Wilson Winters Well
A very draughty but pleasantly bright afternoon, Sunday 19th March, saw the Vikings get their "real" racing season underway with this individual. Sadly missing a few bodies but still a good turnout this early.
Congratulations to winter returnee John Wilson on his capture of the Cramlington Crown Trophy today, this the season opener for the Vikings before the Northern League campaign which starts against defending Champions Edinburgh Falcons next Sunday, 26th March. (photo JP Colback)
John dropped just one point in his five races to surprise packet Terry Kirkup in his first race, the latter winning his first four before coming up against the also unbeaten 3-race winner Lee Redshaw and the somewhat unfortunate title favourite Jason Keith, excluded by Referee Neil Magee for moving at the tapes in his first race. That proved one ride too many for TK as he ran a third to Jason and Lee. The flying youngster was very unlucky to lose the lead to John when they met earlier in a great scrap otherwise the outcome may have been slightly different.
John missed the gate in his final race, both Shane and JP galloping away from the start and first bend to hold the potential winner back for a lap or two accompanied by loud cheering from the pits but he eventually made his way underneath Shane to top score. The resulting gaggle of close scorers meant the inevitable run-off, this time for second place between Lee and Terry, and what followed was a whole series of inside and outside passes lap after lap until our young star emerged victorious. A great scrap to end a very enjoyable meeting.
Co-favourite Dan Redshaw was again hampered by his knee problem, still awaiting a trip to the surgeon for a permanent fix, and his scoring was duly affected by that, his hardest races proving most difficult. However, as has been the case for our first three weeks back in action, every rider had his or her moment to shine in this one so well done to everyone.
Highlight for all of us must have been the unexpected appearance of our fabulous Travelling Man, Andy Knowles, once again dragging himself up from his Teesside home to get his season started, and he did pretty well considering he hadn’t been on the bike or even seen it since October last year!
Sam Stansfield and Samantha Crane had their own series of match races between heats of the main match and honours were just about even throughout after some good tussles and overtakes by both youngsters.
The whole of the "Old School Fraternity" (Jim Smith, Keith Dyer, Norman Carson, Ashie Patterson and Terry Kirkup) all turned out to either ride, watch or help out today, showing great support, dare I say love, for their Sport and their Club at the start of probably their hardest season since the early 1960s.
More second place run-off photos from the lens of Fearless Fotoman JeanPaul Colback
Maybe get a video up here later.