PREVIEW: 2023 British Individual Championships Day 1

It is the turn of the North & Scotland region to stage the British Individual Championships this year. The action gets underway tomorrow (Saturday 26th August) when 6 champions will be crowned and the first Open Qualifying rounds will also take place.

All those who have been drawn to ride at Sheffield are reminded that the Cookson Park track is being used on both days and that is where the Under 12 Boys & Girls Champions will be crowned on Saturday as well as the Under 14 Boys & Girls Champions. Open Qualifying Round 1 also takes place at Cookson Park.

The Under 12 Boys are scheduled to get the action underway at 11am with a pre-qualifier as 19 riders have entered. Astley & Tyldesley’s Frank White returns to defend the title he won last year at East Park. Of those who also rode in last year’s final Harry-Jack Whitehead (Coventry), Connor Jarrett (Kesgrave), Jayden Jenkins (Newport), Tyler Davies (Newport), Oliver Banyard (Sheffield) and Isaac Powling (Kesgrave) are all entered this year as well. Also entered are Sam Comben (Southampton), Caiden Rawlings (Kesgrave), Frank Spauls, Luca El-Labany and Austin Brailey (all Hethersett), Riley Jarvis (Exeter), Kalem Martin (Newport), Levi Edwards (Astley & Tyldesley), Spencer Glenton, William Holich and Harry Gibson (all Hull) and Nathan Slight (Edinburgh). It is expected that if 16 or less riders are signed on by 10.40am then the pre-qualifier will not take place and the remaining riders will advance to the Final which is scheduled to start at midday and this will be run alongside the British Under 12 Girls Individual Championship. Millie Shear (Poole), Maisy Baker (Ipswich), Lola Martin (Hethersett) and Demi-Blu Harris (Kesgrave) will compete in this and it is expected they will have one race after each block of 4 races in the Boys Final.

The British Under 14 Girls Individual Championship will be decided at 2pm and will see 9 riders taking part. Kesgrave’s Lily Parr returns to defend the title she won last year at Wednesfield. Her Kesgrave team mates Demi-Blu Harris (who was 5th in this event last year) and Amberley Gant are also entered, as are Newport’s Kaitlin Jenkins (joint 7th last year), Millie Shear (Poole), Maisy Baker (Ipswich), Lacey Ackroyd (Sheffield), Kacey Bennett (Hull) and last year’s British Under 12 Girls Champion Yoanna Gilpin (Coventry. Shear, Baker and Harris are doubling up in this event as well as the Under 12 equivalent.

The British Under 14 Boys Individual Championship will be the next championship to be decided starting at 3pm with 6 of the 15 riders entered this year having ridden in last year’s final at Wednesfield. Luca Woodhouse (Kesgrave), Jude Wilcockson (Coventry), Frank White (Astley & Tyldesley), Harvey Shumake (Kesgrave), Isaac Powling (Kesgrave and Mitchell Baker (Ipswich) are those riders and they will be joined by Jayden Hancock (Bury), Teddy Curtis (Poole), Luie Lewis (Newport), Connor Jarrett (Kesgrave), Charlie Spurgeon (Kesgrave), Noah Lyon (Hull), Oliver Banyard (Sheffield), Harvey McLachlan (Hull) and Dylan Geer (Hellingly)

The first of the British Open Individual Qualifying rounds completes the first day’s action at Sheffield (4.30pm start) and 43 riders have entered this competition for 2023. Of those riders 14 rode in last years Final at Birmingham and 6 of those riders are previous winners. 2 of those previous winners are in action in the opening qualifying round at Sheffield, Gavin Wheeler (Poole) who won the title in 2002 & 2008 as well as 2015 champion Zac Payne (Kesgrave). They are joined by Ben Clarke (Ipswich), Wil Bristowe (Poole), Ed Morton (Sheffield) and Ashley Hill (Ipswich), all of whom were in last year’s final. Completing the line-up will be Kyle Holland (Sheffield), Callum Goward (Newport), Kristian Ramsden (Bury), Elizabeth Rigley (Leicester), Leon Mower (Kesgrave), James Porter (Ipswich) and Daniel Taylor (Bury). Wednesfield’s Tom Bewick was a late entry and is scheduled to ride at Sheffield but was injured at Wednesfield on Sunday so his participation was in doubt at the time of writing

There will also be action at Hull starting with a pre-qualifier for the British Junior Individual Championship at 11am where 21 riders will be after the 16 spots in the Final which is scheduled to start at 1pm. 9 of the top 11 in last year’s final have entered for this year’s event. They are the current champion Noah Woodhouse (Kesgrave), Kenzie Bennett (Poole), Feroze Langoo (Poole), Ryker Jolly (Kesgrave), Leon Penketh (Southampton), Charlie Parr (Kesgrave), Oliver Saunders (Poole), JJ Wildman (Exeter) and Josh Nottle (Poole). Also entered are Mason Martin (Hethersett), John White (Astley & Tyldesley), Sonny Whale (Southampton), Owen Simcock (Astley & Tyldesley), Shaun Kell (Ipswich), Sam Stansfield (Sheffield), Torsten Jolly (Kesgrave), Liam Bennett (Hull), Connor Steel (Birmingham), Jack Brownell (Sheffield), George Whale (Southampton and Corey Burt (Wednesfield).

The British Over 60’s Individual Championship will be decided at midday and Phil Gard (Poole) returns to defend the title he won last year at Leicester. His Poole team mates Colin Rowles and Steve nation are also entered, as are Robert Falconer (Southampton), Gary Lawrence (Hethersett), Barry Ashton (Hull), Chris Ward (Horspath) and Glyn Morgan (Hethersett)

Following the Junior Final at 1pm will be the British Open Individual Championship Qualifying Round 2 and 3 former champions will be riding in this one, the reigning World and European Champion Ben Mould (Newport), who won the British title in 2016, Josh Brooke (Great Blakenham), who was successful at Hull in 2018 and the 2010 & 2021 champion Mark Boaler (Poole). Also in this round are Owen Simcock (Astley & Tyldesley), Kenzie Bennett (Poole), Matt Hill and Jack Herbert (both Ipswich), Will Jeffery (Birmingham), Ryker Jolly (Kesgrave), Chris Timms (Birmingham), Noah Woodhouse (Kesgrave), Lewis Foxley (Hull), John White (Astley & Tyldesley), Owen Johnson (Horspath) and Kielan Burton (Sheffield)

British Open Individual Championship Qualifying Round 3 will round off Hull’s action on day 1 (4.30pm start) and will see the 2019 and 2022 champion Paul Heard (Birmingham) taking part, along with last year’s finalists Aaron Smith (Poole), Mark Carmichael (Newport) and Reece Pollitt (Bury). Also in this round are Mike Baldock (Bury), Jack Lister (Hull), JJ Wildman (Exeter), Torsten Jolly (Kesgrave), Luke Whitehead (Leicester), Ricki Johnson (Birmingham), Charlie Parr (Kesgrave), Leon Penketh (Southampton), Feroze Langoo (Poole) and Harley Hamill (Hethersett)