Ipswich retain under-16 title
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Eagles retained their British U16 title with a commanding performance at their home Whitton Sports Centre track on Saturday.
Waltzing through the semi-final, the Ipswich youngsters took their time in the final, before grabbing the meeting by the scruff of its neck midway – and seeing off Poole, Sheffield and Hellingly – for a fine triumph.
Three of the team – Richard Fellgett, Daniel Knights and Matt Hill – were part of the squad that won this British U16 title last season.
And their experience proved crucial on Saturday as time after time they either shot from the front, or passed with ease, all three picking up double figure scores throughout.
But they needed some back up and they found it in Ben Harvey and the youngest member of the squad Pierce Bacon.
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Harvey was quite brilliant in the semi-final, showing some neat racing on his home track, while Bacon belied his young years up against physically stronger riders, he held his own as Ipswich won at a canter.
On a blustery afternoon the first semi-final saw Poole and surprise packets Hellingly squeeze into the final, but only after Exeter gifted Poole second place, with under-13 British champion Will Tidbull falling while leading an early heat.
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Ipswich were on next in the second semi-final and with the crowd behind them won the first eight heats of the meeting to be on 32 points at the half-way stage and certain qualification to the final, where they were joined by Sheffield.
The final itself managed to dodge the showers and Ipswich, starting off the outside gates, were happy to keep parity with other teams, before they made the most of the more-fancied inside grids and began to turn the screw.
Hill was a star with some breathtaking gating, while Knights came from the back to pass two riders in his opening race after slipping at the start and Fellgett put the nail in the oppositions’ coffin when he gated round Poole No.1 Aaron Smith just after the interval.
Harvey had already done well and there was time for Bacon to make an impression with a fine second place in his opening ride of the final.
Ipswich had the meeting sewn up with three heats to go as the home crowd lapped it up, singing along with the National Anthem and cheering their side to victory.
More importantly, Ipswich picked up 25 points towards the British Club Championship to determine the best club in the country – a title the Eagles are the current holders of.