After last week’s Press and Practice session, the speedway season proper gets underway this Thursday (11 April) as the ‘Wightlink’ Warriors septet, plus five specially invited visitors, come to tapes for the first meeting of the 2019 season.
Smallbrook Stadium will play host to the fourth staging of the Vince Mapley Memorial Trophy, an individual event contested over twelve qualifying heats, two semi-finals and culminating in a winner-takes-all Grand Final.
Last year’s victor, ‘Wightlink’ Warriors captain Ben Morley will defend his title and is sure to come under pressure from new team-mate Georgie Wood (so impressive in tricky practice conditions last week), the fast and flamboyant Danny Ayres from Mildenhall and former Warrior Scott Campos who has now teamed up with Plymouth. Add in several ‘spoilers’ and the stage is set for a cracking opening night.
In addition Ben Morley will have his National League Riders Championship trophy on hand for fan photos, there will be four outings for the Golden Oldies on their vintage bikes from years ago, the Palm Court Ped-Racing Team will do some not-so-serious demonstrations, the mini-Warriors and mascot will be on track before the meeting and as always the kids running / cycling race at the interval will mean a packed opening night of affordable family fun in the school holiday.
Warrior’s co-promoter said, “As usual we will be getting our season underway with the Vince Mapley Memorial Trophy in recognition of a fine man who did so much for speedway on the Island.
It gives a chance to all our riders to get some valuable track time before the National Trophy competition gets going at the end of the month and I’m sure our fans will be eagerly anticipating the close battles between Ben and Georgie not to mention Danny Ayres who set the fastest time around Smallbrook last season.
With the schools having broken up for the Easter holidays we are hoping for a bumper opening night crowd to join in with all our usual fun and games and with the Under 21 championship semi-final at Smallbrook the following Tuesday, we really hope to kick the 2019 season off with a bang”.
The rider line up in draw order is:
Danny Ayres (Mildenhall), Chad Wirtzfeld (IOW), Danno Verge (IOW), Tom Woolley (Unattached), Connor King (IOW), James Laker (Weymouth), Ryan Terry-Daley (IOW), Chris Widman (IOW), Joe Lawlor (Unattached), Georgie Wood (IOW), Ben Morley (IOW), Scott Campos (Plymouth). Reserve: Morgan Williams (IOW).