Event: 27 August 2012
Location: Newport Cycle Speedway, Wales National Velodrome, Newport
Andy Angell rode a champion’s match to retain the British Individual title at Newport.
The Hull rider kept his nerve to take the title in the final heat of the day for the second year running but today the decision was taken out of the referee's hand and as the rider took the chequered flag the relief was palpable.
Although Angell was favourite to retain the title, recent strong outings from Paul Heard and Chris Timms also had their names in the mix. With the likes of Lee Aris, Tom Reed and Steve Harris failing to make the final and a record six new names making the cut the match would certainly prove to be an interesting watch.
“I left it to the last minute again, I was a bit more comfortable with the draw for today then I was last year. I'm speechless at that moment."
As the riders took to the first grid of the day, so did the weather. Torrential rain would be the order of the day and it could be argued that heats were won and lost because of the slippy conditions. Birmingham's Paul Heard made his intentions known from the tapes with a flying four laps to take his first win of the day.
Lewis Bates took a fine win in the second heat, holding off both Gavin Wheeler and Ben Mould to secure his first four points of the day. Heat 4 saw the first crash of the day with Lewis Roberts tangling with Jack Harrold on the first lap, both riders ending up on the shale. Referee Colin Simmons re-run the heat and Horspath's Mark Boaler stormed off the grid with Andy Angell in close contact, Boaler proved to be the stronger rider taking the chequered flag from Angell.
Heat 5 saw Boaler back on the grid and the chance to go top of the leader board but with a restart in the previous heat it would be too much for the rider, Ben Mould made a brilliant pass on lap two to dive under Boaler and Carmichael to take a superb 4 points. Heat 6 saw Angell take his first win of the match riding Lewis Bates into second spot, both Angell and Bates were now on equal footings with seven points each.
A crash in heat 7 saw one of the pre match favourites Chris Timms retire from the final while team mate Paul Heard secured his second win of the day and go into the lead. Gavin Wheeler took his first win in heat 8 to keep his chances on track. With heavy rain still making riding difficult it would be both luck and judgment to secure points, Lewis Bates looked as though the rain was playing in his favour taking a relatively easy win in heat 9 and looked as though another name could be in with a genuine claim to the title going into the break with 11 points.
Aware of the challenge from Bates, Angell knew he had to win the first heat back after the interval. The concrete starting grid was causing grip problems for many of the riders as Chris Jewkes found out, spinning his wheel and having to chase down, Gavin Wheeler rode a strong race to secure second spot keeping Paul Heard into third and probably his hopes of the 2012 title.
Angell kept his head and rode a great heat to take the maximum points and knew he was another step closer to keeping the shield. A busy heat 12 saw 2 exclusions, Leyton Glover for ramming Niel Hollebon and at the re-start Adam Stephenson for moving on the grid, Mark Boaler capitalised to take the four points. Leyton Glover earned himself a match ban in heat 16 for dangerous riding while Lewis Bates remained on track for a chance of the championship with his third win of the day.
With all riders now completing four races each the title was still up for grabs. Both Bates and Angell were on 15 points with Paul Heard and Gavin Wheeler just one point adrift. Heats 17 and 18 saw the main contenders without a ride but Wednesfield's Ricky Johnson took a fine win in heat 18, his first in a British senior individual final.
The penultimate heat was to prove arguably the most exciting heat of the day, Mark Boaler was excluded for ramming Myke Grimes and in the re-run it was Grimes who kept Bates at bay into third spot and the hopes of the Horspath riders match win gone.
Paul Heard pulled a great ride out of the bag to take maximum points and an outside chance of the title but it would be down again to the final heat of the day, Angell had to win the heat to take the title, second place would mean a run off with Heard but the Hull rider had an easy ride, with Leyton Glover match banned.
Ben Mould fell on the second lap and Chris Timm's replacement Errol Thaw fell on the third lap which left Andy Angell to roll across the line to retain the British Individual Championship title.
After the championships, Andy Angell said: “I left it to the last minute again, I was a bit more comfortable with the draw for today then I was last year. I'm speechless at that moment.
“Lewis(Bates) rode brilliantly and I think he was unlucky not to finish on 19 points, he rode well all day especially from the outside grids, he had so much determination today, I knew he really wanted the win and I feel bad for him but that’s cycle speedway I suppose.
“Sitting on the grid on the last heat I had a bit of what happened to me in last year’s final, I tried to put it out of my mind but I knew I just had to concentrate on just getting away from the grid, I didn't want to get hung out to dry. I've put a lot of time in at the gym this year and it’s paid off especially on a day like today with the rain making the track heavy and hard going, the extra leg power really helped with that.”
Andy Angell (Sheffield) 19, Paul Heard (Birmingham) 18, Lewis Bates (Horspath) 17, Gavin Wheeler (Wednesfield) 16, Ben Mould (Wednesfield) 14, Mark Carmichael (Horspath) 13, Mark Boaler (Horspath), Adam Stephenson (Hull) 11, Jack Harrold (Birmingham) 11, Ricki Johnson (Wednesfield) 10, Myke Grimes (Coventry) 10, Chris Jewkes (Wednesfield) 9, Lewis Roberts (Ipswich) 9, Neil Hollebon (Hellingly) 7, Leigh Glover (Poole) 3 – match ban, Chris Timms (Birmingham) 3 – withdrew, Errol Thaw (Horspath) 3 – reserve
Lauren Jacobs rode to a perfect 20 points in the women's individual match. The Ipswich rider had waited six years to claim the title and this year made no mistake in making it hers, but she didn't have it all her own way and was pushed all the way by Leicester's Lauren Davies who only dropped a point in the match and that was to Jacobs in heat 13.
Sheffield's Vicki Brown made life difficult for herself , after a fourth place in heat 9 she had to wait for a three-rider run off with Lauren Hookway and Charlie Jane Herbert to claim the final step of the podium.
Heat 1 saw Lauren Davies dominate the race to take the first of her four wins, 2011 champion Livvi Horsley seemed out of sorts on the damp track but opened up her account with a fine win in heat 2 passing Michelle Whitehead and Danielle Riley on the opening lap. Tiff Collins and Charlie Jane Herbert were locked together for virtually all of the third heat but Collins found a burst of power to push her wheel ahead of Herbert to take the win.
Jacobs took her first win on the following heat but was pushed all the way by Laura Watson, Vicky Brown sitting in last spot for almost the whole of the race found a gap on the closing few metres and dived under Watson to take second spot. Heat 7 saw a great race between Hospath team mates Livvi Horsley and Charlie Jane Herbert, with Lauren Hookway away for the win the two Horspath riders were wheel on wheel for four laps before Herbert edged in front to take a fine second place.
Heat 9 saw Leicester's Lauren Davies fly away from the grid to take an easy from Charlie Jane Herbert and Michelle Whitehead who fought to the line to take second and third respectively. Danielle Riley took her only win of the day in heat 10 before the interval.
Lauren Jacobs kept the pressure on Lauren Davis for the Championship with an easy win in heat 11, both girls were now on 12 points. Livvi Horsley was beginning to find her racing legs and had a great grid in the following heat and riding away from Rebecca Davies and Laura Watson could now fight for a podium place.
Heat 13 was probably the turning point of the match with both the race leaders going head to head. Jacobs got the gate over Davies and was not going to let her pass, knowing the heat was going to decide the final outcome of the championships the Ipswich girl held her lines and took the four points from the heat.
A relatively straight forward win from Davies in heat 17 gave the Leicester rider a slim chance of the title if Jacobs dropped a point in the final heat and it all went down to a decider but Jacobs kept her nerve and coming out of the last bend knew she had at last claimed the Individual title, the smile said it all. A third place run off saw Vicky Brown take the third step on the podium ahead of Lauren Hookway and Charlie Jane Herbert.
Lauren Jacobs (Ipswich) 20, Lauren Davies (Leicester) 19, Vicki Brown (Sheffield) 16, Lauren Hookway (Exeter) 16, Charlie Jane Herbert (Horspath) 16, Michelle Whitehead (Leicester) 15, Danielle Riley (Ipswich) 14, Livvi Horsley (Horspath) 14, Tiffany Collins (Hethersett) 13, Rebecca Davies (Newport) 11, Laura Watson (Leicester) 11, Jenna Whitehead (Leicester) 9, Kristina Mines (Poole) 8, Carly Grimes (Hethersett) 7, Caris Glover (Poole) 6.
Lauren Davies took the victory in the Women's Under 16 championships with Lauren Hookway second and Charlie Jane Herbert third.