Crown Edition - ENHANCED
WIMBLE—DON AND DUSTED
Stars cruise to cup win
Wimbledon’ssecond leg visit to Halesowen proved to be the formality it promised to be with Mark Elliott’s side confirming Division One Cup success with three heats of the final to spare. Leading by 20 after their opening meeting demolition of the Heathens at home the Stars continued their superiority early on at the Gundersen, their riders winning four of the opening five races as they actually increased their aggregate advantage. Healesowen did respond, but it was more a case of grinding out some respectability rather than giving their fans any real hope of success, their deficit still standing at 14 heading into heat 12 despite a run of four 4-2’s in six races. And heat 12 was when their challenge came to an end, in as a tactical substitute Pazman Sabados (13) made light work of passing Toni Lindberg (10) down the back straight of the opening lap, while Roman Saenko (8) was far too good for home reserve Juhani Heikkinen, a 4-2 for the Stars, their advantage back up to 16 with just 12 left to ride for. Wimbledon celebrated the confirmation of their record equalling third win in the competition with a first 5-1 of the meeting in the next, the maximum from Sabados (13) and Ari Vento (11+1) the start of a new beginning for the Stars, who had brought to an end their longest run without a trophy—15 months—since they won this competition for the first time some 12 years ago! Halesowen meanwhile are still looking for their first success outside of the lower divisions, if they are to gain that illusive trophy in SL25 they will now have to do so by winning the league.
Halesowenremain a point clear at the top of division one heading into the final month of the season but a win for Wimbledon—who brought to an end their KO Cup and Division One Cup challenges—at Bullbridge has piled further pressure on Stuart Mills’s leaders. The Stars second away victory of the season—confirmed with a last heat Ari Vento (15) winning 4-2—was the first of two league 44-46 successes for the five-times champions this week, the second—returned at home against Cricklade—cutting their deficit to Halesowen to four points. They do however remain in fourth spot behind not only the Heathens but also Timperley and Eastbourne, and it’s fixtures against the latter two coming up in the next three weeks that will go a long way to deciding whether than can make it title number six in SL25.
Relegation threatened Wroughton picked up their second trophy in their short 22 month history by completing a 12 point Division Two Cup final win over league ever-presents Auckland. Guest Steve Burton scored 14 and David Clark an unbeaten 14+1 as last years Division Three Champions dominated the second half of their home leg to secure the silverware with two races to spare, the second of three late 5-1’s taking the Meerkats over the line. Neil Howlett’s side can now look forward with added belief to the final of the KO Cup, in which they’ll aim to beat fellow second tier side Birkenhead to complete a unique hat-track of competition successes.
Cradley had moved to within two points of the aggregate lead by heat eight of their home leg of the Division Three Cup final, but couldn’t get any closer to Swinton, who fought back to draw the meeting and take the trophy by eight on aggregate. Steve Pearce’s competition debutants closed out the win with three heat advantages in the last four, which included a decisive penultimate race 5-1 from tactical substitute Victor Bitkin (12) and Lars Ebbesen (13+2). The trophy win capped an excellent week for the Lions, who had earlier moved back up into second spot in the division three table with a 43-47 win at Coleshill, their first ever away league victory helping them end the week four points clear of fourth placed Fuzton in the race for promotion.
Another first for Swinton with their number one Victor Bitkin (12) winning the Swedish round of this years GP series. The 32 year old Russian Champion became the sixth different winner in as many meetings this year after Tom Countess (11) scoured just a point in the final scheduled race of the night, Countess—who had looked odds-on for victory in Malmo—went on to finish third after then losing out to Thomas Klemmensen in a race-off for the minor podium spots.
Hailsham teen Marcin Adamski scored a 15 point maximum as he landed his first career WSO event victory in this weeks WU21 semi final in Pskov. Adamski is bidding to become only the second Polish winner of the championship, Marcin Zadylak the first back in SL12.
Consolation for their Division Three Cup final defeat came in the form of promotion from division three for Cradley, that confirmed with a four point home win over Rochdale.