I was recently invited to the annual NGR Over 30's awards event at Walsham as they celebrated their 30th year of existence. A great afternoon of banter and good company. Over fifty awards were handed out, plus prize money, with overall winner, Aaron Hopkins, cutting the traditional NGR cake. A brief forum took place with a view to the future of the series, and the afternoon was rounded off by an excellent meal, provided by Tammy, who is much the better looking part of the Hubbard family !
To recap, thirty years ago, the late and much missed Nigel Read saw that many riders were retiring from the sport earlier than they really wanted to, mainly because they could no longer compete with young up and coming riders, and were not enjoying the "cut and thrust"side of the sport. Not only did he have large numbers of older riders interested, it also brought back riders who had retired over the years.
Names on the main trophy includes top riders of yesteryear who had been revitalised. Former British champion, Geoff Mayes, former Eastern champions, Mark Mitchell, Matt Skeet, known as Mr. Smooth, Anthony Plummer and Paul Bennett to name just a few.
Nigel saw the series grow before he passed away, and Lyn Berwick stepped in to keep the event going. During the mid 1990's, such was the popularity of the NGR's, well over 80 riders were registered, and grateful clubs were pleased to accept two line ups at meetings. Braintree rider, John Smith, epitomises this great series. Still enjoying his riding at 64 years old, John is the only rider remaining who has competed over all 30 years. Despite lower numbers nowadays, a regular core of riders still appear every year, but because of lack of venues, the riders have to venture into the South Midland centre occasionally. Paul Hubbard, Aaron Hopkins, Steve Bottoms and Mark Lloyd all contribute in running the series, with the tireless Lyn Berwick keeping the paperwork tidy.
They would like to see the NGR championships continue to survive, and invite riders over the age of 30 to register for 2019, details of which will be on this website soon.
There is also a need for Eastern clubs to continue to support these guys and girls, and I know that the NGR organisers are very grateful to the clubs who can accommodate them.
Obviously there are too many names to mention all of the award winners for 2018, but the over 50 trophy went to former 1980's star, Mark Goodson, the over 40's cup to former NGR champion, Jake Morphey, and the over 30's trophy, as well as the overall NGR cup went to the good looking, (his words) Aaron Hopkins.
Photos by Paul Sewter. Hover over an image for details, or click to enlarge.