Swindon heading for exit
Long Eatonended a run of five consecutive leg defeats in the KO Cup with a club record breaking victory at Swindon, the 39-51 first round first leg win the Rifles biggest away from home in the competition. A first career full maximum from Federico Sorrentino was the highlight of the visitors success, the Italian—who has ridden in every round of league racing since the opening day of SL1—delighted to at last end his search for a perfect score: “I did it at Sedgley last year, but the guys wont have it as it was pre-season, this one counts though, they can’t take it away me!”. Long Eaton had already wrapped up the meeting victory with a heat 14 5-1 from reserve Stephen Churchill (11+1) and Ianos Volk (5+2) prior to Sorrentino completing his full house, what could have been a nervous finale for the 28 year old turned out to be a procession to the line after a dream start from the gate, hosts’ heat leader Jan Slaby (12) lacking the pace to make a challenge. The final race 4-2—Jiri Sebranek (10) came home in third—extended the Rifles lead heading into the return leg onto 12 points, the win their first on the road by a double figure margin in nearly 18 months. The result should see Long Eaton avoid a first round giant-killing, eyes instead will be on the likes of Harringay and Rowley Regis next week as they bid to eliminate top flight opposition. The Hoods—bidding to reach round two for only the second time—limited Stourbridge to just a 47-43 home first leg win in their tie this week, Rowley Regis meanwhile enjoyed a 48-42 first leg home win over former winners Houston on their debut in the competition, 41 year old Zvi Sundt top scoring for the hosts with 14.
19 year old Kim Siemsen (13) became the youngest winner of a World Championship meeting with victory in the first round tie at Sedgley, home track advantage helping the Dane—who is currently on loan at the Sprites from Belfast—to beat previous holder of the honour, Simon Snow, by 14 days. Snow won his first round meeting before going on to qualify for the GP series as a teenager in SL7, where he won the British round on his way to becoming world number four. Siemsen—WU19 champion in SL7—will do well to emulate that, however in defeating Ross Nicholls and current world champion Erich Lacina in a race off to claim the meeting win this week, anything seems possible. Siemen’s team mate Shaun Talbot (11) made it a Sprites winning double by defeating Sarkis Evanoff, Juha Niskanen and Imrich Kana in a race off to win the second of this weeks ties in Plock, the success was the 30 year old British Champion’s fourth in a WSO event.
Bradford’s club record top flight winning run came to an end at five meetings with defeat at Heath, 48-42, however with all ten teams in division one losing away from home this week the standings are pretty much as they were at the end of round eight, the Speedsters remaining a point clear of Totton at the head of them.
A first away win of SL8 saw Alfreton return to the top of division two for the first time in a month, a strong performance from the Archers top five earning them a 42-48 victory at injury hit Swindon. Roared on by a strong vocal visiting support they led for all but one heat in the meeting, a opening race 5-1 from Anders Sten (13+1) and Waclaw Pawlak (8+3) was followed by another from the same partnership in heat five, while a third maximum was added in heat 13 when Pawlak finished behind his team mate Martin Fors (9). Alfreton’s only weakness was at reserve and it was Phillip Pittman’s (0) inability to hold on to a match winning position in heat 14 which sent the meeting into a last race decider, Pittman bravely holding off tactical substitute Jan Slaby for three laps before running out of stamina on the fourth, a vital point for third place gone. It didn’t matter Sten and Miroslav Mikeska (10+2) joined forces for a 4-2 in heat 15 to secure Alfreton their victory and a points difference advantage over Epping at the top of the standings.
Even at 37 Ingmar Slinde (17+1) has become by far the stand out rider in division three, the former world number four averaging 11.20 for Ferndown since his £125,000 pre-season switch from Houston. Slinde scored 17+1 this week as the Rangers fought back from a six point deficit to win at Mansfield 43-47, a last heat 5-1 from British youngster Adam Lucas (14+1)—who also went through the card unbeaten—and Slinde, was the fourth heat maximum returned by the visitors in the final seven heats of the clash. Ferndown’s first away win since their last visit to Mansfield some nine months ago was proceeded by their first defeat at home of their division three campaign, the Dorset side going down 44-46 at the hands of Finchampstead as Slinde (12) suffered a relative ‘off-day’. The rider who’d dropped just one point at Forest Park in the league prior to the Flyers visit, defeated by Vlasik Vladimir (9) and twice by Kartal Papa (14) in the loss.