Get involved! Send photos, video, news & views. Text SWINDON NEWS to 80360 or email us
SPEEDWAY: Darryl passes final test
SWINDON asset Darryl Ritchings admitted he was tested to the limit as he qualified for the British Under 21 Final in horrendous conditions on Saturday.
The Purton youngster, who will be riding for the Isle of Wight when the new National League season gets underway, carded two race wins and two second places before the meeting was ended early due to torrential rain.
Ritchings won heat one after taking advantage of a fall from Coventry’s Brendan Johnson to take the victory coming out of the final turn, before finishing second to Isle of Wight teammate Dan Stoneman in heat eight.
Heat 12 was staged four times before the Swindon man won a match race against reserve Michael Neale, and then finished second in the final race of the afternoon to earn his final spot.
The teenager was pleased with his performance, on a day when he and his equipment was given a thorough workout.
“It was a great start, but the track was really difficult to ride because of the weather, and you had to use your head a little bit to keep scoring points in every race,” he said.
“I knew as soon as we got down there it was going to be a pretty long night, and I think in total there were 36 crashes, but even though it was a huge test I got through and that’s the main thing.
“I had one first corner crash and that was it fortunately, and I was able to get straight back up again so I was probably one of the lucky ones.
“I rode quite well when I was able to, and to get through was what I went down there to try and do.”
The final will be hosted by Ritchings’ former club Dudley Heathens at Monmore Green in Wolverhampton on April 23, and the young rider is pleased to be going back to the track he knows best.
“I rode at Wolverhampton for two seasons with Dudley and I have learnt to ride it well, so it’s good for me to be able to go back there for the final,” he said.
“I would like to think I will have a bit of an advantage over some of the other guys when we get there, but we will have to wait and see.”
Ritchings was also able to get a ride in Thursday night’s Bob Kilby Memorial Trophy at Blunsdon as a reserve, and in his one outing he didn’t look off the pace despite riding against eventual winner Niels-Kristian Iversen and established stars Mads Korneliussen and Edward Kennett.
“I didn’t make the best of starts but I just kept plugging away,” he said.
“They are faster than I am, but I was trying to keep up with them which drags you along a little bit. It helps my confidence too, and that will be great when the season gets going.”
Ritchings is back on the bike today for a practice at his new National League track on the Isle of Wight, with the club’s press and practice day on April 9.