July 17, 2024
Speedway Hub - British Speedway News

Isle of Wight Speedway Season kicks off with a double dose of thrills

Isle of Wight Speedway Season kicks off with a double dose of thrills

The 2024 Wightlink Warriors NORA Speedway season will start this Thursday 27th June at Smallbrook Stadium when the sport returns for its 8th season under the stewardship of Martin Widman and Barry Bishop on the Isle of Wight. This season sees at least 10 meetings (June to October) held at the 385m track including team racing, individual meetings, Island Masters 500, GT140 and Flat Track racing.

Thursday’s meeting is when IOW Speedway remembers long time club stalwart, the late Vince Mapley, in the first leg of the Vince Mapley Memorial meeting – an annual event. And it’s sure to be a thriller against one of the club’s biggest foes, the Cradley ARH Heathens. The West Midlanders have listed a strong side captained by Tom Spencer, with Aussie Matt Marson in the number one race jacket and Island-resident and huge Smallbrook favourite, the ex-Warrior making a surprise racing comeback, Danno Verge.

The new look 2024 Wightlink Warriors are led by reigning Island Masters champion Arran Butcher and have a combination of local Smallbrook-nurtured talent in Chad Wirtzfeld & Morgan Williams and a cosmopolitan flavour with a debut for German rider, Henning Loof, Steve Piper’s charges will need to be at their very best to get any kind of lead against the ARH Heathens who will be looking to win over this two legged scrap.

Promoter Barry Bishop articulates the enthusiasm all at Isle Of Wight Speedway have for the new season, “It’s great to be back! We’ve been working hard in the off-season to maintain the stadium while maximising the usage of the track for our famed ‘My First Skid’ Speedway school and with the Winter Series. These have allowed others to experience riding our unique circuit as well as in our team’s case, dialling their bikes in ready for the NORA season. Now it’s time to get the Warriors back on track!”

It’s very much a double header on Thursday with the other event on the race menu being the inaugural British J.A.P. Championship. Rained off from last year, this is actually the 2023 event (with places up for grabs to qualify for the ‘24 event being staged later this season) as well as the main business of taking the national crown on these iconic bikes. The 500cc J.A.P. is the most famous machine in Speedway history and riders mounted on the London-built bike finished on top of the World Championship rostrum from 1936 all the way to 1963.

With eight immaculately restored J.A.P. bikes ridden by some of the top veteran riders this will be some spectacle.

Event organiser Dave Johnson commented, “I was watching some riders a couple of years ago racing their old J.A.P. machines in a Veterans event and they made the most fantastic noise and smell which brought the memories flooding back of the Golden Age of the sport. It got me thinking what a great meeting it would be if we could put on a show with J.A.P. Speedway bikes. I approached Barry Bishop about the idea and here we are two years later. I’m certain that planting this seed we can grow this into something very big.”

The line up of riders are:

Wightlink Warriors.
1. Arran Butcher (c), 2. Sonny Springer, 3. Chad Wirtzfeld, 4. Henning Loof, 5. Jacob Clouting, 6. Morgan Williams

Cradley ARH Heathens.
1. Matt Marson, 2. James Laker, 3. Luke Harris, 4. Danno Verge, 5. Tom Spencer (c), 6. Joshua Couzins

2023 British J.A.P. Championship.
Andy Hickman, Dean Felton, Martin Stacey, Keith Cornell, Alec Gooch, Giles Dismore, Rob Snow, Graham Knowler, Reserve: Dave Harvey

Gates open at 5.30pm, Junior & Development racing on track from 6.15pm with the main events from 7pm. Entry is Adults £14, Concessions £11 and accompanied children under 16 go free.

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