Soft, Strong and Very Long…

No, not the old Andrex® toilet paper advert but the inaugural Will Burns Testimonial Pairs event at Leicester on Saturday 31st August!

Soft because it was all so very warm and cuddly amongst the gathered Cycle Speedway fraternity, but only until the whistle blew for heat one.

Strong because that was the nature of the competition throughout the day (and night!) whenever the fast lads met each other.

And Very Long because – it was!

Two semi-finals, the first kicking off around 1:30pm and the second around 5:00pm or later with 8 pairs having 7 rides each followed by the Final with the same requirements. So 14 rides each for the lucky ones, certainly better value than normal for the travelling time. That's 81 heats plus a few re-runs!

The competition was fierce with plenty strong moves and a substantial number of falls throughout due partly to the dry and clean but still slippery surface and the sheer determination and speed of the riders, some of them straight out of retirement to honour Kev’s dad Will Burns, instrumental in Leicester’s enviable success story. It was manifestly staggering to see the ensemble of past and present Leicester riders gather for a group photo before the Final started, all of them or the vast majority being Champions of our Sport at some level. Photo Les Brewin

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Ultimately though, while a Leicester victory may have looked odds-on pre-meeting, it was the Horspath pairing of Daniel Harper and Lukasz Nowacki who claimed top spot ahead of favourites Kev Burns and Craig Marchant with Norman Venson and Dave Frith completing the podium.

Some excellent racing amongst the Elder Statesmen of short track racing and I’m sure they’d all like to do it again if it becomes a fixture at Slater Street but maybe over a much shorter timetable?