ISLE OF WIGHT 'Warriors' vs GB U23's 'Young Lions'
Challenge : 21/08/2018
Warriors Meet Future Stars
The Isle of Wight ‘Wightlink’ Warriors speedway team take a break from league action this week and instead stage a very special fixture against the Great Britain Young Lions team this Tuesday at the Andrew Younie Smallbrook Stadium.
Former Warriors team manager Neil Vatcher is the man now charged with the development of youth speedway in the UK and as part of his strategic plan, he wants to have more team action for his protégés. As always, the Warriors management were quick to offer a fixture and this week he brings a solid team of established National League riders who are all under 19 years of age.
Sixteen year old Birmingham sensation Leon Flint will lead the Young Lions and he is sure to receive full throttle support from Taylor Hampshire (Kent), stylish Jason Edwards (Eastbourne) and battling Joe Lawlor (Belle Vue Colts) who will skipper the side.
Warriors will have their now familiar 1 to 7 on parade and just to add a bit of spice the home team will be under the control of Neil’s wife Jackie. Island co-promoter Barry Bishop is expecting his side will get a rigorous workout and said, “We are delighted to be able to offer Neil (Vatcher) the opportunity to bring together some of GB’s future stars as we recognise the tremendous progress of the youth set-up under his stewardship. He has done so much to energise things and his way of working links so well with what we are doing here on the Island. This fixture also gives our fans the chance to see riders of national and international potential in competitive action and I expect a close contest, one which the Warriors can most certainly win”.
Warriors : Alfie Bowtell, Danno Verge, Scott Campos, Chris Widman, Ben Morley, Jamie Bursill, Shaun Tedham.
Young Lions: Leon Flint, Ben Woodhull, Jason Edwards, Joe Lawlor, Taylor Hampshire, Alex Spooner, Lewis Whitmore.
Warriors Tame Unlucky Young Lions
Isle of Wight 52 GB Young Lions 37
The Isle of Wight ‘Wightlink’ 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.