2008 North of England Regional Championship - Runners & Riders: Championship Section


With Reg Vardy aiming to be in seventh heaven, the question is, can anyone stop them?

Sunday 30th March
Adjudicator: David Horsfield

Test Piece: Festival Music – Eric Ball
Commences: Commences after First Section

EYMSEast Yorkshire Motor Services
Dr Robert Childs
4BR Ranking: 72

Last 12 Years:
2007: 2nd (J. Davies)
2006: 3rd (J. Davies)
2005: 6th (G. Pritchard)
2004: 2nd (G. Pritchard)
2003: 2nd (G. Pritchard)
2002: 2nd (G. Pritchard)
2001: 2nd (A. Morrison)
2000: 3rd (G. O'Connor)
1999: 2nd
1998: Winners
1997: Winners
1996: Winners

If there is a band that on paper can take the title off Reg Vardy, then EYMS are surely it.

They have come close so many times now that it is hard to believe that you have to go back to 1998 for the last time they won here. They also hold the current local bragging rights too with a hard earned 12th place at London – seven places ahead of their rivals. What price then a repeat result here at Darlington and a triumphant return for Robert Childs?   

Graeme Tindall
4BR Ranking: 151

Last 12 Years:
2007: Winners of First Section (G. Tindall) (prom)
2006: Winners of First Section (G. Tindall)
2005: 6th (G. Tindall)
2004: 2nd in Second Section (G. Tindall) (prom)
2003: 4th (S. Malcolm)
2002: 6th (N. Davies)
2001: 8th (B. Broadbent)
2000: Winners of Third Section (B. Broadbent) (prom)
1999: N/K
1998: 8th (rel)
1997: N/K
1996: N/K

What a fantastic achievement for Felling. At the turn of the Millennium they were playing in the Third Section here, and now they could well be on the verge of a place at the Royal Albert Hall itself. 

With two consecutive titles to their name they won’t be short of confidence for sure, but this is a huge step up in class. A well deserved win at the Durham County Contest in November last year and 7th place at the Lower Section finals should hold them in good stead, but a solid debut may be a more realistic ambition.

Russell Gray
4BR Ranking: 31

Last 12 Years:
2007: 4th (R. Gray)
2006: 2nd (R. Gray)
2005: 4th (I. McElligott)
2004: 3rd (G. O'Connor)
2003: 3rd (G. O'Connor)
2002: 3rd (G. O'Connor)
2001: Winners (I. Robinson)
2000: 2nd (I. Robinson)
1999: 3rd
1998: 5th
1997: 3rd
1996: 8th

On their day Fishburn is a band that can mix it in high class company and they have been perennial contenders here for well over a decade.

Russell Gray returns to try and raise them up from a slightly unlucky 4th place last year, although he will have to try and pick up a band that hasn’t shown the best of form of late – 7th at the Scottish Open and 9th at Brass at the Guild Hall earlier this season. If the band can respond to a conductor with a bit of a Midas touch on the piece then it could herald another trip to London. 

David Lancaster
4BR Ranking: 163

Last 12 Years:
2007: 6th (D. Lancaster)
2006: 8th (D. Lancaster)
2005: 5th (D. Lancaster)
2004: 6th (D. Lancaster)
2003: 6th (D. Lancaster)
2002: 2nd in First Section (D. Lancaster) (prom)
2001: Winners of First Section (D. Lancaster)
2000: Winners of Second Section (D. Lancaster) (prom)
1999: N/K
1998: 3rd
1997: 4th in Third Section (prom)
1996: 2nd

David Lancaster continues to keep Harrogate ticking along nicely, although they have yet to really set the stage alight here since coming up from the First Section in 2003.

No real recent form as such to call upon as a marker, but we have seen the MD around the country this year as an avid listener as well as judge, so he will be well prepared for sure and another top six finish should be within their grasp. 

Reg VardyReg Vardy
Dr. Nicholas Childs
4BR Ranking: 20

Last 12 Years:
2007: Winners (R. Farr)
2006: Winners (R. Farr)
2005: Winners (R. Farr)
2004: Winners (R. Farr)
2003: Winners (R. Gray)
2002: Winners (N. Childs)
2001: 3rd (B. Grant)
2000: Winners (N. Childs)
1999: Winners
1998: 3rd
1997: 2nd
1996: 6th

A fantastic record, but how the band would love to be able to translate that domestic supremacy into something more tangible away from their home ground.

Reg Vardy has had a couple of poor years by their high standards and the departure of Ray Farr has meant that for the first time since 2003 they have brought in a hired gun to lead them here. Nicholas Childs knows what is needed to win more than most, but the band will know that even another win here will amount to nothing more than a pyrrhic victory if they cannot compete at the major events the rest of the year.  

EasingtonRMT Easington Colliery
Norman Law
4BR Ranking: 116 

Last 12 Years:
2007: 5th (D. Hirst)
2006: 2nd in First Section (D. Hirst) (prom)
2005: Winners of First Section (D. Hirst)
2004: 4th (D. Hirst)
2003: 8th (D. Dye)
2002: 6th (D. Dye)
2001: 9th (D. Dye)
2000: 7th (D. Dye)
1999: 7th in Championship Section (rel)
1998: 8th
1997: N/K
1996: N/K

Norman Law comes in this year to lead the band, and he will be looking to build on the excellent form they have shown at the contest in the last three years.

5th place last year was well deserved but to repeat that or go even better then they will have to up the ante after finishing off last season with joint 10th place at the Scottish Open and 11th place at Brass at the Guild Hall.   

Chester le StreetTavistock Chester le Street Riverside
Ian Robinson
4BR Ranking: 134 

Last 12 Years:
2007: 3rd (I. Robinson)
2006: 6th (I. Robinson)
2005: 2nd (I. Robinson)
2004: 5th (I. Robinson)
2003: 9th (D. Hirst)
2002: 6th (R. Evans)
2001: 4th (A. Swainson)
2000: 4th (R. Payne)
1999: 4th
1998: 7th
1997: 4th
1996: 4th

The multi talented Ian Robinson leads Tavistock once more, and he will be looking to see if he can push his band just a bit further this year and onto another finals appearance.

No real form as such to gauge their current assault, although with a team of solid soloists to call upon one of the most consistent outfits should fancy their chances of another podium place or even better.  

Westoe (STHCT)
Derek Broadbent
4BR Ranking: Outside top 200

Last 12 Years:
2007: 4th in First Section (S. Malcolm) (prom)
2006: 3rd (R. Tennant)
2005: 4th (R. Tennant)
2004: DNC (rel)
2003: 5th in First Section (J. Smith) (prom)
2002: 3rd
2001: Winners of Second Section (prom)
2000: 2nd
1999: 3rd in Third Section (prom)
1998: Winners of Fourth Section
1997: N/K
1996: N/K

Westoe make their first appearance at the Championship Section table this year after failing to make it to the starting line the last time they were due an appearance in 2004.

The band has come a long way since competing in the Fourth Section a decade ago and they will be keen to make an impression. It is a huge step up in quality from coming 4th last year in the First Section and winning the B Section of the Durham County Contest in November, but Derek Broadbent will know just how to handle his troops to make the most of themselves. 

Past Qualifiers:

2007: Reg Vardy, EYMS
2006: Reg Vardy, Fishburn
2005: Reg Vardy*, Chester le Street Riverside, BHK Horden
2004: Ever Ready, EYMS
2003: Ever Ready, EYMS
2002: Ever Ready, EYMS
2001: Fishburn, EYMS
2000: Ever Ready, Fishburn
1999: Ever Ready, EYMS
1998: EYMS, British Steel Teeside
1997: EYMS, Ever Ready
1996: EYMS, British Steel Teeside
1995: Fishburn, Ever Ready
1994: Ever Ready, British Steel Teeside
1993: Ever Ready, Fishburn
1992: Fishburn, Ever Ready
1991: Ever Ready, North Skelton
1990: Ever Ready, North Skelton
1989: Ever Ready, Coal Products (CPL)

*Pre Qualified  

How North of England bands did in London:

2007: 12th, 19th
2006: 12th, 16th
2005: 10th, 17th, 20th
2004: 3rd, 20th 
2003: 12th, 14th
2002: 9th, 20th
2001: 14th, 18th
2000: 13th, 19th
1999: 15th, 19th
1998: 10th, 17th
1997: 5th, 13th
1996: 8th, 19th
1995: 16th, 19th
1994: 16th, 18th
1993: 17th, 20th
1992: 15th, 16th
1991: 8th, 20th
1990: 14th, 23rd
1989: 17th, 20th   

4BR Prediction: 

This could be a close run contest if the challengers to Reg Vardy have upped their game and the reigning champions are not on the very best of their form. No complacency though we think on their behalf and they should have just enough about them to take the honours once more, although EYMS and Fishburn should push them very close.

Behind them its up for grabs somewhat with Tavistock, Felling and Harrogate making up the top six. The two left, Westoe and RMT Easington are our dark horses.

1. Reg Vardy
3. Fishburn
4. Tavistock Chester le Street
5. Felling
6. Harrogate

Dark Horses: RMT Easington and Westoe


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