Round four of the Bickers Lifting/Stebbings Car Superstore sponsored Eastern Centre Junior Championships were held at the Wattisfield Hall circuit, in Suffolk on Sunday, hosted by the busy Diss club.
The hardpack circuit was in prime condition with over 160 riders competing over four groups. Following timed practise, the fastest forty riders made up the championship races, and the crowd witnessed some great, closely fought action. With lots of young up and coming riders competing, they were expected to dominate proceedings, but 44 year old Matt French, had other idea's. The Sudbury club veteran won all three races, riding brilliantly to hold off the young opposition.
Race one saw French leading, chased hard by Northampton teenager, Ethan Etheridge, Ryan Powley, Max Bickers and fifteen year old Will Farrow. French opened up a sizeable lead, leaving Etheridge to fend off a strong challenge from Farrow to claim second place. Bickers rode well for fourth, with veteran John Hinz moving through the pack to take fifth place at the finish.
London teenager, Daniel Sultana, briefly led race two, but French was soon in charge, although Sultana kept him honest throughout the whole race. Chris Lake held third place for a couple of laps, until Etheridge managed to pass him. The experienced John Hinz once again rode well to claim fourth at the finish, followed by Bickers and Lake. Series leader, Jack Youngs, worked hard to finish in 7th place.
French stormed to the front in race three, once again chased hard by the 17 year old Sultana, leaving Bickers, Powley, Farrow and Lake disputing third place in a hectic closely fought battle. Etheridge had to fight hard to climb up to 7th place, but unfortunately the race was stopped after ten minutes, for the medics to attend to a fallen rider.
Overall victory went to a delighted Matt French, followed by Sultana, Etheridge, Bickers and Farrow. With two rounds remaining, Jack Youngs still leads the series on 197 points, but Max Bickers has now moved to second place on 189 points, with the exciting young talent from Bury St Edmunds, Will Farrow, now in third place , on 165, just one point ahead of Norfolk's Ryan Powley.
In the supporting B group, overall victory went to Ryan Gardiner, riding his Honda to two wins and a second place. Newly married Robert Baldry was second on the day, and Luke Nolan's two second places, plus a 7th, was good enough for third overall.
The C group winner was Jack Whitlam, riding for the local Diss club, with two wins and a fifth place. Second overall was hotly contested between Scott Blazey, Luke Clifton and Bradley Allen, and in the D support group, veteran Hertfordshire's Steve Bottoms took overall honours, from Andy Webster, and former Ipswich Witches speedway rider, Shaun Tacey. Tacey had earlier led race one briefly, before crashing, but a third place in race two, followed by leading Bottoms home in the third race, ensured him of third place on the day. Lady racer, Anna Groves, rode consistently all day for 6th overall.
Photos by Andy Waters (click on an image to enlarge)