Result: Jason Edwards & Katie Gordon Are British Champions
Smallbrook Stadium played host to the second running of the NORA British 500cc Speedway Championship (sponsored by Ashmore Surveyors Limited) and the inaugural NORA British Women’s Championship with splendid efforts by both Jason Edwards and Katie Gordon seeing them crowned Champions.
For Edwards it was the second year in succession that he has taken the title and his on-track dominance was a pleasure to watch. Five exceptional starts and an armchair style combined with unrivalled speed propelled the nineteen-year-old to the top of the podium where he was joined by runner-up Henry Atkins who mounted a full-scale charge in the Grand Final to catch and pass pacey Kiwi George Congreve who again impressed. Fourth in the Grand Final was Warriors captain Danno Verge who featured in one of the races of the night in heat ten coming out on top of an excellent three-way battle with Archie Freeman and Rhys Naylor.
Whilst Edwards success was relatively plain sailing, the Women’s Championship (sponsored by Jason Waring) served up plenty of twists and turns. Coming into the final round Norfolk’s Taya Thirtle held the slenderest of leads – just one point separated her and nearest rival Katie Gordon from Cheshire. Whilst smooth and stylish, Gordon’s championship was hit by gremlins in round one and almost unbelievably those problems struck again with another retirement. Then to add a further shock, she fell whilst well in front in her third ride on the night, but thankfully had time to remount and still take a win.
With aggregate scores from the three rounds being used to determine the four finalists both Thirtle and Gordon were safely through to the ‘winner-takes-all’ title decider where they were joined by consistent local rider Steph Whitlock and Plymouth lass Charlotte Brooks and when it came to the crunch Gordon made no mistake with a super start to control the final from tapes to flag and record her fastest time of the series in doing so. On the night, Taya Thirtle proved a worthy and popular runner up with Steph Whitlock making the Island folk very proud, whilst Charlotte Brooks was ‘over the moon’ to have even reached the final.
Wightlink Warriors co-owner Barry Bishop was full of praise for all the competitors as he said, “Many congratulations to both Jason and Katie. Both are very worthy winners. Jason has matured into a fine rider and an equally fine ambassador for our sport, and he will always be a welcome visitor to Smallbrook. I’m delighted for Katie who goes from strength to strength and can be a true role model for women wanting to participate on track. It really has been another great night and so it’s a big thank you to all the riders, their helpers, our supporters, and volunteers. Now we dust ourselves down and get ready to go again this Thursday with our Handicap bonanza.”
NORA 500cc British Championship:
C Final: Rhys Naylor, James Laker, Morgan Williams, Jamie Sealey (ns).
B Final: Arran Butcher, Kelsey Dugard, Archie Freeman, Chad Wirtzfeld (ret).
Grand Final: Jason Edwards, Henry Atkins, George Congreve, Danno Verge.
NORA Women’s British Championship:
Aggregate Scores: Taya Thirtle 24, Katie Gordon 21, Steph Whitlock 19, Charlotte Brooks 16, Roksana Brzeska 11, Anastasia Sallee 8, Ruth Holder-Smith 6.