The much-anticipated Nora No Brakes Racing League got underway yesterday (Sunday) at the Iwade track in Kent. Presenting speedway to a new audience using the Warriors tried and trusted meeting template was played out in front of an enthusiastic and appreciative crowd.
In a packed programme, races featuring experienced riders, up-and-coming trainees, youth group skidders and the cute pee-wee triers were meshed seamlessly together in a value-for-money 36 heat format.
The main event in the league competition saw four teams of four riders going wheel-to-wheel in leg 1 of the tournament and after 16 heats of elbow-to-elbow action, the Warriors were able to see off the sustained challenge of Cradley, Sittingbourne and Plymouth to secure a four-point advantage to take into leg 2 which will also be held at Iwade on 4 June.
Isle of Wight 32 – Ben Morley 12, Arran Butcher 9, Rhys Naylor 6, George Congreave 5.
Cradley 28 – Alfie Bowtell 10, Tom Spencer 8, Chris Widman 7, Chris Watts 3.
Sittingbourne 22 – Tom Woolley 9, Brayden McGuinness 7, Sam Woolley 3, Jack Kingston 3.
Plymouth 14 – Luke Harris 7, Ben Trigger 4, Alex Spooner 3, Patryk Daniszewski 0.
The Warriors score could have been even better had it not been for never-say-die Kiwi George Congreve losing his steel shoe mid-race or Rhys Naylor taking a heavy third race tumble. In fact, it was a tough afternoon for Naylor who blew a newly serviced engine after his first race and is now looking at another hefty repair bill. Top scorer for the Island side was Ben Morley with a maximum and an immaculate display of starting and passing on a track where he has been a regular in the past. He received solid support from Arran Butcher who bagged two wins in a total of 9 points.
Integrated into the main event was an eight-heat training match between the Isle of Wight Wizards and Weymouth Wildcats. These lesser experienced riders certainly didn’t hold back, suffering one or two tumbles along the way, but with no serious harm resulting it was the solid Dorset side who took a deserved win.
Isle of Wight Wizards 20 – Eli Meadows 11, Morgan Williams 6, Harley Freeman 3, Daniel Lee 0.
Weymouth Wildcats 28 – Nathan Hargrave 10, James Laker 7+1, Sam Peters 7, Vinny Smith 4+2.
Also integrated into the programme were 8 heats for riders in the youth category who leapt at the chance for track time and experience. Three regulars from the Island’s training school ‘My First Skid’ joined the action. Lady racer Tia Brant was excellent recording three race wins and gaining a whole new fan club as the sole female rider on track! Charlie Southwick again showed his undoubted potential, and his points return belied the effort put in whilst Charlie Green on an unfamiliar track, took an alarming fall but in true Warrior fashion was soon up on his feet charming everyone with his cheeky smile.
Scorers: Charlie Prior 11, Tia Brant 10, Joseph Brice 9, Charlie Southwick 6, Adam Sidyk 5, Charlie Green 2.
Finally, the pee-wee races were a delight, each rider taking four outings and showing that there is plenty of future potential out there.
Scorers: Oscar Berwick 12, Mason Dunn 7, Isaac Berwick 5.
After the meeting Warriors co-owner Barry Bishop said,
“What an excellent day for the Wightlink Warriors and everyone connected to us. It was marvellous for our club to be part of this historic fixture and I must say thanks to all those who have been working tirelessly to get the No Brakes Racing project up and running.
Our team manager Steve Piper has been confident that the league title is coming across the Solent and the boys out on track certainly showed enough to suggest that his aspiration could well come true. Ben was majestic, Arran got better and better, George did everything expected of him on a new track whilst Rhys soldiered on after an afternoon of very mixed fortunes.
It was also good to get the Wizards some valuable track time on a circuit that is very different to Smallbrook and the same goes for our youth riders who had a great time learning to adapt to a much smaller track.
All in all, a great start to our season and we look forward to our next meeting back here at Iwade on 4 June”.
Image (courtesy of Steve Hone) shows Warriors team manager Steve Piper ‘hitching a ride’ with team member Arran Butcher.