Historic Victory See Sheffield Become National Junior Champions

Updated: May 29, 2017

Ed Morton, Niall Morton, Sam Haines, Adam Watson, Niamh Morton (reserve) and Laura Watson (Team Manager) wrote their names into Sheffield Stars folklore by winning the British Junior Club Title at Newport over the Bank Holiday weekend, following a tense and thrilling final.

Since Cycle Speedway began, in the early 1950’s, Sheffield have only ever won three National Titles. The first came in 1972, when the Sheffield Stars won the British Junior Team Cup (for u-18’s) after defeating Whitley Aces (from Coventry area) by 47-31 (scoring then was 3210 as per motor speedway) at Ivy House, Halifax. The Sheffield riders that day were Phil White, John Gallagher (both spotted in the crowd at the recent Battle of Britain match between the North/Scotland and Midlands), Paul Chapman, Ray Carlton, Tony Smith, Ralph Hastings and Rob Hastings (manager).  Jump forward to 2007 and the Stars win the u-19 club championship (at the same Newport track), finishing on 55 points. A total that easily saw of rivals Sandwell (41), Ipswich (32) and Wednesfield (29).  Sheffield’s team that day had all been capped by their countries. Jono Birks, Ashley Birks, Simon Gamble and Ryan Hoyland (Young England/Young GB) and Dave Carmichael (Young Wales/Young GB).   Team manager was Pat Cain.

So, back to last Saturday’s action. Sheffield made the perfect start with Ed winning heat 1 and Adam following suite in heat 2. At the end of the first quarter, other race winners had been Carl Parfitt and Brandon Whetton for the Aces and Alex Harvey for the Eagles, the Stars led on 13 from Wednesfield (12), Ipswich (10), Poole (9) and Newport (6).  Wednesfield dominated the second quarter as Parfitt, Whetton and Haydn Rowley all won races to put the Aces in the lead on 26. Sheffield dropped to second on 22, with second places for Ed and Niall the best achieved in this set of heats. Adam ran a third (which would be the only time he didn’t win) behind Whetton and Pierce Bacon (Ipswich). Poole raced up to 21 after wins for Fraser Garnett and Ben Tinsdale. Ipswich were now on 19 with Newport totally adrift on 12. The complexity of the match changed in the third quarter. Sheffield (34) regained the lead after a win for Adam, second places for Ed and Niall, and a fine third place for Sam in heat 13 (crucially and importantly it was Wednesfield rider Tyler Bould that Sam beat). Whetton won his third race, but the Aces suffered badly from the exclusion of Parfitt in heat 11. Wednesfield now had 33. Poole (33) were also still very much in the hunt for the title after wins for Tinsdale (his second) and Callum Smith. Ipswich (31) also still harboured hopes of lifting the trophy, a win by Pierce Bacon keeping the Eagles flying. Sean Bennett was the only home rider to beat an opponent leaving Newport out of the equation on 18 points. The final five races (the last quarter) saw the ebb and flow continue. Niall won heat 16 (his one win in the final) and with Bould in third the Stars lead over the Aces was three. Rowley won for the Aces in heat 17, with Sam back in third place and the one point Stars lead was back in parity. The Stars were not in race 18 and with Whetton gaining his fourth victory it was the Aces who now led by three. Macie Schmidt (Poole) finished ahead of Pierce Bacon (Ipswich), which effectively put both teams out of the running. Parfitt won heat 19 from Ed, which meant the Aces finished the match with 47 points. Sheffield were on 43, with Poole and Ipswich both on 39. Adam was under immense pressure to win heat 20 and force a tiebreak for the Title. Coming of grid 1 Adam made no mistake to win the race and give Sheffield a 47-point total. Harrison Bacon (Ipswich) finished ahead of Smith (Poole), meaning the Suffolk team finished third on 42 with Poole on 41.


SHEFFIELD (47) – Ed Morton 13, Adam Watson 14, Niall Morton 12, Sam Haines 8, Niamh Morton DNR

WEDNESFIELD (47) – Tyler Bould 3, Haydn Rowley 11, Josh Whetton 5, Carl Parfitt 12, Brandon Whetton 16.

POOLE (41) – Macie Schmidt 8, Fraser Garnett 11, Callum Smith 11, Ben Tinsdale 11, Nathan Goulden DNR

IPSWICH (42) – Harrison Bacon 10, Alex Harvey 7, Reece Johnson 10, Pierce Bacon 12, Luke Punningham 3.

NEWPORT (21) – Dan Wright 5, Sean Bennett 7, Tyrone Walters 3, Craig Goward 4. Iueyn Lewis 2.


The title the now depended on the sudden death run-off. Wednesfield nominated the unbeaten Brandon Whetton, Sheffield team manager for the day, Laura Watson, nominated sibling Adam (who had won three of his four races).  Adam won the coin toss for gate positions, taking grid 2 to force Brandon onto grid 4. Now if you’ve followed Adam’s racing career, his run-off form is similar to England football teams’ record in penalty shootouts. Adam has lost his last five sudden death race offs, which has seen him miss out of European and British individual rostrum places.  This time Adam showed nerves of steel to take the win, placing orange and black ribbons around the junior cup, much to the delight of the Sheffield contingent in the crowd.




Sheffield finished fourth in the Womens Club Final at Poole. Title winners, for the Twelfth time, were Leicester with 49 points, then came Ipswich (43), Poole (38) and Sheffield (30).  The Stars had to press Niamh Morton’s mum Emily into action, the first time Emily has ridden in the Final since both mum and daughter made their debuts at Birmingham in 2008.

Stars Scorers – Laura Watson 11, Niamh Morton 9, Sammi Marsh 6, Emily Morton 4.

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