Diamond Edition - ENHANCED
‘CATS TAKE THE CREAM
Beverley’s cup run continues with Euro win
Beverleyhave been crowned European Cup winners for the second time in three seasons after they completed a home and away double over Coventry in this years final, the Hellcats aggregate success secured with two heats to spare of the second leg at Figham Road. With Beverley winning at Coventry 42-48 last week, the return clash wasn’t quite the classic it could have been, 4-2’s for the visitors in heats one and two gave them brief hope, although that was snuffed out by a Joshua Sky (8+1)/Colin Richardson (8+1) 5-1 in heat three. The final was calmly heading towards it’s predictable conclusion until heat eight, where a robust first corner from visiting second string Jonathan Addison clearly angered his opposite number Stewart Ogden by making sure he didn’t get across him, the Crusaders reward a 5-1 which put them back two in front on the night, however home tensions were again eased by Richardson, who won the next in a 4-2 with Sky after taking Ales Skaper (8+1) wide from the gate. Two 3-3’s followed, won by Henrik Kojefors (14) and Richard Coward (12+2) in turn, and following a Sky winning 4-2 in heat 12 the two then returned to the track in heat 13, partnering up for a silverware clinching 5-1 over Crusaders top scorer, John Hawke (14), and Skaper, who would end the contest winless. Victory ensures Beverley will complete the year with at least one piece of silverware for the sixth consecutive season, however promoter Steve Baker will be unhappy if that’s all they get, the Hellcats having led the division one table throughout SL26 as well as remaining in contention for every domestic competition.
Beverley’s16th straight win in a seven-rider team cup meeting in SL26 was followed by their 17th at York in the first leg of the KO Cup semi final, their 100% record continuing courtesy of a strong performance from their top three, Henrik Kojefors (14+1), Richard Coward (13+1), and Joshua Sky (10). Between them the trio dropped points in just two of their combined 14 visits to the track, Kojefors and Coward rounding off a great night for the holders with 5-1’s in heats 13 and 15. Peckleton meanwhile will take a slender two point lead with them into the second leg of their semi final at Timperley, unbeaten pairing Bradley Allsopp (18) and Vlastimil Lidvin (13+2) extinguished the Pelicans hopes of an away victory in leg one with 5-1’s in heats 13 and 15. A similar performance from the Raiders duo in the return could take this tie to the wire.
Three-times winners Coventry (105) have failed to make the final of the 4TT for the sixth successive season, they eliminated by second division side Heatherdale in this weeks semi finals. Led by former Crusader’ Tord Finstad (9), the Heathens finished a strong second to their higher division opponents in leg one of the tie at Diamond Park, the Devon side then taking the led with an impressive home victory in leg two, their riders finishing first or second in all bar one of the 16 heats. Dave Lewis’s quartet went on to win a tight final leg at St Ives to take their score on to 117 points. Coventry missed out by a point on taking the spot in the final reserved for the highest scoring runners-up at this stage of the competition, that place going to Peckleton (106), who finished a distant second in their tie to last year runners-up Beverley (123). Holder Stafford meanwhile failed to win any of the four legs outright in their semi final, Group A won by Weymouth (120), who reach their fifth final in six years.
Disappointment in the fours for Coventry, but the Crusaders improved league form continued, they now unbeaten in eight having picked up another away point on their trip to Warley (45-45) this week. A place in Europe in SL27 now looking more likely than not for Dave Hood’s side, and your wouldn’t have said that two months ago. The result leaves Warley five points adrift of safety, York in seventh the ones their aiming for, the Vipers having climbed out of the bottom three for the first time in 11 weeks with a 39-51 victory at Monkston, the visitors setting the tone for that with three 5-1’s in the opening seven races.
Coventry’s John Hawke (14) dropped just a point on his way to a maiden GP success in Horsens this week, the Brit winning the opening round of the series by two from Henrik Kojefors, defending world champion Markus Innanen (10) finished third.
A 44-46 victory at Witham has taken Weymouth within two wins of sealing promotion back to the top flight at the first attempt, the division two leaders remain 12 points clear of St Ives in second, who defeated Tweedside 37-53 on the road in their latest fixture. In the third tier a first away win of SL26 for Tavistock—40-50 at Exmouth—took them up to second, they now just a point off leaders Barkham, who suffered a shock home loss to then tenth placed side, Bury.