PRELIMINARY DATES CONFIRMED – posted 8 January 2013
Dates for the British team cup preliminary rounds have been arranged as follows:
19th May - Southampton v Birmingham
19th May - Edinburgh v Stockport
BRITISH TEAM DRAW – EXCITING MATCHES IN PROSPECT – posted 4 January 2013
The British Team Cup preliminary round has conjured up two intriguing ties.
Stockport travel to Edinburgh in what should be an exciting match while Birmingham face a tricky match at Southampton. These matches will take place before 19 May, on a date to be agreed by both teams.
The winners will go on to contest the first round proper. If Birmingham win at Southampton, they have plum home draw against West Midland rival Wednesfield.
The full draw is
Pre Qualifying Round – to be run before 19th May
Edinburgh v Stockport
Southampton v Birmingham
First Round – Sunday 16th June
Birmingham or Southampton v Wednesfield
Bury v Ipswich
Edinburgh or Stockport v East Park
Exeter v Horspath
Hethersett v Sheffield
Hull v Poole
Newport v Norwich
Swindon v Leicester
Quarter Finals – Sunday 14th July
Semi Finals and Final – Sunday 8th September at East Park, Wolverhampton
“WE DID IT FOR ROBYN” – posted 17 July 2012
A drained and emotionally charged Geoff Gamage dedicated Horspath’s victory to team manager Robyn Carter who is seriously ill in hospital.
"It was brilliant match, a great advertisement for cycle speedway from the first match to the last match” Gamage told the cycling media.
“This victory was very special for Horspath. Our manager Robyn Carter is seriously ill in hospital and we won this for him. We managed to speak to him a couple of time during the match so he knows how the match was progressing and the team are taking the cup to him later tonight, so today has been quite emotional for us all.
“This is the third time we have won the title but this is a special time for us. The last time we won it was in 2009 against Wednesfield which I think was one of the best cycle speedway finals ever but today was a credit to every team who competed."
HULL HOST A MASTERPIECE – posted 17 July 2012
While on track the British team finals produced some thrilling racing, behind the scenes the organisers will be quietly satisfied with their efforts.
Hull put on an event worthy of the championship’s status. Not only did the track look immaculate with its freshly painted fence and brilliant white edges, but the circuit itself was perfectly prepared. Hessle’s irregularly shaped bends and undulating cambers always provide a challenge, even for the most gifted rider and certainly provides the spectator with plenty of thrills and spills.
Trackside marquees, one of which emblazoned with the club name, hosted a wonderful display of pictures and press cuttings of Hull cycle speedway past and present, while another housed the sponsors, The Co-Operative Funeralcare, an unlikely marriage between the vigours of on-track youth and the inevitable journey we all must finally make. To augment the company’s fittingly sober but equally tasteful stand, was a limousine. For a small donation, spectators were invited to guess the mileage with all proceeds going to the Neurology Ward at Hull Royal Infirmary.
Carol Ogden, representing the sponsors, Co-operative Funeralcare, presents the magnificent trophy to Horspath skipper Mark Boaler
The track side barbecue was during a roaring trade and the ladies in the canteen were working tirelessly to keep up with what seemed a continuous stream of customers. The programme was really excellent, professionally produced, colourful and informative. The public address system was crystal clear and the starting gates worked without a hitch.
So congratulations to everyone at Hull for contributing to a first class and thoroughly enjoyable day.
RUDMAN FOR ENGLAND – posted 17 July 2012
One of the stand-out riders on team finals day was Horspath's Shaun Rudman. His performance in both the semi-final and final didn’t go unnoticed. Although he may not enjoy the status or profile of Mark Boaler and Steve Harris, he certainly caught the attention with his speed, determination and controlled aggressive style. After his performance at Hull, it’s not surprising that some supporters are taking up the cry "Rudman for England".
CHAMPIONS OR WINNERS? - posted 17 July 2012
What a crying shame that cycle speedway's movers and shakers have removed the BTC’s championship status by substituting the bland wording British Team Knockout Cup. Technically speaking Horspath are no longer the British Team champions but rather the British team knockout cup winners. Not the same is it!
Pity too that the Cycle Speedway Commission has downgraded the event below that of the club championship. Unlike the club championship which is primarily about participation and club development, the team championship us about competitive excellence and purist team racing.
The two competitions are complementary and on par with one another. The team championship shouldn’t play second fiddle.
So come on gentlemen of the Commission. Do the right thing and reinstate the title British Team Championship. Then Horspath can try truly called the British Team champions instead of merely the knockout cup winners!
Editors Note - Team championship or knockout cup? What do you think? Does it matter? Should the BTC have lower status than the Club Championship? Was a mid-season final a good idea? Lets hear your views. As always our Viewpoint page is open for your comments on this or any other cycle speedway matter.
HORSPATH TRIUMPH AFTER EARLY SCARE – posted 16 July 2012
After despatching arch rivals Wednesfield in a keenly contested semi-final earlier in the day, Horspath were odds-on favourites to see off the challenge of Leicester and regain the British team title they last won 2009. In reality nothing could be further from the truth.
Inspired by the brilliant riding of Adam Peck and the driving force of skipper Kev Burns, the Monarchs came close to causing one of the biggest upsets in years as they rattled the all-star Hammers. By the halfway stage the Monarchs looked set to snatch an implausible victory.
Amazingly it took the Oxford side until heat ten before they took the lead. From that point onwards, with their noses in front and calmness restored, Horspath moved into top gear in the second period before easing to a well deserved 93-81 victory in a wonderfully entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable match.
There were fireworks from the start. In the opening race, seasoned campaigner Lewis Bates was leading the field when, going into the pits bend second time round, he was caught napping by an amazing burst of speed by two-times national champion Phil Howells. As the two clashed (pictured above), Howells ended up in an untidy heap. Referee Mike Hack adjudged that Howells had been floored, literally, by Bates’s trailing leg and the Horspath rider was ushered back to the puts. First advantage Leicester!
The second race produced a great piece of cycle speedway action. In a classic first bend manoeuvre, Dan Pike out-foxed Steve Harris (grid one) going down the back straight to notch what turned out to be Pike’s only race win of the match.
There was more explosive action in race four when firstly Carl Jarvis was excluded for boring. Then in the re-run, Lewis Osborne got his marching orders for not giving Phil Howells racing space on the outside, leaving Howells to beat Mark Carmichael in a two-rider match-race. 16-19 to Leicester.
Shaun Rudman produced a piece of determined brilliance when he went round a tiring Jason Ashford in race five. Then came an amazing heat six as Dan Pike swept inside a startled Chris Osborne. Surprised by the move, Osborne immediately mounted a counter-attack but was disqualified for ramming Pike in a real crash-and-burn, no holds-barred race.
Pike looked it great form, so it was ironical that he should feature in a critical heat nine, the last before the interval. With Leicester four points to the good, Pike was comfortably leading the field (see pic above) when he unaccountably fell, his front wheel sliding away from him on the notoriously difficult fourth bend (see pic below). His untimely error gifted Horspath a 7-3 as the teams went into the interval all square on 42 points apiece but more poignantly it seemed to inspire the jolted Hammers. In the second period they were a different team.
Immediately after the break the Hammers rattled in a well-worked 6-4 through Shaun Rudman and Mark Boaler to give Horspath the impetus and more importantly the lead for the first time in the match.
Leicester rallied briefly in the next race to retain the status quo at 52-all when the brilliant Adam Peck and trusty skipper Kev Burns sandwiched Errol Thaw into second place after Steve Harris fell while leading, a rare occurrence indeed!
The turning point came in heat 12 when the Lewis boys, Bates and Osborne won a 6-4 from the outside gates. Suddenly Horspath’s tails were up. Now they sensed victory. The momentum continued when Boaler gated Howells from the outside in the next race before Horspath deliver the coup de gras.
Sadly it was home favourite Adam Stephenson, riding in the colours of Leicester, who was innocent villain. Sitting comfortably second on a track he knows like the back of his hand, Stephenson unexpectedly slipped off on the pits bend. The sigh of horror was audible from the Leicester crowd. The game was up.
The resultant 7-3 gave Horspath a six point lead with four races to go. Somehow you simply couldn’t see the Hammers, now in full flight, letting this one slip against a visibly tiring Leicester. And so it proved.
In the last race of a wonderfully entertaining match, all blood, sweat, excitement and passion, Horspath finished in style, their trump card last race pairing of Steve Harris and Mark Boaler doing what is always expected of them, finishing on a 7-3 to give the Hammers a thoroughly deserved if slightly flattering twelve point victory, 93-81.
Tracking Mark Carmichael and Shaun Rudman as tactical reserves, bringing them in as regular replacements for Errol Thaw and Chris Osborne, proved tatcticall brilliant. After recovering from their first half fright, Horspath looks a different team in the second period, a combination of quality riding blended with a couple of unforced errors on Leicester’s part were telling factors in the end.
Every Hospath rider played their part whether leading from the front or providing the supporting roles. The Oxford were solid throughout the order especially in the second period when they provided six of the nine race winners. When they weren’t taking the chequered flag, the Hammers cleverly packed the middle order, to such good effect that only on three occasions during the 18 heat match did a Horspath rider finish last.
For Leicester Adam Peck (pictured above) was simply sensational. 38 points out of a possible 40 in the exalted company speaks volumes for the somehow still under-rated Suffolk-based rider. On this dazzling form on tracks he knows too well, Peck could be among the British front-runners when the Euros visit his native county next month.
Despite being gated by Boaler, Phil Howells also impressed with 16 hard-earned points. It was a mixed day though for Dan Pike and Adam Stephenson. Both sprinkled brilliance with too much dust!
Team racing, the domain of the purist, classically divides itself into a race of two halves - the front pair battling it out in a race for the chequered flag while at the back of the field, several yards from the main action, the support act are embroiled in an equally important battle for the all-important third places. This time-honoured scenario was acted out time and again, not just in the final but throughout the day, testing the referees’ visual dexterity as well as their match control.
Sadly a great day’s racing was tarnished when rival supporters, some of whom had been constantly goading each other, clashed. Reports suggested that blows were exchanged, actions which if proved founded, once again illustrated the unruly, unwelcomed element we have in cycle speedway..
Mark Boaler 17, Shaun Rudman 15, Mark Carmichael 14, Lewis Bates 14, Steve Harris 14, Errol Thaw 8, Lewis Osborne 8, Chris Osborne 3
Adam Peck 19, Phil Howells 16, Adam Stephenson 11, Jason Ashford 9, Dan Pike 9, Craig Marchant 8, Kev Burns 6, Carl Jarvis 3
Referee: Mike Hack (Greater Manchester)
WEDNESFIELD GIVE HAMMERS A FRIGHT – posted 16 July 2012
Wednesfield knew they would have to be at their very best if they had any hopes of defeating all powerful Horspath in the semi-final of the British team cup. Sadly for their loyal supporters who had travelled to Hull by coach, the Aces struggled to win races, managing only two heat wins all morning, which proved to be their downfall. In contrast Horspath did what they always do well, winning from the inside gates and consolidating from the outers.
From the moment when Gavin Wheeler fell unchallenged in heat five, bringing down Steve Harris in the process 9see picture above), you somehow sensed this wasn't to be Wednesfield's day. It was a glaringly unforced error that would have killed lesser teams but Wednesfield, to their credit, bounced back, wily Lee Aris using all his team-riding skills to bring through Scott Doherty for an unlikely 7-3 from the outside grids.
This inspirational riding from Aris (see pic below) coupled with solid support from Ben Mould and Chris Jewkes, returning to something like his best form after a broken scaphoid, kept the scores tight at the interval – Wednesfield 43 Horspath 45.
The scores remained tight until heat ten when Wednesfield extended their lead to four points (52-56), thanks to Shaun Rudman and Lewis Bates. Rudman, riding the match of his life, was involved in another race win in the fourteenth, this time combining with Mark Boaler for another important 6-4.
The curtain finally closed for Wednesfield in heat 15 when Gavin Wheeler, having an uncharacteristic Jekyll and Hyde meeting, hit Chris Osborne’s back wheel full-on, fell and was disqualified after being lapped. To be fair to the Southampton star, he was riding in unfamiliar equipment after his and father Colin’s bikes were stolen from the Wheeler family garage.
Semi Final A
Lee Aris 18, Chris Jewkes 14, Mark Griffiths 12, Ricki Johnson 11, Ben Mould 11, Scott Doherty 8, Gavin Wheeler 7, Matt Haddock 3
Steve Harris 18, Sean Rudman 15, Mark Carmichael 13, Lewis Bates 12, Mark Boaler 11, Lewis Osborne 10, Chris Osborne 7, Errol Thaw 6
Referee: Mike Hack (Greater Manchester)
LEICESTER TOO STRONG FOR GALLANT IPSWICH – posted 16 July 2012
In contrast to the cut and thrust of the first semi-final, the second qualifying round was a much more sedate and predictable affair. Leicester simply had too much firepower, knowhow and strength against a young, relativity inexperienced but game Ipswich side.
Leicester started like a whirlwind, rattling off race after race win against a distinctively nervous looking Ipswich side. By heat six the Midlanders were already 15 points up. To be truthful a rout looked on the cards but to their credit Ipswich fought for every point and made a match of it although the outcome was never in doubt.
Their gallant young team was regularly muscled out by a physically stronger, certainly more experienced Leicester side. Time after time the Suffolk youngsters were 'bullied’ at the first turn as Leicester squeezed and left them for dead.
Ipswich will be both disappointed and encouraged by their performance. Fielding a team of largely home-grown talent, in itself something of a rarity in modern-day cycle speedway and handicapped by an injury to Richard Williamson , they competed well but simply didn’t have the strength or guile of their experienced opponents.
If Ipswich can keep this young, clearly talented squad together, they will certainly be challenging for national honours in the near future. In Lewis Roberts and Ashley Hill they have two of the brightest young prospects in the game - names to be reckoned with in the years ahead.
The only downside for Ipswich was the irresponsible antics of club captain Leon Mower who, following an incident in heat 17, verbally abused referee Knowles, earning the troubled rider a yellow card and his team a four point penalty.
Semi Final B
Adam Peck 19, Adam Stephenson 18, Dan Pike 17, Phil Howells 12, Jason Ashford 11, Craig Marchant 10, Carl Jarvis 7 Kev Burns 6
Josh Brooke 15, Jamie Chittock 12, Lewis Roberts 12, Ashley Hill 11, Leon Mower 9, Ian Grange 8, Jordan Stant 6, Richard Williamson 3
Four points deducted because if yellow card to Leon Mower