Northern League Match Report by Neil Magee

Sunday 21st June 
Northern League

Division 1
NORTHUMBRIA 81
HECKMONDWIKE 67

With Heckmondwike arriving missing two key riders, Pawel Idziorek and Jake Wood having other commitments, they had little chance of troubling the home side too much, the Vikings able to gain revenge for their own defeat at Firth Park on the opening day of the season. Andy Knowles made a winning start as the stand in team manager for Northumbria, while it was also pleasing to see Shane Gray make a Div 1 debut and producing a fine six points from his three outings. There was plenty of good racing and thankfully this time no controversy, as Darren Kent and Terry Kirkup rode out a true thriller of a gentleman’s contest, Kent taking a late one on the line as the two veterans showed just how good racing can be when riders give each other respect rather than barging each other all over the track? Gavin Parr meanwhile knocked out another max, Jason Keith however losing out in his final ride as Adam Watson gated and team rode and impressive Richard Wells home for a consolation 7-3 to the Saints in the final heat.

NORTHUMBRIA: Gavin Parr 15+1, Michael Parr 13+1, Jason Keith 13+1, Dan Wharrier 12+2, Terry Kirkup 11+1, Dan Redshaw 8+1, Shane Gray 6, Andy Knowles 3+1
HECKMONDWIKE: Adam Watson 17+1 Darren Kent 15+1, Richard Wells 12, Mick Knowles 11+2, Justin Naylor 7, Tom Whitwam 5

Division 3
NORTHUMBRIA 35
HECKMONDWIKE 41

Tom Whitwam went through the card unbeaten, while it was honours even between William Naylor and Archie Freeman as three of Division Three’s top northern stars battled it out for the league points. Freeman produced a tremendous outside pass and charge to the line at the close of heat 1 to defeat Naylor, but inside advantage worked in the Heckmondwike junior’s favour next time they met. Lower down the order Lee Redshaw was consistent with four 2nd places for the Vikings, but the extra rider for the young Saints proved worthwile also, Bella Naylor picking herself up bravely after a fall to make sure her points counted, while Harvey Wells enjoyed his races with home captain Lewis Petre.

NORTHUMBRIA: Archie Freeman 15, Lee Redshaw 12, Lewis Petre 8
HECKMONDWIKE: Tom Whitwam 16, William Naylor 13, Harvey Wells 8, Bella Naylor 4

Division 2 Challenge
NORTHUMBRIA 32
HECKMONDWIKE SELECT 47

Justin Naylor took four wins to show just what a strong rider he would be if Heckmondwike rode at Div 2 level, something they surely must consider next season. Also helping out the ‘select’ was Glenn Parr as he made his comeback to the sport having previously lost confidence following a double collar bone break after an impressive start to racing. Shane Gray top scored for the Vikings, continuing his own increasingly competitive comeback, with Paul and Dan Thompson backing up, Liam Robinson however needing to get his own mojo back after a recent crash it seems. Tom Whitwam and William Naylor sealed the win coming in as late reserves for a 7-3, they also showing they would be more than competitive in Div 2.

NORTHUMBRIA: Shane Gray 12, Paul Thompson 9, Dan Thompson 7+2, Liam Robinson 4
HECKMONDWIKE: Justin Naylor 16, Andy Knowles 11, Glenn Parr 7+2, Mick Knowles 6+1, Tom Whitwam 4, William Naylor 3+1