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Cruel end for Cradley

Cradley suffered a fourth straight first round exit in the KO Cup after cruelly losing out by a single point in their tie with top flight Bullbridge. This weeks second leg visitors to The Wood were handed an aggregate victory by a heat 14 retirement from new boy Marek Osenkowski (1), the Pole—signed since the first meeting between the two sides for £50,000 from Preston—on course for a vital win when his engine blew up a lap from the chequered flag. A 5-1 advantage turned into a 3-2 for the hosts, denying the Cradley faithful a decider, the race maximum from their top pairing of Andrew Blatsis (11+1) and Thomas Klemmensen (12+1) in the last providing little consolation. With three riders scoring just three points between them it would be difficult to blame just one incident for the loss, Bullbridge had the better balanced side and in the end deserved to maintain their record of never losing a first round tie. Auckland now stand in the way of Leigh Rose’s side reaching the quarter finals for the second successive season, the Rhinos went through to the last 16 after completing the double over Wolverton in round one with a 41-49 victory on their travels. Second string Robert Austin (8) raced to two of the visitors nine heat wins in the meeting. The Rhinos were the only side to ride to an away victory in the second legs, however Wimbledon—finalists in eight of the last ten years—went close at Sunderland, that meeting ending as Ari Vento (18) completed a six ride maximum with a final heat win over Zlatko Ipavec (11), the visiting Stars going through to face Halesowen by 16 as a result.

TODAY: Shorts

Wroughton provided the first round shock of this seasons KO Cup by completing a two point win over top flight Hailsham. Leading by ten from the first leg the division two side held the aggregate advantage throughout at Brooklyn Park, second place in the final race from Mihlay Kovacs (13) eventually seeing them through. Neil Howlett’s side have been paired with Harringay in round two, the Racers comfortably beating newcomers Broadstairs in the first round. Elsewhere Timperley held Stepps to a draw on their travels to progress by 23 on aggregate, the Titans face last years runners-up in a mouth-watering second round tie next, holders Southampton meanwhile have been paired with division two high flyers Rugby.


Steve Burton extended his record of British title wins to eight after taking victory in this years final in Grangemouth. The 33 year old Lakeside star topped the podium following a race-off win over Ricky Wilson and Andy Daniel, the trio had scored 12 points apiece in the main meeting. World Number 13 Stephen Jennison was the only SL24 GP rider in the field, he progressed once more to the Overseas final after finishing well inside the top eight. Other than Burton only retired pairing Graeme Knowles (three) and David Francis (three) have won the British Championship more than once.


SL24 GP riders Paul Goulding (7) and Adin Howard (5) are both out of this years World Championship after failing to finish in the top eight of this weeks Pacific Final in Richmond. Australia and Purton’s Luke Slater (13) won the meeting by three points from former winners Eddie Myhill (2nd) and Tom Countess (3rd).


After suffering a shock defeat at home to Southampton last week Eastbourne got back to the form of prospective champions at title rivals Timperley, picking up two of the three points on offer there before smashing Cricklade, 59-31. Tom Countess (15) completed his third maximum of the season with a last heat win in a draw gaining 4-2 at the Titans, Eddie Myhill (11+1) picking up the crucial point for third for the visitors. Wimbledon moved into second spot behind the Hyenas by beating Grangemouth 42-48 on the road, the Stars first away victory of the campaign completed with a last heat Pazman Sabados (13+1)/Ari Vento (12+1) 5-1. The Oilers end the week five points adrift of safety at the bottom of the standings having lost their last five top flight fixtures.


Preston’s strong start to the season has faltered quickly, the Bobbins—who let go of Pole’ Marek Osenkowski last week—suffering a shock 41-49 defeat to Broadstairs, who now replace them in the division three promotion places. Dmitry Kornev—Osenkowski’s free transfer replacement—scored just two points on debut at heat leader for the hosts, the Bulldogs winning the meeting with 5-1’s in heats 13 and 15, Graham Elrick (13+1) winning both. Elsewhere bottom side Stepps opened their away account with a 44-46 win at Loughborough, visiting second strings Jozef Basista (8+2) and Martin Kunstelj (6+1)—the former signed just last week for £18,000—both raced to heat victories in the success.


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