Fours League Is Popular End To The Season

Updated: November 29, 2018

Sheffield Stars entered the Northern Fours League knowing they would be without the Morton family for any of the matches. Niall is now permanently residing in Edinburgh, at the start of a four-year University course. Luke, Ed and Niamh were all taking a well-deserved rest from the rigours of racing. With this in mind, the Stars management had a request for the use of Tom Bewick on loan from Wednesfield Aces granted by the Northern League Committee. Tom, though, never got to make his Sheffield debut. He was called up to race for his parent club for the first two fixtures, and picked up an injury that kept him sidelined at the seasons end.

The format for the League had Promotion and Relegation between Groups A and B, Group A having four teams (to start with the top four from Division One, Astley, Stockport, Bury and Hull). Group B had three teams, with Heckmondwike Saints and Northumbria Vikings joining the Stars.

The first round started at the Hessle Raceway at Hull on 14th October. Heavy rain left the track very sodden, with many puddles scattered around the track. Adam Watson (twice), Kielan Burton and James Morris all won races as Sheffield scored 41 points. The promoted side though was the Northumbria Vikings, who totalled 46 and had the man of the match in Josh Herring (who scored a 16-point maximum).  Group A saw Astley as run-away winners, with home club Hull relegated after finishing just two points behind Stockport.

Stars Scorers – Adam Watson 13+2, Kielan Burton 10, James Morris 9, Laura Watson 9+2.

In the Grand Prix series Adam (Div One) and Kielan (under 16) both finished in second place, with Laura taking the win in the Womens event.

Round Two (of four) took place at Stockport on 21st October. Sheffield and Heckmondwike were joined in Group B by Yorkshire rivals Hull. Hull bounced straight back to Group A, winning promotion with a total of 46 (Andy Angell finishing unbeaten). Heckmondwike, boosted by the loan signing of Edinburgh’s Lewis Foxley finished as runners up with 38, Sheffield slipping to third place on 36 (Adam gaining both of the Stars race wins). Group A was a very close affair. Astley (47) just holding of the challenge of Bury and Stockport (both finishing on 44). Promoted team Northumbria struggled badly (even with the inclusion of former British Vet champion Gavin Parr), being relegated after scoring 26.

Stars Scorers –  Adam Watson 14, Kielan Burton 9, Laura Watson 7+2, James Morris 5+2, Steven Webber 1.

All the Sheffield riders placed second in their Grand Prix Round, James (under 13), Kielan (under 16), Laura (Women), Steven (Div 2) and Adam (Div One).

Racing returned on the 4th November at Bury, after a week off for the International break. Sheffield made an heroic late charge to almost win promotion from Group B. Kielan Burton and Laura Watson scored six points in heat 10 and when Adam Watson completed his unbeaten afternoon by guiding Steven Webber to a 7-3 in heat 11 the Stars held the lead for the first time in the match. The competition with Heckmondwike and Northumbria had been that close, a 6-4 to the Saints in the final race would have left the three teams level on 40 points. As it was Gavin Parr (Vikings) withheld the challenge of Lewis Foxley (Saints), to gain the Vikings a 6-4 race result (which saw them promoted for the second time in three weeks).  There was a major shock in Group A with Bury and Stockport finishing level on 43 points. Hull and Astley were also locked together on 36 points. A run-off being required to determine who would stay in Group A and who would be relegated to Group B. Pawel Idziorek (Astley) led from the start, but the tenacious three time British Champion Andy Angell overhauled him and passed on the third lap. This relegated the league leaders to Group B for the final round on their home shale, and meant they would not be able to lift the Fours title.

Stars Scorers – Adam Watson 15+1, Kielan Burton 11+1, Laura Watson 7, Steven Webber 7.

The Grand Prix rounds saw Laura and Kielan finish runner up in their respective groups, Adam rode magnificently to win Div One, but Steven struggled on a track he was not familiar with, finishing eighth.

The final round at Astley again produced some thrilling racing. Sheffield battled hard and were rewarded with another runners-up place in Group B, this time behind Astley & Tyldesley (who started the day as league leaders). Adam Watson lost only to the unbeaten Pawel Idziorek, but guided James Morris to a 7-3 race win over Heckmondwike pairing of Justin Naylor and Frank Auffret. Kielan Burton had an outstanding match that included a stupendous last bend pass to get the better of Frank Auffret and Lewis Foxley by stealing the win in the last five metres.  Group A ebbed and flowed, with Stockport moving clear to win on the day and the competition outright after heat 11 of the 16 races. Northumbria, who had started the League in Group B, put on an excellent performance that saw them finish second, which deprived Bury of their chance to win the championship.

Stars scorers – Adam Watson 13+2, Kielan Burton 11+1, James Morris 9, Laura Watson 7.

Sheffield riders finished the Grand Prix in fine form. James Morris (under 13) won with an unbeaten 16 point score, to finish third overall. Kielan Burton (under 16), finished second on the day and second overall, Laura Watson doing the same in the Womens. Adam Watson had one race win over Pawel Idziorek, finishing second on the day and second overall.

Overall final positions were :

1st Stockport, 2nd Bury Comets, 3rs Astley & Tyldesley, 4th Northumbria Vikings, 5th Hull, 6th Sheffield Stars, 7th Heckmondwike Saints.





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