ASTLEY & TYLDESLEY UPDATE: ANOTHER BRITISH TITLE FOR STEVE HARRIS

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A & T 19 times British Champion Steve Harris.

Astley & Tyldesley had five riders competing in this winter’s British Indoor Championships, at the Sports Connexion, Coventry, over the weekend.

A&T entered a team in the Open Team Championship for the first time in over a decade. Indoor specialist and new A&T team manager Steve Harris led the team, backed up by Martin Phillips, in his first A&T match for eight years, and Reece Pollitt and Emily Burgess, who were both making their indoor debuts.

A&T faced tough opposition, as the top three teams from the Cycle Speedway Cup Final met up, but picked up a few points on the way and were competitive throughout. Poole led from heat 1, but Ipswich overhauled them in heat 12 and held on to win the match and qualify for the final. Ipswich went on to win the Final, beating last year’s winners Birmingham by 12 points.

British Indoor Open Team Qualifier Match 2. Ipswich 51 Poole 47 Astley & Tyldesley 38. A&T scorers: Steve Harris 11, Martin Phillips 10, Reece Pollitt 9, Emily Burgess 8.

In the Individual Championships, Steve Harris scored 17 points in the Veterans competition. He beat Leicester’s Craig Whitehead in a run-off, to secure 2nd place in the o-40 competition. A battered and bruised Craig Marchant, of Leicester, won the o-40 title, with a 20 points maximum score.

Steve’s 17 points total clinched outright the o-50 title, to extend his all time record for British individual title wins to 19.

Emily Burgess won four of her five races in the Women’s championship, but collected an exclusion for leaving her starting lane in her fourth race. Her 16 points total saw her finish joint 4th. Emily was the only rider to beat the winner, Rosie Tidball, of Exeter, who took the title on 19 points. Emily also beat last year’s winner, Lauren Hookway, of Exeter, who finished 2nd on 18 points, with Ipswich’s Gemma Hill third on 17.