Hethersett work overtime to host British U19 Championships
- Credit: Archant
Hethersett Hawks/Swinton & Co had to put in a tremendous effort to ensure that the British U19 Championships, sponsored by Haart estate agents, could go ahead after overnight and morning heavy rain had flooded the circuit. However, pumping water from the efficient drainage system allowed the event to go ahead and, although it was heavy going in the qualifying heats, the track was near perfect for the final.
All the major contenders plus the two home riders, Olly Riley and Olly Buxton, made it through the qualifiers and the final lived up to expectations with some furious and physical encounters that kept referee Terry Ashford busy. Some favourites fell foul of the rules which dented their chances and Hethersett's Olly Riley was well to the fore despite having to desperately hang on to a second place for three laps with a rear-wheel puncture.
After only a third place in a difficult fourth ride he needed to win his last outing. He was up against the two competition leaders and they proved too strong from the start. Still 14 points was enough to give him a creditable equal fourth place. One point ahead of him was Jack Lush from Stockport who stepped up to third place on the podium.
The top two finished on 18 points and a race-off was required to determine the title. Reigning champion Ricki Johnson from Wednesfield won the important toss for positions and he rode a cagey race to keep Ipswich's Charlie Rumbold at bay.
The Suffolk rider tried a last ditch dive at the last corner but Johnson held firm to retain his title and receive the winner's shield from Haart's Elton McQuire and proudly wear the British Champion's jersey.
Olly Buxton was always in the action cheered on by the home support and he finished joint 11th on nine points. However, he can look back on a successful week as he was crowned Norfolk champion in midweek after totting up 20 points out of a possible 24 in a highly competitive and entertaining final at Spixworth. Olly Riley, the 2013 champion, was runner-up after a fall in his fourth ride dented his chances.
Hethersett will be involved in the new Norfolk Intermediate Fours League at Eaton Park next Wednesday at 7pm.