Diamond Edition - ENHANCED
WEY TO GO!
Hitmen bow out with title
There were accusations that they’d bottled it, five without a win leaving season long leaders Weymouth in the sights of six-times champions Coventry, with two rounds of league meetings left in SL27, the most successful league side ever were now favourites in many peoples eyes to land the title. A one point gap proved to be a chasm though for the Crusaders, they the ones left wanting when it matter most, in conceding three 5-1’s in the opening ten races at Tibthorpe their ambitions came to an end, Dave Hood’s side losing their penultimate fixture by 12, as Weymouth were beating Stafford by 13! It was their home form that had been their Achilles heel in the championship bid, however there was no sign of weakness from the Trevor Walker’s Hitmen as they cruised to the three league points that would all but take them to the title. All but as they still required one more point to be certain of success, Beverley’s will over York meaning the Hellcats could still spring a last day surprise. Weymouth would take that point at Timperley, but not until the very final race of the season, and it was that man Linus Muscic to take them across the line, his fourth victory of the night clinching the visitors 13th bonus point of the season. Weymouth end the season with the league title—having won the second tier double last year, this the club’s fourth trophy—and their main man Muscic with a mark of 11.29 finishes the campaign with the second highest top flight end of season GSA ever and the best in any division in 15 years. He, like the rest of the Hitmen squad, will be looking for a new club in SL28, Weymouth’s decisive trip to Timperley proving to be their last in the league—for now at least—the club closing after eight years in the sport, at the very top of it.
A fantastic start to the second leg of the final at Bognor helped Simon Humphreys’ Stafford to a second KO Cup success, with the eventual four point aggregate victory ending a run of three defeats in the final of the competition for the Angels. The Division Two Boxers slipped 12 adrift of their opponents after conceding two 4-2’s and a 5-1 in the opening three races, and with every one of the Angels septet either racing to wins or paid wins in the meeting there would be no way back for the home side, Mark Austin’s second victory of the night clinching Stafford’s win in heat 14.
Monkston held on to a top three spot in which they’d resided for the majority of the season, but only just, the Monkeys claiming second in division two despite a massive final day home defeat to champions Warley, whose 36-53 success was their biggest of the 11 wins they’ve recorded on the road in the SL27 campaign, and one which took them to a record breaking points total. The win was the 12th in a row in the league for the Warriors and sees them end the season with 75 points, beating the previous best of 72 in a single campaign in any division which was achieved by Weymouth last year. Monkston go up in second spot to Warley, some 26 points adrift on them in the standings, they finishing just eight above the relegation zone, and just points difference better off the Houston, who missed out on promotion altogether. Andy Roughton has an earlier 44-46 win at Hawick to thank for his side’s success, heat five and eight 5-1’s on the Scottish circuit brining them back in contention in a meeting they trailed in by eight, George King (14+1) winning the first of those, a tactical substitute ride in heat seven and—most crucially—the last heat decider, which gave the visitors all three league points. Remarkably it was St Barts who grabbed third spot at the death, they were in the relegation zone with a month of the season remaining, however last weeks win at Houston saw them climb to a then season high fourth in the table. David Grainger’s side snatched the final promotion place with victory over Bognor in a final day ‘six-pointer’, a Jiri Necas winning heat 14 4-2 taking them to the meeting win, a decisive bonus point theirs following Kai Niemi’s last race victory.
Henrik Kojefors won a record equalling fourth world title to officially become the greatest rider ever to have ridden a speedway bike, the SL26 champion defending his title with four GP wins out of five, with the fourth in Krakow this week taking him to a career haul of 17 meeting wins, Marcus Innanen with ten is the only other rider in double figures. It was a Beverley 1-2 in Krakow and in the final World Championship standings, Richard Coward finishing a point adrift of his team mate on the night and seven better off than Innanen in the battle for the series silver medal.
Like Doncaster, East Kent’s first season in the sport ends in promotion, Tony Cope’s side holding on to third spot in division three despite failing to win either of their final two league meetings. They did however pick up two points in their penultimate clash of the campaign at Belle Vue, a draw on their travels secured with the minor places from Edvard Sistek (13+1) and Miha Krizan (10+1) in the final race. However a win for Witham by four or more on the final day at the Zulus could have seen the Blacksmiths promoted in their place, it went to the wire, the scores level heading into the last, crucially for the home side Sistek split the visiting representatives to deny them a 5-1 which would have resulted in a race-off for the vital bonus point.
Final week home and away wins over Coventry secured Beverley their third Junior League title in six years, the Hellcats youngsters topping the final standings on points difference from St Ives.