Flint: “It’s my biggest achievement to date”
Berwick’s Leon Flint took home the British under 19 title after he blew the competition away with a faultless 15 point maximum at the Ecco Arena. Flint was untroubled throughout with the starlet taking the title after defeating the runner-up Jake Mulford in heat 19, Harry McGurk came third after a run-off for a podium finish.
The meeting began with an impressive win from Oxford’s Sam Hagon who held off a hard charging Harry McGurk for the win. Joe Thompson took his first win of the evening in heat 2 with Luke Harrison’s first major 500cc race ending in an impressive second.
Mulford’s title tilt started with a win over Max Perry who will be a title contender in the future. The first round of races were completed after heat 4 as Flint made a lightning gate to win ahead of Poole’s Nathan Ablitt.
Flint won back to back races with a comfortable heat 5 success whilst McGurk impressively claimed second after passing both Harrison and Ace Pijper. Hagon won his second race with a tapes to flag win over Joe Thompson. Ablitt took his tally to 5 with a heat 7 win with Sam McGurk in second.
Fantastic action followed in heat 8 as Jody Scott gated until the youngster was passed by Belle Vue’s Freddy Hodder, Hodder then came under pressure from both Scott and Mulford before Mulford passed both on the outside to take an astounding win.
Sam McGurk led comfortably for 3 laps of heat 9 only to hit the fence on the backstraight and crash with the other 3 riders doing well to avoid the stricken McGurk on the track. Thompson was in second at the time and thus the race was awarded to the Leicester man with Sam’s brother Harry claiming second.
Mulford continued his unbeaten start but the former Kent man was made to work for the win by Ablitt. Ablitt held the lead on the inside for the majority of the race but Mulford swooped around the outside of Ablitt on the final lap to take a deserved win. Jody Scott took a heat 11 win with Flint again gating impressively to win heat 12 with local lad Elliot Kelly finishing a credible second after two retirements.
Mulford was proving to be Flint’s only worry as he remained unbeaten with a heat 13 win. Kelly was looking good in second until he fell, gifting Harry McGurk second which would prove crucial with a podium place still up for grabs. Flint again won heat 14 at a canter with Scott, another starlet to look out for, taking second.
Max Perry blasted around the outside of his opposition in heat 15 to win comfortably whilst Harrison passed Hodder for second with the Wolves mascot doing well to hold off the Belle Vue Colt. Ablitt, another Colt won heat 16 to keep his podium hopes alive but the story of the heat was Pijper in second. The Berwick Bullet looked extremely fast and got the better of Thompson but Ablitt had too much as he took the win on the line.
Another fantastic race followed in heat 17 as Harry McGurk rode fast and hard to initially get the better of Scott on lap 1 before he dived up the inside of of race leader Ablitt on bend 2 of the final lap. Ablitt and McGurk tangled on the backstraight of the final lap which unsettled Ablitt and relegated him to third with McGurk winning but injuring his foot in the process.
Hagon won heat 18 to keep his podium hopes alive whilst Kelly’s nightmare evening continued as he laid his bike down when it looked like Pijper was to fall but Pijper held on after locking up to take second.
The race to decide the title was heat 19 as Flint left Mulford in his wake to take the biggest title of his career, much to the delight of the travelling Berwick faithful.
With one scheduled race to go, the top two were decided with third place still up for grabs. First of all, we had heat 20 which was won by the extremely talented Luke Harrison who has clearly benefitted from his racing on the continent on 250cc machines.
The fans were then treated to an extra race as there was a run-off for third place and what a race it was! The injured McGurk, riding through the pain barrier came to the tapes and he was joined by Hagon and Ablitt. All 3 riders threw the bikes at each other with McGurk pulling off a remarkable inside swoop on Hagon in the early stages. All 3 had the lead at various stages until Ablitt crashed on the 1st bend of the penultimate lap. The referee decreed that the race would be awarded to McGurk who was leading at the time of the stoppage.
We caught up with an ecstatic Leon Flint after the trophy presentation, “This is the biggest moment of my career to date but I aim to add more as I progress.”
The Berwick man returned to the saddle after a high speed crash at Glasgow but was determined to race for the British crown, “Even if this wasn’t my last year as an under 19, I think I still would have given it a go tonight, you don’t know what might happen in the future and if I called it a day or had an injury which prevented me from racing it’s always good to tell the grandchildren that I was an under 19 British Champion!”
Flint was also impressed with the talent on show, “There was some very good racing, a lot of the lads showed promise and half of the line up are 15/16 years old.”
- Harry McGurk (Plymouth/Belle Vue) = 11 THIRD
- Sam Hagon (Oxford) = 11
- Max James (Unattached) = 4
- Archie Freeman (Belle Vue) = 2
- Luke Harrison (Unattached)= 7
- Joe Thompson (Leicester)= 10
- Elliot Kelly (Armadale) = 2
- Jody Scott (Oxford) = 8
- Ace Pijper (Berwick) = 5
- Max Perry (Leicester) = 7
- Sam McGurk (Belle Vue) = 3
- Jake Mulford (Belle Vue) = 14 SECOND
- Leon Flint (Wolverhampton/Berwick) = 15 MAXIMUM, WINNER
- Mickie Simpson (Leicester) = 3
- Nathan Ablitt (Poole/Belle Vue) = 11
- Freddy Hodder (Belle Vue) = 6
17 (R). Jack Shimelt (Unattached) = 1
18 (R). Alex Goldsbrough (Unattached) = 0