Diamond Edition - ENHANCED
Mustangs into final
Houstonhave become only the second side outside of the top flight to reach the KO Cup final in 18 years following victory over high flying St Ives in the last four of this years competition. Jonathan Huggett scored a perfect 18 as the Mustangs rode to a 45-45 draw on the Cornish circuit in this weeks second leg, a score-line which resulted in an eight point victory for the Scottish side. It was Huggett’s second successive maximum against the Pirates, who didn’t have an answer to the New Zealander’s superior gating at the Usine, where Robert Taylor (11) and Darren Stevens (11) usually find speed where others can’t. Not on this occasion, Huggett denying the hosts top two each time they met, crucially in heat 13 when Taylor was beaten not only by the 34 year old but also Marek Jozwiak after some brilliant team riding by the pair. The 5-1 all but ended the Pirates challenge of overturning their first leg eight point deficit, one that had began so well, in scoring 5-1’s in two of the first three races and a 4-2 in heat five the hosts had got themselves in front on aggregate. The long journey down from Scotland may have taken it’s toll early on for some, however Houston quickly got back on course, a run of four straight wins followed for the visitors who’d regained a four point lead by the end of heat nine, it was six two races later when second string Branimir Klepp (7) rode to victory in a 4-2 which really put the hosts on the back foot. Having already beaten York and Coventry to reach this stage, the aggregate victory is the third over a top flight side for George Seymour’s second tier outfit, not bad for a team that hadn’t won a KO Cup tie prior to this season.
Holders Stafford are into the KO Cup final once more after they came out on top in a tough looking second leg last four meeting at Warley. Just six up from their home first leg the Angels progressed by 12 after beating the Warriors 42-48 on their travels, top scorer John Bingley (14) providing the heat win in the final spot clinching 4-2 in heat 14 of the meeting. Having already beaten Vladilen Bunin (10) and Ivan Khalitov (8+1) earlier in the night that was Bingley’s third win of the meeting over one of the home side’s strong top four, he made it four out of four in a last heat 5-1 alongside George King (10+1), with Stephen Brown (12) defeated for the first time in the contest as the Angels reached their fifth final in six years in style.
Coventry lost both bonus points on offer this week and slipped to third in the division one table despite all ten meetings in the division this week ending in wins for the home side. That included the Crusaders 56-34 success over York, still they came up four short of claiming the extra league point they so desperately needed. York end the week just a point off Coventry in the standings and seemingly clear of relegation danger in what is an extremely tight division. St Ives are up to second having claimed four out of a possible six league points, they travel to leaders Beverley next week currently five points off the Hellcats pace.
Kristian Madar put in a career best performance to win the Czech GP in Prague with a 15 point maximum. The 30 year old Doncaster rider was a shock qualifier to this years series, and was expected to finish towards the bottom of the standings, so it was of no surprise when he finished down in 14th on his debut in Horsens. But what a difference a week makes, in beating British duo Mark Austin (4) and Richard Coward (9) in heat 19 he completed his perfect night, claiming a two point win over World Champion Henrik Kojefors (13), who could only manage third when the two met in heat nine. Ales Skaper (11) was beaten by both and finished third in a meeting he won on his way to the world title in SL24.
East Kent end the week outside of the division two relegation zone for the first time in five months after racing to home and away wins in their latest fixtures. Their success on the road was returned at ninth placed Hawick, 44-46, where second string Miha Krizan (7+1) raced to victories in two 5-1’s in the first ten heats which helped earn his side a 12 point lead in the fixture. Adrian Hillenbrand’s (9) position at reserve has been the main reason for the improvement in the form of Tony Cope’s side of late, the German raced to two wins in their victory north of the border, and despite the change in averages this week he’ll remain in the bottom two of the Zulus side for the run-in. At the other end of the table Doncaster are up to third after they beat promotion rivals Heatherdale 42-48 on the road, the Heathens slipping out of the top three for the first time in six months as a result of the defeat, inflicted by a last heat 5-1 from Krisztian Madar (12) and Dean Newton (12+1). Pitsea meanwhile were the big winners in division three, the third placed side ending the week seven points inside the promotion places after they won at Bury, 44-46, as rivals Snyed Green were beaten by four at home by Buxton.