With no British League speedway racing permitted in 2020, the North Eastern flag is still being flown by the youngsters representing the Newcastle Gems in the shape of Archie Freeman and Danny Smith in the 500cc category of the British Youth Championships.
On Sunday at King’s Lynn, the third round took to the shale, but for 15-year-old Freeman it was a game of catch-up having finished in third place in round one, his second round never got off the starting gates due to two vans breaking down en-route to Leicester last weekend, leaving him desperate to make up for lost ground on Sunday in Norfolk.
First of the Tynesiders out was Smith in Heat One, and took a third-placed point ahead of Sam Peters as Joe Thompson roared away for a win to continue his great run to date ahead of second placed Sam McGurk, while Freeman’s first race was Heat Three where he went one better than his fellow Gem to take two points behind King’s Lynn’s own Elliot Kelly, but kept Alex Goldsbrough at bay in third and Peters once again last.
Dan Thompson took Heat Five ahead of his twin, Joe who took second ahead of Smith, but Freeman had his race voided with an exclusion for putting both wheels over the inside white line kerb, spotted by referee Tony Steele, one of the most experienced officials in British Speedway, but in Heat Six, Freeman split the McGurk brothers, following Harry in for two points, ahead of Sam, but this time Smith followed the pack home for a last place, with Freeman now on four points and Smith two with the pair having one race left to try to qualify for the Grand Final.
Smith concluded his qualifying races in Heat Nine, but up against stiff opposition found the going tough, failing to score as Harry McGurk took the win over Dan Thompson and Kelly while Freeman’s last blast in the qualification series came in Heat 10, a race where potentially any of the four could clinch the final place in the Grand Final itself, and with many mathematical permutations available, he had to take the win to stand a chance, depending on how Micky Simpson, Sam Mcgurk and Kelly finished.
Freeman saved his best ’till last winning heat 10 in style ending on seven points, but with Kelly taking second his two points were enough to give him eight points and nab the last place in the final, while third placed Sam McGurk ended on six points.
The Final was won by Joe Thompson over Harry McGurk, Kelly and Dan Thompson who failed to finish due to an engine failure.
Round Four takes place at the National Speedway Stadium, Belle Vue, Manchester on October 10th.
1. Danny Smith 1,1,0,0 = 2
2. Sam McGurk 2,2,1,1 = 6
3. Alex Goldsbrough 0,1,1,0 = 2
4. Sam Peters 0,0,0,0 = 0
5. Dan Thompson 3,3,3,2 = 11
6. Archie Freeman 2,xd,2,3 = 7
7. Sam Hagon – Non-starter
8. Joe Thompson 3,2,3,3 = 11
9. Harry McGurk 1,3,2,3 = 9
10. Elliot Kelly 3,2,1,2 = 8
11. Mickie Simpson 2,1,1,0 = 4