Location: Poole Cycle Speedway, Baiter, Poole
Event: 3-4 June 2012
While big events elsewhere fell victim to the weather, bright and breezy conditions at Harbourside Park set the scene for a Jubilee battle royal which culminated in a four man run-off to decide the rostrum positions.
By heat 8 when all riders had completed two races, there were four clear pace-setters who each picked up a perfect pair - Andy Angel, Neil Hollebon, Gavin Wheeler and Chris Timms. British Champion Angell had taken his wins from gates 4 and 3 so looked a distinct favourite while Timms was simply flying.
There were mixed fortunes in the next four heats when Angell moved at the tapes and added nothing to his total while Timms chalked up another win which saw him race clear on 12 after Wheeler could not catch Paul Heard and Hollebon failed to get on terms with Greg Gluchowski and newly crowned under 19 champion Ben Mould who was beginning to emerge from the chasing pack.
After three rides each, Timms lead the way on 12 with Wheeler on 11 and Hollebon jointly on 10 with Mould. The Welsh star was stopped in his tracks in heat 14 when he finished behind enigmatic Mark Boaler and Michel Nowak from Gniezno who was making his Laurels debut. The next race looked to be a real cracker with Angell off gate one and Timms, Hollebon and Wheeler line abreast. The Hull man made no mistakes this time and was well clear out front while Hollebon outpaced Timms for the three points.
Birmingham man Chris Timms still led the pack after four completed races with 14 with Neil Hollebon a point adrift and Mould, Angel and Wheeler sharing 12 each and ready to cash in on any errors. In their final block of scheduled races, Gavin Wheeler applied the pressure with a stylish win ahead of Boaler in heat 17 and a heat later Mould bounced back with a win while Timms bounced off the track in a hard fought contest and was unable to complete the four laps.
When Andy Angell caught Greg Gluchowski knapping in heat 19, he joined Wheeler and Mould on 16 points which meant that if Hollebon could win the final race, he would win the event outright on 17. Off the difficult gate 4 he took several laps to reel in Arron Morgan and Michel Nowak but could not get near Paul Heard so he too finished on 16.
In the title deciding run off, gate positions favoured Angell on 1 and Mould on 2 while Wheeler on 3 and Hollebon on 4 appeared to have their work cut out. With a tight exit from the first corner, Mould was able to drive under Angell to take the lead and when he shut the door on the Hull man a lap later, Angell lost control and crashed out opening the door for Wheeler and Hollebon to join the talented young Welsh rider on the rostrum. Read Fabrications were once again the event sponsors and ex-rider Steve Read was on hand to present every competitor with a commemorative trophy.
Ben Mould 16 Gavin Wheeler 16 Neil Hollebon 16 Andy Angell 16 Chris Timms 14 Mark Boaler 14 Greg Gluchowski 12 Paul Heard 12 Lee Aris 12 Arron Morgan 11 Ryan Hoyland 11 Craig Marchant 11 Chris Jewkes 10 Mark Carmichael 9 Michel Nowak 9 Sam Hearn 8
Referee - Wayne Aris
British champion Livvy Horsley opened up with a race win in heat 1 ahead of hard chasing Sandra Tamborska and, unbeknown to the Harbourside Bank Holiday crowd, that was to be the only time in the ladies laurels that the Sheffield Star would be headed during the meeting. Early winners Charlie Jane Herbert and Vicky Brown underlined their racing pedigree before Tamborska blasted from gate 4 to sound a warning as she sped away from Herbert.
Next up world champion Laura Watson kept herself in the running with a win before the impressive Vicky Brown made it eight out of 8. A second race win for Tamborska at the expense of Watson was followed by another race win by Horsley as the main contenders eyed up a place in the grand final. Defending champion Lauren Hookway looked out of sorts in her opening rides but became the only riders to defeat Vicky Brown in the qualifying heats with a race 9 victory.
In the closing three heats, there were further wins for Tamborska, Herbert and Brown as this trio together with Horsley took their totals clear of the other main contenders Watson and Hookway and all eyes were on the draw for gate positions which proved to be decisive.
The high quality of these women racers had been evident throughout and none moreso than Sandra Tamborska who powered away from Charlie-Jane to finish deservedly on top of the rostrum with Livvy joining them with a third place.
Sandra Tamborska 15+4, Charlie Jane Herbert 13+3, Livvy Horsley 13+2 Vicky Brown 15+1, Laura Watson 12, Lauren Hookway 11, Tiffany Collins 9, Rebecca Davies 9, Kristina Mines 9, Cerys Glover 6, Kayleigh Clarke 4, Holly Morgan 4.
Referee - Wayne Aris
Early pacesetter Leyton Glover was the only man unbeaten after two rides but when he failed to finish in a tough heat 12, it was Jack Harrold who lead the pack from Wil Bristowe, Matt Smith and Arron Morgan. With Sheffield Star Smith winning heat 13 and British under 16 champ Morgan outpacing Harrold in the following race, these three riders led the rest of the field by a margin of two points with 14 apiece after 16 races.
The major honours would surely be determined by final race gate positions and who could keep their nerve best.
Matt Mildon scooted away in heat 17 and would surely have been a strong contender but for a costly fall in heat 16. Meanwhile, Leyton Glover defied every effort by Morgan to grab the second place so Arron had to be content with 16.
Wins by Ashley Hill in heats 16 and 19 enabled him to join Morgan on 16 so the stage was surely set for either Jack Harrold or Matt Smith to take top spot if they could just win race 20 or even finish second ahead of the other contender.
Such is the unpredictability of cycle speedway that Harrold could only finish third behind Jesse Moore and Wil Bristowe while Smith trailed in last and out of contention.
All this added up to one thing - a three rider run-off for all three rostrum positions. Gate position proved decisive as Ashley Hill capitalised on his gate 1 and withstood the pressure of Arron Morgan right on his back wheel for the whole race while he in turn had Jack Harrold breathing down his neck. An exciting end to a thoroughly entertaining 21 heats and a deserved win for the talented young Ipswich star.
Ashley Hill 16 Arron Morgan 16 Jack Harrold 16 Wil Bristowe 15 Matt Smith 15 Ricky Johnson 14 Leyton Glover 14 Lewis Roberts 13 Oli Sidwick 13 Matt Mildon 12 Aaron Smith 10 Shane Bentley 10 Aiden Owen 10 Hayden Chant 9 Jesse Moore 8 Kieren Yeatman 5
Referee - Mike Legge
Every bit as entertaining and keenly contested as the other three laurels events, the under 14's provided a showcase for some of the young talent emerging from the British Junior League. Recently crowned national under 13 champion Wil Tidball opened up proceedings with a convincing race win, a feat then matched by diminutive George Horsley and Welsh starlet Adam Bennett.
Such was the quality of the field that the next three heats provided three different winners in Lee Kemp and the two Saints James Colling and Connor Wilson. Tidball and Bennett then notched further race wins with Jake Neighbour doing likewise and taking his three race total to 10 after outpacing Lee Kemp in heat 9.
With three races to go, half the field was in contention for a place in the grand final and Tidball was first to book his spot with a confident four points from heat 10. Bennett needed a win in heat 11 to join him after having suffered a last place in heat 6 but Bretford boy Kemp outpaced him and it was his name that went forward.
Two other potential finalists, Horsley and Neighbour clashed in heat 12 and both would progress if they finished the race ahead of Jack Herbert and Callum Smith, which is what they did, with the Swindon rider taking the chequered flag.
So the grand final lined up with Kemp, Horsley, Neighbour and Tidball on gates 1,2,3 and 4 respectively and the Midlander took full advantage of his draw to pull away from the three South West riders with Horsley in pursuit.
Lee was a popular winner of the trophy as he climbed to the top of the rostrum with Mum and Dad looking on proudly.
Lee Kemp 13+4, George Horsley 13+4, Jake Neighbour 14+2, Wil Tidball 14+1, Adam Bennett 12, Adam Watson 11, Jay Briggs 9, Connor Wilson 9, Jack Herbert 9, James Colling 7, Niall Instone 4, Callum Smith 4.
Referee - Wayne Aris
The busy two day Jubilee Festival of cycle speedway was rounded off in spectacular fashion with seven teams competing over 21 heats in an International Best Pairs event with Sheffield the worthy winners ahead of Southampton.
With the best pairs 4-3-2-0 scoring system in place, the focus was not just on riders winning races as team tactics provided the healthy Bank Holiday crowd with plenty of action. The opening race saw British champion Andy Angell power past Chris Timms to join partner Ryan Hoyland for a 5-4 behind race winner Paul Heard. South West pairs champions Southampton got off to a maximum start on the track where they won their title a month ago.
Shaun Rudman shot away to win heat 3 while partner Steve Harris kept Lee Aris at bay for a 6-3 win before more good action in heat 4 when Paul Heard sped by Greg Gluchowski to win while Michel Nowak caught out Chris Timms on the last bend to give Gniezno a 5-4 advantage when a Birmingham 6-3 looked on the cards. Southampton were pegged back to a 4-5 by Horspath in heat 6 as Tom Colling became the latest victim of the Steve Harris track craft.
Gluchowski held off the challenge of Mould in heat 7 and with Nowak outpacing Jewkes, Gniezno clinched a 6-3. Heat 9 was key for Sheffield who picked up a 7-2 at the expense of Horspath with Angell once again in the thick of the action. Next we saw Southampton keep themselves in contention with a 6-3 over Gniezno with Gavin Wheeler unbeaten for the third time.
Wednesfield made full use of their ‘Ace’ reserve Ben Mould in heat 11 who made no mistakes from gate 1 to outpace Paul Heard after four great laps with the two of them neck and neck throughout while Lee Aris held off the threat of Chris Timms. Two races later the Midlanders were on the receiving end of a 6-3 as Southampton continued to press with Wheeler out front and Colling holding off Aris. Sheffield settled for a 5-4 in the next race behind Gluchowski before Chris Timms became the first and only rider of the event to suffer exclusion when he took away the line of Wheeler in a tactical heat 15.
Southampton were holding on to a 7-2 in the re-start until Heard pulled off a magnificent pass on Wheeler to restrict their points return while Horspath made themselves candidates for a top three placing when they settled for a 5-4 behind Gluchowski in heat 16. Heat 18 looked to be the decider as the crowd eagerly awaited the match up beween Sheffield and Southampton with the Saints on 29 and the Stars back on 25 but whilst this was the final race for Southampton, Sheffield had a further heat to contest.
As with their previous outings, it was Hoyland who took the gate 1 while Angell was set to battle from gate 3 with Wheeler the obvious Saints choice from 2 on the evidence of earlier action. After a robust first corner, Hoyland held the lead with Wheeler positioned in second until Angell found a burst of speed to join his partner with a trademark pass which proved to be the tournament winning ride applauded by an appreciative crowd. There was a moment of controversy in heat 19 when Harris took a tumble with the event's top individual scorer Heard the probable culprit. The Horspath man protested strongly to no avail, leaving Birmingham to finish on a maximum winning note.
Heat 21 was a cracking finale to the event itself and the Jubilee weekend overall as Wednesfield popped out of their inside gates to turn over the tournament winners elect with a 7-2 courtesy of Lee Aris and Laurels winner Ben Mould. Andy Angell was relegated to last for the only time of the day but by then it did not really matter as the Sheffield duo already had the top trophy in the bag thanks to their impressive earlier efforts.
1. Sheffield 33 ( Ryan Hoyland 19+1, Andy Angell 14+3)
2. Southampton 31 (Gavin Wheeler 19+1, Tom Colling 12)
Gniezno 29 (Greg Gluchowski 18+1, Michel Nowak 11+1)
Wednesfield 29 (Ben Mould 14+2, Chris Jewkes 9, Lee Aris 6)
Birmingham 28 (Paul Heard 20+2, Chris Timms 8)
Horspath 27 (Shaun Rudman 16, Steve Harris 11+3)
Poole 12 (Arron Morgan 6, Luke Armes 4, Shane Bentley 2)
Referee - Mike Legge