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AWAY THE LADS
Vipers youngsters seal shock cup success
A record extending fifth success in the Division One Cup for Don Valley who sealed their latest trophy win with another victory at Southampton’s Michigan Park. Beaten now just twice at the venue in their last six visits, the battle of two of the sports heavyweights was once again won by the Vipers, a 44-46 win sealing a slender four point success for Matt Akers youngsters. At 25 Valeri Lach (13) was by far the oldest of a septet that featured five riders under the age of 21, two of whom—Samuel Murphy (9) and Joseph Wall (8+1)—lead the list of runners for next weeks WU21 Final in Oslo. Lach’s final heat victory over Craig Rowntree (12) and George Farley (12+2) clinched the trophy, although the writing was on the wall for the hosts from heat 13 when Lach and Murphy beat the same two Scorpion riders in a 5-1 to give their side an eight point aggregate lead. That left John Shuttler using tactical substitutes in a meeting his side never led in, a bad night all round as far as they were concerned. It’s the second time that Don Valley have come back from a disappointing result at home to win on the road in this years competition, they beating Ramsgate on their travels in the semi-finals to reach the decider. And it’s that resilience that has given Akers the belief that his side can still go and successfully defend their league title, he not giving up on the silverware they won for the fifth time in SL21 despite trailing the leaders Manor by four in the standings. With meetings against all three sides above them to come their run-in couldn’t be any tougher, a ‘must-win’ at Manor for them next, but who would bet against them?
It took SL20 runners-up Brighton just two heats of their home second leg to gain the aggregate lead over Denaby in the final of the Division Two Cup. A 5-1 won by teenager Chris Carver (9+4) in the second race taking the Bombers six in front on the night in response to their slender 44-46 defeat in the opener, the SL20 and 21 British Under 19 Champion would go on to be involved in two further race maximums, with his second place finish to Zsolt Mezo (9) in heat 12 all but sealing his side the silverware. The Bombers would go on and win the return meeting 55-35, that the same result achieved by Medeswell on their way to success in the final of the Division Three Cup against Birmingham. Looking to overturn a first leg eight point deficit, Paul McLaughlin’s Magic started the meeting brightly, taking the aggregate lead for the first time with an Adie Bentham (15) winning 5-1 in heat six. But despite picking up more maximum points three races later and going 14 up on the night by the end of heat ten, the final went into the final two races will still all to ride for. Any doubts of the destination of the silverware however was put to bed by Denis Lagutin (12+2) and reserve Henrick Garics (5+1) in the penultimate race, the hosts crossing the line with a fourth 5-1 of the meeting.
Time is running out for those who want to challenge Manor for this years title. Still the gap at the top remains at three points with Ramsgate making their move this week, they beating Laceby on the road to move back into second spot. Heat 13 and 15 5-1’s won by Alexander Wagner (14) sealed the Rams their 43-47 victory. Disappointment later in the week though when they missed out on the aggregate bonus against Exeter at home, the visitors taking the extra point after Hungarian’ Robi Kollar (12) beat Wagner in a race-off.
A second Grand Prix win of the season for Rubert Hanka (13) has put the Czech rider back in World Championship contention. The Plock number one took the Danish crown in Horsens following a race-off victory over Dunmow’s Eddie Culina, Leos Stick finish third overall. Series leader Valeri Lach recovered from two last place finishes on the Horsens circuit to win his last three, his advantage though at the top of the standings actually increasing to three points as his closest rival Douglas Fread (7) struggled to make an impact.
A first national title for Southampton’s George Farley (12) who saw off the challenge of home track rider John Crisp to land the British crown in Merseyside. The 24 year old missed the chance of outright victory at the Riverside when finishing third to Crisp and defending champion Wade Dunn (11) in heat 18, but he responded by reversing the result on Crisp in a deciding race-off. Dunn, who won the first of his seven British Final podiums as a 20 year old some 16 years ago, missed out on an eighth after losing a match-race for third against Andy Rose.
A last heat 5-1 earned Dunmow (45 points) earned them a much needed 44-46 victory at Lye. The Dragons—who have been in the top three for six months—under pressure from both Buxton (43) and Merseyside (40) ahead of the final division two run-in, the latter having picked up a couple of crucial away points of their own at St Peters, 42-48. Dunmow host leaders Brighton (48) next and could go top.