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Hill holds nerve to clinch title
Stockport were in big trouble at the halfway point of their home meeting with Newhaven, their title on the line as they were once more four adrift of visiting side Newhaven - Andrew Hill having been used as a tactical substitute as early as heat six. It was Hill though who would hold his head while those around him were losing theirs, he winning three of the final five heats to almost single-handedly grasp victory for the Shaleblasters, the 24 year old scoring an 18 point maximum on the night as the home side scampered to a 46-44 win. The victory sealed back-to-back championship wins for the James Calderbank side, they the first club to achieve that feat and in doing so they deny Edinburgh a record third title. Stockport will move on into the new exciting era of the sport as Champions of this code, for Edinburgh - with two championship wins and two second places, the most successful league club in history - it's the end of the line, the Castles and their promoter Paul Hunt quitting the sport, back-to-back wins in the final two rounds of racing yet another example of their fighting spirit over their eight year existence.

 

Bonus proves vital as Border snatch title
Border started the week as one of three sides locked on 31 points at the head of division two, they with the inferior points difference of the trio. Their goal had to be pick up all six points, so losing at second placed Hull in their penultimate meeting was not part of the plan. A late win for Hogler Keller as a tactical substitute in heat 14 did though secure the bonus point, and with Parkstone losing at bottom side Berwick, that extra point was in the end going to prove crucial. For Border to win the title, two more results had to go their way though, not only was a final day Stoke win over Hull required, but Stirling had to limit their defeat at Parkstone to 13 points or less. Stoke did their bit with ease, while the Comets hopes ended in heat 14 of their clash with the Seahawks, all Border had to do now was win at Berwick to claim all three points in their fixture. In true dramatic fashion they left it to the final heat, Keller earning his third victory of the night over visiting number one Carmelo Milano to give the home side the three points needed for victory and another crucial bonus point. So after just two years of racing Border win the division two title, many congratulations to them and their promoter Derek Purvis.

 

Brum leave it late
Birmingham were firm favourites to lift the KOC trophy going into the second leg of the final this week, they trailing by just six after the meeting in Somerset. However despite a strong start to the return - Sean Fleming and Peder Lund scored a 5-1 in the opener - the home side failed to take any sort of control in the first half of the meeting. In fact by the end of heat four the Wolves were in front on the night, Jonatan Svensson winning a 4-2, adding to the visiting reserves 5-1 scored in heat two. It wasn't until heat eight that Birmingham regained their second leg advantage, Lund winning a 4-2 there as visiting second string James Marshall - for the third time - failed to trouble the scorers. Birmingham could now turn their attention to gaining the aggregate advantage, a 5-1 in heat nine got them level, this time Olli Nyman and Ben Nelson taking maximum points. Further progress was halted by three successive team changes for the visitors, wins for Fleming in heat 10 and Nelson in heat 12 limited their effectiveness though, the scores still level going into the final three heats. The deadlock was brought to an end decisively in heat 13, Fleming springing from the gate and clamping down on Harry Stick to allow Joe Kos to join him at the head of proceedings, some great team riding followed, as did the home sides third 5-1 of the night. Suddenly Birmingham were four in front with just two heats remaining, the trophy was theirs less than 60 seconds of racing later, Nyman back on the track for a second successive win in heat 14, Stick on the wrong end of a 4-2, which left the home side celebrating their first ever win in the competition.

 

Fuchs bounces back to take title
Helmut Fuchs recovered from a first ride third in Krakow to claim the World Championship title this week, he winning his remaining four heats to earn 13 points on the night, matching that of his only rival for the title Jani Niemi, who started and ended the meeting two points behind the German in second place in the standings. Niemi though did have the pleasure of winning the round, the Finn going on to beat the new champ in a race-off for the Polish GP trophy in what was a surprisingly hotly contested race. Many would have forgiven Fuchs if he'd not made a race of it after his celebrations, but having gated in front he fought off the 29 year old for a good three and a half laps, his resistance finally broken coming out of the final turn of the final race of the series. Graham Davis scored just seven in the meeting, enough to hold on to third overall, but he'll be disappointed not to have finished closer to the top two, the Brit 12 points off the pace in the end.


Niemi followed up his Polish GP win with victory in the Division One Championship in Newhaven, a maximum in the meeting earning him that title for the second time in his career. Graeme Clark salvaged some pride for the Brits, winning the division two version at Eastbourne, new World Champion Helmut Fuchs finished fifth.

 

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