There was no doubt about it. Hailsham based track racer Edward Kennett (pictured) was a class above the opposition as he showed no mercy to the other fifteen riders vying for the 2023 Nora British Upright Championship sponsored by Freelance Installations at the Smallbrook Stadium last night. Run over the traditional and popular twenty heat formula, Kennett’s five race wins were always several seconds faster than any other rider.
Delayed by a missed ferry crossing and only getting to the stadium ten minutes before the start time, Kennett who is very much a part-time racer these days, always had this meeting on his calendar as evidenced by his purchase of a GM engine specifically for this event and that investment certainly paid dividends.
The contest for second, third and fourth was a much keener affair with three riders tied on eleven points after four of their five rides and by a quirk of the draw Nigel Flatman, Ben Phillips and Wayne Broadhurst all came together to contest their fifth and final outings in heat 17. As expected, an exciting race followed with Phillips nudging through to the front to secure the race win and second spot overall, just ahead of Wayne Broadhurst and Nigel Flatman.
It’s worth mentioning that the upright engines used, some of a rare vintage, performed magnificently with only one failure in eighty outings on the night.
Edward Kennett 15, Ben Phillips 14, Wayne Broadhurst 13, Nigel Flatman 12, Dean Felton 11, Shaun Bickley 10, James Major 7, Graham Knowler 7, Keith Cornell 7, Max Broadhurst 6, Martin Stacey 6, Jon Freeman 5, Ian Leverington 3, Andy Hickman 2, Mark Anderson 1, Giles Dismore 1.
As part of the evening’s entertainment, four youth riders took part in five close fought demonstration races with Ryan Ingram showing up well with four wins only headed by Island regular Charlie Southwick.
The Training Challenge between the Wightlink Wizards and Junior Cradley Heathens went the way of the visitors 13-23 with two Cradley riders being unbeaten to lay the cornerstone of their victory. For the Wizards, special mention for Steph Whitlock who recorded her best score this year.
Wizards: Morgan Williams 5, Steph Whitlock 4+2, Harley Freeman 4, Anastasia Sallee 0.
Heathens: Nathan Hargrave 9, James Laker 8+1, Vinny Smith 4, James Jessop 2.
Pictures by Ian Groves / Sportography