First cycle speedway race in region after coronavirus hailed a success
PUBLISHED: 13:37 07 September 2020 | UPDATED: 16:10 07 September 2020
Speedway cyclists in Norwich are among the first in the region to get back to racing following the coronavirus pandemic.
The friendly rivalry between Hethersett Hawks and Norwich Stars cycle speedway clubs resumed on Sunday for the Norfolk Individual Championships, which have taken place every year since 1950.
It was thought the clubs would not be able to race for the first time in more than five decades due to restrictions.
At the end of August, British Cycling lifted some restrictions which allowed for racing, meaning the championship is one of the first cycle speedway competitive event being staged in the region.
The Hawks has had to stage the championships over four weeks rather than one day to maintain social distancing. All riders had to book in advance, instead of turning up as would usually happen.
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Jenny Melvin, club secretary, said: ““A couple of clubs in our region have started up training sessions now, but we’re still leading the way with being able to stage an event. Since starting our covid-safe training sessions at the end of June we have recruited 25 new riders.
“It was brilliant. All the preparation beforehand ensured both events went really smoothly.
“All the riders put in 120 percent and rode out of their skins.
“There was an amazing vibe the whole afternoon. The kids loved it, the parents loved and the volunteers had tears in their eyes including Mel Perkins MBE [founder of the Hawks] at times at the fact that we’ve been able to race competitively this year and seeing how much the kids enjoyed it.”
Kicking off the championships were the clubs under eights and ladies and girls.
The Hethersett Hawks came first and third in the under eights section and second and third in the girls category.
The club secretary said: “We are really lucky we have the people to organise this.
“It’s a friendly rivalry, both the clubs want the kids to do well and have fun.
“We want Norwich’s clubs to be successful and grow and support the other.”
The Hawks began running training sessions at the end of June with Mrs Melvin adding the clubs have seen a number of positives from their new measures.
She said: “They [the riders] have been coming on leaps and bounds as well because we have small groups, we can pinpoint what needs improving.”
The championships will continue every Sunday afternoon for the rest of September at the Hethersett Memorial Playing Fields.
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