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Plenty to spare for Rams in Cup success

Ramsgate became the fifth multiple winner of the KO Cup with three races to spare of the SL21 final against Southampton. Salvaging a disappointing season by claiming their first trophy since taking the league title on the final day of last year, the Rams didn’t need to get out of third gear in this weeks second leg at Michigan Park. 16 up from the opener, Phil Watmough’s side breezed further in front with a couple of heat advantages in the first half of the return, the Sacha Samarin (10+2)/Jacek Wozniak (6+2) partnership picking up both. John Shuttler made a tactical switch in heat eight with Craig Rowntree (11) coming in for Shane Reid, he led Tanek Zajac around for a 5-1 to reverse some of the early losses, but really it seemed like they were going through the motions. Ramsgate were not going to give this up, and by the end of heat 12 they’d secured the trophy they’d come for, reserve Jacob Cooke (7+2) and Wozniak taking them over the line with the minor places. Despite this success Watmough won’t be happy with how the season has gone, a home league defeat to Southampton earlier in the week—43-46—evidence of how inconsistent the Rams have been, Alex Marini (6+1) failed to win a race in either that meeting or the cup clash that followed. The overall performance shown by the Italian in SL21—who began the year as world number two—has been a huge disappointment, the pressure telling on the 29 year old since his switch from division three side Gateshead, the Gladiators certainly got the better half of the pre-season swap which sent England International Shane Goodwin to the north-east.

TODAY: Shorts

Liam Marlow became the fifth different English rider to win the World Championship after seeing out victory in the final round in Poland. Ten points enough for the 31 year old Altrincham star as his closest rivals going into the meeting Graham Hancock (5) and Zarek Jablonski (9) faltered, the former slipping out of the medals altogether after scoring just a point from his first three rides in Warsaw, Jablonski would take second overall, but only after a first race win of the meeting in heat 20 over Hancock and Waclaw Kozlowski (11), who was also vying for the runners-up spot. The series though belonged to Marlow, the three-time World Championship silver medallist—the first of which he gained as a teenager—at last getting his hands on the main prize, and doing so by a clear six points. Oslo’s Indrek Ratnikov (12) was the surprise winner on the night, the Estonian—who’d hadn’t been beyond the first round of the World Championship prior to this season—taking the meeting victory by a point from Florian Kogler (2nd) and Kozlowski (3rd).


Southampton’s win at Ramsgate was only their second away from home this season but with the 51-39 victory over Exeter that followed it secured them a third top two finish in four years. Exeter’s defeat left them in fourth behind Quantock on points difference, vital for the Rangers, who having picked up the maximum three points earlier in the week against Brighton (49-41), took the final European Cup place on offer for SL22. Nick Howard’s side return to that competition after a two year absence, prior to SL20 they competed in the European Cup in six successive seasons, finishing as runners-up in both SL15 and 16.


In the end the gap between themselves and the promotion places was just too much for Dunmow in their fight to return to division one for the first time since SL17. Defeat at Buxton all but ending their challenge in the penultimate round of fixtures, London ending all doubt with a final day 47-43 victory over Denaby. The Jaguars left it late though, they not securing all three points from the fixture and the second place finish in division two that went with it until the very final race, in which Vyacheslav Kuznetsov (12) and Sanel Tiganj (13+1) combined for a 5-1. It’s back-to-back promotions for Darren Evans side, who won division three at the second attempt in SL20. Altrincham finish behind the Jaguars on points difference in third, their return to the top flight after a year away secured with a 52-38 penultimate week win over Medeswell. At the bottom Buxton’s win over Dunmow meant that California became the third side relegated to division three this season.


Bill Jones’s Stowmarket took the final promotion place in division three in what is their first season in the league with a penultimate week home win over Border. The 14 point success proving enough as closest rivals Liden surprisingly lost at home to bottom of the table Hull, 42-48. Another shock at Gateshead, where the divisional champions lost at the Shearlegs Road venue for the first time in SL21 with the visit of Tottenham, 44-45. The Gladiators finished the season on a high however, maximums for Shane Goodwin (15) and Enrico Ludwig (14+1) as they won at Newquay on the final day.


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