Poole Comets captain Greg Gluchowski topped the rostrum in a hotly contested Senior Laurels, sponsored by Daytec Communications, and just to emphasise the international flavour of the event, top Aussie Bobby McMillan joined him on the podium as runner-up along with British Champion Andy Angell who took third place.
Angell started with 3 wins then took a second behind Greg in heat 15 – level points after 2014 champion Mark Carmichael headed home Gluchowski in heat 4.
With Greg settling for a second behind McMillan in his final race, Andy knew he could clinch the title outright with a win in heat 20. However his hopes were dashed when he took a tumble whilst challenging Chris Timms for 3rd place taking him to 16 points – level with McMillan.
A brilliant run-off for the minor places saw Angell hold the early advantage from gate 2 but a well judged overtake mid-race saw the Aussie come home for the silver spot. Once again the Harbourside crowd witnessed racing out of the top drawer – credit to all 16 competitors.
Senior scorers – 1st Greg Gluchowski 18 2nd Bobby McMillan 16 3rd Andy Angell 16: Adam Peck 15 Chris Timms 13 Paul Heard 13 Brandon Whetton 13 Josh Brooke 12 Mark Carmichael 12 Matt Smith 11 Neil Hollebon 11 Nicky Evans 11 Ben Mould 11 Lee Aris 8 Mark Winwood 7 Rob Hunt 7
Referee – Colin Simmons.
After reeling off 4 straight wins, Brandon Whetton had the luxury of sitting behind his nearest rival Charlie Rumbold in heat 19 to round off a highly impressive display in the Youth Laurels. These 2 were joined on the podium by Lee Kemp who seems to be benefitting from his move to Wednesfield with some canny races on show.
Hayden Chant was the best of the home crew with 16 and 4th place while Jesse Moore and Ashley Hill were good value for their 15 point hauls.
Youth scorers – 1st Brandon Whetton 19 2nd Charlie Rumbold 18 3rd Lee Kemp 17: Hayden Chant 16 Ashley Hill 15 Jesse Moore 15 Arron Morgan 13 Ricky Johnson 12 Richard Fellgett 11 Aaron Smith 11 Dean Hook 10 Aaron Herbert 10 Oli Sidwick 9 Zac Payne 9 Dan Drewett 8
Referee – Robin Spicer
British Champion Charlie Jane Herbert won the Ladies Laurels with a 16 max but had to come from the back twice, once against her former Exeter clubmate Lauren Hookway and again in heat 11 when surprise packet Macie Schmidt led her for the early part of the race.
Lauren and Macie tied on 15 apiece and the Exeter rider clinched the run-off for silver from gate 2. Once again this event proved to be a great spectacle and advert for ladies racing.
Ladies scorers – 1st Charlie Jane Herbert 16 2nd Lauren Hookway 15 3rd Macie Schmidt 15: Krissie Mines 13 Lily Gedge 11 Rebecca Davies 11 Chloe Horton 9 Sammy Marsh 7 Bailie Phillips 6 Bethany Briggs 6 Alice Neighbour 5
Referee – Mike Legge
The Junior Laurels provided a great curtain raiser for the 2015 event and showed what great talent the sport has in its younger ranks – none moreso that Pierce Bacon and Mason Phillips who tied on 14 points apiece to set up a run-off to decide the title.
The toss of the coin favoured the Ipswich rider and he made no mistakes despite early pressure from the Coventry star to round off an impressive performance. Jake Neighbour and Callum Albin were the best of the rest but all 12 riders deserve praise for their efforts.
Junior scorers – 1st Pierce Bacon14 2nd Mason Phillips 14 3rd Jake Neighbour 13: Callum Albin 12 Connor Tucker 11 Ben Harvey 10 Adam Bennett 10 Charlie Barnett 8 Callum Smith 7 Iuean Payne 6 Ollie Morris 6 Josh Marsh 6
Referee – Mike Legge