The Midlands region clinched the win in the opening round of the Women’s Battle of Britain, while Kesgrave’s Lily Parr secured the Women’s Individual Grand Prix title in the first weekend on the cycle speedway calendar in Wednesfield.
Women’s Battle of Britain
The Midlands region finished just three points ahead of the South and South Wales after a match long tussle for the win.
The South and South Wales pushed the eventual winners to the final heat but did not have the power to overhaul the pairing of Lizzie Rigley and Chloe Whitehead, with the Midlands securing the win on a total of 69 points.
The opening heat of the day saw the Midlands pairing of Rigley and Whitehead take a 7-3 win against the North, with Rigley holding Lacey Ackroyd and Meg Burt on the outside of the track to allow Whitehead to ride away and secure the victory.
Lily Parr (South East and Eastern) flew off the grid in the following heat to take her first win of the match, as The South and South Wales pair of Natalie Goulden and Daisy Sherwood could not match her speed. The fifth heat saw Rigley take her first win of the match after holding off Parr to take the four points.
Sherwood and Goulden brought the chasers just two points behind the Midlands in the following heat, but Georgia Burt and Rebecca Humphries ensured that the Midlands stayed in the lead in heat seven.
Heat nine again saw Rigley take the win but Lauren Hookway and Goulden rode well to take an important five points to keep the South and South Wales in the running.
The penultimate heat of the first half saw Humphries power away from the grid to take her second win of the match for the Midlands as Hookway held off Burt to take a valuable three points for the South and South Wales.
Humphries took another win for the Midlands coming out of the interval, before Sherwood and Goulden took their second 7-4 of the match.
With four heats remaining it was still all to play for, and heat 22 saw the closest race yet with all four riders taking every position over the four laps. Hookway and Goulden took a 7-3 heat win for the South and South Wales to cut the Midlands lead to a single point.
The final heat saw the Midlands hold their nerve from the tapes with Rigley taking her fourth win of the day as Whitehead picked up a further two points to ensure the Midlands took the overall win.
The South East and Eastern region finished the day on 56 points as the young team once again performed well above their age to take third place.
The North and Scotland rounded out the score sheet with 49 points as Laura Watson guided an inexperienced team through the day.
Individual Grand Prix
The Individual Grand Prix saw Lily Parr claim the expert win for Kesgrave after a tense battle in the A final.
Parr raced shoulder to shoulder with Lizzie Rigley (Leicester Monarchs) until the third lap when Rigley was excluded for taking Parr off the track and into the fence. Lauren Hookway (Exeter) moved up to second while Rebecca Humphries took the third step of the podium.
There was a run-off for the final place in the A final between Humphries and Poole’s Natalie Goulden, before Goulden also received an exclusion for crashing and the referee deeming her the cause of the race stoppage. Goulden had to be content with second in the B final to Laura Watson (Sheffield).
In the intermediate A final, it was a flying Demi Blu Harris (Kesgrave) who secured the win from Ipswich’s Maisie Baker, who made a great pass on the second lap over Lacey Ackroyd.
Peter Clarke, Series Manager, said:
“The Battle of Britain and Individual GP means everything to the girls – it’s really their only competitive racing year on year. Their commitment to the series is phenomenal. It’s a chance for the senior riders to come together and race for their regions and clubs while the younger girls get to race against the best riders in the UK so in turn brings the standard of their racing up.
“To see the likes of Lily (Parr) and Demi-Blu (Harris) improve over the last few years is great to see. The series gives these girls the chance to ride against Lizzie Rigley, Emily Burgess and Lauren Hookway amongst many others and you can see the improvement every round. The opportunity to compete against the GB riders just encourages them to get stuck in and improve their racing.
“It’s so healthy for the sport to have so many new riders wanting to race at this level and the numbers are increasing again even though cost is having an impact on so many sports, we seem not to be affected which is great for us. As an organiser, it’s great to hear riders have had a fantastic day and they leave the track with a smile on their faces.”
Battle of Britain results
- The Midlands - 69 points
- The South and South Wales - 66 points
- The South East and Eastern - 56 points
- The North and Scotland - 49 points
Individual Grand Prix results
Expert A final
- Lily Parr (Kesgrave)
- Lauren Hookway (Exeter)
- Rebecca Humphries (Birmingham)
- Lizzie Rigley (Leicester - after exclusion)
Expert B final
- Laura Watson (Sheffield)
- Natalie Goulden (Poole)
- Daisy Sherwood (Poole)
- Georgia Burt (Wednesfield)
Expert C final
- Rachael Lammin (Horspath)
- Ella Case (Kesgrave)
Intermediate A final
- Demi Blu Harris (Kesgrave)
- Maisie Baker (Ipswich)
- Lacey Ackroyd (Sheffield)
- Emma Johnson (Horspath)
Intermediate B final
- Lola Martin (Hethersett)
- Amelia Dobson (Hethersett)
- Amy Baynes (Coventry)
- Natalie Timms (Birmingham)