Once again Horspath lived up to its reputation of being arguably one of the toughest tracks to race in cycle speedway.
The quality of racing on the final day of the British Individual Championships certainly did not disappoint a big crowd at the Oxfordshire village.
Celebrating its 75th Anniversary this year, cycle speedway once again showed its true potential of giving the closest and most exciting cycle racing on the calendar. Even the favourites for the three titles on offer couldn’t rest on their laurels.
It was Horspath’s own Mark Boaler who thrilled the crowd to take his second open title, albeit some 11 years apart. Arguably the favourite on his home track Boaler didn’t have an easy ride and took the match to the wire with an eventual run off with 2019 runner up Josh Brooke (Great Blakenham) himself a previous National Open Champion and who looked on the day the strongest rider. But a poor heat 17 saw Brooke unable to take maximum points throwing the match wide open for the closing heats.
The race for third position was another run off. With Myke Grimes (Coventry) taking the win in the final heat and Birmingham’s Chris Timms finishing second in the penultimate heat, the pair along with Lewis Brinkoff, who took the junior title the previous day all wrapped the match up with 14 points apiece. Brinkoff rode away on the final bend to take the race win and the third step of the podium to complete a fine weekend for the Ipswich rider.
1. Mark Boaler 16 points (After run off)
2. Josh Brooke 16
3. Lewis Brinkoff 14 (After run off)
4. Myke Grimes 14
5. Chris Timms 14
Emily Burgess (Astley & Tyldesley) took the win in the womens final, only dropping a point from a possible 20 point maximum. Burgess opened her account with a relatively easy win in heat 3 but with back to back wins in the following heats by Lizzie Rigley it looked as though the match wasn’t going to be a parade. Wins from Exeter’s Lauren Hookway and Maddie Saunders (Poole) saw a single point splitting the top four after two rides. Burgess continued her progress with another win in the tenth heat and with Saunders following suit in the 11th and Rigley dropping a point in the 12th the outcome of the day would be anyones guess.
The penultimate heat would prove to be the decider, Burgess, Saunders and Rigley taking the grid all on 15 points and knowing the winner of the heat would take the title. Burgess avoided any trouble and rode a clear track. Rigley was excluded for impeding Saunders’ line and was excluded from the heat leaving Burgess to celebrate her win. Saunders rolled across the line to take second overall. Hookway completed the podium knowing a second place in the final heat would be enough and tucked in behind Laura Watson to take the 3 points.
1. Emily Burgess 19 Points
2. Maddie Saunders 18
3. Lauren Hookway 16
4. Elizabeth Rigley 15
5. Laura Watson 14
5. Niamh Morton 14
Earlier in the day Noah Woodhouse (Kesgrave) took a fine maximum 20 points to claim the Under 16s title. Woodhouse rode impeccably all match and although it wasn’t an easy victory a cool head paid dividends. Bury’s Harry Radford claimed the silver only dropping a point in heat 4 to the eventual winner. Ellis Richmond (Wednesfield) completed the podium with 18 points.
1. Noah Woodhouse 20 Points
2. Harry Radford 19
3. Ellis Richmond 18
4. Kai Gowers 15
4. Torston Jolly 15
4. J.J. Wildman 15