Diamond Edition - ENHANCED
Timperley stun Coventry to claim Euro win
Out with the guest and in with the rider-replacement and back to winning ways for Timperley, who pulled off one of the shock comebacks to lift the European Cup. Hope was all but gone for the injury hit Pelicans after they’d lost the first leg of the final at home, Coventry seemingly on their way to a fourth win in the competition. However the Crusaders are not the dominant side they once were, a decade ago they would have steamrollered their opponents to claim the silverware, this week early nerves let the visitors make the running, the imputes of the final switching the Pelicans way with 5-1 scores in heats five, seven and eight. Second string Nathan Bluestein (9+1) won the latter, that his second success in the trio of maximums, the first saw him beat Lee Barrett (8+1) in a battle to take the race lead coming out of the second bend of heat five, the home heat leader was then pushed down to third by Colin Richardson, who despite not making a gate all evening would come away with a creditable paid nine. Eight up at the halfway point on the night, six on aggregate, Timperley were pegged back by a 5-1 from John Hawke (13) and tactical substitute Ales Skaper (11+3) in heat ten. Coventry’s deficit was down to two, but if the home fans expected that now Hawke and Skaper would see them to victory their confidence was misplaced, both were beaten by the excellent Vladimir Helbich (16) in heat 13 and then agin in the last race decider as Timperley saw out a historic success with five straight 3-3’s. The trophy is Garry Robinson’s side second in their eight year history, they having won the KO Cup SL24.
Timperley could be on the wrong side of an upset in the KO Cup, a 49-40 first leg defeat at Bognor leaving them with plenty to do if they are to win their semi final tie against the second tier strugglers. Four wins from Erkan Sahlin (14) and three from Aarno Karjalainen (12) helped the Boxers—who have already eliminated division one leaders Weymouth—record their sixth straight leg win in this years competition. Stafford—looking to reach their fourth final in five years—are odds-on to win the second of the semi finals after limiting Stepps to a 46-44 home first leg win this week.
Bognor’s (104) strong cup form in SL27 continued in the 4TT, where a last leg victory over top flight sides Stafford (87), Beverley (107) and York (86) saw them secure the highest scoring runners-up berth in this years final. Marc Labrum’s Boxers finished a close second on aggregate to Beverley in reaching their first final, the Hellcats will be making their tenth appearance in the four-legged decider next month, in a competition they won for a record sixth time last season. Last years runners-up Weymouth (118) topped their group by 17 from Timperley in reaching their sixth final in seven years, the Hitmen have yet to win the competition, so have Warley (113) who are back in the final for the first time since they finished as runners-up to Beverley in SL13.
Weymouth took a league point off Coventry at Diamond Park for the first time in their history as they closed in on a surprise maiden first title, the top of the table clashed ended all square after Hitmen duo Linus Muscic (15) and Davide Matteini (13+3) scored a last heat 5-1 in a meeting their side had trailed in by eight after two heats. Weymouth lead the standings by seven points with eight meetings remaining, the next six teams—led by Coventry whose fixture at York also ended level—are separated by just four. Amongst that group are fourth placed Beverley, who’d gone four without a win prior to their 44-46 success at Peckleton this week.
Fenny Stratford—who’d lost a record 22 division two meetings in a row prior to last months 46-44 home win over Bognor—have become the first side to be relegated this season, Malcolm Chambers side’s immediate return to the third tier confirmed with a six point defeat at promotion chasing Monkston. The Monkeys returned to the top three in the standings with that win and later two point success at Houston, the Mustangs—who began the week in second—slipping to their first home defeat of the campaign despite their riders picking up the majority of race wins. Warley meanwhile extended their advantage at the top of the second tier standings to 13 points with a 43-47 win at Stepps.
Defending World Champion Henrik Kojefors recovered from a third place finish in heat three to pick up to his third career Danish GP win, the Beverley and Sweden rider going on to win his four remaining heats in Horsens to top the standings from John Hawke (12) and Markus Innanen (11), leaving the podium filled by the world numbers one, two and three in the correct order! The five round series moves on to the Czech round in Prague, a meeting won by Kojefors last season.