Morley stars in thriller to seal Isle of Wight race glory

The speedway action on the Isle of Wight. Pictures by Ian Groves
The speedway action on the Isle of Wight. Pictures by Ian Groves
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Ben Morley was crowned winner of the Vincent’s Motorcycles and Antiques Handicap Individual Challenge on his home track.

The Isle of Wight speedway captain shone on a fine night’s racing when he was crowned winner at the Andrew Younie Smallbrook stadium.

This individual event for up to 12 riders was broadly based on the speedway model used extensively in the USA where riders starting positions are determined by their ability based on their average points score.

Less experienced riders went from the starting gate, with more experienced riders starting 15m back from the tapes, while the star men had a 30m gap to make up.

When racing started it was soon clear that the handicapper had done his homework as the riders used speed, skill and track craft to manoeuvre alongside, around or inside their competitors. 

This produced close racing with nearly every heat recording a pass in one form or another.

Certainly the supporters were richly entertained and whilst this type of meeting may not be to the traditionalists taste, the enthusiasm of the riders on the wide sweeping Smallbrook track was clear to see.

They were giving it everything to battle for positions on the racing circuit as the atmosphere proved superb.

Gallery: Pictures by Ian Groves/Sportography

Report by Rob Dyer

Home heroes Ben Morley and Alfie Bowtell were always in the mix while Warrior favourite Danno Verge should be very pleased with his contribution to the action.

Former Warrior Nathan Stoneman (Kent) was always tenacious hounding his opponents all race and not giving them any chance to relax.

His Kent colleague Taylor Hampshire carried on his impressive form from last week and, aided by a kind handicap, was the dark horse in the field.

So after the qualifying heats and semi-finals it was Morley, Bowtell and Stoneman who eased through to the grand final with Hampshire claiming the final qualifying position.

From a scratch start it was Morley to show first but the riders were almost inseparable for two laps until Morley and Bowtell started to move ahead.

On lap three it looked like Morley was in control but a blistering last lap saw the two Warriors cross the finish line side by side.

It seemed an age for the result to come through but when it did it was Morley declared the winner.

This was a remarkable feat because it was revealed later he rode most of the final with a broken footrest.