Great Blakenham race to Speedway British Club Open Championship title

Great Blakenham race to Speedway British Club Open Championship title

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Great Blakenham took the spoils at Leicester to claim the British Cycling Cycle Speedway British Club Open Championship title - their first victory in the Championships for 10 years.

Wednesfield Aces and Birmingham Monarchs finished second and third respectively but the final outcome could have gone either way in the final roll of the dice.

A six-team final and 30 heats ensured the racing would be unpredictable but the match victory would ultimately come down to the final heat, with both Wednesfield and Great Blakenham equal on 53 points and Birmingham a single point adrift.

Leicester used their home advantage in the opening two heats of the day, both Craig Marchant and Mark Whitehead taking maximum points.

But solid riding by Blakenham and Wednesfield saw both teams on 12 points by the end of the first six heats with the home side a point down.

Wednesfield’s Chris Jewkes and Brandon Whetton took two fine wins in heats seven and eight, the experienced Jewkes leading the way with a blistering ride to take four points and Whetton keeping himself out of trouble to take the win in the following race.

Blakenham’s Adam Peck and Lewis Osbourne responded to take wins in the following two heats, Osbourne having to work to hold off Ipswich’s Richard Fellgate to take the win.

Rikki Johnson kept Birmingham in the running, holding off Josh Brooke in the twelfth heat. With Chris Timms taking his first win of the match a couple of heats later the match was beginning to pan out.

At the interval Great Blakenham were sitting six points to the good of Wednesfield and a resurgent Birmingham who were level on 27 points.

Leicester were sitting in fourth and still capable of a podium position but Ipswich and Hethersett had begun to slip away from the leaders.

The track looked to be a day for the fast-gaters. Jewkes opened the second half of the match with another fast ride off the gate to take the win but Rikki Johnson (Birmingham) and Josh Brooke (Blakenham) responded in the following heats with wins.

Back-to-back wins for Ipswich’s Ash and Matt Hill in heats 21 and 22 saw the Suffolk team start a fight back but ultimately it would prove a few heats too late to claim a podium place.

A three-rider crash with five laps to go saw Hethersett’s Liam Webster excluded and in the re-run Wednesfield’s Matt Smith took the heat to keep the Midlands side on equal points with Great Blakenham.

With four heats remaining Wednesfield took the lead after a solid second place by Paul Heard but then had to sit out the next two heats.

Birmingham’s Scott Millward took the win in the 28th heat after Brook and Ash Hill were excluded for team riding, and with Birmingham’s Timms taking the win from Osbourne in the penultimate heat the title would have to be decided in the final heat.

Osbourne fled from the tapes and took the lead on the first bend, a lead he didn’t relinquish, and with Marchant taking second from Wednesfield’s Lee Kemp the victory was secured for Great Blakenham.

Great Blakenham 57 Points
Wednesfield 55
Birmingham 53
Leicester 49
Ipswich 45
Hethersett 34

Under-16s

In the Under-16s it was Ipswich that claimed the title in a 16-heat final.

The victors left it until the final race of the day to secure the title, with Ben Clarke taking a strong gate and holding off Stockport’s Michael Preston to take the win.

Stockport only fielded three riders but rode superbly throughout the match to only drop one point. Coventry competed the final step of the podium and Poole rode in fourth

Ipswich 49 Points
Stockport 47
Coventry 33
Poole 27

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HSBC UK 2018 | Cycle Speedway Open Club Championships, Leicester