2019 VETERANS – PREVIEW
It’s incredible what can happen in nine years, Great Britain’s Tai Woffinden has won the World Championship three times, the first to win the top prize for Britain since Mark Loram in 2000 and the only British rider to complete a treble at the pinnacle of the sport. Greg Hancock sealed his fourth world title at the ripe age of forty-six, an incredible achievement for the American whose popularity in modern Speedway is unrivalled. On the downside, Britain has lost seven tracks to the history books (Eight including Rye House) since the Veterans started, hopefully, a trend that Speedway will put right.
In a time when turbulence in the sport is constant and sometimes overwhelming, the history and grandeur of British Speedway must shine through. So much talk amongst Speedway has revolved around the merging of the two professional leagues to make one British league, similarly to the late nineties. At present more than twenty riders are doubling up with two clubs, meaning Britain is desperately short on young talent to fill team spots that would be created in a single division.
Lydd Speedway has been a constant throughout these times, slowly expanding and improving the facilities and providing that all important first step into motorsport for youngsters. With this in mind, it’s imperative new riders, and supporters understand the sports rich history, something the Veterans Championship embraces. It’s a celebration of ex-professionals and non-league riders, coming together to ride on bikes old and new amongst friends, family and supporters young and old. Saturday we welcome back lot’s of familiar faces, a whopping fifty-five races are scheduled to take place across the three classes and the ‘Falcons of Tomorrow’ youth class supporting the main event.
Robert Ledwith won’t be present to defend his Four valve crown due to league commitments with the Kent Kings, last years runner up Tim Curnock will be up for taking the top prize while Dean Felton and six times winner Gary O’Hare will also be favourites. The two valve riders will compete in the same heats as the four valve, but scores will split into the two classes at the end of the night, Graham Knowler is the favourite after completing his fourth consecutive win last season, fifth overall. The laydown class is hard to call, 2018 champion Martyn Smith isn’t in the line up this year, but Mike Osborne and Will Little are back, having both claimed rostrum places in 2017 and 2018 they will be staking a claim on the top prize. In between the main event, there will be twelve youngsters riding in the Falcons of Tomorrow on 125cc machines.
The Line Ups
Falcons of Tomorrow
Reece (Surname TBC)
The weather forecast is looking superb for Saturday, some warmth but with a bit of cloud cover to stop the glare for the riders and a northeasterly breeze to stop spectators getting dusty!
Mark Bryant is taking orders for his Pie, Mash and Liquor with vegetarian options also available. If you’re coming down, please support him and place your order now, it’s open to riders, mechanics, helpers and spectators! Call 07508-071067 to order now. After the racing we will have a presentation for the riders, everybody’s welcome to eat, chat and enjoy a little music in the twilight. Jenette will also be serving bacon rolls, hotdogs and drinks before and during the meeting, it’ll save you having to find a takeaway on the way home!
Riders Breifing is at 3.30pm, Engines Start: 3.45pm, Tapes Up: 4pm
Michelle Rideout (MSR Photography)
Simon Pearce (2wheeldemons.com)