Neil Magee reports on our final NL away fixture of the year: pictures by Linda K
Sunday 12th October
BURY v NORTHUMBRIA
Northern League Division 1
A tough day this one for the Vikings, the hosts a solid and consistent team, with the visitors relying heavily on a fast starting Jason Keith and the ever spectacular Gavin Parr to keep their heads above water as Bury continually racked up the wins. Michael Parr had a nightmare, falling out with the track early on and falling off his bike often, with even Terry Kirkup joining in the big get off shenanigans, the supervet's 'grasstracking' failing to pay dividends as he responded to a big shunt from Comets team manager Neil Howarth late on, then going down again in a first bend pile up in his last ride. Bury look a team to watch out for next season, their young squad developing very well indeed with Chris Parish and Ben Scranage now backed up by a quartet of young flyers in the shape of Ramsden, Owens, Elston and Taylor, none recorded a max but got stuck into the Northumbria top duo throughout in what was still a competitive and enjoyable match.
BURY: Ben Scranage 18+1, Chris Parrish 16+2, Will Owens 17+1, Danny Taylor 15+1, James Elston 14+1, Kris Ramsden 12+2, Neil Howarth 8+2, Will Thacker 6+1
NORTHUMBRIA: Jason Keith 17, Gavin Parr 17, Michael Parr 8, Dan Redshaw 8, Terry Kirkup 7, Daniel Wharrier 6+1, Neil Magee 4, Andy Knowles 4
Northern League Division 2
Bury's impressive James Elston and Danny Taylor started where they left off in the first team match, again very fast as they both rode unbeaten, good backup being provided by young Adam Turnbull and a steady riding Will Thacker as they pulled away to confirm the win. Neil Magee ended up top scorer in reply for the Northumbrians, largely down to some superb first corners from the ever crafty Andy Knowles, with Jim Graham also providing good back up in the penultimate heat. Dan Thompson made another trip away with the Vikings, he part of the future hopefully for the north-east club and finishing with a strong chase of home youngster Louis Turner which resulted in the newcomer gaining the advantage late on as the Bury rider was forced into an error and a fall, all were ok though in what was another enjoyable encounter in the north-west sunshine, a welcome change from the downpours of previous fixtures between these clubs at Goshen.
BURY: James Elston 20, Danny Taylor 18+2, Will Thacker 14+1, Steve Mann 13+1, Adam Turnbull 10+1, Louis Turner 8
NORTHUMBRIA: Neil Magee 16, Dan Redshaw 14, Daniel Wharrier 11, Andy Knowles 10+4, Jim Graham 9+2, Dan Thompson 7+1
We could have done with Mark Mulvey's first bend strength today but with a succession of slips and falls by just about everyone except Jason we were never going to get near a brilliant home squad which has matured exceptionally well since we started visiting again just two years ago. Once again our lack of regular top-class competition and that crazy summer layoff showed and it was a real struggle for most of the Vikings.
Unfortunately a real old morning downpour had left the surface a bit tricky even after extensive (though fairly high-speed!) tyre packing, but that said of course it was the same for everyone and while eight riders coped well, another eight weren't so clever.
I was a little disappointed not to offer stronger backup, pulling away from a couple of inside challenges after being in good scoring positions, and the exclusion I suffered for grasstracking left me not only battered but baffled. If two riders are side-by-side and one heaves the other onto the centre green at high speed, what should the fouled rider do? If he pulls up, or slows down and rejoins behind the others after looking like a winner is that a satisfactory outcome or do we want the fastest riders to be successful? I suppose bent rules are better than none.
The Division Two match was much more competitive and an enjoyable spectacle with our younger lads racing where they need to be for a while longer. Andy Knowles was outstanding for his team with his usual offering of rear-guard action for Neil, racing on his new ex-Mick Knowles Mielec. Four different bikes in the last four matches, is this a record?