Diamond Edition - ENHANCED
KOC win adds to Beverley’s coffers
Beverleybanked over £1/2million this week as the financial rewards for their team success and the World Championship exploits of Henrik Kojefors and Joshua Sky were realised for the first time, the figure boosted by £100,000 earned for their KO Cup final win over Timperley. It was however a mixed start to the return leg for the holders on their home circuit, down more likely to some over-exuberant celebrations perhaps rather than nerves as they looked to seal a record equalling fourth win in the competition. But in the end the Hellcats dominated their opponents, the Figham Road stars winning the final seven heats, four of which ended 5-1 in their favour as they ran out 56-34 winners on the night, which translated into a mammoth 24 point aggregate victory. Steve Baker’s side had proceeded that win with an eighth league away success of the campaign, the meeting at Warley (42-48) and final day ten point success over Stafford in a top of the table clash taking their points tally on to 71—which included the maximum possible 18 bonus points—the final figure equalling the highest ever achieved in the current 36 round league format. Assuming a points limit of 45 for SL27 Baker will need to revamp his side, with one of his top four almost certain to exit in favour of either Russell Bulman or Robin O’Donovan, who’ve been out on loan at Exmouth and Redhill this season. That’s unless the promoter decides to spend some of the club’s new found wealth, Bury’s Fredrik Ren is thought to be a target of the Hellcats, Baker knows him well from his time as Sweden manager, although at just 22 it maybe one season too early for him to make the step up.
A record breaking five club trophies in a single season, plus the world champion to boot! Beverley’s Henrik Kojefors winning the World Championship for a third time after topping the final GP standings by a clear eight points, his final tally of 60 includes 12 for a second place finish in Krakow, he runner up to another Hellcat, Joshua Sky (13), as the club’s astonishing season hit another level. There was yet another rider with a Beverley connection on the podium, Linus Muscic—who spent six years at Figham Road—finishing third after winning a race off against Rustem Fakhrutdinov. John Hawke’s (7) bid for the world title faded early on in Poland, three straight third place finishes putting him out of contention, although he recovered somewhat towards the end to ensure he would finish second overall to Kojefors, outgoing champion Markus Innanen (10) taking the bronze medal this time around.
Chiseldon ended the season with back-to-back defeats in division two, but somehow held to a promotion place they had sat in all season, although in the end it was by points difference alone! The Knights slipped to third in the standings as St Ives ended a run of five without a victory with a final day 48-42 success over Craig Dickson’s side, all three points from the fixture secured by the home side with a final heat 5-1, a 4-2 or worse against and it would have been Heatherdale going up to the top flight at their expense. The success ends a two year absence from division one for Nick Ward’s side, Chiseldon have made the return to the highest level at their first attempt.
As expected it’s Warley and Monkston who will join Midland as relegated sides in the second tier next season, penultimate round defeats for the two sealing their fate, the former suffering their fourth home division one defeat of SL26 with the visit of champions Beverley. Coventry meanwhile clinched third spot and the final European Cup place available for SL27 with a final day 42-48 win at Monkston, the unbeaten Ales Skaper (14+1) and John Hawke completing the victory with heat 13 and 15 5-1’s.
Derek Purvis’s Hawick held on to take the Division Three Championship, but only after Marcin Symanski (10) defeated Soren Kure (13+1) in a race off for the bonus point in the club’s defeat at Heath. The aggregate scores were left level after the Hawks conceded a last heat 5-1 in the meeting, losing it 47-43. Symanski, defeated by Kure in heat five and 15, made it third time lucky in the extra race, the Hawks going on to finish points difference clear of Houston at the top of the standings. The Scots’ snatched second thanks to a 42-48 win at the team who began the week in that position, Barkham losing out to the league rookies as visiting second string Svenne Gregersen (12+1) made a timely double figure contribution—his first in three months—the 24 year old Dane went on to score his first ever maximum in the Mustangs later win over Belham Road. Barkham finished third in the table, but their impending closure and that of Heath sees fifth placed Fenny Stratford promoted to division two.
Portland’s final ever home meeting ended in defeat to second tier double winners Weymouth, the Hitmen taking their tally of away victories for the season to a record 16 with the 44-46 success. The defeat dropped the Bills back into the relegation zone, St Barts the beneficiaries, they finish the season seventh, with SL27 set to be the seventh successive year of division two racing for the David Grainger club.
York were confirmed as Junior League champions for the first time in their history, a victory over St Ives this week securing top spot for the Vipers in the division one standings. Their title challenge was led by Ethan Martin, the 17 year old averaging 10.88 in his 36 meetings.