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.