So we arrived at the Northern League's final outdoor meeting of the year at a sunny but cool Gin Pit Village, Astley & Tyldesley, Wigan on Sunday 11th November. Remembrance Day.
We were down to four riders for this one, no real surprise there, but fortunately Gavin Parr didn't have a motor speedway event arranged for today so he made his third appearance for the Vikings in this end-of-season Northern Fours competition and even managed to up his game from previous rounds. Unfortunately having no reserve meant we all had to take our scheduled four rides each, and with skipper Jason Keith looking jaded at the previous round and Shane Gray and Terry Kirkup struggling with the youthful opposition at every round so far, we could have been up against it right from the off. However, the "off" was something special with all but Tk winning their first races from our grid twos! What a start that was, but Jason slipped up in heat 5 after leading to bring Stockport level. Gavin kept up the pressure in the seventh following Stockport supersub Jake Read home before Terry and then Shane were left trailing in the next two.
Stockport now had a seven point lead which they were to close out with but behind them was a right old scrap for second place. Somehow Gavin, Jason and Terry collected 20 points between them in their last two races to ease away from Bury and snatch an incredible second place on the day, also giving them fourth overall for the series from seven entered sides. Poor old TK started suffering flashbacks to the Vikings superb runner-up spot in the British Veterans Club Championship a few years earlier, and strangely enough the trio were in the Vikings squad that day too, while Shane had enjoyed a bronze trophy in the same event the previous year so got his own silver medal today to square things up!
A staggering performance by a team with an average age of some 52.5 years against the opposition's 18 to 20! While recognising that there was a lot of tactical racing going on between Stockport and Bury to secure the overall title today this will still go down as one of our proudest ever moments in the Sport.
Just a quick word for Referee, Bury's Neil Howarth who did a fine job here.
It's a shame that the victorious Stockport lads didn't have a trophy presentation in front of all the assembled clubs and onlookers who I'm sure would have wanted to express their congratulations and applaud deserving winners, but maybe that was something to do with the host club not reaching the Grand Finale in front of their own supporters.
A memorable day in more than one sense.