British Youth Championship 2023 Round 4
Saturday 3rd June 2023
British Youth Championship - Armadale Stadium

As much blue sky and sunshine as we've ever enjoyed at Armadale meant it was a great afternoon for sitting on the grass verge and watching the youngsters give their all on-track in the fourth leg of the British Youth Championship.

Neil Vatcher is the primary organiser of the group and at the end he was happy with how the day had gone. "I felt everyone did well, it was obviously a difficult day due to the extreme heat and that made it tough for the track staff to keep the dust down. They did a very good job. The final of the support category was brilliant – that young Kane Newby, Liam Morris, Lewis Hague and Rocco – passing and re-passing, really good.

"And that's what it's all about, as long as everyone enjoyed themselves and left with a smile on their faces which I think most of them did. The young riders and I thank the Edinburgh promotion for all their help and support."

The track staff naturally had a battle on their hands to keep the dust down but it was only in the latter stages that the clouds of red shale started to rise. It was quite a long afternoon because there were more fallers than there have previously been when Armadale has played host to the travelling band of youngsters at the various levels.

Four of the programmed riders were non-starters and there were another four who didn't make it to the end of the meeting, but that still left a whopping thirty competitors who kept coming out for more. As always in this meeting there was a fairly wide divergence in standards but that still left plenty of interesting tussles. There were quite a few fallers but the only serious one is Caydin Martin who sadly broke his arm in two places.

Taking it category by category:

125cc Support Category: This is the biggest group with 14 competitors and it was also the hottest contested final, with Kane Newby leading the qualifying scorers on 11. The home trio, Rocco Webb, Lewis Hague and Liam Morris who have been carving up the honours so far in the series, all qualified on 9 points. The final was an absolute thriller with Morris away best, but Hague taking over with a great burst. Newby came through from the back, dropped back again and then finished second, while Webb had third place until he fell on the final corner.

125cc Category: Some hot competition in this category with Archie Rolph winning his four qualifying heats and Oli Bovingdon only a point behind. Casper Kluczniak (9) and Oli Binns (7) were the others to make the final. In this Bovingdon reversed the qualifying order by getting the better of Rolph for a fine win.

250cc Category: Stene Pijper was unable to contest this due to his brother racing at Workington, so only three riders remained. Caydin Martin was injured in a spectacular crash after Jamie Etherington fell in front of him, leaving Jamie to chase the highly impressive William Cairns in the final. Jamie was quick and stylish, William even more so, winning all his qualifying heats and the final. Cairns perhaps the most impressive rider of all on the day.

Women's category: Just three in this, the first ever stage of this section of the event. Celina Liebmann was obvious favourite having ridden with success at SGP2 level. British Champion Katie Gordon did her best to match the German, and Wendy McAllan gamely did her bit, though excluded in her first outing for being lapped by Liebmann. A crash in her third race ruled Wendy out leaving Katie Gordon to follow Liebmann home in the final for the fifth time on the day.

500cc Category: Remarkable that Jody Scott was in this since he was racing at Berwick in the evening in the NDL. For that reason the final was raced early to let him get on his way. Once or twice beaten from the gate but he came through to win each time and, like Liebmann and Cairns, finished the day with five wins out of five. The other four competitors all had non-finishes, and with both Billy Budd and Ashton Vale both non-finishers in the final, Laylan Richardson grabbed a surprise second. Sonny Springer had a bad day, finishing only once.

Full marks to everyone for the organisation, especially whoever had to sort out the heats to allow for the absentees – 3 heats cancelled and riders moved into other heats to replace those not there. Very tricky!