Report by Steve Hodgkinson of Birmingham CSC
Round 6 of the series took us into picturesque Wales and the always welcome arms of all at Underwood.
On our arrival it was the Scottish duo of Chic (via Edinburgh) and Ian who were first arrivals after a 3PM start on Friday!
The 40's had a low turn out of 8 riders resulting in a 12 heat format being utilised. As I didn't fill out a 40's programme I will go from memory and programme.
It was the Brummie Welsh wizard Mark Winwood who was hungry for victory with 3 race wins, dropping his only qualifying point to Mr Hollebon.
The track had a bit of rain late on but as always provided plenty of grip although a slippy patch on the 4th bend caught out 50's leader stormin Normin whilst chasing, Venson confirmed after the race that the reigning 50's champ was indeed correct!
Anyway back to the youngsters.
The size and set up of the track always makes things a bit of a leveller as big hitters were dropping unexpected points as it proved when the heats were run it was Horspath rider Andy Johnson who made the top 4 resulting in a well deserved A final appearance. Winny earning a gate 1 in the A with series leader Marchant alongside him in 2, Johnson 3 and Hollebon 4 and that's how the race finished. Northumbrian man Jason Keith the man who will be the most disappointed. A gate 2 B final with Whitehead on 1, Wenn 3 and Ridley 4 saw him make a decent start however a drift to far off the inside line see him slip to the back in an instant. A hard battle with Ridley saw the Lion hold on for 3rd.
9 over 50's plus 2 60's saw 11 riders take part in our senior category in a 20 heat format.
Hemming took a valuable opener off gate 2, with form men Venson and Frith taking the next 2. Frith and Hemming adding another 4 points in the next batch of races and by the halfway stage no one was unbeaten. Frith and Venson on 11, with Timms and Hodgkinson joining Hemming on the 10 point mark. Hemming pulled an advantage on rival Hodgkinson in heat 14, passing the Brummie on the 2nd bend. Frith had 2 more 2nd places and had to fight hard for those points, whilst Venson won his final heat along with 2 further wins for the Wednesfield man booked his place in the final however quiet man Paul Timms went about his business following a 2nd place in heat 1 to finish off with 4 wins, including a vital heat 20 whilst Hodgkinson and Frith battled bruisingly for the remaining points.
Timms amassed 19 points to get an A final grid one, Venson alongside him with Hemming on 3, Frith 4. Venson took one pop at Timms on the opening lap but the Birmingham rider was tucked tight to the white line. Frith made a tough but fair pass on Hemming on the 2nd lap but Phil was back on his bike to complete the race.In the B it was Newport hero Colin Simmons take the win from the inside under huge pressure from Hodgkinson with Glover nipping away at both too.
In the 60's it was a straight shoot out between Chic and Brian. Chic beating Brian in the heats and held for 4 laps in the A final with Brian close enough to clip his back wheel a couple of times.