The country’s top cycle speedway riders were in action at Filton’s Elm Park track on Sunday (26th August), contesting the semi-finals of the 2012 British Championships.
Filton was hosting the second day of the three-day championships, the other two days being played out in Newport, South Wales.
Qualifying rounds were held to narrow the field down to 32 riders competing in two ‘open’ semi-finals – each consisting of 20 heats.
Points earned in each competitor’s five rides were totalled up to determine who would go through to the final held yesterday (Monday) in Newport.
Pre-race favourites Andy Angell (Sheffield) and Paul Heard (Birmingham) made it safely through to the final but other fancied riders, including Steve Harris (Oxford), failed to make the cut.
In contrast to the sunny weather enjoyed at Filton, Monday’s finals were marred by torrential rain and slippy conditions. A victory by Andy Angell in the final heat saw him retain his title with a score of 19 points ahead of Paul Heard (18) and Lewis Bates (17).
The Filton cycle speedway track was built in 2006 at a cost of £40,000 but has been rarely used. Filton Cycle Speedway Club (also known as the Filton Flyers), formed in 2006, entered teams in the South West League for a few years but hasn’t competed since “hitting difficulties” in 2009.
Efforts to revive interest were made in 2011, when the track was featured on BBC Points West but a number of fixtures scheduled for earlier this year were cancelled after Filton Town Council introduced charges for use of the track, which the club says it can’t afford.
The souvenir programme for the British Championships contained a pen portrait of the Filton club, which concluded:
“The future of the club remains unclear, but we hope that the staging of this prestigious event goes some way towards securing the long term future of the Filton Flyers.”
More photos from Sunday’s event on PicasaWeb.
Your chance to have a go on the Filton cycle speedway track
A post-Olympic ‘come-and-try-it’ event is being held at the Elm Park track on Saturday 15th September 2012. The event runs from 10am to 1pm and all ages and abilities are welcome.
Related link: What’s On in Filton (The Journal)