Amazingly our first full team outing (maybe the only one?) of 2018 saw eleven of us make the trip to our great friends Hull CSC for the first leg of this Challenge match on a dry but windy and very cold Sunday afternoon, 29th April 2018. Amazing because we found it difficult or indeed almost impossible to gather even half a dozen of us together for winter and springtime training.

With our last Northern League season proving a real flop and indeed a hard one to complete, Hull came to our rescue to offer us a pair of meetings to keep our old wheels rolling, and we are eternally grateful to Andy Schofield and his good people for that.

Anyway, a bit of fairly harsh cajoling by me managed to persuade our newest local hope Jordan Smith to make his first trip away from Cramlington, and with Clubman of the Year for the past four seasons Andy Knowles making the trip down from Teesside as well as Durham-based newbie, Norwich CSC’s Josh Herring, these three bunked up our numbers to a very surprising total.

Somehow we managed to arrive under the shadow of the Humber Bridge with 15 minutes to spare after a frantic dash down the A1M/M62 at crazy mph following a catalogue of disasters with the pickup arrangements for Dan and Paul Thompson. Crossed wires (or more likely duff info from me!) meant THREE trips from my place to Cramlington before they were finally located meaning we didn’t leave Newcastle until 10:45 am for a 1:00pm start!

It was nice to have our Secretary Keith Dyer along for this one to spice up the conversation up and down the North East, we’ve missed his dry wit and encouragement since October.

We simply dumped all of our 11 names onto the programme to share out the available rides as much as possible for the first match, Keith, Shane and Josh having to leave early so not taking part in the second.

The match produced some great racing and a few surprises, most of them for Josh who earned an exclusion for “perimeter riding” and came undone twice doing the same thing. While it was great for his partner it wrecked his own chances of the score he should have achieved, but I think he still enjoyed himself on his debut in a Vikings shirt!

Jason was his usual reliable self and the rest of the team plugged away to run Hull pretty close at the finish in a match raced sportingly, especially amongst the more mature competitors!

hull 20181

The second match saw Hull fielding more youngsters who were up against it facing the bigger and older visitors but once again there was plenty of keen racing as the Vikings ran out winners. Great to see my old pals Barry Ashton and Rich Pawson flying around the track again and holding back the tide of time!

hull20182

Massive Thank You to the Hull club for agreeing to this meeting.