LATE replacement Matt Williamson proved a show-stealing addition to the line-up as he lifted the Julie Lewis Memorial Trophy at the end of a captivating evening.
The Scunthorpe prospect was drafted into the field for the annual junior level individual meeting at South Tees Motorsports Park as a replacement for Cradley’s Tom Perry.
And he won three of his four heats – the only blemish coming in his final programmed ride when he was beaten by fellow late addition Ben Morley,
Then after taking the chequered flag in his semi-final, he recorded a tapes to flag victory in the final to gain a revenge victory over Kent Kings rider Morley with impressive Devon Demons rider Luke Chessell third and Poole’s Brendan Johnson fourth.
Chessell, son of former Arena Essex and Milton Keynes star Mark, was disappointed with himself afterwards for allowing Morley to dart underneath him as he chased Williamson, but after finishing his heats on 11 points and winning his semi by a country mile, he shouldn’t be too downbeat.
One rider you had to feel for was Teessider Danny Phillips.
The Cradley ace finished second in each of his first two heats, stylishly blasting round the outside of eventual finalist Johnson in the first one those, but then ending up pushing his bike home at the back in his next two rides.
First of all his cut-out came adrift and then, agonisingly, in his final ride his chain came off with a flash of sparks when he was less than a lap away from a certain victory. Had his luck not deserted him as he led they way, he’d have been in the semi-final line-up.
Another Teessider, Redcar Cubs’ Ben Basford, found the going tougher than he’s used to in the Northern Junior League and didn’t score but the experience will do him good.
Danny Ayres and Ben Hopwood were involved in a horrifying high speed crash in the opening race but both were able to continue. They breed ’em tough even at junior level!
Qualifying scores: Matt Williamson 11, Ben Morley 11, Luke Chessell 9, Danny Ayres 7, Brandan Johnson 6, Chris Widman 6, Max Clegg 6, Ben Hopwood 5, Reece Downes 5, Danny Phillips 4, Danno Verge 1, Ben Basford 0.
Semi-final one: Chessell, Morley, Ayres, Clegg.
Semi-final two: Williamson, Johnson, Hopwood, Widman.
Final: Williamson, Morley, Chessell, Johnson.