Saturday 14 April, 2012
TOM Perry, Joe Jacobs and Marc Owen all tied on nine points for joint first place in the British Under-21 Semi Final at Loomer Road on Saturday night after the meeting was abandoned due to the curfew with the result standing.

The trio had remained unbeaten in their opening three rides Owen proving to be the most impressive as he clocked the fastest time of the season at 63.2 just 0.6 seconds outside the National League track record.

Adam Wrathall, Stefan Nielsen and former Potters James Sarjeant took the other qualifying places with Ben Hopwood and Richard Franklin taking the reserve slots in the final at Dudley’s Monmore Wood a week on Tuesday which sees’ them link up with the ten seeded riders in the final.

The meeting saw fifteen fallers in the twelve heats with Richard Andrews being taken to hospital with suspected broken ribs after clipping Richard Franklins back wheel resulting in both riders falling heavily. Oliver Greenwood later followed who clashed going into the first turn with Shane Hazelden the latter getting up and walking back to the pits but Greenwood sustaining a suspected broken collarbone in heat eleven.

In between the crashes there were a few good races with Joe Jacobs and James Sarjeant battling hard in heat three Jacobs finally taking the chequered flag, then Potters reserve Ben Reade battling firstly passed Shane Hazelden before narrowly missing out of catching the stylish Tom Perry in heat five.

Heat ten saw the best race of the evening despite the impressive Owen taking a comfortable victor Ben Hopwood and Reade fought extremely hard for the four laps before Hopwood just managed to hold on to the second place.

After consultation between the pits and the referee it was decided to call a halt to proceedings with the result standing.

British U-21 team manager Neil Vatcher commented “It was an unfortunate way to end the meeting but we had no choice with the curfew being at 9.30pm. It was the first meeting for quite a few of the riders and perhaps they were over riding and trying a bit to hard as they all wanted to make it to the final a week on Tuesday at Dudley. There was almost an incident in every heat, forty five minutes for the first three races was not ideal and then we were always up against the clock and I suppose although it’s not ideal it was the fairest way with everyone having had three rides each and with the final in just over a week’s time we had to have a result here tonight.”

Lone Potter Ben Reade failed to qualify for the final after scoring three points from his three rides.

Tom Perry 9, Joe Jacobs 9, Marc Owen 9, Adam Wrathall 7, Stefan Nielsen 6, James Sarjeant 6 (all qualify), Ben Hopwood 5, Richard Franklin 4, Ben Reade 3, Brendan Johnson 3, Shane Hazelden 2, Tom Young 2, Tom Stokes 1, Oliver Greenwood (res) 1, Jake Knight 0, Darryl Ritchings 0, Richard Andrews 0, Michael Neale (res) 0.
Abandoned after Heat 12 (curfew) - Result stands