Kesgrave Panthers made it a hattrick of overall wins in the Cycle Speedway Club Championships held at Birmingham’s Perry Park over the weekend, while Birmingham secured the Men's Open Championships.
The Club Championships are made up of eight separate categories, with the best five scores from each club counting to their points total in the overall championship.
Birmingham won the Open Championships, while Kesgrave won four catgeories and were runners-up in two others to be crowned the clear winners of the overall British Club Championships for the third year running.
Men’s Open Championships
The Championship hosts rounded out their weekend in the last match of the day with a fine win in the Open.
Three semi-finals decided the teams that went into the final, with Birmingham, Poole and Kesgrave all taking wins and Ipswich taking the long route by winning the repechage to earn their place.
Matt Hill took the opening heat with a win for Ipswich and the following heat saw Ash Hill match his brother with another win for the Suffolk team.
Paul Heard steadied the Birmingham side with their first win in heat three and with Ipswich’s Ben Clarke taking a straightforward win in heat four, the match had both the hosts and Ipswich out in front with 13 points apiece.
Chris Timms (Birmingham) crashed on the opening lap of heat eight and was excluded for stopping the race, much to the disagreement of the home crowd. Kesgrave’s Noah Woodhouse made no mistake from the re-start to take his first win of the match to bring his club to within a point of Birmingham.
Poole’s Will Bristowe picked up an exclusion in heat nine for using excessive force on Ricky Johnson, causing the Birmingham rider to crash. Another fine win from Woodhouse from the re-start brought Kesgrave to 25 points, sharing the lead with Birmingham.
With Johnson taking his first win in the 13th heat, Birmingham took the overall title on their home turf.
- Birmingham – 49
- Kesgrave – 42
- Ipswich – 37
- Poole – 29
Women's Club Championships
After a close fought 15 heats that saw Poole, Sheffield and Exeter all finish on 29 points, it would be down to Emily Burgess (Sheffield), Maddie Saunders (Poole) and Exeter’s Lauren Hookway to fight it out for another four laps to decide the winner of the women’s title.
The opening heat saw Poole take a 7-3 heat win over Kesgrave as Saunders and Natalie Goulden were too strong for the Lily Parr and Amberley Gant.
Heat four gave Exeter their first 7-3 of the match as Charlotte Geach and Shannon Tucker took the points from the re-start after Ella Case (Kesgrave) crashed on the first run and was excluded.
Saunders took a fine win in the sixth, flying out of grid four, as Leicester couldn’t find a way past the Poole rider.
With the match evenly balanced between Exeter and Leicester, the outcome would come down to the final heat.
Hookway and Rigley were off at the head of the race, but the battle would be for third as Whitehead and Tucker locked together shoulder to shoulder throughout. Tucker won the tussle to take the all-important two points and a place in the run off for Exeter.
- Exeter – 29
- Sheffield – 29
- Poole – 29
- Leicester – 27
- Birmingham – 11
Junior Club Championships
Kesgrave retained their title in the junior match, riding Poole into second place.
The opening heat saw the Poole pair of Kenzie Bennett and Feroze Langoo take the win.
Kesgrave opened their account in the following heat, with Noah Woodhouse and Ryker Jolly taking 7-3 against the Ipswich pair of Shaun Kell and Kai Gowers.
Langoo was excluded in heat four for moving at the tapes, with Bennett flying from grid four to take the win. Kesgrave responded in the following heat with another 7-3 to keep an early lead.
Heat eight could have defined the match when Poole took to the grid with Kesgrave but both teams played the safe game and the heat ended as a 5-5 shared heat.
Heat 16 saw Woodhouse take his fourth win of the match, as Southampton’s Penketh couldn’t match the pace.
In heat 20’s penultimate lap, Kesgrave needed five points or more to retain the title and a 7-3 was inevitable against a less experienced Sheffield.
- Kesgrave – 39
- Poole – 36
- Southampton – 32
- Hethersett – 29
- Birmingham – 27
- Sheffield – 18
Under-16’s Club Championships
The Poole under-16 girls retained their title which they won on their home track the previous year, while Kesgrave once again had to settle for second, and Dorset came in third.
Lexie Curtis and Daisy Sherwood took a convincing 7-3 over Hethersett in the opening heat to set Poole on their way. Hethersett would be up against it all match with only two riders taking to the grid but managed to hold their own against Newport.
Kesgrave’s Lily Parr and Ella Case took a 7-3 in the second heat, with Parr also holding off the Poole pairing a couple of heats later.
Both Poole and Kesgrave dominated the match, taking 7-3 heat wins between them until the ninth heat when Kesgrave took to the grid against Hethersett. Amberley Gant was excluded by the referee for moving at the tapes and despite teammate Ella Case taking the win, Poole secured the overall win.
- Poole – 38
- Kesgrave – 35
- Newport – 24
- Hethersett – 22
The under-16 boys saw Kesgrave beat Poole by a single point. Kenzie Bennett and Ollie Saunders opened up Poole’s account with a flying heat one against the Sheffield pair of Sam Stansfield and Joe Brownell.
Southampton’s Leon Penketh took the win in the third heat, before Bennett and Saunders took their second 7-3 in the fourth.
Heat five saw Leon Penketh take a fall coming out of the last bend and he did the same two heats later on the same spot as the lack of water made the track unrideable in places.
Sheffield’s Sam Stansfield hit the ground in the same place in heat nine, which ended his day on the bike.
Kesgrave’s Luca Woodhouse took a fine win in the 12th heat as Ryker Jolly rolled in second to take the win by a point over Poole.
- Kesgrave – 32
- Poole – 31
- Southampton – 27
- Hethersett – 24
- Coventry – 18
- Sheffield – 14
Over 40s Veterans Club Championships
The Great Blakenham pair of Craig Marchant and Toby Millen took the honours in the Over 40s Veterans match, breaking a Leicester’s 10-year winning streak.
Great Blakenham set out their stall in the opening heat with a 7-3 win against Kesgrave’s Matt Parr and Steve Hammond with a relatively easy win.
Phil Gard and Gavin Wheeler sailed home in heat three to set up Poole’s day with a straight forward win over the Newport pairing of Lee Gally and Stuart Marsh as the three favourites had made their presence felt.
With Blakenham held to a 5-5 shared heat in heat nine, the Poole pairing of Phil Gard and Gavin Wheeler made no mistake in heat 10 with an easy 7-3 over Hethersett.
Blakenham were back to winning ways in heat 13 with another 7-3 and although Leicester fought back in the following heat to take a 6-4 over Newport, it wouldn’t be enough to claim the title.
The match decider in heat 19 between Great Blakenham and Poole ended with a 5-5 shared heat as Marchant thumped the air as he crossed the line knowing the job was done.
- Great Blakenham – 38
- Poole – 36
- Leicester – 35
- Newport – 24
- Kesgrave – 22
- Hethersett – 20