And so, after a little silly controversy on social media following Round One, we arrived at Stockport for the second phase of the 2018 Northern Fours with the same set of riders plus one addition to be greeted by a dull sky and the threat of rain. Not like Hull again, PLEASE! As it turned out, light drizzle started for Heat One and torrential rain arrived for the last 2 heats!

Joining us for the first time after his 2 year layoff was Gavin Parr and we hoped he’d give us a boost here as we joined the three top three NL sides after gaining promotion from the Hull event, the idea being one team up and one team down after each of the meetings.

It all looked good after Josh got away to a cracking start from the inside gate but it all went horribly wrong leaving the first turn as he slipped his pedals with some resulting discomfort and fell back to fourth. Next up Jason grabbed a good second, repeated by Gavin in the next and a lucky third for Terry after that, leaving us sat on a reasonable 7 points after everyone’s’ first rides.

Jason went on to start his other rides well but lose places by drifting too wide while Josh’s misfortune continued after some excellent starts, our Norfolk import easily having the pace of anyone else but perhaps not the fitness levels on probably the biggest Northern League track. Gavin performed better than I expected after his time away from the Sport and he was rewarded with our top score, while Shane provided the reserve backup we needed to replace tired legs when required.

We now resume our rightful place back down in Group B for Round Three at Bury in a fortnight.

Northern Fours League Group A match
Stockport 44: Louis Wright 11, Daniel Mason 6, Ben Higham 14, Jake Read 12, Ewan Ferreira 1
Astley & Tyldesley 47: Pawel Idziorek 15, Steve Harris 12, Mick Knowles 10, Kyle Holland 10
Bury 44: Kaysar Mohammadi 9, Danny Taylor 6, Adam Turnbull 10, Adam Taylor 14, Neil Howarth 5
Northumbria 25: Josh Herring 4, Gavin Parr 8, Jason Keith 5, Terry Kirkup 6, Shane Gray 2

Just a footnote, I'd like to mention a few other great performances form NL friends of ours, notably Heckmondwike's Tom Kent and loanee Lewis Foxley, Hull's Dan Teal and Jack Lister, and Sheffield's Kielan Burton and Laura Watson. It goes without saying that Andy Angell was again star of the show in Group B with some magnificent teamriding and massive personal effort.