It’s a busy week at the Wightlink Warriors track at Smallbrook Stadium in Ryde with two meetings scheduled on Tuesday (2nd August) and Thursday (4th August) with some great action expected from both.
First up on Tuesday will be the second staging of the NORA British 500cc Championship sponsored by Ashmore Chartered Surveyors. Reigning title holder Jason Edwards (pictured) from Essex will be back to defend the crown he captured last year in a dramatic Grand Final race-off and his rapid progress in the sport this season will see him start as the rider to beat.
Trying to halt his progress will be some Island track specialists in the shape of Henry Atkins and George Congreve, however a lot of attention will also focus on Lee Complin, the Geordie lad back racing after a ten-year sabbatical, whose all-action style will be ideally suited to Smallbrook’s wide open spaces. Other riders expected to feature in the meeting are Warrior’s skipper Danno Verge, Kelsey Dugard, Arran Butcher, Scott Campos, Archie Freeman, Rhys Naylor, James Laker and Jamie Sealey.
Integrated into the 500cc Championship races will be the third and final round of the NORA Women’s British Championship sponsored by Jason Waring. Scores from Tuesday nights racing will be added to the totals from rounds 1 and 2 with the top four scorers overall progressing to a ‘winner-takes-all’ Grand Final for the first ever Women’s British Championship. At present Taya Thirtle is just one point ahead of Katie Gordon at the top of the standings and both are looking good for a Grand Final place, however most eyes will be on current third place rider Steph Whitlock who lives on the Isle of Wight and who has developed her skills via the ‘My First Skid’ speedway school based at Smallbrook. A podium place would be rich reward for her commitment and dedication to master a discipline that was new four years ago.
Tuesday evening promises to be quite a night with TWO British Champions being crowned.
Then on to Thursday evening and the second Handicap meeting of the season this time kindly sponsored by Mark Cooper IFA @Truly Independent. For those unfamiliar with this style of racing, riders are graded according to their racing statistics with handicaps of 15 or 30 meters taken by the ‘better’ competitors who must use their speed and experience to catch and pass those in front of them. These races always produce some edge-of-the-seat action and super entertainment, and this time looks to be no different with several of Tuesday’s riders back in action with the addition of super quick Connor Coles and ever reliable Tom Woolley joining the meeting.
Add in a six-heat development challenge match affording the up-and-coming riders more competitive track time, it all adds up to being another busy time at the Warriors home.
As usual, the stadium opens at 17.15, the rider briefing (open to all) is at 17.45, pre-meeting demonstration races start at 18.10 ahead of the main event at 19.00. Warrior speedway nights are family friendly occasions with old and young catered for in clean and pleasant surroundings. Full information on the club website www.warriorsspeedway.com or via Facebook ‘Wightlink Warriors Shale Track Racking Club Isle of Wight.’