Everyone at the Wightlink Warriors Shale Track Racing Club would like to wish our volunteers, fans, sponsors, and riders the most joyous of festive seasons and an incredible New Year.
2022 was certainly a year to remember with so much happening at Smallbrook Stadium. Once again, we took the sport by the horns in a bid to promote speedway the Warrior Way with champions-a-plenty, fantastic on track action and super team and pairs racing. None of this would have been possible without our wonderful volunteers and the backing of our incredible sponsors.
It was also a season of firsts for us too. The very first NORA British Women’s Speedway Championship in association with Jason Waring and coordinated by Alan Critcher, led to some great races and a new champion. Katie Gordon won the three-round contest with Taya Thirtle in second and Islander Steph Whitlock in a deserved third spot. 2023 promises expansion of the competition and I am sure another hotly contested championship.
Then there was the Freelance Installations NORA British Upright Championship coordinated by Lee Coleman consisting of two highly competitive qualification rounds and a fascinating grand finale. The winner of a thrilling final was the brilliant Mark Simmonds, with Wayne Broadhurst and Darren Phillips joining him on the podium. I am sure that the whole nation is looking forward to 2023’s Freelance Installations British Upright Championship.
The Ashmore Surveyors NORA British Open title was another highlight, retained by the classy Jason Edwards, who really turned on the style to go unbeaten all night – posting the fastest time of the season in doing so. He was joined on the podium by Henry Atkins and George Congreve. Will Jason make it three on the bounce in 2023, well we will all have to wait and see.
The inaugural Michael Richardson Team Trophy was won by Cradley who came out on top after three top rounds of team speedway. The ARH Heathens team managed to pull off the win despite the sterling efforts of Weymouth and the Wightlink Warriors. The Warriors for sure will be looking to do better in 2023 and despite a great second round performance, finished third overall.
The Foxbury Motors NORA Island Master Series coordinated by Ben Ilsley once again saw the Grass Track riders bring their machines to the shale in another wonderful three round series. With the innovative inclusion of handicapping, it was ever-present and always pushing Arran Butcher who topped the table with Harry Gent and Dave Hammond also on the podium. It was another top series and produced two laps of speedway between Henry Atkins and Arran Butcher that will be in our memories for a long time. What will 2023 bring, well more of the same and the chairs too.
Mark Cooper sponsored the second US Style Handicap meeting and the Pairs meeting. Both produced some of the best racing of the season with Handicap meeting delivering a totally unforgettable six rider final, which even though it resulted in a crash for George Congreve, produced yet more super island racing. The first US Style meeting was won by Henry Atkins with George Congreve and Danno Verge also on the podium. This kind of speedway is a real crowd pleaser, and we look forward to more of this in the years to come.
The Pairs meeting received plenty of plaudits saying it was the best meeting of the year. A meeting that allows rookie team managers to take charge of their pair for the night. This year it was won by the Surrey Sliders in the shape of Danno Verge and Kelsey Dugard – almost scripted to be a thrilling final that enabled Danno Verge to end his speedway career on a high.
The ever-present reminder of the wonderful Vince Mapley, saw his memorial meeting won by Connor Coles with Arran Butcher and Ben Morley also on the podium.
Plus, the wonderful efforts of the Wizards and Warlocks, the flat track teams, youth riders, pee wee’s and 500cc dashers all made for brilliant on track action. All the bike action was complimented by plenty of kid’s activity pre-meeting, half time races, great atmosphere, wonderful welcome, and overall, a brilliant season.
Finally, I must extend extra thanks to our fantastic team of volunteers, without you all we are just a stadium. It is you who all make the difference and everyone at the club appreciates it.
We now look forward to a new year and a new season. We appreciate we operate in tough times and will do our absolute best to formulate a program of value for money family entertainment and cannot wait to welcome you back to Smallbrook Stadium