The spotlight turned to Great Blakenham last week, as the Suffolk club staged the first invitational meeting of the Jim Peck Memorial, which is now planned to run as an annual event.
With sixteen riders including the quality of veterans; Ashford, Harris and the current vets champion Zagni. Add to the mix, former British champion Mark Boaler, upcoming youngsters Fellgett, Rumbold and Payne. Then there was the welcome return of riders Burns, Pike and Studd adding to the cocktail for a cracking meeting under the floodlights, as a large crowd awaited an action packed night.
The opening heat got under way with this year’s vets one and two Zagni, and Ingram, plus Marchant and all the crowd’s favourite, Adam Peck. The latter didn’t disappoint by winning the heat with Zagni pushing him all the way.
Heat two saw Ashford roll back the years with an explosive gate to see off Chittock, as the former Blakenham rider set the early pace and was to only drop one point in his opening three heats. Heat three saw two of this season’s stand out riders in the Elite league go head to head, with Lewis Osborne able to hold off the attentions of Brooke, while another battle went on between Burns and Harris.
Heat four and Boaler signalled his intentions with a blistering start from grid four, seeing off team mate Payne and Ipswich’s Mower and Rumbold. Then came the first of the reserves races, which saw Dan Pike and James Studd having some fun with the young Ash Hill and this gave a really light hearted feel to proceedings.
Heat five, Ashford chalked up his second win after changing places several times with Rumbold. Heat six went to Mower from Lewis Osborne. Heat seven gave a win to Brooke beating Peck in classic heat, and this was to prove to be the only time Peck was to be beaten. Boaler took the next two heats to remain unbeaten after his first three rides and was looking like the favourite to take the title at this stage. The final heat before the interval went to Payne, as he was chased all the way by Ashford who couldn’t quite find a way past.
The opening heat after the break, just like the start of the match, saw Peck secure his second win of the night, with Harris and Chittock having a battle royal behind him, Harris claimed second place. Heat twelve saw brothers Chris and Lewis Osborne do battle with the Horspath star getting the better, but so good to see Chris on a bike again and never looked out of place, picking up another second spot behind Burns in thirteen. Chittock won the heat fourteen with Brooke all over his back wheel, while Rumbold and Marchant waited to pounce on any openings.
Heat fifteen saw the leading three come together in the heat of the night Peck, Boaler and Ashford. It was Peck who held his nerve off grid one from Boaler in two, to lower the Horspath rider’s colours for the first time with Ashord finishing third. Heats sixteen and seventeen saw Zac Payne collect seven points to finish the night on sixteen points, thus setting the target to beat.
Boaler took heat eighteen to take his tally to nineteen and in doing so put himself in front on the night and also putting pressure on Peck in the following heat nineteen, knowing only a win would force a run off with Boaler. Peck was off grid four and Fellgett on three, he knew he had to pull off a perfect gate to get over the Ipswich youngster, and with a look of real determination, fuelled with the pride and passion of the night, there was no stopping the rider of the match as he powered his way over the three riders inside him to secure a run off, and a repeat of their Elite League riders match.
The last heat of the night saw Brooke needing to win to claim a creditable third overall and was pushed all the way by good friend and team mate Mower, before finally securing his spot on the podium.
Boaler and Peck took their places for the last time with the crowd now cranking up the volume of support, which must have made Boaler seem like the pantomime villain. As the tapes went up I have never heard noise like it in all my time in watching this sport. Boaler took the lead and Peck in hot pursuit. This was no cat and mouse race, it was full on racing and one only thinks Peck must have drawn every inch of effort from the incredible support as he passed Boaler, if it couldn’t get any louder the crowd went wild as he crossed the line to take the title. In front of a very proud watching mother and family and I am sure a certain Mr Jim Peck would have be brimming with pride.
The event last night was also to raise money for the East Anglian Air Ambulance with all the proceeds, over £1000, going to this wonderful charity. All the riders received a medal to mark the occasion and were presented by Jim’s wife Sandra, who also got a surprise presentation to herself from match day referee Terry Ashford. This was followed by a firework display to round off an emotional and memorable night. On a final foot note i couldn’t think of a more deserved winner on the night than Adam Peck.
JIM PECK MERMORIAL MATCH scoresheet .
1st Adam Peck 19 (after run off ), 2nd Mark Boaler 19, 3rd Josh Brooke 17.
Zac Payne 16, Jamie Chittock 15, Jason Ashford 14, Lewis Osborne 14, Steve Harris 12, Leon Mower 12, Dan Zagni 11, Chris Osborne 10, Kevin Burns 10, Richard Fellgett 9, Charlie Rumbold 8, Craig Marchant 7, Pete Ingram 6.
RES. Dan PIke 12.5, Ashley Hill 11, Matthew Hill 11, James Studd 6.5 – all reserves had four heats .
Referee – Mr. Terry Ashford