Fugleberg lands third Pairs crown
It was back-to-back wins for Heath (25) and a record third for their number one Olcay Fugleberg (15) in this weeks Pairs final as favourites Totton were sunk by Belfast in the last heat of the contest. The Fugleberg/Daniel Williams (10) partnership claimed the silverware for the second season in a row as Miksa Mathe (14) and Cameron Adams (9) failed to gain the heat 21 5-1 they required for outright victory at Houston, the inconsistent Ludoslaw Jaworski certainly running hot for Belfast in the last as he forcefully took Adams’s line and the lead coming out of the first bend, the Aussie—who was also past by Nyek Timko (12)—in the end finishing half a lap down on the race victor. Timko’s third in the race was good enough to give Belfast third spot on the podium, their best placing in six final appearances, the fact that Jaworski only scored points in one other heat costing them the chance of finishing any higher. Belfast though were the first side to take points off Heath in the final, Timko winning in heat nine when the two pairings met, Fugleberg and Williams happy to settle for second and third having already picked up 5-1’s over the duo’s from Harringay and Sedgley. However another dropped point to Hallamshire in heat 14 allowed Totton to lead the meeting heading into the final two races, and with the top two sides sharing the spoils when they met in heat 16, the Tigers would head into the closing stages still with a single point advantage. Heath were back in maximum scoring form when they came up against Epping in heat 19, their third 5-1 turning the final on it’s head, the pressure now back on Totton, and it’s that pressure that told.
Another WSO event featuring Harry Nicholls and Adam Lucas (13), and another win for the Brookwood man, the 19 year old now the double BU21 Champion after winning the final in Stourbridge with a 15 point maximum. Nicholls’ ninth victory in a WSO event contest was perhaps his easiest yet, Lucas having to battle just to get second from Scot’ Luke Bragg (10) when the two ‘superstars’ met in heat nine, the highly anticipated match-up ending with the two riders half a straight apart, while Lucas was also beaten by Stuart Stokes (12)—who finished third on the podium—when looking for a win to apply pressure in heat 19, it mattered not, Nicholls finishing the job in the last with another tapes to line domination. Lucas then will be pleased that he has avoided Nicholls in the first round draw for the World Championship, he now 12-3 down in their WSO battles.
One title being handed over by Harry Nicholls this week was the WU19 crown he won last year, now ineligible it was time for Scott Read (11) and Andrew Nichols (8) to step up for the Brits, however both their challenges faltered early on in the Oslo final, Read falling in the opening heat, with Nichols beaten into third by Ianos Busa (9) and Tas Vitez (6) in the same race. Read did recover to win three of his next four, however a defeat to Dag Hotvedt in heat 15 proved costly, the Odense and Norway youngster—who finished third last year—going on to take the title from Read by a point.
No Pairs title but otherwise a great start to the season for Totton, they now unbeaten in their first eight meetings of SL9 having picked up points away from home in both league and cup this week. It may have been their first dropped point of their league campaign, but it will certainly go down as one gained for the Tigers on their visit to Belfast, with 5-1’s in heats 14 and 15 overturning an eight point Sinks advantage in the clash. Second string Joseph Howarth (6+1) came in as a tactical substitute to claim the first of those maximums alongside Simon Snow (10), Cameron Adams (13+1) and Miksa Mathe (13+2) completed the comeback in the last. Having seen Heath lift the Pairs trophy just a couple of days before there was certainly some extra determination from the Tigers in their Division One Cup visit to the Spitfires, they leading from heat three onwards and completing victory with two races to spare, the semi finals now beckoning John Shuttler’s side following the 39-51 success, their second in a two weeks at the venue and their fourth from their last five trips there.
Caversham are up to second in division one, albeit some four points off Totton, with the Swans now unbeaten in four in the league since losing their first two meetings of the campaign. A heat 14 5-1 from second string Vincenzo Sammarco (7+1) and reserve Shane Connor (7+3) saw them clinch both points on their trip to Cranford, the eventual 41-49 win their first in the top flight against a side other than Bradford—who they’ve beaten three times in the period—since the latter stages of SL3! Elsewhere in the top flight Olcay Fugleberg scored 18 as Heath completed a 44-46 win at Brookwood with a last heat 4-2, while it was even tighter at Epping, Bradford pulling off a single point victory there with a 5-1 in the final race. At Long Eaton visitors Belfast ended a run of five meetings in all competitions without a win with a shock 44-46 victory over the Rifles, Adam Lucas (9) beaten by Nyek Timko (14) in the last heat decider.
Luis Crownover (12+1)—who is with his sixth different club in a little over two years—scored in double figures for the second time in three meetings as Buxton pulled off a 43-47 victory at Leyton, the win helps the Bees extend their advantage at the top of division three to two points. Crownover—who is averaging 9.44 in the league—will keep his 5.95 GSA for now having ridden in less then six meetings this season.