VINCENT'S MOTORCYCLE & ANTIQUES HANDICAP CHALLENGE
Individual Round 2 : 07/08/2018
Handicap Speedway – Round 2
The next sunshine speedway at the Andrew Younie Smallbrook Stadium in Ryde will be on Tuesday 7 August as the ‘Wightlink’ Warriors stage the second round of the Vincent’s Antiques & Motorcycles Handicap Challenge, to be followed by six heats of Southern Development League (SDL) racing featuring the ‘Wightlink’ Wizards against the Weymouth Wildcats.
The handicap format sees the better riders starting 15 or 30 metres behind their opponents, the degree of handicap being based on their accumulated match average during the season to date. In the first round held in July, the action was of the highest calibre and culminated in a pulsating final race between Warriors top two of Ben Morley and Alfie Bowtell.
On that occasion Morley won by the width of a tyre and these two will lock horns again on Tuesday, however they can expect stiff competition from Tom Brennan of Eastbourne (deputising for the injured Nathan Stoneman) and first round finalist Taylor Hampshire who has had several impressive outings on the Island in recent weeks. Apart from Stoneman, the only other change to the first round line up sees Coventry charger Luke Ruddick join the duelling dozen.
The invited riders, in draw order, are:
Adam Extance (Stoke – 4.25), Ryan Terry-Daley (Plymouth – 5.30), Tom Woolley (Buxton – 4.95), Jamie Bursill (Unattached – 3.00), Ben Morley (IOW – 9.00), Taylor Hampshire (Kent - 5.76), Alex Spooner (Kent – 3.60), Luke Ruddick (Coventry – 6.76), Alfie Bowtell (IOW – 10.00), Tom Brennan (Eastbourne – 8.69), Danno Verge (IOW – 4.76), Shaun Tedham (IOW – 3.00).
Integrated within the Handicap event will be the ‘Wightlink’ Wizards SDL match and they will take to the track hopeful of recording their first home win against the homeless Weymouth Wildcats whose dedicated management continue to search out a permanent base in South Dorset. Island resident Morgan Williams will again be on-track for the Wizards, no doubt hoping for better luck following two testing SDL meetings so far.
Wizards: Chris Watts, Morgan Williams, Ben Ilsley, Rob Watts.
Warriors’ co-promoter Barry Bishop said, “This Tuesday we have a packed speedway programme with twenty one races alongside all our usual fun and entertainment. Round 1 of the Handicap event last month produced no less than forty passes and with the majority of the riders able to come back this week, I am expecting another spectacular meeting. We will back it all up with six heats of the ‘Wightlink’ Wizards in Development League action and integrate their races within the Handicap event. I’m excited already and look forward to welcoming everyone to the Andrew Younie Smallbrook Stadium”.
Bowtell Is Handicap Hero
With lightning illuminating the skies around the Andrew Younie Smallbrook Stadium, home hero Alfie Bowtell produced his own flash of lightning as he sped from the tapes to win the Vincent’s Motorcycle and Antiques Handicap Challenge.
Round one of this Challenge staged a month ago produced passing aplenty and with the majority of the original field invited back for round two, hopes were high that the top level of action would be repeated and that certainly proved to be the case.
With riders starting from staggered starts it was soon evident that this was going to be another exciting night as Ellis Perks (Plymouth) worked his way through the pack from the back to win heat one. Heat two saw Taylor Hampshire (Kent) use his favourable handicap to his advantage to take the race ahead of Island captain Ben Morley and Bowtell needed to be patient as he weaved his way to the front in heat three.
The pattern had been set and the subsequent qualifying races all had action and incident for the healthy crowd to chew over. Indeed, this really was a meeting where EVERY rider had ‘sixty seconds of fame’ even the Warriors lesser lights of Shaun Tedham, Jamie Bursill and Jamie Sealey who found themselves out front and working so hard to keep the hard chargers at bay. Kent youngster Alex Spooner falls into this category as well.
In a turn of events that was positive for the overall good of the meeting, one or two surprises were thrown up in the qualification races. Coventry rider Luke Ruddick will have been disappointed to have scored just two points - albeit his 30 metre handicaps did not help – whilst the up and coming Bursill will have been delighted to have reached the semi-final stage following a consistent set of races and a victory in heat six.
Hampshire led the qualification score chart ahead of Bowtell, Scott Campos, Perks and Morley with Hampshire taking semi-final one after a ding dong contest with Morley (the round one winner). The second semi-final went to Bowtell after some more wheel to wheel action with Perks.
And so to the Final, a race that on paper was so even that it was almost impossible to call. With a top quality line-up all starting from the gate, choice of position was important and so it proved as Bowtell made an electric start from gate four to lead his rivals round turns one and two. Perks made a cute move to ease Morley aside and from then on it was Bowtell and Perks who served up a terrific heat of skill and speed. On a couple of occasions Perks looked as if he may just have edged in front but with Bowtell driving hard around the outside and only centimetres from the fence the new home number one took the chequered flag and top spot on the rostrum.
After the meeting a very happy Bowtell said “I put everything into making that start. I was concentrating hard, knew what I had to do and had good speed. Riding on the Island has been a huge help. Winning races is so good for building confidence and things here are really good”.
Final Result: 1st Alfie Bowtell, 2nd Ellis Perks, 3rd Ben Morley, 4th Taylor Hampshire.
Other scorers: Jamie Sealey 1, Tom Woolley 5, Jamie Bursill 5, Alex Spooner 7, Luke Ruddick 2, Scott Campos 9, Danno Verge 4, Shaun Tedham 1.
Vincent’s Motorcycles & Antiques Challenge – Aggregate Scores
Time to look back on the highly successful Handicap Challenge staged over two rounds over the past month. The points totals for the riders who completed both rounds worked out as follows:
Alfie Bowtell 13+16 =29
Taylor Hampshire 14+14=28
Ben Morley 16+11=27
Alex Spooner 7+7=14
Danno Verge 9+4=13
Tom Woolley 8+5=13
Jamie Bursill 2+5=7
For one round only:
Ellis Perks 13, Nathan Stoneman 11, Scott Campos 10, Ryan Terry-Daley 5, Adam Extance 2, Luke Ruddick 2, Jamie Sealey 1, Shaun Tedham 1.
The Warriors would like to thank Vincent Faithfull for his tremendous sponsorship and support for this innovative format that has again drawn much praise from riders and spectators alike. Bring on 2019.
Wizards Conjure Up Home Win
Isle of Wight 20 Weymouth 16
The Isle of Wight ‘Wightlink’ Wizards Development League team rode to their first home win of the season as they completed a double over a plucky Weymouth Wildcats side.
Rightly included as an integral part of the main meeting, Wizards enjoyed the backing of a full stadium and adequate preparation time between heats. This certainly paid dividends for Rob Watts whose timely debut on return from injury saw him deliver three fast starts on the way to an unbeaten score. Rob’s brother Chris was also a heavy scorer for the Wizards with Ben Ilsley and Morgan Williams giving enthusiastic support.
The Wildcats relied heavily on Max Pankhurst whose evening turned very eventful in heat four when after being picked up for a starting offence, then took a fall after having battled up to second place. The Wildcats had further bad luck when Jordan Bull was taken ill and it was left to Bailey Fellowes and Martyn Smith to contain the home side.
After the meeting, Wizards skipper said “We’re delighted to get our first win and to have all the fans with us was a real buzz. We’re at Kent on Sunday with a full team so we’ll set off in good spirits”.
Wizards: Chris Watts 6, Morgan Williams 1, Ben Ilsley 4+2, Rob Watts 9.
Wildcats: Max Pankhurst 8, Martyn Smith 2, Jordan Bull 0, Bailey Fellowes 6+2.