Bury Comet Chris Parish was just a few pedals away from a run-off for the 2014 British Individual Championship in one of the most amazing and unusual finals in the 63-year history of the competition. Entering the final laps of the final heat, Parish was defending his second position in the race from Northern League rival Hull’s Adam Stephenson. The two clashed and Stephenson was down and controversially the referee saw the move as illegal.
He excluded the Bury rider and suddenly the chance was gone. Such are the fine margins by which the sport’s big championships are so often decided.
In the final reckoning another Hull rider and now three times champion, Andy Angell, took the title. His 15 points from a possible 20 was enough to win, the lowest winning total in the sport’s history. Inconceivably, just six points separated Angell from 16th place, necessitating a five-man run-off to decide the other two podium finishers, eventually going to Birmingham’s Chris Timms and Wednesfield’s Lee Aris respectively.
A large crowd witnessed some superb racing around the Goshen circuit, widely regarded as one of the best in the country. Preparations which began last November saw a surface that provided Britain’s top riders close to track record times. For the first time since 2006, the Comets had two riders in the final after a tough weekend of qualifying rounds in Sheffield and at Astley & Tyldesley. Both Parish and Ben Scranage made it through from the Sunday repechage match. Scranage also had a very good final from the unfavourable number nine draw, both finishing on 12 points.
Earlier in the day young Comet Danny Taylor really caught the eye as he was just one step away from the podium in the U16 Boys’ Championship. Fast-starting Danny used his two inside gates to good advantage to finish just one place behind former teammate, Adam Watson, representing Sheffield, and just three behind the eventual winner East Park, Wolverhampton’s Brandon Whetton. Teammate James Elston fought hard for his points after a fall in his first race from which he never fully recovered. The trophies and medals for the championship were presented by the Mayor and Mayoress of Bury, Cllr Michelle Wiseman and Miss Danielle Wiseman.
Despite the morning rain, nothing had dampened the spirit of the young riders who provided excellent entertainment and some very fast racing. Between the U16 Boys’ and Open finals Charlie-Jane Herbert, of Exeter, and Lily Gedge, from Norwich, took the Women’s and U16 Girls’ titles respectively in a closely-fought matc, which saw Herbert winning a run-off with Sheffield’s Vicky Brown to take her title.
In Saturday’s U10 Boys’ and Girls’ Championships at Astley & Tyldesley, Bury had four riders in action. Angel Etheridge scored eight points in the Girls’ championship followed by Daniel Miller (12 points), Thom Deakin (6) and Duncan Whalley (5) in the Boys’. Thanks go to Bury officials and volunteers who worked so hard before and during the event and to finals sponsors Ian Brown of Wosskow Brown Solicitors, Paul Mann and John Whiting.