Another extremely disappointing turnout for Round Two on an unbelievably beautiful day at Cramlington, but there were enough willing souls to at least give us a full programme which covered the entire spectrum of Cycle Speedway competition categories, from the very young James Vanner of Heckondwike, the supremely enthusiastic and ever-reliable Lucy Whitehead representing Women's racing and a couple of my new Glasgow clubmates Colin Gray and Jim Alexander holding up the OAP end. Unfortunately we have no water supply so apologies for a bit of dust being raised. Great how everyone handled the bone dry surface though, well done to all riders.

No doubt Fred Rothwell and Geoff Gamage were pleased as they only had one 16-person programme to deal with which allowed the action to get underway somewhere near the timetabled start. (nah, they'd have rather seen 3 full categories, I'm sure!). Fred did a great job on the horn as always with Geoff as my Pits Marshall, ditto.

Apart from the aforementioned participants I am very, very grateful to the Leicester club. They are and have been since forever (in my E-V time, at least) the backbone of the Series and I can't thank them enough for visiting the far flung North East again today. Equally, and in travel terms even more so, the fantastic efforts of Andy Yard, Stuart Marsh and Geoff Gamage to help make the day a success, a very long way from their homes.

My manual labourers on the day were stalwarts Norman Carson, Ashie Patterson and Michael Parr leaving me little to do but ride and share the reffing. Thanks lads. And thanks also to another retired Northumbrian Keith Oldham, whose efforts at his workplace managed to raise some very welcome funds for our Orchid charity, as did surprise visitor Jim Graham, my own CS hero from the 1960s who taught me how to gate decently (shame I've forgotten it all). Jimmy donated a pair of gold wheels and tyres to the cause and would have lumped in his full bike had I not snatched it first. An extremely generous offer, thank you Jim. My guilt will result in another donation!

Club-wise this meeting was our swan song as far as hosting anything grander than regional racing goes, we will not be organising any more such meetings in the future so I really do appreciate the support from those riders and others who made their way here today to help us celebrate, in a fashion, our last 12 years at Crammy.

The obvious disparity in abilities didn't really spoil the racing, there were still a good number of close tussles on track, but of course the clashes of the fast lads were great to watch. Uncharacteristically Kev Burns ran a last in his first outing after taking a hit from Mark Winwood which allowed a quick-starting Jason Keith to escape ahead of an ever- pressing Mark Whitehead for his first of five unbeaten rides, a brilliant performance by the Vikings number one.

While Jason's maximum may have been a surprise, the scoring of Andy Yard and Lukasz Kaczmarek was not, and these five, unsurprisingly, clinched the top scoring positions. With only three"genuine" Over 35s it was Andy's big score and crucially his win over Kev in Heat 10 that earned him grid 1 in the Final, but Kev made a cracking gate to lead and sprint away for the win, his third "A" Final win in three visits to the Astrodrome - a fairly decent record on a track not quite as straightforward as some. Lukasz got the better of Andy in their scrap behind the victor.


One step down, Jason had earned grid 1 for the Over 50s "A" Final, joined there by the two Marks and a lucky Oldie. However Mark shot off grid 2 to lead and Jason slipped leaving the first bend on lap 2 to see t'other Mark and TK pass him. The latter was "snuffed out" by the Birmingham man starting lap three (a heart-stopping moment, I can confirm) while JK did get through to third at the finish. Special thanks to Michael Parr for the video confirming what I just said!

As with the Over 35s there were only three Over 60s appearing, so a single Final saw TK hold off Jim Alexander and Colin Gray.

Our junior rider James Vanner took a bit of a tumble in his first ride but bravely shrugged off his leg injury and bounced back into action, while his Old Man Phil was involved in all of the day's best finishes with his never-say-die chases all the way to the flag. I must ask him what he takes with his water!

Sam Stansfield, his pal Jack Brownell, and Lucy Whitehead put everything into their respective races and while Sam beat Jack earlier, the scores were reversed in the Open Final with Lucy chasing hard to the flag as always.

So an OK day as far as hosting the meeting goes I suppose, although personally I'm very glad to get it out of the way. Too much stress for my youthful brain to cope with.but really we'd like to see a lot more bodies take part in the next five rounds.


Thank You to our sponsors, Les Gustafson and wife, a wonderful gesture which saved us a few quid when quids are a rare sight in a club with only 3 members.

The Programme

The Finals

Over35 Results

Over5060 Results