Following the success of the British round of the Womens IMBA Championship Team GB of Bethany Farmer, Gabrielle Hamlet, Georgia Ithell and Vicky Marriott took the long trip to Germany for round 4.
The track was a tight supercross style layout set within the local speedway track which at first didn't look suitable for an international event, but once the gate dropped racing was racing and the girls really enjoyed the jumps and once into a rhythm the racing was close and exciting. Former world champion Steffi Laire again took three straight forward wins particularly as the British round at Lower Drayton took its share of casualties including Championship leader Gwenda Haans and British Championship leader Chelsea Gowland who looked most likely to challenge Steffi but out with a broken ankle following a heavy landing in her last race at Lower Drayton.
With a depleted field Beth Farmer and Gabrielle Hamlet had lots to race for with places to be grabbed from the injured before they have time to recover for Switzerland. Same too for Georgia Ithell who has the chance to improve her overall and Vicky Marriott now recovered from her pre-season arm injury and pick her season up. With possibly the shortest start straight ever a good gate pick was essential, so qualifying was more important than ever. The Brits did a good job but it was close with Beth Farmer in 6th closely followed by Gabbi Hamlet in 7th place and Georgia Ithell and Vicky Marriott in close quarter in 17th and 18th.
The first race was an exciting start to the event with the British girls having to work hard, Steffi Laire was the only consistent starter grabbing the holeshot in every race, Beth Farmer had to battle from the back to finish in a hard fought 5th place with Gabbi Hamlet gating well battling with Demi Verploegh to finish in 8th place. Georgia Ithell and Vicky Marriott had a great battle in the mid pack fighting for 13th until Vicky dropped it on the slick speedway track dropping her back to 17th place leaving Georgia to finish in a great 13th place.
Race 2 and Beth Farmer had everything to race for but fell while battling at the top having to fight from the back to a brave 7th place ahead of the consistent Gabbi Hamlet who had another steady ride finihsing in 10th just ahead of a super impressive ride by Vicky Marriott who finished in her highest position in 11th getting the better of the battle between Belgium Julia Blatter and Georgia Ithell who finished in a great 13th.
The day was shaping up for a great finish with already some personal best performances from the British team particularly Georgia Ithell and Vicky Marriott. So all was to play for. Gabbi Hamlet again got a great start and ran her race battling the front runners while Vicky Marriott and Beth Farmer both fell asleep on the start having to fight their way from the back. Georgia Ithell was running in a strong position but fell early so she took the turn of fighting from the back. Despite that they all managed to fight their way through to some great finishes, Beth Farmers was particularly strong ending in 5th place, while Vicky Marriott finished in 13th place and Georgia ending up in 15th.
It was a great day for the team. Beth Farmer pulled out a hard fought 5th place overall, Gabbi Hamlet's consistency grabbed her 9th, Vicky Marriott got her best IMBA result with 13th overall and Georgia Ithell unlucky after her last race fall just behind Vicky in 14th place overall.
With only one round left in Switzerland in September there are more places to be gained by the team who now lie in fourth place overall.
Words and pictures by Howard Marriott
The results of the event are below.