Wightlink Islanders skipper Nick Simmons scooped first prize in last night WPA Health Insurance Open Championship at Smallbrook to complete a top three finish for Islanders riders with Paul Starke runner up and Rob Smith third.
WPA Health Insurance the fourth largest medical specialist insurance company in the UK had local representative David Churchill on hand who presented the winners cheques £225 for Simmons, £150 for Starke, £75 for Smith and £50 for Todd Kurtz after finishing fourth.
The unluckiest rider of the meeting Jay Herne from Newport Hornets went through the card winner each of his qualifying heats and looked odds on favourite for the title until an untimely 3rd place in the first semi-final cost him a final place. With former Islander Brendan Johnson suffering a blown engine while warming his bike up resulting in the youngster withdrawing minutes before the parade. Warwick and Kurtz were also left to think what might of been if only their machinery problems had not arisen.
Simmons scored steadily through the meeting netting 8 points while Smith grabbed 10 and Starke 6. Warwick also had a 6 point haul but was unable to take his place in the semi-final after blowing his engine.
The final was re-run after an unsatisfactory start, Kurtz took an early lead followed by Simmons until the end of the second lap where Kurtz suffered engine problems caused by a single holding bolt. Simmons took full advantage to head home his two Islander team mates with Starke cutting under Smith to grab 2nd spot turn 3 of the 3rd lap.
Simmons said, “Everything has been going really, really well for me which has been pretty good, but tonight before the meeting I was warming my number 1 bike up and blew the engine so I rode my spare bike. I’m happy with the way it went but it’s not quite the same, I thought I would try and get as many points as I could and make the semi and take it one race at a time.”
“Before the meeting started I thought I had a good chance of winning this but when that happened I thought it might be a bit difficult now. I use that one bike everywhere I go, I love it particularly around here I feel so good on it. It was a shame for Todd as he has ridden well tonight, you kind of have to have a bit of luck sometimes, and luckily I was in second to take it away but I would probably of passed him, but I do feel sorry for Todd, he had such a good night but unfortunately that’s speedway,” added Simmons.
Next Tuesday Simmons defends the Bronze helmet that he won recently after beating James Cockle at King’s Lynn, he faces Adam Allott of the Buxton Hitmen before next Tuesday’s National league fixture, “It will be nice to defend it here after winning it away from home, it would be a shame of I lost but again I will do my best, Adam’s a fast starter but I know I’m quick around here and hopefully I can get my number one engine back together,” concluded Simmons.
After a torrid time of late machinery wise, Starke was able to rebuild two bikes after relying on a single machine during recent weeks, “Putting two bikes together and having them here is always a bonus, I struggled with my set up tonight, made some changes and everything started to go ok, it’s a good result for all the team as well,” said Starke.
Next Tuesday (11th) Buxton Hitmen are the visitors to Smallbrook and on Thursday (13th) Southern Track Riders take centre stage with riders from the amateur scene taking to the Island shale, both evenings start at 7.30pm.
Just two week to go before legendary Kiwi, holder of 15 world titles Ivan Mauger visits Smallbrook on Tuesday 16th August as part of his UK tour. Mauger has published his autobiography, ‘The Will To Win’, this will be on sale ahead of the Islander’s National League match against Sheffield ‘Prowlers’ that evening. Mauger will also be available to sign his autobiography as well as posing for photographs.
WPA OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP
Isle of Wight Speedway ~ Tuesday 2nd August 2011
- 1st; Nick Simmons
- 2nd; Paul Starke
- 3rd; Rob Smith
- Danny Warwick 3, 2, 1, R, = 6
- Lewis Kerr 2, 1, F, 3, = 6
- Marc Owen 1, 1, 1, 2, = 5
- Brendan Johnson NS, NS, NS, NS = DNR ~ withdrawn blown engine
- Rob Smith 1, 3, 3, 3, = 10
- Paul Starke R, 2, 2, 2, = 6
- Jay Herne 3, 3, 3, 3, = 12
- Nick Simmons 2, 3, 2, 1, = 8
- Matt Bates 1, 1, XT, 1, = 3
- Dean Felton 2, 0, R, 0, = 2
- Todd Kurtz 3, 2, 3, 1, = 9
- Gary Cottham 0, 0, 2, 2, = 4
REFEREE: Dave Robinson
Heat 1: Warwick, Kerr, Owen, Johnson (NS), 71.0
Heat 2: Herne, Simmons, Smith, Starke (Ret), 67.4
Heat 3: Kurtz, Felton, Bates, Cottham, 69.5
Heat 4: Smith, Warwick, Bates, Johnson (NS), 70.9
Heat 5: Simmons, Starke, Kerr, Felton, 68.6
Heat 6: Herne, Kurtz, Owen, Cottham, 69.3
Heat 7: (re-run); Kurtz, Starke, Warwick, Bates (XT), 69.7
Heat 8: Smith, Cottham , Kerr (F), Johnson (NS), 72.0
Heat 9: Herne, Simmons, Owen, Felton (Ret), 68.7
Heat 10: Kerr, Cottham, Simmons, Warwick (Ret), 72.5
Heat 11: Herne, Starke, Kurtz, Johnson (NS), 70.2
Heat 12: Smith, Owen, Bates, Felton, 70.9
Semi-Final 1: Kurtz, Starke, Herne, Warwick (NS), 69.6
Semi-Final 2: Smith, Simmons, Kerr, Owen, 70.8Grand-Final: (re-run); Simmons, Starke, Smith, Kurtz (Ret), 71.2
Isle of Wight ‘Wightlink Islanders’ 2011 National League Fixtures
Date Against Venue Fixture
6th August Stoke ‘Potters’ A NL
9th August Buxton ‘Hitmen’ H NL
11th August Southern Track Riders H
16th August Mildenhall ‘Fen Tigers’ H NL
18th August British Youth Championship H IND – Round 4
18th August Sheffield ‘Prowlers’ A NL
23rd August Newport ‘Hornets’ H NL
25th August No Meeting H
28th August Mildenhall ‘Fen Tigers’ A NLKOC
30th August No Meeting H
1st September Dudley ‘Heathens’ H NLKOC
3rd September NLRC @ Rye House A IND
6th September Sheffield ‘Prowlers’ H NL
13th September Mildenhall ‘Fen Tigers’ H NLKOC
20th September TBC H
27th September TBC H
Buxton ‘Hitmen’ NL Away
Fixtures are correct at the time of publication please check with the staging club nearer the date or the Islanders official website www.iowislanders.co or 01983 811180
All home fixtures; Gates open 6.00pm, parade 7.20pm with first race at 7.30pm