Vikings Grand Finale delivers the Goods
Yes indeed, the Three Rivers encounter (see below), our final home meeting of the season, was a huge success with all four competing teams enjoying at least a modicum of success, although Northumbria missed their big hitter Jason Keith who was on international duty at Hull. With greatly reduced squad numbers available late season there had been some deliberation between Edinburgh's Stevie Gilroy, Glasgow's Andy MacDougall and Cramlington's Terry Kirkup regarding the best format for the meeting. Ultimately they chose Stevie's 24 heat, 4-man team option, a single match with all four sides taking part, team pairs racing in every heat. This proved more than satisfactory and on a glorious afternoon more than satisfied all who took part. Full report and pictures from the lens maestro George Swanson coming soon.
Final Home meeting - Three Rivers League
Sunday 24th September sees Glasgow and Edinburgh join the fray for the Three Rivers League. With Cramlington having already beaten Northumbria at "home" they now have to face the Scottish sides home and away. All three clubs (and all four teams!) are finding it hard to put out full squads this late in the season so we may see a few strays creeping into the line-ups. Racing starts at 1:00pm and if there's anyone out there who fancies trying our Sport then Sunday could be a great opportunity to experience real match atmosphere. All welcome, no age barrier, females and males race against each other. Current age ranges from 10 to 70.
Provisional Schedule for Sunday is now: Match 1: Cramlington 24th Sept, Match 2: Edinburgh 8th Oct, Match 3: Glasgow 22nd Oct.
Jason and Lee win Northumbrian Riders Finals
On Sunday 17th September we staged the Club Championship in reasonable weather and on a nicely dampened, very grippy track. Vikings Captain Jason Keith took his second NRC/TKT title but only after a hard first turn saw him escape the challenge of Lee Redshaw after both had stayed unbeaten until they clashed in heat 17. Daniel Wharrier finished third after a firm but fair display of power. Lee also claimed the Division Two title ahead of a quick Shane Gray, JeanPaul Colback and Keith Oldham, the latter three needing a run-off for the minor podium places. Full report coming soon.
Family Bike Night on Track
Northumbria Vikings Cycle Speedway Club is celebrating the Tour of Britain's visit to Northumberland by launching a new family bike night at their track at Sporting Club Cramlington this Friday 8 September at 6.30pm.
Friday Bike Night offers riders of all ages the chance to have fun on their bikes on the purpose built traffic free circuit. The first hour long session is free and is being run by NVCSC who have bikes and helmets for riders to borrow. Sessions continue every Friday 'til 13 October and cost £2 each. Riders need to wear long sleeved top and trousers.
Northumbria Vikings Coach Richie Smith said:
"Friday bike night is a great way for families to have fun on their bikes together. We had great feedback from parents and children at a taster event at the Tour of Britain in Blyth and we look forward to welcoming riders to our Cramlington Track."
A busy weekend looming for a couple of Vikings as first Jason Keith and Terry Kirkup head north o' the border to Glasgow for the sixth round of the Euro-Vets Grand Prix series, both in with a shout of a podium place come the last round at Leicester in October. Next day the Vikings visit our good friends Hull CSC for our final away Northern League match of 2017 and indeed our final Northern League match full stop after we took the decision to concentrate on rebuilding the Club in 2018 without the hassle of NL racing.
And finally, Richie Smith and Terry Kirkup will be manning the Club stall at the finish of the Northumberland stage of the Tour of Britain in Blyth Market Place on Monday, a long day expected from setup at around 9am. They will have a couple of bikes sat on turbo trainers to offer a lightweight distraction to any visitors they may get.
Thanks to some great work behind the scenes by Edinburgh's Stevie Gilroy and Glasgow's Andy Macdougall the Three Rivers League has been resurrected, or should I say saved, for this season. Dates for the rest of the matches (Northumbria have already raced Cramlington) are as below:
Northumbria race day 24th Sept - Cram v North, Edin v Glas, Cram v Edin, Glas v North
Edinburgh race day 8th Oct - Edin v Cram, Glas v North, North v Edin, Cram v Glas
Glasgow race day 22nd Oct - Glas v Edin, North v Cram, Edin v Cram, North v Glas
With the agreement of Edinburgh and Glasgow we may drop the Cramlington v Northumbria match set for 24th as we've already done that one. That will make it either a shorter day for everyone or we can run the reverse fixture, cancel the one due at Glasgow and make that one a shorter day! Keep watching.
Vikings do well in Euro-Vets
It’s rather fitting that in what amounts to almost a pure Veteran’s club which is exactly what we started oiut as in 2011, a trio of our oldest riders have had a very successful year individually. Skipper Jason Keith has ridden all over the place after receiving invitations to race for England AND Scotland as well as the odd individual meeting, and to cap a great season he made a late charge in the Euro-Vets Over 40s to snatch third place overall in the Grand Finale at Leicester on 14th October. Accompanying Jason that day were Ashie Patterson and Terry Kirkup, Ashie clinching fourth place overall in the Over 60s and Terry finishing second on the same points tally as the winner. What we really need is ten or twelve 14 year olds with the speed and skill of Lee Redshaw to get us where we need to be!
Disaster strikes Skipper
During our penultimate away trip of the Northern League season, Vikings Division Two Captain Andy Knowles was unfortunate to fall after a tussle with a Glasgow rider at Fife on Sunday 20th August. A trip to A&E in Dunfermline was first priority where a broken hand was diagnosed and patched up temporarily to get him home. This is a real blow for our ever-popular Clubman of the Year as well as a blow to the Vikings with an away match at Hull still remaining. We all wish Andy a very speedy recovery and hope it doesn't affect his work and day-to-day life too badly. Get well soon Andy.
A big defeat by Glasgow followed immediately by a good old thrashing at the hands of dashing homesters Fife Revolutions just added to the downbeat atmosphere for the Northumbrians, proving beyond any shadow of doubt they are unfit for Northern League competition these days, our Division Two side today being a virtual copy of our Division One troop. A good influx of talented teenagers is all that will generate an escape plan from the expected doom-laden future at the Sporting Club.
Vikings sign Polish duo!
Well, not exactly. However, father and son Szczygielski did turn out for our training stint on Tuesday 8th August and Dad clocked up some impressive lap times as the evening went on. There's not much chance of full-time involvement with the Vikings though, as he is actively involved in TK's midaircrisis.com mountain bike club! Ah, well.
Playtime Goes Well!
(see next paragraph for foreword) 12 youngsters turned up with the staff members from NCC's LIT for the first of these two planned sessions and did some timed laps followed by an individual match before wrapping up with a few more laps against the clock. It was then time to stage a couple of "Rider of the Day" races between the two littlest flyers who'd got progressively faster and faster as time went by, and what a show they put on, absolute daredevils the pair of them and extremely quick. Video is on Facebook but I'll try to get it on here soon too. Thanks Jim Smith and Norman Carson for your support today. Next session due on 16th August.
On Wednesaday 2nd and Wednesday 16th August from 10:00 am until 12:00 midday we will once again welcome Northumberland County Council's Leisure Inclusion Team as part of their Ability 2 Play series of events when we'll hope to provide the 8 to 19 year olds another chance to enjoy themselves on our trainer bikes. Terry has this in hand and would appreciate the help of a volunteer or three to make it as enjoyable as possible for those taking part and their carers, as we seek another successful pair of sessions to follow up last year's.
A shocking sequence of bad weather just about stopped any activity from 11th June 2017 when Hull were our Northern League visitors, there then being a very long gap in either training or racing for most of the Vikings apart from the away meeting at Edinburgh on 25th. With Sheffield due to visit Cramlington in the Northern League on 9th July the Elders were getting a bit worried about who'd be able to turn in four laps!
The only breaks to the sequence were Sam Stansfield's brave show in the NL Under 10s at Stockport where he finished fourth, and of course JP Colback, Ashie Patterson, Jason Keith and Terry Kirkup were at East London for the Euro-Vets between these dates. Otherwise no-one else has turned a wheel in anger for almost a month and with the track under water on Tuesday 4th July the imposed break was extended even further. Incidentally, well done indeed to Malcolm Douglas who continues to show up rain or shine when others are snuggling around the telly.
On the subject of the East London meeting, that's the one where JP discovered the value of an extra pedal turn into the bends and found himself ahead of two former British Champions!
In other news, Jordan Smith has had his original blue rear wheel rebuilt by Terry Kirkup and the bike given a facelift with a new chain and an overhaul. Jordan performed very well in the Northern League KO Cup at Northumbria and will be looking for more improvement with a few noises gone from his bike! Unfortunately he just doesn't get enough track time for any significant uplift to his form.
Another rider who probably gets less track time than most due to never travelling is young Lee Redshaw. Once the Great White Hope of the Vikings his progress has been completely muted by lack of competition and his form is likely to go backwards now, such a shame.
Shane Gray misses out on regular Tuesday evening training sessions now since his wife's work patterns changed, so that won't do him any good at all, while club treasure (yes, TREASURE!) Keith Oldham's new job also prevents his ability to train with the rest of the lads. Altogether a very bad time for the club just now.
New Sponsor for Vikings
A plan to introduce a new sponsor initiated by Secretary Neil Magee has borne fruit at a time when good news is pretty thin on the ground. (And speaking of that, don't expect the Astrodrome track to be in very good condition for at least the first month of the new season!). But back to the news - building maintenance company Davison Solutions of Whickham, Newcastle, have stepped forward with some welcome cash which will enable us to buy a set of new race jerseys so we can appease those who insist our current ones are pink! Look out for these around mid April if all goes well with the production.
On behalf of the Club I would like to thank Davisons heartily, and also Neil who worked hard to secure a deal.