Diamond Edition - ENHANCED
Timperley lose opening three
It was a winning start to life without Markus Innanen for Stafford, his replacement as the Angels number one, Michael Curran, scoring 12 on his league debut for the club as they won at Timperley, 43-47. A fast start for the Aussie who won his first three competitive races in a Stafford race-jacket, his 4-2 alongside teen’ Kemenes Cap (4) in the opener earning the visitors a lead they would hold all meeting. Cap would go on to become the fifth different heat winner for the Angels as early as heat eight, a maximum return in that for the Cap/Bojan Perc (6+1) partnership increasing their side’s advantage to eight. While Stafford’s youngsters were certainly making their mark in the lower order, Timperley’s in contrast were struggling, new additions Rangvald Ringstad and Barry Knight beating just one rider between them in picking up a combined total of just two. Still Timperley took the meeting to a last heat decider, their first ever home league defeat in an opening month of the season though was confirmed when John Binley (12+1) won the decider in an Angels 4-2. One home defeat became two with the visit of Beverley to Park Road in the Division One Cup, the Hellcats winning the group fixture 43-47 despite slipping eight behind by the end of heat six. Again Timperley struggled for heat wins, Paul Pilcher’s heat six victory over Joshua Sky the last of the meeting for the Pelicans, Beverley riders winning the next nine, with Henrik Kojefors (16) beginning a run of a hat-trick of successes in heat advantages when in as a tactical substitute in heat eight, it was though a last heat win from Richard Coward (16+1) which completed their victory.
Coventry, favourites for the SL28 league title and to end a decade without winning the trophy, top the division one table on points difference from Stafford after matching their back-to-back start of season successes. York was the venue for the Crusaders away victory, returned following Linus Muscic (17) heat 13 and 15 winning 5-1’s, the £911,000 pre-season signing proving his worth immediately to the Crusaders fans, who’d already seen him hit 14 in their earlier 20 point home drubbing of Tibthorpe. York had held their own for most of the meeting, and second string Dylan Johnston (10+2) certainly didn’t deserve to be on the losing side, he the instigator for heat one and ten 5-1’s for the Vipers.
Coventry (22) began their bid for a record equalling fifth Pairs title with a joint victory alongside hosts East Kent in a first round tie which also featured the only current five-times winners of the competition, Stafford (20). Stafford did enough, just, to see off the challenge of Pitsea (19) to take the third qualification spot from the meeting, Redhill’s Jarl Beito doing the Angels a favour by beating the Pirates pairing in the penultimate heat. Coventry were the only top flight winners in the four ties, with second division Boston (25) and Heatherdale (24) plus third tier newcomers Fort William (26) making home advantage pay in the other three, in the later both Warley and St Ives made their exits from the competition. The Wildcats’ Ivan Khalitov (15) and Mikael Liden (11) topped the standings in that after rounding of the night with 5-1’s over both the pairings from Exeter and St Ives, while a last heat 5-1 for Doncaster saw them finish season ahead of Monkston. Next weeks list of qualifiers for the second round is completed by Tweedside, St Barts, York and Timperley, with both holders Midland and last years runners-up Beverley receiving byes into those meetings .
Three-time runner-up—including in last years final of this competition—Jack Forster (14) picked up his maiden WSO event win in the BU21 semi final at Tweedside this week, the Bury youth product topping the standings from Keiron Terry and George Howarth by three points. Stafford’s Scott Knight won the second of the semi finals at Fenny Stratford, defending champion and Belham Road £70,000 pre-season buy Nathan Strickland finished second after defeating Nathan England in a race-off.
Pre-season favourites Boston made a winning start to their division two campaign, Dale Allitt’s Barracudas coming away with both league points at Belham Road, 43-47, following Vlastimil Lidvin (15)/Bradley Allsopp (12+2) 5-1’s in heats 13 and 15. Max Lampinen (9) was the only rider from the Aces to beat either of the visiting top two of the night, his heat one victory over Allsopp proving to be a false dawn for the home side. Boston top the second tier standings on points difference from Midland, who opened their SL28 campaign with a 42-48 victory at Fenny Stratford, three 5-1’s in the space of five races for the Pristines turning the meeting on it’s head from heat nine onwards, Claes Ardenfors (15) winning all three. The Stags also lost at home in the Division Two Cup, going down 43-47 to Heatherdale.