The Warriors entertained some of best up and coming riders in the under 19 age group in a special team speedway challenge match at the Andrew Younie Smallbrook Stadium and whilst the home side ran out winners on the night, the Young Lions suffered two early bouts of misfortune that certainly impacted on the final outcome.
As early as heat two the Young Lions hit trouble as their reserves failed to negotiate the first two corners. Lewis Whitmore looked to have lost control of his machine following a mechanical issue, inadvertently forcing team mate Alex Spooner in to the safety barrier. Both riders returned to the pits, but with Spooner feeling the effects of his fall and unable to come out for the re-run, Whitmore then encountered more engine problems on the way to the start and the second race went ahead with just two Warriors.
Two further heats followed before the track paramedic was needed to look after Spooner. With the Young Lions’ condition causing some concern, the County Ambulance had to be summoned and racing was suspended for almost an hour whilst the track medics assisted the stricken rider.
When racing resumed, the Warriors big hitters Alfie Bowtell and Ben Morley turned on the style riding unbeaten by an opponent throughout the evening. Popular reserve Shaun Tedham, showing new found speed and aggression enjoyed his best night of the season whilst Danno Verge also seemed to have more speed and his dogged efforts were not reflected in a modest score.
Despite taking that early body blow the Young Lions pressed on and showed plenty of potential. Manager Neil Vatcher can be well pleased with his sides ‘never say die’ attitude with Leon Flint working hard to top score, Jason Edwards looking smooth and stylish and Joe Lawlor always in the thick of the action. Had their reserve riders been able to take a full part, this meeting would have had a very close finish.
Unusually this match saw the husband and wife duo of Neil and Jackie Vatcher managing opposite sides. The battle went Jackie’s way for the Warriors and after the meeting she said,
“Very happy with that win. Ben looked really sharp and quick as did Alfie and what a night for Shaun Tedham. He was so up for this tonight even before they lost Alex and Lewis. It’s the best he’s ridden here this season and I just had to give him heat 15 after he’d put so much effort in both on and off track”.
Young Lions boss Neil Vatcher was upbeat despite the defeat. He said, “Losing Alex on the second bend of heat two was massive, especially when Lewis had to pull out at the same time. This was a brilliant work out for us in a competitive team situation and I’m really proud of the five left riders left standing. They worked well together and showed immense potential and thanks to the IOW for facilitating the match”.
Warriors : Alfie Bowtell 14+1, Danno Verge 5+1, Scott Campos 8+1, Chris Widman 1, Ben Morley 12, Jamie Bursill 3+2, Shaun Tedham 9+1.
Young Lions : Leon Flint 10, Ben Woodhull 5+1, Joe Lawlor 8+2, Jason Edwards 9+1, Taylor Hampshire 5, Alex Spooner 0, Lewis Whitmore 0.