Plymouth Gladiators 51 GB Young Lions 39

For the second successive meeting, West country speedway fans witnessed a thrilling meeting at the Coliseum as the home side defeated a Great Britain Young Lions side that contained some of the most promising young riders in the country.

On yet another superbly prepared racing surface, the meeting came to life in Heat 4 when Henry Atkins swooped around the outside of Tom Brennan. This was to set the tone for Atkins’ evening as he showed stunning speed, being unbeaten in all of his six rides to secure his first ever maximum.

Home skipper Alfie Bowtell was also unbeaten by an opponent and the duo were ably supported by Jason Edwards and Richard Andrews.

For the Young Lions, Dan Thompson, one half of the ‘Thompson Twins’ was impressive in top scoring for the Lions.

The Gladiators gradually extended their lead as the meeting progressed although the final score did not do justice to the efforts of the Young Lions team.

Lions boss, Neil Vatcher was not too disheartened by the defeat. ‘We obviously came here to win’ he said, ‘but it was more valuable experience for our young riders on a technical circuit. I was very impressed with our two young reserves, Harry McGurk and Archie Freeman and they both rode well above my expectations on their first visit to the track’.

For an understandably overjoyed Atkins, it was reward for the hard work he has put in off the track over the past few months.

‘I have worked really hard on my fitness and nutrition over the summer’ said the Exeter based rider. ‘Plus, the closed practices that I have attended at Plymouth really helped to get the bike dialled into the track perfectly and it all came good tonight.

I had a good meeting at Scunthorpe on Sunday in the British under 19 final (finishing fifth) and that also boosted my confidence’.  



Henry Atkins 18 pts (from 6 rides), Alfie Bowtell 13 + 2 bonus (5), Jason Edwards 8 + 1 (4), Richard Andrews 7 + 1 (4), Arran Butcher 4 (6), Sheldon Davies 1 (5), Chad Wirtzfeld rider replacement.

Young Lions:

Dan Thompson 10 (5), Tom Brennan 9 (5), Alex Spooner 5 + 2 (4), Joe Thompson 4 + 1 (4), Harry McGurk 4 + 1 (4), Jordan Palin 4 (4), Archie Freeman 3 + 2 (4).

Meeting Report: Andy Riddle -Plymouth Speedway Press Officer

Image Credit: Westcountryseen Photography