THE VINCENT'S MOTORCYCLES & ANTIQUES HANDICAP CHALLENGE
Individual Round 1 : 10/07/2018
Handicap Speedway Returns To The Island
Following the success of last year’s event, the speedway action this Tuesday at the Andrew Younie Smallbrook Stadium sees the return of USA style handicap racing.
Handicap racing is the normal speedway fayre for West Coast Americans and also down under in Oz prompting innovative Warriors speedway promoter Barry Bishop to take a chance and run with something different last year. He said, “We wanted to give our fans a meeting outside of the normal team or individual formats so decided to experiment with a handicap event. I’m so pleased we did. It was one of the best race nights of the season culminating in a pulsating and somewhat controversial Grand Final.
Our sponsor that night, Vincent Faithfull of Vincent’s Motorcycles & Antiques, was so enthralled by the event that he and I made early plans to repeat the meeting, not once, but twice this season and this Tuesday we stage round one. I would like to thank Vincent for his magnificent support and I would strongly recommend anyone who hasn’t been to this type of meeting before to come along this week. Passing is virtually guaranteed in every heat and some real surprises usually get thrown up along the way”.
The format sees twelve riders taking part and they are graded by their current racing average. Riders with an average up to 3.99 start at the tapes, riders with an average between 4.00 and 6.49 start fifteen metres back, riders with an average of 6.50 or higher start thirty metres back. The meeting runs over twelve qualifying heats and the top eight scores on the night progress to two semi-finals from which the top two in each semi contest the Grand Final.
Last year’s winner was former Warrior James Cockle who picked his way through some last bend chaos to take the title. Cockle is not involved this year however current skipper Ben Morley will undoubtedly start as one of the favourites, but can expect no respite from team mate Alfie Bowtell, Eastbourne’s Georgie Wood and the Kent duo of Nathan Stoneman and Taylor Hampshire.
The invited riders, in draw order, are:
Shaun Tedham (IOW – 3.00), Georgie Wood (Eastbourne – 8.50), Danno Verge (IOW – 4.67), Nathan Stoneman (Kent – 7.08), Ryan Terry-Daley (Plymouth – 4.22), Ben Morley (IOW – 9.78), Adam Extance (Stoke – 4.12), Tom Woolley (Buxton – 4.95), Alex Spooner (Kent – 3.00), Jamie Bursill (Unattached – 3.00), Taylor Hampshire (Kent – 4.18), Alfie Bowtell (IOW – 6.65).
With the weather looking to be spot-on for some summer fun at the speedway, join the Warriors as the gates open at 5.30 pm, enjoy open pit access until 6.15 pm, pre-meeting demonstration rides from 6.15 pm ahead of the parade of riders at 6.45 pm with the tapes up at 7.00 pm.
Handicap No Handicap To Morley
Isle of Wight speedway captain Ben Morley capped a fine nights racing when he was crowned winner of the Vincent’s Motorcycles and Antiques Handicap Individual Challenge (Round 1) on his home track at the Andrew Younie Smallbrook stadium tonight.
This individual event for up to twelve riders was broadly based on the speedway model used extensively in the USA where riders starting positions are determined by their ability based on their average points score. Less experienced rider went from the starting gate; more experienced riders started fifteen metres back from the tapes, whilst the star men had a thirty metre gap to make up.
When racing started it was soon clear that the handicapper had done his homework as the riders used speed, skill and track craft to manoeuvre alongside, around or inside their competitors. This produced close racing with nearly every heat recording a pass in one form or another. Certainly the supporters were richly entertained and whilst this type of meeting may not be to the traditionalists taste, the enthusiasm of the riders on the wide sweeping Smallbrook track was clear to see. Whilst disappointing to lose two riders to injury and sickness before the start, the remaining ten riders need to be congratulated for their whole-hearted efforts.
As would have been forecast, home heroes Ben Morley and Alfie Bowtell were always in the mix whilst Warrior favourite Danno Verge should be very pleased with his contribution to the action. Former Warrior Nathan Stoneman (Kent) was always tenacious hounding his opponents all race whilst Kent colleague Taylor Hampshire carried on his impressive form from last week and, aided by a kind handicap, was the dark horse in the field.
So after the qualifying heats and semi semifinals it was Morley, Bowtell and Stoneman who eased through to the Grand Final with Hampshire claiming the final qualifying position. From a scratch start it was Morley to show first but the riders were almost inseparable for two laps until Morley and Bowtell started to move ahead. On lap three it looked like Morley was in control but as we have seen, you write Bowtell of at your peril and a blistering last lap saw the two Warriors cross the finish line side by side. It seemed an age for the result to come through but when it did it was Morley declared the winner – a remarkable feat as it was revealed later that he rode most of the Final with a broken footrest.
Final Result: 1st Ben Morley, 2nd Alfie Bowtell, 3rd Nathan Stoneman, 4th Taylor Hampshire.
Other scorers: Danno Verge 8, Ryan Terry-Daley 5, Adam Extance 2, Tom Woolley 7, Alex Spooner 7, Jamie Bursill 2.