IOW 32 Sittingbourne 29 Cradley 29
Aggregate: IOW 96, Sittingbourne 81, Cradley 74, Plymouth 30.
The Isle of Wight Wightlink Warriors were crowned the inaugural Nora No Brakes Racing League Champions at the Smallbrook Stadium in Ryde last night as they held off the attentions of close rivals Sittingbourne and Cradley in an entertaining meeting that produced one race time that was the fastest at the circuit since April 2017.
That rip-roaring race win went to up-and-coming GB starlet Freddy Hodder who was representing Sittingbourne on the night, his time of 68.0 seconds eclipsing the previous recent best of 68.3 seconds set last summer. Hodder (who featured in the race of the night with Warriors Ben Morley in heat 12) alongside Kiwi Jake Turner were in great form for the Crusaders registering six wins out of ten and with just a little more backup could have caused an upset.
Sadly, Plymouth were missing from this closing round having encountered rider availability issue and absences also hampered Cradley who were forced to use the Rider Replacement facility for Paul Starke (van breakdown) and brought in Mickie Simpson to cover for Andre Compton who was a late withdrawal. The bulk of the Heathens scoring came from Young Lion Ben Trigger who recorded 17 points from a marathon seven ride stint with Simpson and James Laker also battling bravely over their six outings.
And so to the Warriors, themselves stripped of flamboyant Aussie Brayden McGuinness stranded on the Continent, who brought in local racer Morgan Williams. He didn’t trouble the scorers but provided strong off-track support to his other three team mates whose solidarity was enough to get them over the line. Ben Morley, Arran Butcher and George Congreve have been ever-present in the series and their great teamwork has been the cornerstone of the Warriors success in bringing The Michael Richardson Memorial Trophy to Smallbrook.
Co-owner Barry Bishop was clearly thrilled with a night of super racing from the main event riders, the youth contingent and the Flat Track racers as he said,
“I’m absolutely delighted that the Wightlink Warriors have secured the first Nora No Brakes Racing League crown and it’s a bit like a fairytale really. The riders are the real stars of our show and deserve great credit because they have worked together with Steve Piper to overcome a few hiccoughs along the way and have come out on top.
I’d also like to say thanks to the management and riders from Sittingbourne, Cradley and Plymouth. It has been a collaborative effort between the four of us and I hope we can improve the product even more for 2024 and a word for Roy Barton at NORA Motorsport who has been behind us every step of the way and whilst thanking people I must mention our amazing team of volunteers who beaver away behind the scenes and on race day to ensure our patrons have the best value for money experience possible.
Wow, it sure feels good right now”.
IOW: Ben Morley 13, Arran Butcher 10+2, George Congreve 9+2, Morgan Williams 0.
Sittingbourne: Jake Turner 13, Feddy Hodder 12, Nathan Hargrave 2+2, Jason Garrad 2.
Cradley: Ben Trigger 17, Mickie Simpson 7+1, James Laker 5+4.
Image courtesy of Ian Groves/Sportography shows the Wightlink Warriors receiving their league winner’s trophy (The Michael Richardson Memorial Trophy) from Kay Richardson of M & K Racing. Left to right Morgan Williams, George Congreve, Ben Morley, Kay Richardson, Arran Butcher and Team Manager Steve Piper.