Fast and furious racing saw Matt Hill and Lauren Hookway secure national titles at the Cycle Speedway British Indoor Championships over the weekend in Coventry.
Ipswich’s Matt Hill managed to retain his title in the senior men’s event in a fiery match, which saw riders visit the air fence on more than one occasion. Hill had a rocky start to the championships, getting beat by his brother and biggest competitor, Ash, in the fourth heat of the opening race.
Hill’s remaining four rides were faultless, with a championship winning display in his 15th heat, and a win in his 18th heat to see him take the overall win and national title on 19 points.
His Ipswich teammate Ben Clarke managed to secure second place on 17 points, coming from last place in the eighth heat to take four wins.
Ash Hill rounded out an all-Ipswich podium after coming down to a deciding run-off with Birmingham’s Chris Timms. Hill secured grid two, which left Timms having to accept the outside and the long way round. Close racing on a tight track always throws up the chance of a crash and the pair ended up in the fence and, although the referee called a restart, Timms accepted he was at fault and the heat went to Hill.
In the women’s event, Lauren Hookway of Exeter once again rode a perfect maximum 20 points to retain her women’s indoor title, beating Sheffield’s Lizzie Ridley into silver.
The pair battled throughout the match into the penultimate heat. Ridley stormed away from grid two with Hookway looking for a way past, having started in grid four. With nothing to lose, Hookway went for a pass on the second lap, eased past Ridley to take the lead with two laps, and held her off to secure the 2023 title. Exeter’s Charlotte Geach took third to complete the podium, racing well above her years to finish the day on 18 points.
Ipswich retained the title in the team match after an unprecedented double run off title decider with Horspath. A close run of 16 heats saw both clubs finish the day on 46 points.
Clarke drove the Ipswich team, scoring 15 points, but it came down to the final heat to decide the outcome of the match. Great Blakenham’s Josh Brook led the race from the tapes, until the final lap when Matt Hill of Ipswich made his move and took the win. With Horspath’s Mark Boaler rolling across the line in third, the title would come down to a run off.
Hill won the toss and chose grid two against Horspath’s Ben Mould. Mould caught the tapes with his helmet and the race was back for a re-run. Again, Hill scampered away only for Mould to cramp and fall to the ground unable to continue. After a lengthy debate, Horspath were allowed a rider replacement. Hill made no mistake against Horpath’s Steve Beeslyand to take the win without any further debate.
The over 40’s veteran race saw Leicester’s Craig Marchant take his fifth consecutive national titles, with a 20 point maximum – the first time it has ever been done in the competition. Great Blakenham’s Jason Ashford took the over 50’s title with 18 points, and also got second place in the over 40’s while Nicky Whitehead came in third.
Ryker Jolly of Kesgrave took home the under-16 and under-14 title, while Torsten Jolly won the junior title.
- Matt Hill, Ipswich - 19 points
- Ben Clarke, Ipswich - 17 points
- Ash Hill, Ipswich - 15 points (after run off with Chris Timms)
- Lauren Hookway, Exeter - 20 points
- Lizzie Ridley, Sheffield - 19 points
- Charlotte Geach, Exeter - 18 points
- Ipswich - 46 points (after run off)
- Horspath - 46 points
- Poole - 34 points
- G Blakenham - 32 points
Over 40 Veterans
- Craig Marchant, Leicester - 20 points
- Jason Ashford, G. Blakenham - 18 points (and the Over 50s Championship)
- Nicky Whitehead, Leicester - 16 points
- Torsten Jolly, Kesgrave - 16 points
- Charlie Parr, Kesgrave - 15 points
- JJ Wildman, Exeter - 13 points
- Ryker Jolly, Kesgrave - 15 points
- Charlie Parr, Kesgrave - 15 points
- Torsten Jolly, Kesgrave - 14 points
- Ryker Jolly, Kesgrave - 20 points
- Oscar Hammond, Kesgrave - 18 points
- Charlotte Geach, Exeter - 17 points