Match Reports 2019
Sun May 5th
Hellingly Lions 86 Kesgrave Panthers 74
With over a month since the start of the cycle speedway season and most teams having ridden 2 or more meetings Hellingly finally took to the track for the first time at the Lower Dicker Raceway. Our guests were the Panthers from Kesgrave, who like the Lions have elected to race in Division 2 of the East/ South East league for very much the same reasons. With no less than 5 first team riders deciding to leave and race elsewhere, life would have been hard going to compete in Division 1.
The weather was overcast, but no threat of rain as the Kesgrave riders arrived around midday for an arranged start of 1 pm. It was a very strange looking Panther’s team with only 2 experienced members from last season with 4 very young juniors and one other who had never ridden the circuit before. The Lions recognized this fact and in an attempt to keep the match entertaining decided not to use Neil Hollebon in the team.
Kesgrave captain Ray Pike won the coin toss and chose to go off the inside grids in the first race.
Heat 1. Lion Steven Archer went off gate 2 and raced from tapes to flag while being chased all the way by Ray Pike for the Lions first win. George Morley took third easily taking care of Phoebe Hammond, who to be fair struggled somewhat with the tight bends of Hellingly to open the score chart 6 - 4 to the Lions.
Heat 2. Was won by Jim Cox of Hellingly off gate 1 after an aggressive first bend and chased home for the full 4 laps by the evergreen Gary Brown. Jamie Morley was lacking in pace and tailed off at the back with the race drawn at 5pts each.
The next 3 heats were also shared scores of 5pts each bringing the match score to 26 - 24 in favour of Hellingly.
Heat 6. Martyn Hollebon rode a masterly first bend drifting the opponents off the line to allow his partner Harry Sexton to go through and go on to win the race. Martyn demonstrated his vast experience of the circuit enduring constant pressure from Ray Pike for all four laps shepherding home young Harry who was showing a lack of fitness. The race result was a very hard earned 7 -3 maximum for Hellingly with Kesgrave still yet to provide a race winner.
Heat 7. With the Lion's strongest pairing of Steven Archer (Gate 4) and George Morley (Gate2) against, on paper, Kesgrave's weakest pairing of Noah Woodhouse (Gate1) and Steve Hammond (Gate3). Tapes up and the very young Noah flew out of the trap like a greyhound, not only taking the first race win for Kesgrave but to also inflict the only defeat for Hellingly’s Steven Archer to great applause from everyone.
Two more drawn heats were to follow to bring the score chart to Hellingly 48 - Kesgrave 42 at the interval heat 9.
Heat 10. Back to business and for the second time Martyn Hollebon showed everyone how to team ride fairly by shepherding home George Morley to what was to be the second maximum 7-3 in the match.
Heat 11. Not to be upstaged, Noah Woodhouse did his bit for Kesgrave, popping out of gate 1 again to win the heat and earn the accolade of being the only Panther to win a race. The next 5 heats resulted in two 6-4 ht wins for the Lions with three 5 - 5's bringing the match to a close with the final score being Hellingly 86 Kesgrave 74.
Credit must go to the Kesgrave club for honouring the fixture with a team of limited experience even though Hellingly's strength showed through with Martyn Hollebon going unbeaten by an opponent and Steven Archer dropping just a single point.
Eddie Ridley contributed with two races wins at crucial times, but if there was to be a man of the match award, without doubt, it would go to Noah Woodhouse of Kesgrave. Six races and winning twice, the only winners the Panthers could muster while amassing a point’s tally of 20. Very well done Noah, be proud!
Martyn Hollebon 19+1 (5R) - Steven Archer 18+1 (5R) - Jim Cox 16 (5R) - George Morley 11+1 (5R) - Ed Ridley 10 (3R) - Harry Sexton 8 (5R) - Jamie Morley 3 (3R) - Harry Ridley 1(1R)
NOAH WOODHOUSE 20 (6R) - Jorsten Jolly 14+1 (5R) - Gary Brown 11+3 (5R) - Ray Pike 11+2 (5R)
Stevan Jolly 7+2 (3R) - Phoebe Hammond 6 (4R) - Steve Hammond 5+1(4)
The 1st away match this season for the Lions was a trip to Canning Town East London and proved to display a much-improved track performance. No less than 6 of the 7 riders on show today had double-figure scores (inc.bonus points) producing big smiles all round. It was a very comprehensive performance with riding for each other displaying the very epitome of team racing. It has to be said that the opposition was not the strongest that the Lions will face during the coming season, albeit only a challenge match, but the commitment to racing and fitness levels were far above the previous week.
The match kicked off with captain George Morley winning the coin toss and elected to go off gates 1-3 in ht1. Steven Archer (gt1) had a tapes to flag win in the first race, going on to register two more race wins and two 2nd places only beaten by an impressive performance by the not so young Les Stevens of East London. Harry Sexton tailed off a bit at the back, but to be fair the Londoner's pairing of Richard Austin and Michael Woodley were not hanging about. With the first two races shared, and a 6-4 in ht 3 Hellingly were 2pts up at 14 to 16, the meeting for sure was not going to be a walk in the park with all the race winners coming from gate 1. All changed in ht4 with the Londoner's Nick Gunkol on the favoured gate as expected led the race for 3 laps. With the revamped Harry Sexton doing a great job of keeping Sid Stanley at bay it was down to Steven Archer to do the donkey work and pressure Nick into making a mistake. After racing at full speed the mistake came at the final bend lap 3 when Nick looked the wrong way leaving a gap to which Steven Archer took full advantage off and drove inside him. This resulted in both riders going wide on the exit of the bend and with Nick Gunkol now out on the loose surface, he fell. Harry Sexton was close enough to take advantage and went on to follow Steven home for a deserved 7-3 heat win. Heat 5 and it was "Lions" captain George Morley's turn to turn on the style with an emphatic win over Richard Austin and Jim Cox easily accounting for Michael Woodley to grab an unexpected 6-4 advantage. Races 6&7 were shared to bring the scorecard to 31 - 39 in favour of the Lions. Ht 8 brought out the pairing of George and Jim off gates 2-4 for Hellingly with the very lively Les Stevens of East London off gt1. Now with the rest of the Lions appearing to step up a notch, Jim was not about to be overshadowed. Tapes up and Jim was gone like the proverbial missile from gt4 coming out of the first bend well in the lead. George took care of Kevin Smith to register another 6-4 advantage to Hellingly. Heat 9 brought together the father and son pairing of Eddie and Harry Ridley for Hellingly. Now with Harry being only 9yrs old and having made adjustments to his bike (gear change), he found the going a little tough. On the other hand, it was Eddie Ridley's turn to shine. Nick Gunkol (EL) led from the start with Eddie (Hel) stuck on his shoulder for 3 laps. On the exit of the final bend lap3, Eddie turned back the years by performing a classic cut back to pass Nick on the inside cleanly to go on and win the race. With the weather behaving itself being pleasantly warm, it was interval time with the scores now 40 - 50 in favour of Hellingly. The second half began with a surprisingly rejuvenated East London team as they promptly provided the race winners for the next 3 hts with Les Stevens,Nick Gunkol and Richard Austin doing the job. Back to business as it were in ht13 when team spirit kicked in yet again with captain George Morley paired with Steven Archer romped away to only the second maximum 7-3 score in the meeting to extend their lead 58pts to 72pts. A 5-5 drawn heat followed along with the only maximum score of 7-3 to East London courtesy of a very lenient referee!!!! That brought the score to 80 -70 to the Lions with the nominated to go. With the final result of the match not going to change from a Hellingly victory both teams agreed to give the younger lads an extra ride. East London had Elliot Austin and RJ Burn starting from the tapes with Hellingly's Harry Ridley starting on the halfway marker and Harry Sexton back on the exit of bend 1.This race was over 3 laps and HARRY Sexton worked hard to overhaul the Londoner's pair to win right on the line. Harry Ridley, likewise raced hard but just failed to catch RJ Burn on the line, so the race result was a 6-4 to the Lions and final match score East London 74 Hellingly 86. Overall, it was an entertaining match rode in a sporting manner by both teams. As for the Lions it was a vast improvement from all the riders compared to the previous meeting and the level of team spirit showed through in the end.
East London 74
Les Stevens 18 (5r) - Richard Austin 17+1 (5r) - Nick Gunkol 14 (5r) - Michael Woodley 9+1 (5r) - Sid Stanley 7+1 (5r) - Kevin Smith 5 (5r) - RJ Burn 3 (1r) - Elliot Austin 1(1r)
Steven Archer 18 (5r) - Harry Sexton 15+3 (6r) - Eddie Ridley 15+2 (5r) - George Morley 14+2 (5r) - Jim Cox 11+1 (4r) - Jamie Morley 9+1 (4r) - Harry Ridley 4 (3r) - Neil Hollebon DNR.
(L/R back row) Neil Hollebon, Jamie Morley, George Morley, Eddie Ridley, Jim Cox, Steven Archer - (EL) Kevin Smith, Michael Woodley, Richard Austin, Les Stevens (Front row L/R) Harry Sexton, Harry Ridley, (EL) Sid Stanley, Nick Gunkol, Elliot Austin, JR Burn.
Sunday 19th May
Ipswich 95 - Hellingly 62
A bad day at the office just does not cut it with this one. This meeting, without doubt, had all the makings of a blockbuster with both teams fielding their strongest riders. Lions made two major changes to the team line up with Jamie Morley (rested) and Harry Sexton dropping down to the reserve berth making way for the Hollebon brothers Martyn and Neil.
Ipswich were at full strength naming all three of the close season transfers from Kesgrave of James Porter and the Brinkoff brothers Lewis and Tyler.
On arrival at the Whitton Sports Centre, the weather was overcast and the threat of rain was imminent. It has to be said that Sunday's 'team Lions' were the polar opposite to the previous week at East London regarding enthusiasm and team spirit and seeming to project nothing but negative vibes!
The formal coin toss was won by Ipswich captain Charlie Jane Herbert who duly elected to start off gates 2-4 in the first race; the meeting began.
Heat 1 - and the riders didn't even get off the starting grid before the whistle was blown to halt proceedings. The referee was not happy that the tapes were held for what appeared to be an eternity, but after consulting the starter, who was adamant it was between 2-5 seconds a re-run was ordered with all four riders. For the second time, the tapes were again held for the full 5 secs, under the close scrutiny of the referee using a stopwatch. The race began with Ben Clarke (Ipswich) gating across Steven Archer to win comfortably and Neil Hollebon easily accounting for James Porter to open with a 6-4 to the Eagles.
Heat 2 - was to be no better as the race was also brought to a stop after no more than 3 meters. This time the referee was not happy with the progress of the race and instructed all four riders to return to the pits, summoning both team managers to the centre green. Instructions were given as to what was expected from both teams when the tapes were released. The re-run was an easy maximum 7-3 with Lauren Jacobs and Lewis Brinkoff very dominant.
Heat 3 - Disaster for the Lions, after yet another long hold of the tapes George Morley on gate 1 moved and was excluded. Tyler Brinkoff won the re-run at a canter while Martyn Hollebon kept Charlie Jane Herbert at bay for a 6-3 to the Eagles bringing the match score to 19-10 to Ipswich.
After only three races and Hellingly not remotely looking likely to provide a race winner, the writing was clearly on the wall.
Heat 4 - was no better after a hard-fought first bend on the second lap Neil Hollebon was unhappy with the referee's decision to allow the race to continue pulling off the track to gift the Eagles a 7-2 heat win. It was now very apparent to all who were watching that the Lions had no more interest in the meeting as two more 7-3 maximum heat wins followed virtually unopposed.
Heat 7 - did produce the first of only two race wins for Hellingly. This one came from Martyn Hollebon winning from gate 1 after the Lions had claimed gates 1&3 being 22pts in arrears.
Heat 8 - this time it was Eddie Ridley's time to gather an exclusion for moving at the tapes even though virtually every race was being held at the start for almost the full 5 secs.
Heat 11 - The interval came and went with the threat of rain still in the vicinity. This race brought the second race win for Hellingly with Neil Hollebon taking the chequered flag. Heat 11 was also the one and only heat advantage for the Lions with George Morley taking the third spot ahead of Charlie Jane Herbert to bring the score to 68 to 39 in favour of the Eagles. The remaining 5 heats Hellingly faired a little better, but with the luxury of gates 1&3 for all the races still failed to provide another winner. The meeting ended with the scoreline reading Ipswich 95 Hellingly 62.
This was a very comprehensive display by Ipswich and on this showing will surely take the league title with ease. The exception possibly will be the return match later on in the season at the Lower Dicker circuit.
Tyler Brinkoff 17+3 (5r) - Ben Clarke 15+1 (4r) - Charlie J Herbert 13 (5r) - Lewis Brinkoff 12+2 (4r) - Harvey Young 11 (3r) - Luke Dunningham 10 (3r) - James Porter 9+1 (4r) - Lauren Jacobs 7 (4r) - Fraser Harris DNR.
Martyn Hollebon 14+2 (5r) - Neil Hollebon 11+1 (5r) - Eddie Ridley 9+1 (5r) - George Morley 9 (5r) - Steven Archer 9 (5r) - Jim Cox 7 (4r) - Harry Sexton 3 (3r)
Sunday 12th May East London 74 - Hellingly 86
Sunday May 26th
Hellingly 93 Great Blakenham 67.
It was a return to winning ways for the Lions of Hellingly with a convincing 26pt victory over Great Blakenham, As with most teams in this division, the ‘Blakers’ are very short of riders to compete at this level. As proof of this, Great Blakenham arrived at the Lower Dicker track with just six riders including a Jay Meekings. He was introduced as a raw recruit, which is the mother of all understatements as he admitted to everyone that he had never ever ridden a cycle speedway bike before! Now it is common knowledge that Hellingly is not the easiest of tracks to ride, even more so for a first timer with the notorious first bend exit claiming many a victim in the past.
The Lion's team strength was suitably adjusted with the recall of Jamie Morley at No: 2 and the young Harry Ridley named as reserve at the expense of Martyn and Neil Hollebon.
The match began with Great Blakenham winning the coin toss and surprisingly elected to go off gates 2 & 4.
Heat 1. Tapes up and Steven Archer from gate 1 won the race after a hard fought first bend from Keanu Bowers (Steven later went on to record a creditable paid max score being unbeaten by an opponent in all 5 rides) and the revitalized Jaime Morley settled in third spot to open the scores 6-4 to Hellingly.
Heat 2. Went as expected with Adam Cooper winning for Great Blakenham and the Lion's pairing of captain George Morley and Jim Cox settling for a 5-5 shared score.
Heat 3. The pace took a dramatic change in this one with Harry Sexton, now astride a borrowed ‘state of the art’ Polish derived machine, leapt out of gate 1 to establish his authority at the first bend and going on to win the race to the rapturous applause of the team and all spectators. Harry’s teammate Eddy Ridley had to work a bit harder, but in under a lap passed Bill Rhodes (GB) to join Harry for a maximum7-3 heat win.
Heat 4. The momentum seemed to increasing somewhat in this one as George Morley and Jim Cox took the easy route by out-gating Terry Ashford and Keanu Bowers from 2 and 4 to take a majestic 7-3 to bring the match score to 25 - 15 in favour of Hellingly.
Heats 5 to 8 had the Lion's now firmly in control with the whole team contributing to the score. But sparing a thought for the Blakers new (New?) boy, Jay Meekers, who twice in separate heats suffered the wrath of the safety fence at bend 1 and on the second occasion managed to bend the frame of the bike that was borrowed (Borrowed? You mean he wants it back?) from Gavin Whitehouse.
Heat 9. Lion's George Morley was on gate 1 and Harry Ridley replacing Jim Cox on gate 3. Great Blakenhams Jay Meekings (now taking the long suffering and financially impaired Gavin's polish bike!) on gate 2, and Bill Rhodes on gate 4. Tapes up and George looked to be the winner from the off. Now with young Harry not quite so swift out of the starting gate, he attempted a cut-back on the inside at the first bend but took a heavy fall. The race was stopped and to give Harry time to recover the interval was taken one race early.
With the midway break over George duly went on to win the re-run with a still very sore Harry tailing off at the rear for a shared 5-5l to bring the score to Hellingly 53 - Great Blakenham 37.
At this point, it has to be said that young Jay for the Blakers, now astride a better class of machine looked a completely different rider and now in complete control. Hellingly stamped their authority in the remainder of the meeting with the exception of Adam Cooper who achieved two tapes to flag race wins.
In the final race of the day (the nominated Heat 16) it was the two Harry's (Sexton and Ridley) for the Lions and Terry Ashford and ‘never-say-die’ Jay Meekings for GB.
From the off, even with the result never in danger, no-one was prepared to give an inch. After 2 laps, with several changes to the lead, Harry Sexton eased passed both Blakers with the crowd erupting in response and went on to win the race. Unfortunately, his partner Harry Ridley suffered another fall but managed to finish the race for the 5pts each. It was pleasing to see the generous applause to all four riders in appreciation of their efforts.
Summing up, the meeting was both entertaining and raced in a sporting manner. Steven Archer’s paid max almost went by unnoticed, and Jamie Morley's paid 15 was his best score for a while. As for the rest of the Lions, they all played their part and by comparison to the previous week really looked to be an entirely different team. The final score-line of Hellingly 93 Great Blakenham 67 certainly didn’t reflect the competitive racing.
Steven Archer 19+1 (5r) - Harry Sexton 17+3 (6r) - George Morley 17+1 (5r) - Jamie Morley13+2 (5r) - Jim Cox 12+1 (4r) - Ed Ridley 10+1 (4r) - Harry Ridley 3 (3r)
Great Blakenham 67.
Adam Cooper 17+1 (5r) - Keanu Bowers 13 (5r) - Jay Meekings 10 (6r) - Bill Rhodes 10+1 (5r) - Gavin Whitehouse 9+1 (5r) - Terry Ashford 8+1 (6r)
What was very apparent in this meeting was that while the sport of cycle speedway is currently undergoing a severe shortage of new riders, Jay Meekings made it very apparent that a newcomer can contribute and enjoy this sport very rapidly from day one, heat one (or three). Perhaps this may encourage the sports potential newcomer riders.
Jamie Morley - Jay Meeking (Hidden) - Steve Archer - Bill Rhodes
Gavin Whitehouse - Eddy Ridley - Adam Cooper - Harry Sexton
Sat 1st June BYJL South East Grand Prix Round 4
It was a warm welcome to a total of 32 riders to the Hellingly circuit to contest all the age categories in Round 4 of the British Youth and Junior League which also incorporated the South East Grand Prix sponsored by Edwards Taxi’s from Hailsham. It has to be said that the Lower Dicker Rec was in spectacular condition looking very picturesque and blessed with unbroken sunshine temperature in the mid -twenties.
Racing kicked off at midday with three groups, under 8's, under 10's and girls all racing in a mixed programme. Connor Jarret from Norwich Stars took the Under 8's title racing unbeaten and looking a class act in this age group with Logan Farber from Great Blakenham taking the runner up spot.
The under 10's final was an all Kesgrave affair with the winner's medal going to Luca Woodhouse who also rode unbeaten all afternoon. Oli Edmunds was runner up, Oscar Hammond third with Lily Parr fourth. Now even though Luca took the spoils, young Lily deserves a mention as her technique from the tapes was electric, often leaving her opponents somewhat adrift. Unfortunately, Lily was the only one to test out the new safety improvements to the fence on the exit of the first bend. The under 12's was won by the favourite, Ryker Jolly and the girls by Phoebe Hammond, again both from Kesgrave.
Time now for the under 14's and the final turned out to be the race of the day. Noah Woodhouse of Kesgrave had raced through the heats unbeaten and red hot favourite to take the spoils. The final line up was local sensation Harry Sexton (Hellingly) on gate1, Torsten Jolly (Kesgrave) gate 2, Noah Woodhouse (Kesgrave) gate3 and Kai Gowers (Ipswich) on gate4. As expected, Noah led to the first bend, but unfortunately, he fell bringing down two others riders so the race was stopped by the referee and ordered a re-run with all four riders. Tapes went up for the restart and this time local boy Harry Sexton was first to the corner pushing the others wide and exiting the first bend in the lead. This really brought the spectators to their feet, cheering and shouting encouragement for their particular favourite. With what was the race favourite Noah now out of contention; it was left to fellow club mate Torsten Jolly to chase down our local boy Harry Sexton. For 3 and 3/4 laps, Harry looked every bit in control and encouraged by the cheering from the crowd that gained volume with every lap. Perhaps big time nerves or lack of experience, who knows, but Harry rose out of the saddle a tad early exiting the final bend for his final drive to the tapes and lost a little rear wheel traction. This small error gave Torsten the option to take the outside faster line around Harry and reached the chequered flag less than half a wheel in front of Harry. The crowd showed their appreciation with generous applause for all four riders with a rather dejected looking Noah finishing in third place.
It was under 18's time now with home rider George Morley for Hellingly looking to be the pre-start favourite. This was not to be as James Porter of Ipswich rode to five untroubled wins to take the title with George runner up. The senior event went to another Ipswich rider, Fraser Harris, also having five race wins. Lions rider Steven Archer was also in the final, but after being pushed wide his race was over and finished fourth. The last final of the day was the vets which Stefan Jolly of Kesgrave defeated home rider Ed Ridley who was riding on borrowed machinery.
With all the racing over for the day, thanks all round to riders and supporters for making the trip to Hellingly, most of which came from Norfolk and Suffolk. Of course, the biggest thanks must go to the meeting sponsors Edwards Taxi’s of Hailsham. It was a very successful day for the Lions with no less than 10 riders performing, four of which were riding in their very first competitive meeting. Well done and thank you for your efforts, Dylan Geer, Harry Sefton, Paul Edwards and Alicia Ellis.
Sunday 2nd June 2019 Hethersett 77 Hellingly 83
The Memorial Playing Fields Hethersett was the venue for the East South/Eastern Div 2 league encounter between Hethersett Hawks and Hellingly Lions. After a 3-4 hour journey from the Sussex Coast, the Lions were greeted with hazy sunshine but still very warm and a track dry and dusty but looking very fast. Once again, as with most teams, Hethersett was dramatically short on riders with at least two members unavailable. The Lions also were also without the services of Jim Cox, so a stroll in the park was not envisaged.
The meeting began and as foresee the first five races were all shared 5-5 drawn heats bringing the match score to 25 - 25. At this point, it was apparent to all that the Hethersett Hawks young newcomer Charlie Lyth could be a star for the future; he’d already had two good heat wins under his belt by defeating experienced campaigners Martyn Hollebon and Steven Archer. Charlie went on to score a massive 23pts for Hethersett and his only defeat being inflicted by the Lions young Harry Sexton in heat 13.
Heat 6. With the match score all even Hellingly elected to use tactical reserve Neil Hollebon in an attempt to take command of the meeting. The race took three attempts to just make it around the first bend, with Glyn Morgan for the Hawks proving to be no pushover from gate 1. Neil Hollebon eventually got the better of Glyn with Steven Archer securing third place for a 6-4 heat win. Not quite what the Lions were expecting but nevertheless it was a two-point advantage.
Heat 7, With the evergreen Ed Ridley demonstrating his vast experience from the tapes and partner George Morley riding a clever first corner, the Hellingly pair went on to secure the first maximum heat win to extend the Lions lead by 6pts.
Two more drawn heats brought the scores to Hethersett 42 Hellingly 48 and with the atmosphere a little tense in the Lions side of the pits, the arrival of the interval was welcomed.
First race after the break and it appeared that the Hawks by no means were about to throw in the towel as Dan Longlands and Glyn Morgan thumped in an easy 7-3 max from gates 1-3 over Steven Archer and Harry Sexton due to the Lions pair impeding each other at the first bend.
Heat 11. This heat brought Charlie Lyth's fourth win from four outings to brought the score to 54 - 56 to the Lions with the final outcome by no means clear cut at this stage.
Heats 12 & 13 jointly became the pivotal heats in the meeting with Martyn Hollebon and George Morley securing a 6-4 heat win from the outside gates in race 12.
Heat 13. Not to be outdone, it was Harry Sexton's chance to shine as he inflicted the only defeat on Charlie Lyth of the afternoon in heat 13 and Steven Archer accounting for Katie Adams meant the score chart was back to a 6points advantage to Hellingly.
The remaining three races were all shared 5pts each with the final score Hethersett 77 Hellingly 83.
To sum up, on paper Hellingly were by far the stronger outfit but it could be said, underperformed. Hethersett, on the other hand, seemed to be weak and lacking experienced riders. In the end it has to be said that Lions elder statesmen, Martyn Hollebon and Ed Ridley steadied the ship to see them home. It was a close fought contest on a dry dusty surface, but by far the star of the day had to be Charlie Lyth of Hethersett in his first season of racing.
The spoils this time went to Hellingly, but if all matches were raced in this spirit the sport of cycle speedway will always be champion.
Sunday 16th June
Hellingly Lions 85 Norwich Stars 73.
11.00 a.m. Sunday and the Lower Dicker circuit was not looking in a raceable condition after overnight heavy rain. Light rain was still falling but the forecast was "clearing with outbreaks of sunshine to follow". Step forward Team Hollebon, i.e. brothers Martyn and Neil who both spent the next 2 1/2 hours working on the track surface. After continuous raking, brooming and finally tyre packing, the track was in near perfect condition to race on, although a little damp in places. The Norwich Stars team arrived and looked rather apprehensive considering the volume of rain that had fallen and the track not looking its usual best. Now with the Stars having travelled with their strongest team, on paper, this was not going to be an easy ride for Hellingly and compounded by the non-availability of Steven Archer and Jamie Morley. This was a first time visit to Hellingly for Steve Copping of Norwich and due to rider shortages, the Lions tempted Barrie Geer back in the saddle after some 14 year break, but even so, confidence of a win was not very forthcoming.
On to the match and Stars captain, Jamie Medlar won the flip of the coin and chose gates 1-3 in heat one. This proved to be a shrewd move as the Stars strongest pairing of Chris Cullem and Paddy Wenn Kicked off with a 6-4 advantage over Ed Ridley and a rather subdued George Morley. Matters were quickly rectified in heat two with Jim Cox trapping from gate 1 and Neil Hollebon joining him up front from the exit of the first bend to record a maximum 7-3 to the Lions over Jamie Medlar and Tom Blackmore.
Time now for the two debutants, Barrie Geer for the Lions and Steve Copping for the Stars. Martyn Hollebon came off gate 4 and was 2-3 bike lengths ahead on the exit of the first bend and going on to take the chequered flag with ease. With Steve learning what the Dicker circuit has to offer and Barrie finding the going tough with very limited training under his belt, Hellingly were grateful to grab a 6-4 and a 4 point lead after the earlier setback.
Neil Hollebon took the flag in heat 4 and Ed Ridley was made to race hard for his 4 points in ht 5.
Martyn Hollebon took heats 6 & 8 to bring the score card to Hellingly 44 Norwich 35.
Heat 8 was a strange one as young Tom Blackmore was excluded for exceeding the 1 minute at the start. No reason was given as to why he took so long to reach the starting grid where the other three riders had all been waiting.
Heat 9 was another 6-4 to Lions before the interval and the time to do some track work, although it has to be said the surface was holding up very well. At this time in the match, Hellingly had both Martyn and Neil Hollebon yet to be headed by an opponent along with Ed Ridley dropping only 2pts after three rides each. With an off par George Morley, Jim Cox short of practice laps and back to the saddle Barrie Geer, an 11 point lead eased the pre-meeting concerns.
With the track surface now back to near perfection, the racing was in fact much closer after the interval. In the meetings last seven races, Hellingly scored a total of 35pts whereas Norwich managed 34pts.
Heat 16 (nominated) was an all junior event. As the final result was never in danger, Hellingly fielded their two reserves Harry Sexton and Harry Ridley with Norwich doing much the same using Tom and Will Blackmore. The race was a shared event with Tom taking the win for the Stars and the two Harry's second and third for 5pts each bringing the match to a close with a, perhaps unexpected, 12pt win for Hellingly. Neil Hollebon was unbeaten with Martyn being defeated only once by Paddy Wenn and Ed Ridley scoring a credible 15+1 being elevated to ride at No:1. Overall it was a solid and workmanlike performance by the Lions heat leaders that won the day while the 12pt defeat for Norwich did not reflect their competitiveness.
Neil Hollebon 19+1 (5 rides) - Martyn Hollebon 19 (5 rides) Ed Ridley 15+1 (5 rides) - Jim Cox 11+1 (5 rides) - George Morley 9+1(5 rides) - Harry Sexton 6+1 (3 rides) - Barrie Geer 3 (3 rides) - Harry Ridley 3 (1 rides)
Paddy Wenn 15+2 (5 rides) - Chris Cullem 15 (5 rides) - Gary Colby 15 (5 rides) - Jamie Medlar 13+1 (5 rides) - Tom Blackmore 9 (6 rides) - Steve Copping 5 (5 rides) Will Blackmore 1(1 ride) - Dave Blackmore DNR
Hellingly Lions V Ipswich Eagles 30th June 2019
This one was billed as being the match of the season for the Lions of Hellingly and so it was.
The Ipswich Eagles arrived at the Lower Dicker recreation ground flying high at the top of Div 2 of the East South / Eastern league yet to taste defeat to date and been sweeping all before them. This included a heavy defeat on the Lions earlier in the season at Whitton Lane Ipswich, so a touch of payback time was on the cards with the Hellingly circuit a vast contrast to the Eagles track as pure speed was not going to win races at the Lower Dicker. An earlier start time was agreed by both teams as the local speedway team at Eastbourne were racing at nearby Arlington which accommodated supporters to attend both meetings. For the second day in a row, we were gifted with unbroken sunshine but temperatures far too high to race in comfort. One strange addition to the Ipswich team was that of the inclusion of Richard Fellgett as they seem to have an abundance of young talent. This, of course, was an eye-opener as Richard has a Div 1 average in excess of 3.00pts which automatically carries a 15pt penalty. Nevertheless, a blockbuster of a meeting was all set to go, Eagles captain Gemma Hill won the coin toss and chose gates 2-4 to kick off with heat 1.
Heat 1. With the expectations of a close contest, Hellingly's track specialist Martyn Hollebon was elevated to the No.2 spot paired with team manager Steven Archer. Martyn had an easy ride from gate 1 to take the win and Fraser Harris for the Eagles made light work of Steven Archer to kick off with a 5-5 drawn heat.
Heat 2 was almost a repeat, only this time it was Ben Clarke for the Eagles who had a tapes to flag win over Neil Hollebon and Jim Cox with Gemma Hill tailing off at the back for the second shared 5-5 score.
Heat 3. All changed in this one with the Eagles tracking arguably their strongest pairing (on paper) of Richard Fellgett and James Porter against Ed Ridley and George Morley. As expected, Ipswich raced away for a maximum 7-3 heat win to bring the match score to Hellingly 13 - Ipswich 17.
Heats 4 and 5 were both 6-4 advantages to the Lions with Neil Hollebon winning heat 5 after a re-run (Ben Clarke for Ipswich received a warning from the referee for drifting his opponent to the extremities of the track leaving his partner Gemma Hill with nowhere to race) and Martyn taking heat 6.
In the next race it was the Eagles turn for a 6-4 with Fraser Harris and Luke Dunningham with Ed Ridley managing to split the pair.
Heat 7 was to become a pivotal point of the match with James Porter of Ipswich falling on the pit bend and bringing down Steven Archer causing a race stoppage and followed by James's exclusion. Richard Fellgett won the re-run from the tapes, but with the result a 5-4 to Hellingly, the match score was now down to a single point advantage to Ipswich at 34 - 35.
With the racing now keenly contested in all areas, the match became very tactical as the following seven heats, including the much-needed interval, were all shared scores of 5pts each and the overall score remaining at a single point advantage to Ipswich after heat 14 (69-70).
Two races to go and it would have been a pure speculation to forecast the final result at this stage.
The local supporters had witnessed some classic cycle speedway and were vociferous and spontaneous to both sides with their applause, but a result was still to be gained.
Unfortunately for the Eagles, the killer blow came in the penultimate heat 15 at the expense of the somewhat unlucky Gemma Hill. The race began with Gemma on gate 1, Martyn Hollebon gate 2, James Porter gate 3 and Ed Ridley gate 4. Such was the tenacity of the racing that no-one was giving an inch; the race had to be re-run 3 times. On the third attempt Martyn trapped across Gemma and was chased by James while Ed was sedately placed in third taking care of Gemma. After 2 laps Gemma cleverly found a gap on the inside of Ed on entering the first bend, but unfortunately, both got tangled up together with Gemma slamming into and hanging over the safety fence. The race was stopped again and as Gemma was the primary cause, gained an exclusion. The re-run was a masterly display of cycle speedway track craft by Martyn Hollebon as he drifted James off the line allowing partner Ed Ridley to dive to the line, taking to the front and the win. James pressured and chased Martyn hard for all four laps but such was Martyn's skill and experience no-matter how many laps, the result would never have changed.
For the first time in 15 races, Hellingly were in front by 4pts which meant a second place in the nominated heat would secure victory on the day. Ipswich named Ben Clarke gate 1 and Richard Fellgett gate 3. Hellingly had Neil Hollebon gate 2 and Steven Archer gate 4. Once again it would have taken a brave man to forecast the result, but up stepped Neil Hollebon to trap across Ben Clarke to take both the lead and chequered flag earning the Lions a 4 point victory on the day 81 points to 77.
It was a cut and thrust cycle speedway match enjoyed by both teams and spectators. Hellingly were the victors but the official scorecard will read Hellingly 81 (+15 penalty points) 96 Ipswich 77 which on paper does not reflect the close fought match.
We spare a thought for the young Gemma Hill of Ipswich who rode so extremely hard for so little reward while three times enduring the painful company of our safety fence with not a single complaint or whinge, one tough kid with much to offer.
Hellingly Lions 81 (+ 15 pen points for use of a restricted rider) 96
Neil Hollebon 21+1 (6 rides) - Martyn Hollebon 15+3 (5 rides) - Ed Ridley 15 (5 rides) - Steven Archer 13+1 (6 rides) - Jim Cox 9+1 (5 rides) - George Morley 6 (4 rides) - Harry Sexton 2+1 (1 ride) - Jamie Morley DNR
Ipswich Eagles 77
Richard Fellgett 20+2 (6 rides) - Ben Clarke 20+1 (6 rides) - Fraser Harris 11+1 (5 rides) - James Porter 10+2 (5rides) - Luke Dunningham 10 (5 rides) - Gemma Hill 6 (5 rides)
Sunday July 14th
Norwich Stars V Hellingly Lions.
With the Lions of Hellingly making their longest trip of the league season to Eaton Park to take on the Stars of Norwich, expectations of a close and hard-fought contest was the order of the day. This was the Stars final league match in Div 2 and whatever the result, it was not going to alter their mid-table position. But for the Lions, it was a different story as they had only tasted defeat on one occasion in six league matches, so were hungry for another win to equal their league position with Ipswich. On paper there was little to choose between both teams, with Hellingly feeling quietly confident but conscious that a victory was not going to be ‘one-way’ affair.
The coin toss was won by Norwich who elected gates 1-3 in heat 1.
The opening pairing for the Stars, Paddy Wenn and Chris Cullem produced the first shock of the day by taking a maximum 7-3 heat win after an untidy first bend tussle with Steven Archer and Ed Ridley.
Heat 2. It was the Lions George Morley who really produced the goods by holding off the challenge of Gary Colby from the tapes and creating a gap on the first bend allowing partner Neil Hollebon to join him, so returning the compliment with a maximum 7-3 heat win to level the scores 10 - 10.
Two races completed with shared maximums, but as predicted, neither side was giving an inch as these were to be the only maximums achieved by either team throughout the remaining 14 races.
Heat 3 was tapes to flag win for Jamie Medlar for the Stars off gate 1 with Jim Cox and Martyn Hollebon settling for 2nd and 3rd, or 5pts each team.
Heat 4 was a win for Ed Ridley over a fast Gary Colby with Steven Archer gaining a valuable third place providing Hellingly with a 2 point lead.
Heat 5 This was to be short-lived lead however, as Paddy Wenn led from tapes to flag with Neil Hollebon second. Meanwhile Chris Cullen finished third after drifting George Morley very wide resulting in him taking a fall. The 6-4 to Norwich now levelled the scores at 25pts each.
Heat 6 for the second time in three heats, Ed Ridley triumphed from gate 1, while partner Steven Archer was somewhat dubiously drifted very wide on lap 2 by Jamie Medlar to maintain an even score chart even.
The following three races before the interval were also 5-5's, but with the score at 45 – 45, (albeit, it has to be said, with controversy) the remaining seven races were never going to be predictable.
With the interval over, the tenacity of the racing and the racing formula dictated the pairings for both teams would certainly change.
Heat 10 presented Hellingly with an anxious moment as Jamie Medlar for the Stars gated across Steven Archer from gate 2 and went on to take the win comfortably while George Morley for the Lions was resisting the challenge from Chris Cullem so appeared settled for yet another drawn heat. Now bearing in mind, Chris is the wrong side of 21yrs old, he maintained his pressure on George for 3 laps to eventually pass him on the outside on the pit bend to earn the Stars a 6 - 4 advantage.
The Lions were now starting to look slightly anxious and to be fair, fitness, or lack of, was starting to show.
Heat 11 was once again a disappointment for Hellingly with Martyn Hollebon expected to win from gate 4 but after a fiercely contested first bend, Gary Colby streaked away for an unchallenged win. Although still looking very quick, Ed Ridley was unable to get close enough to offer a serious challenge while Martyn Hollebon secured the third spot from Scott Colby but looked somewhat tired and jaded.
Heat 12. The score chart read Norwich 56 - Hellingly 54 and this heat had the unbeaten Paddy Wenn on gate 2 with Neil Hollebon gate 1 and Jim Cox on gate 3. Paddy trapped across Jim Cox and also managed to hold off a challenge from Neil Hollebon at the first bend. A titanic battle between the two followed for 3 laps until Neil managed to pass Paddy on the outside at the pit bend to take the win. Jim Cox for Hellingly relegated reserve replacement Tom Blackmore into last place earning a 6-4 advantage to Hellingly, so once again the scores were level at 60pts each.
The next three heats were continued to be stalemated, all being shared 5 -5's, which left heat 16, a nominated heat and match decider!
As totally expected for Norwich it was Paddy Wenn and Jamie Medlar, but for Hellingly it was not so clear cut. Neil Hollebon was an obvious choice, but the selected partner proved to be somewhat more difficult. Martyn Hollebon would have been the choice, but he openly admitted to being totally spent. This left the options of either Ed Ridley or Steven Archer to take the pressure spot. After a lengthy debate, Steven Archer was the choice. It has to be said that even the Stars team were somewhat bemused that it wasn’t Eddie Ridley as he seemed to be the obvious choice.
Heat 16. Tapes up and Paddy Wenn trapped across Steven from gate 2 with Neil Hollebon hard on his shoulder. On the exit of the first bend two races in one developed with Neil chasing down paddy for the lead and Steven taking care of Jamie Medlar for the coveted 3rd place. All four riders gave their all for 3 laps but on the exit of the pit bend Neil Hollebon lost a little traction and a momentary slide allowed Paddy Wenn to gain an extra yard and went on to win the race. Neil finished a dejected second while Steven Archer kept Jamie Medlar at bay for third the meeting finished all square at 80pts each.
As predicted before the start of the meeting it could not have been more even, with only two 7-3 maximums (one each), four heats with 6-4 scores (two each) and no less than ten races with a 5-5 point score. For Norwich, Paddy Wenn was beaten to the flag on only one occasion in 6 rides. Gary Colby had three good race wins late on in the meeting and Chris Cullem rolled back the years to score points at vital times. For the Lions, Neil Hollebon was his usual high scoring self but having to succumb to Paddy twice in 6 rides. Ed Ridley, having his best season for some time, had two excellent race wins and Martyn Hollebon amassed no less than 5 bonus points in 5 rides (some sort of record there surely) albeit running out of steam at the end. To sum up, it was a very disappointing finish for the Lions as the chance of the league title had now vanished. There were controversial moments which with different decisions would have changed the final result, but were dispelled and forgotten in the name of ‘sport’. At the end of the meeting, it was congratulations and handshakes all round with both teams giving it their all and a result that was an honourable draw.
Norwich Stars 80 Hellingly Lions 80
Norwich; Paddy Wenn 22+1 (6r) - Gary Colby 17 (5r) - Jamie Medlar 15+2 (6r) -
Chris Cullem 12 (5r) - Scott Colby 9 (5r) - Kieran Legg 3 (3r) - Tom Blackmore 1 (1r) Dave Spauls 1(1r)
Neil Hollebon 21+1 (6r) - Ed Ridley 16 (5r) - Steven Archer 12+1 (6r) - Jim Cox 12 (5r) - Martyn Hollebon 10+5 (5r) - George Morley 9+1 (5r) - Harry Sexton DNR.
Kesgrave was the venue for the Lions from Hellingly in this Div 2 encounter in the East South/East league. At the start of the season, both teams had elected to race in Div2 for much the same reasons, but it has to be said that Kesgrave was to endure the devastating blow of half their team to depart and seek to win trophies elsewhere. Today's match was all about team pride as the chance of winning the league for Hellingly disappeared with a previous drawn match at Norwich.
After the torrential rain which the whole country has endured over the past couple of days, it was no surprise to find the Kesgrave circuit underwater at both bends, but with less than an hour before the scheduled start all of the offending water was removed. With the surface on both bends obviously still very soft, a dirty match was on the cards (i.e. shale and mud not underhand)! Both sides declared their teams and to be fair, on paper, Kesgrave had no real superstars but still looked to be no pushover. Hellingly on the other hand, had their top three of Martyn and Neil Hollebon and a very much in form Ed Ridley, but being without Jim Cox meant that young Harry Sexton was to be elevated into the team with Steven Archer and George Morley. Hellingly were under no illusions but marginally favourites for a win and the match began with Kesgrave winning the coveted coin toss choosing gates 1&3 in the first heat.
Heat 1. Lions man Martyn Hollebon jumped out the start from Gate 2 for a somewhat easy win with Ray Pike for Kesgrave keeping Steven Archer at bay to earn a 5-5 drawn heat.
Heat 2. With arguably the strongest pairings from both teams taking to the track, Kesgrave had Pat Kruger and Gary Brown, George Morley and Neil Hollebon for the Lions. With Neil off gate 3 and Gary Brown on 4, a scoring heat for the Lion's looked to be on the cards. Expectations were quickly thwarted as Pat Kruger for the Panthers trapped across George Morley from gate 2 and managed to hold off the challenge of Neil Hollebon at the first bend and going on to complete an emphatic race win. Gary Brown gave Neil a hard time over the full 4 laps to earn a much unexpected 6-4 heat advantage to Kesgrave.
Heat 3 Torsten Jolly took the win from gate1 for the Panthers with the evergreen Ed Ridley settling for second for the Lions while a battle of David and Goliath was taking place for remaining places. Steve Hammond for Kesgrave gated round Harry Sexton. The stature of the two was so far apart with Harry being just 4ft tall weighing in at maybe 6 stone versus Steve who was approaching 6ft and 14 + stone. Not to be outdone, Harry gave chase and dived under Steve at the first bend, lap 2 and managed to hold him off for the next lap and a half before Steve finally powered by Harry for the third spot. This was the second 6-4 to Kesgrave on the trot to bring the score to 17 - 13 to Kesgrave.
With Lions backs against the wall disaster struck in heat 4 as Kesgrave gained a massive 7-3 maximum from the outside gates over Steven Archer and Martyn Hollebon. So the writing was clearly on the wall, undoubtedly the Panthers were performing and racing as a team while the Lions relying very heavily on their top three. Once again physical fitness was proving the downfall of the Lions as at no time in the meeting did they lead the scorecard, and in fact only managed a heat advantage on two occasions in heats 6 & 8. At the midway point, the scorecard read Kesgrave 48, Hellingly 42 and Pat Kruger for the Panthers still unbeaten by a Lion, such was his domination that he went on to score 18+2 from five rides and to remain unbeaten.
The second half of the match was more of a consolidation effort from Hellingly in an effort to keep the score close with six of the seven heats all 5-5’s to bring the scores to Kesgrave 79 - Hellingly 71 at heat 15. With only the nominated race to go and the result already confirmed in Kesgrave’s favour, it was jointly decided to track the youngsters from both teams in heat 16. It was Harry Sexton, gate 1 and George Morley gate 3 for Hellingly with Charlie Parr and Charlie Beaton on 2-4 for Kesgrave. Tapes up and a battle royal commenced with Harry Sexton emerging from bend 1 in the lead with the two Charlie's in hot pursuit. For some unexplained reason, George tailed off and showed no interest in competing further while the other three were no more than a bike length apart with all spectators cheering them on and Harry managing to take the glory. This was by far the most entertaining race of the meeting with only personal honour at stake. To sum up, Kesgrave ran out winners by 8 points, deservedly so, with a comprehensive team performance. For Hellingly for the second match in a row physical fitness took its toll although Ed Ridley and Harry Sexton are deserved of a mention, Ed scoring 13+1 even though racing from the outside grids 4 out 5 times and young Harry thoroughly justifying his team placement collecting 11 points.
Kesgrave Panthers 84 Hellingly Lions 76
Pat Kruger 18+2 (5r), Gary Brown 17 (5r), Torsten Jolly 15 (5r), Steen Jolly 10+2 (4r), Ray Pyke 8+3 (5r), Charlie Beaton 7+1 (3r), Steve Hammond 6 (4r), Charlie Parr 3 (1r), Pheobe Hammond DNR
Neil Hollebon 18+1 (5r), Martyn Hollebon 13+2 (5r), Ed Ridley 13+1 (5r), Harry Sexton 11 (6r), George Morley 11 (6r), Steven Archer 10 (5r)
Sunday 28th July - Kesgrave Panthers v Hellingly Lions
After an extended break from racing due to the World Finals in Poland and the British Finals in Ipswich the ‘Lions’ were finally back in action at the Lower Dicker circuit with a challenge match against East London. The match was never going to be a hard-fought affair as most of the Londoners are the wrong side of 21 and like the ‘Lions’ desperately short of riders, which is mind-boggling as they are the only surviving team still racing in London. Nevertheless, it did present us with a golden opportunity to give some of our younger riders a taste of what team racing is all about.
It was debut time for Elliot Lower who is looking very quick in training sessions and the return to the saddle for Barry Geer on his brand new Polish bike. Harry Ridley was elevated into the top 6 with younger brother Sam named at reserve.
East London only arrived with six riders so it was agreed to loan them two riders for the day in an attempt to balance the teams. Lion’s riders Martyn Hollebon and Paul Edwards stepped forward raising a few eyebrows within the lions camp as this could make it very tough going!
On to the racing, East London won the coin toss and chose to go off gates 1&3 in the first heat.
Richard Austin took the win with the Lions pairing of Harry Sexton and George Morley taking two laps to sort themselves out and Mike Woodley struggling at the back for the Londoners resulting in 5pts each for both teams.
With the larger than normal crowd of supporters already making themselves heard it was baptism time for Elliot Lower and the returning Barry Geer for the Lions. Tapes up and four riders side by side into the first bend just doesn’t work with Elliot being the unlucky one to view the track at ground level. Nick Gunkell took the win for East London while being chased home by Barry Geer with Dave Hughes content to roll round for the four laps for third place. The Londoners were now two points up 9-11 with a few jittery nerves starting to emerge in the Lion's camp.
The guesting Martyn Hollebon easily defeated the Lions pairing of Eddie and Harry Ridley with the second guest of Paul Edwards looking slightly out of his depth in heat 3.
Heat 4 was the second outing for Elliot and Barry and with only 2pts separating both teams things got a little twitchy at the tapes. Whilst under starters-orders, Barry on gate 1 and Richard Austin (EL) gate 2 both moved. Because the match was only a challenge fixture, a restart with all four riders was allowed by the ref but the decision was met with a vociferous outburst from some spectators, but was all meant and taken in good heart and added to the atmosphere. The re-run was won by Richard Austin (EL) with Barry and Elliot filling the minor placings for the Lions and Mike Woodley (EL) still trying to master the tricky Hellingly circuit.
Race no 5 produced a battle royal but did require a re-run. Harry Sexton and George Morley for Hellingly with Nick Gunkell (EL) were having a fair old scrap when at the back Dave Hughes tangled with the safety fence on the back straight and fell. The race was stopped and re-run with Dave Hughes allowed back in maintaining the sporting aspect. After two hectic laps and the lead changing several times, Harry Sexton eventually took up the reins and raced away for the win. Dave Hughes claimed second spot with George Morley riding a clever race forcing Nick Gunkell to accept last place.
Finally, after that 6-4 heat advantage, the Lions were now back on level terms with the score chart now at 25pts each.
Heat 7 was a maximum heat win for the Lions, as was heat 9 with both races involving Martyn Hollebon guesting for the Londoners. Both races were close run affairs with Martyn no more than half a wheel adrift at the finish bringing up the interval and the scores 49 to 41 to Hellingly.
The second half began with much the same enthusiasm from both teams although Hellingly now had the upper hand with an 8pt lead, all the races were vigorously contested even though the match was slipping away from the Londoners.
At heat 15 with just the nominated to go the scores were Hellingly 81 East London 69 so both teams elected to give the younger team members a ride. For Hellingly it was the Ridley brothers Harry and Sam and for East London it was guest Paul Edwards and Elliot Austin. Predictably Harry Ridley took the win but was chased hard by Paul Edwards all the way to the line with Sam coming home in third spot. The heat result was a 6-4 for the Lions with the final score Hellingly 87 East London 73.
To sum up the meeting was raced in a wonderful sporting manner and even with the score showing a 14 pt win for the Lions the racing was in reality, far closer. At the start the home team certainly did not predict that margin and would even go as far as saying a possible defeat was on the cards. The crowd were entertained and showed their appreciation. Of course it's many thanks to the boys from East London for making the trip to the East Sussex raceway and playing their part in the match. As for the debutants, I’m sure Elliot, Paul, Harry and Sam all learned a great deal from the experience. For Barry, can't fault his effort but lack of fitness was evident in the end. Ed and Jim did a solid job as usual, with George having his best meeting for some time. Harry Sexton's performance was somewhat surprising (having not trained for a few weeks), but was top scorer with paid 18pts.
Harry Sexton 15+3 (5r), George Morley 17(5r), Elliot Lower 12+1 (5r), Eddie Ridley 12 (5r), Harry Ridley 10+2 (5r) Barry Geer 10 (4r), Jim Cox 9+2 (3r), Sam Ridley 2 (1r)
East London 73
Richard Austin 17+1 (5r), Martyn Hollebon (GUEST) 14 (5r), Dave Hughes 12 (4r), Paul Edwards (GUEST) 10+1 (6r), Nick Gunkell 8+1 (4r) Kevin Smith 3 (2r) Mike Woodley 4 (4r), Elliot Austin 2 (2r)
It was a very warm welcome to the Lower Dicker Circuit for the Hawks from Hethersett with clear blue skies and blazing sunshine for this the final league encounter for both teams in Div2. For Hethersett, it was just the completion of their league fixtures, whereas for the Lions it was a must-win encounter to secure the runner up spot which would bring the most successful season of racing for some considerable time. The team strength of the Hawks was very much on the mixed side with the experienced Glyn Morgan and the ever-improving Paul Delechie looking to be the mainstays of the side with their latest asset in Charlie Lythe making his first visit to the Lions den. For Hellingly it was a return to the side for Steven Archer with Martyn Hollebon named at reserve in an attempt to produce closer racing. Harry Sexton is now on board his brand new Polish bike, albeit with a couple of slight differences to what he has been riding.
The Lions won the coin toss and it was no surprises when they chose gates 1&3 in heat 1. First up was Steven Archer and Barry Geer for Hellingly with Paul Delechie and Katie Adams out for the Hawks. Tapes up and with all four charging into the notorious 1st bend things got a little untidy resulting in both the Hawks coming to grief and falling. The race was stopped and re-run with all four riders to which this time Steven Archer took the win quite comfortably with Barry Geer content to sit in third spot for an opening 6-4 to the Lions.
Heat 2 had Glyn Morgan easily fending off both the Hellingly pair from gate 1 and looked well in control for two laps. Unfortunately, on the exit of the pit bend lap 2 Glyn slipped off with the pursuing Hellingly pair of Jim Cox and George Morley quick to take advantage and go on to record a maximum heat win. It was to become apparent the reason for Glyn's fall was that his chain came off and consequently failed to finish the race gifting the home side with a 7-2 score.
Heat 3 had debutante Charlie Lythe looking very quick for Hethersett as he easily gated across Harry Sexton and going on to win at a canter with the home pairing having no answer and content to share the race to bring the scorecard to 18 -11 to Hellingly. After just three races it has to be said the track surface was far from its usual condition with the first bend resembling a ploughed field and cutting up badly with the shale deep and loose requiring some attention.
Heats 4 & 5 were both won by the rider coming off gate 1 with track conditions not conducive to close racing and Hellingly stretching out a 9 point lead.
All was to change in heat 6 with Paul Delechie leading from the start off gate 1 with Ed Ridley pushing hard on Pauls back wheel for 2 laps with Harry Sexton tucked into third spot, but not looking completely at ease on his new bike. At the first bend lap 3, Ed performed a truly masterful manoeuvre to pass Paul cleaner than the ref's whistle on the inside and raced away to the flag sending ripples through the crowd saying how did he manage that? Great stuff!
Heat 7 produced a massive 7-3 advantage to Hethersett with Charlie Lythe taking his second win with the shrewd use of their reserve Dave Adams following him home.
Heat 8 was won by Glyn Morgan, again off gate 1 with Charlie Lythe winning heat 9 after getting the better of George Morley and Jim Cox to bring the scores at the interval to Hellingly 48 Hethersett 41.
After some extensive track-work and watering racing resumed at heat 10 with Barry Geer and Ed Ridley coming to the tapes for the Lions, Glyn Morgan and Paul Delechiefor the Hawks. Glyn had the favoured gate 1 and promptly took the upper hand looking every inch the winner for 2 laps until Barry for the Lions really dug in and found some extra speed to ride a wide line at the pit bend going around the outside of Glyn to earn an unexpected 6-4 heat advantage.
The following race was an easy 7-3 maximum from the moment the tapes went up for Hellingly to take the score to a comfortable 13 point lead with 4 races remaining.
With the Hawks refusing to throw in the towel, heat 12 produced a somewhat surprising 7-3 maximum to them courtesy of the still unbeaten Charlie Lythe and once again shrewd use of their reserve Dave Adams. More drama was to follow in heat 13 with an untidy first bend resulting in three riders getting tangled together, the referee stopping the race and called for a re-run with all four riders. With the in-form George Morley on gate 1 and expected to take the win, there was no panic in the Lions camp, that is until the tapes went up. Disaster struck when George Morley's handlebar grip came adrift leaving him stranded at the start allowing the Hethersett pair of Paul Delechie and Glyn Morgan to race away for a gifted 7pt maximum to bring the Hawks to within 5pts of the Lions.
The following two heats were both 5-5 drawn heats both won by a Hethersett rider. Heat 14 was won by Dave Adams taking his third ride at reserve to remain unbeaten by an opponent and Heat 15 was won by Charlie Lythe to give him a five ride maximum score 20pts. This was a superb effort from someone in their first season of racing and to add insult to injury four of his five rides were from the outside starting grids. The scorecard now read Hellingly 77 Hethersett 72, which meant providing all riders completed the nominated heat 16, the Hawks could not win the match. Martyn Hollebon and Harry Ridley were the chosen pair for Hellingly, suggesting there was an element of safety in mind. Paul Delechie on gate 1, Lewis Smith on gate 3 for Hethersett with Harry Ridley gate 2, Martyn gate 4. To be honest, no-one in the watching crowd expected Martyn to be beaten with his vast knowledge and experience of the circuit. Unfortunately this was not the case as Paul out-gated Martyn and rode a clever 4 laps to keep him at bay and take the race win. The heat score was a drawn 5-5 bringing the match to a close with the final score of Hellingly 82 Hethersett 77.
Overall it was a close-fought contest with good and bad luck to both teams. Hellingly won on the day with a solid team performance, while no-one being outstanding, but all doing their bit when needed. On the other hand, Hethersett were by no means outclassed and can take pride in having two riders unbeaten by an opponent. Dave Adams with 3 rides at reserve, but easily the star was Charlie Lythe with a five ride maximum. This was the second time Charlie has gone unbeaten when racing against the Lions scoring 23 +1 (6 ride paid max) also in the league match at Hethersett. It was 2 league points to Hellingly cementing the runner-up spot, with Ipswich defeating Kesgrave 89 - 60 at Kesgrave the league campaign is now completed.
Steven Archer 14+1 (5r), George Morley 14+1 (5r), Eddie Ridley 13+2 (5r), Harry Sexton 13+1 (5r), Barry Geer 11(4r), Jim Cox 8+2 (4r), Harry Ridley 6+1 (3r), Martyn Hollebon 3 (1r)
Charlie Lythe 20 (5r max), Paul Delechie 19 (6r), Glyn Morgan 13+1 (5r), Dave Adams 10+2, (3r) Katie Adams 5 (4r), Nigel Longlands 5 (4r), Lewis Smith 5 (5r)