meaning the Senior Cup stays in the region for another year.

After the match S&SW Manager Matt Davis thanked all the North region for supporting both matches event by travelling down and making this match so competitive because without them this match wouldn’t have taken place on both levels.

Turning his focus on his own team, Matt Davis said, “Standing here as your manager I couldn’t be prouder, you a have all delivered as a team and thank you for helping me achieve what I set out to do and that was to successfully defend our crown and still be regional champions 2023. Without you this wouldn’t have happened thank you.

“A huge thank you to JJ Wildman, Kenzie Bennett, Leon Panketh who all stepped up from the junior match and not once did they look out of their depths going toe to toe with the senior riders and with all of them being aged just 15 is frightening but also exciting to see what they can achieve in this sport.”

Davis told 33/18, “After such a successful day and an action-packed weekend of cycle speedway here in South Wales I’m just worried about the future of this competition after a successful consultation held by BC making successful changes to this competition to make it more exciting and appealing it was disappointing to see only 2 regions showing support. Today it was clear to see the changes made to the competition shows there is top level racing on offer in both junior and senior matches, I don’t understand why this year’s event wasn’t fully supported and it’s frustrating to see especially when you’re a manager yourself who supports this exciting event and the opportunity it offers to the best riders within your region the chance to be team mates instead of enemies for the day, but what makes my job harder as a manager is trying to get riders to travel and commit to the region and the event when they know not every region is turning up, this make the job more challenging and it’s frustrating to know there are teams within both regions who didn’t show up today who are committed to travelling to Newport to race in the National League so what’s the difference.

“It will be interesting to see what happens to this competition next year.”