Diamond Edition - ENHANCED
OUT OF RANGE
‘Disaster’ for Houston as Coventry strike
The title race has tilted the way of Coventry after the Crusaders won their top of the table clash at Houston. Mustangs boss George Seymour described the 43-47 loss as a ‘disaster’, the defeat seeing their recent reign at the summit coming to an end, later results left the Scottish side four points adrift of the new leaders. Coventry again set the pace after what was only their second away victory of the campaign, and their first in the league ever at The Range in ten attempts. Although twice taking the lead, the hosts failed to get any foothold in the meeting, with Dave Hood’s side picking up heat advantages immediately on the two occasions they fell behind. The visiting side’s reserves raced to a 5-1 in heat two in answering a Mustangs 4-2 in the opener, while after retaking the lead with a 5-1 in heat nine, the Scots conceded 4-2’s in each of the next three, second string Anthony Collier (6) amongst the heat winners in that sequence, one which took the Crusaders four clear. Three straight 3-3’s secured Coventry the win which saw them replace Houston at the head of the standings, Angus Rogers (13) and John Hawke (10+1) securing the points with the minor places in the last. More disappointment in the European Cup for Houston, with the Holders eliminated in the semi-finals by Krsko, 91-89, the tie going against them in Slovenia after they conceded a last heat 4-2 to lose the second leg by six, Harry Sloan (12+1) excluded after falling in the decider. Coventry also went out of the competition, a 51-38 loss in Pori equating to an 11 point aggregate defeat for the Crusaders, who lifted the trophy for a record fifth time in SL31.
Yorkprovided 13 race winners as they smashed local rivals Beverley 62-28 in the first leg of their KO Cup third round tie. Alexander Gill (14+1) scored his first maximum of SL33 as the Vipers moved to the verge of securing their first semi-final place in the competition in seven years, no home rider was paid for less than eight points, with Kiwi youngster James Hill (8) racing to two wins at reserve, while Ethan Martin claimed a hat-trick of successes from second string. Nottingham are also in a strong position after winning the first leg of their tie with Brighton, veteran Pole’ Piotr Kucz (9+2) the pick for them in the 57-33 win, the second string dropping just a point to an opponent on a night in which he was involved in two of his side’s five 5-1’s. Houston will be favourites to see off St Ives in their all top flight clash after winning the first leg at home, 50-40, Boston though still have work to do if they are to reach the semi-finals for a fifth successive season, they losing the first leg of their tie at second division strugglers Sneyd Green, 48-42.
Fort William inflicted sister club Beverley’s second home league defeat of the season when they made their visit south this week. Easing their own relegation worries with the 43-47 win, but putting the Hellcats right back in danger, it was Richard Lewis (15) who was the standout for the visitors, the maximum from the 33 year old his eighth of the campaign. That and what was the now sixth placed Wildcats second away win of SL33 was completed by victory for Lewis in a last heat 5-1 alongside fellow Brit, Richard Coward (12+1).
The power-shift from the British to European League showed again in the opening round of the SL33 GP series with riders from Pila and Kassel taking the top two positions in Timperley. Australian and Pacific Champion Luke Hughes (14) headed the standings in the inaugural European GP, the 28 year old dropping just a point to finish three clear of fellow debutant—and with a GSA of 6.82 by far the lowest ranked rider in the field—Cato Kalberg. Defending World Champion Wolfgang Sara (10) began the extended eight round series with a third place finish, the Boston man beating world number six Miloslav Ivanoff in a race-off to secure the final podium position.
Witham lost ground in the division two title race after being held to a draw by Warley in their top of the table clash. A last heat 5-1 from Valdilen Bunin (17) and Janek Oun (8+1) earned the leaders a share of the spoils in the crunch fixture, they had been eight down with just four races remaining, a period which began with a Bunin/Stradinsh Maris (4+1) maximum. Warley end the week five points clear at the top of the standings, Witham remain second, but such is the competitiveness of the division they are now just five points above Midland and the relegation zone. Sitting just outside the promotion places are Doncaster, who claimed only the second away point of the campaign on their trip to Peckleton, a side who began the week in the top three. Riverhogs 4-2’s in heats 14 and 15 left the final scores tied at 45 apiece. In division three Pelham beat Liden 42-48 thanks to a last heat 5-1 from 21 year old second string Kyle Gill (12+1) and his number one, Adam Krupa (10+2).