The Eurovets series rolled into Newport for Round 5 on Saturday. A rather disappointing turn out with 18 in total saw two draws with nine mixed groups in each. With only four over 40s, it meant they all made the final, so points in the heats determined grid positions. Mark Winwood went unbeaten to take grid one whilst Jason Keith won round 2. Winwood continued with a clean sweep in the final.
Over 40s Result
Mark Winwood 25, Jason Keith 23, Martyn Hollebon 22, Paddy Wenn 21.
The 60s had six fighting for final places. Aris (12 in group 1) and Prince (13 in Group 2) led the way into the final with Aris drawing grid one which proved vital in the end with a tapes to flag win under constant pressure from Prince, who was also under pressure from Kirkup.
Over 40s podium from the left; Mark Winwwod (Lost it), Jason Keith (Teeth missing), Martyn Hollebon (Blunt), Paddy Wenn (Virgo Intacto).Pictures: Daniel Wharrier.
Yes of course, it's which shavers they use!
Over 60s Result
Mick Aris 25, Bob Prince 23, Terry Kirkup 22, Fred Rothwell 21, Pete Sadler 20, Jim Graham 18.
The Cool Dudes, aka OAPs: Terry Kirkup, Bob Prince, Mick Aris, Fred Rothwell
The 50s were dominated again by Birmingham riders. Steve Hodgkinson scoring 14 in group 1, whilst Paul Timms was back to his brilliant best with 15 points in group 2, both went direct to the final and crucially Hodgkinson picked grid 1. There was a 4 man race off for the last 2 places which saw Coventry man Joe McLaughlin and home man Colin Simmons join the pair in the final. There was a further B final race for points also, won by Prince. In the final Hodgkinson made no mistake to secure the win whilst Timms maintained 2nd, with Simmons third.
Over 50s Result
Steve Hodgkinson 25, Paul Timms 23, Colin Simmons 22, Joe McLaughlin 21, Bob Prince 20, Mick Aris 18, Kevin Grieves 17, Ray Pike 16, Terry Kirkup 11, Pete Sadler 10, Jim Graham 9, Paul Matthews 8.
The Middle Agers: Steve Hodgkinson, Paul Timms, Colin Simmons, Joe McLaughlin
This was a weird one! With plans now well established and the pattern followed annually, the start time for the Welsh round is set for 11:00 am to allow the riders plenty of time to get up to Cardiff should they wish to attend the annual British Speedway Grand Prix there which now starts at 5:00 pm, a great idea and a real enabler for enthusiastic speedway supporters who happen to be cycle speedway veterans.
Somehow today this wasn't enough to encourage the expected hefty turnout to the Newport track with a devastatingly low figure of just FOUR Over 40's competitors turning up. That of course meant mixing all three age groups which is never ideal and can lead to anomalies in the GP points totals for some of the regulars which is a real shame. It was even more surprising knowing how many of the expected non-arrivals were indeed in Cardiff for the GP anyway!
So, something of a disappointment numbers-wise made the event feel a little flat, but that didn't stop the keen activity continuing on track, and very smoothly on a hot and breezy afternoon, thanks to the diehard Newport support staff and their riders.
Series points leader and surely class favourite Mark Winwood was so fast today, a good half straight at least ahead of the opposition, that I doubt if any of the absent 40-plus folk could have stayed with him. Behind Mark there was still a lot going on, Martyn Hollebon looked quick if not quite with the flair he showed in 2014, with Jason Keith flying the Northumbrian flag. And once again Mr Winwood led the charge of Midlands Marauders with Steve Hodgkinson and Paul Timms heading up the Over 50's "A" Final ahead of local and indeed World legend Colin Simmons making up the podium.
Stevie really is on fire this year as he chases his first Over 50s title very keenly. Teammate Paul Timms also looks to be regaining his customary speed, particularly in his defeat of Over 40s contender Jason Keith as his leg injury continues to improve, so we should see a great scrap for this crown over the final four rounds. Once again Coventry's Joe McLaughlin provided plenty of determined excitement and maybe a few bruises along the way while Kevin Greaves and Ray Pike were always in the mix. Paddy Wenn had a few fast charges but tired due to a previous bout of exercise. To make it a clean sweep for the Midlands a flying again Mick Aris made full use of his grid one to take the Over 60s with Bob Prince chasing, these two dominating the mature class this year.
Just a word of solace for poor Eddie Ridley, the Hellingly rider arriving here ready to go as he always is, only to crick his back while lifting his racing gear or himself out of the car!
The Newport track looked pretty slippery in the afternoon sun, baked hard with a very loose skin from whatever racing took place on it before Saturday, but it rode well thanks to the banking and generosity of the bend radii. The staging club damped it down a few times during the meeting and it never became a problem for the riders, and of course it looked superb. It also felt very fast unless the lack of sleep and long travel just made it seem that way!