The South East and East region maintained their unbeaten start to the new Supertrax Battle of Britain Cycle Speedway series in the elite men's class on Sunday, after a comprehensive victory at home over a spirited North and Scotland side in round three.
It was the first top tier action in Suffolk this year and it didn't disappoint with a healthy crowd enjoying the close racing and spills in Ipswich as Charlie Rumbold and Richard Fellgett both raced unbeaten for the league leaders.
Ben Higham delivered a solid team performance for the North and Scotland, including shepherding home his young team mate, Michael Preston, for a maximum heat advantage in heat nine. Kris Ramsden was the North's only other heat winner.
Over in Wolverhampton, the Midlands signalled their intent ahead of a crunch clash against the South East and East in round four. The Midlands were comfortable against the South West and Wales, despite losing heat leader Myke Grimes to illness before the match, which saw Brandon Whetton step up from the junior squad.
Whetton delivered a fine performance in Grimes' absence, dropping just one point. Paul Heard continued his excellent form and raced to a 24 point maximum.
Zac Payne and Jack Harold offered the most resistance for the South West and Wales, providing their only heat wins throughout the afternoon. The South West and Wales young side can hold their heads up high though, as they didn't make things easy for the Midlands and battled for each point against a strong team. Nicky Evans's side just need a couple more top end riders from the region to step up and they will have a winning team.
All eyes will be on Kesgrave in Suffolk on 23 July for round four. The Midlands need a win to stay in contention and will take a stronger team than the one that lost by just two points to the South East and East in round one. With two home matches out of three remaining and a two point advantage, the South East are still in the driving seat for the title.
Elite junior class
In the elite junior class, the Midlands maintained their unbeaten run and are odds on favourites for the title. Leicester's Damian Pelaczyk and Brimingham's Ewan Hancox both rode unbeaten for the home side, who ran out 78-61 winners against the South West and Wales.
It was a tough day for the South West and Wales team, all of whom are at the younger scale of the age group. The effective partnership of Poole's Frazer Garnett and Newport's Shaun Bennett managed race wins, including two heat advantages in heats three and 12.
In Ipswich, the racing was closer than the 74-62 score line suggested, as the South East and East registered their first win of the season.
The match featured a rare split finish, not once, but twice, where the referee was unable to split the riders on the finish line. Ed Morton and Louis Wright top scored for the North and Scotland, but were well supported by the rest of the team, who were minus one rider due to injury to Max Evans.
The Bacon brothers were on form for the South East and East, Harrison and Pierce both top scoring, along with the impressive Lewis Brinkoff, who recorded an impressive points haul on his debut.