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'Worth waiting for'…first title for Tigers
Not quite to the wire, but too close for comfort for the fans of Brookwood Tigers, who this week witnessed their side win the title for the first time on the final day, of the final season. The championship was assured in the penultimate heat of their meeting at Sedgley, fittingly it was Simon Brown - in his sixth season with the club - who scored the winning points, the 26 year old racing to the win that ensured the necessary bonus point for the Tigers. The news soon filtered through to Wimbledon, where Pinders were looking for victory to snatch the title at the death, their result no longer mattered and it showed - Pinders succumbing 47-43 to their hosts after a last heat loss. Twice European Champions in the past three seasons they may have been, but under Paul Wyer the championship had eluded them, they runners-up in both the previous two seasons, but at last they've got their hands on the silverware they graved most, none more so than former World Champion Jouni Rasanen: "I won it with Boston, but the feeling was nothing like this, Brookwood have always been my club and this was well worth waiting for".
Buzz around Buxton as Bees take title
You couldn't find more unlikely winners of the division two than Buxton Bees, but their win over Rye Park and final day bonus point success at Thames saw them achieve that feat. The restructuring of the league saw Buxton line up in division two for the first time this season, in their previous three campaigns they'd finished bottom of division three! In contrast this season has been one of success, the club winning nine of their first six competitive fixtures, as they hit the sort of form that the "Bumble" faithful had only previous dreamed of. Despite their great start Martin Harvey wasn't adverse to changing his line up, Adam Furtok arriving from Birmingham late on in the season, his experience offered a timely boost to the club, and but for his penultimate heat second place at Thames it would be Dagenham sitting proudly top of the table at the final reckoning. The Daggers led the way at the start of the week, but fell eight points short of landing what proved to be a crucial bonus point at home to Blunsdon, a two point defeat at Tonyrefail followed. There was a further change to the top four, with Rye Park dropping out of the promotion places, they being held to a home draw by Ipswich on the final day of the season.
Tigers land cup in a week of 'firsts'
They may have had part of their attention on the league battle that was to follow, but that didn't prevent Brookwood Tigers securing the first part of a league and cup double when entertaining Stag Hill in the KOC final this week. Like in the league the Tigers were seeking their first ever win in the competition, and having held the Stars to just a two point win on their travels the Yorkshire side were firm favourites to lift the trophy in the return. It wasn't long before the home side were in front, a 5-1 from reserves Ian Chalk and Billy Peters giving them not only the lead on the night but also the aggregate advantage. From that point on it proved relatively plain sailing for Paul Wyer's chargers, 5-1's from Jouni Rasanen and Andy Stallwood in heats six and ten, plus one from Simon Brown and Paul Sheffield in heat nine taking them into a 14 point lead in the final by the two-thirds mark. Chalk's second race success of the evening in heat 12 would secure the victory, and given the fact that the Tigers had never reached the final before - having lost six semi final ties in trying - it was a most welcome one indeed.
Brookwood's success leaves them with a total prize fund of £130,000 for the season, that though £40,000 short of that gleaned by Pinders (£170k total), who won the European and Division One Cup's, plus were paid handsomely for finishing second in the league and 4TT. Other big winners this season were 4TT and Pairs winners Wimbledon (£110k), division two champions Buxton (£80k) and division two cup winners Birmingham (£60k).
Kogler seals his place amongst greats
Walter Kogler became only the third rider to win the World Championship twice this week, a second place finish in the final round of the season in Krakow enough to see him add to his title of three years previous. Kogler was rewarded for consistency, lacking in the other challengers, most notably Peter Martensson and Ulrik Bjur who both slipped away this week having scored in single figures for the second successive GP round. In fact despite scoring just 11 points in Poland Kogler, 27, extended his advantage at the top of the standings from two to six points, an impressive margin of victory given his 49 point tally is the lowest ever to win a World title. In the end it was Brian Skaarup who finished second to the Pinders man, that on count-back, with the 33 year old one of five riders to finish with 43 points, Skaarup's final round win giving him the advantage over Martensson (3rd), Bjur (4th), Sandor Waltner (5th) and leading Brit Nick Staples (6th).
Kogler missed the chance of a title double when making a poor start to the Division One Championship in Swindon, two late wins saw him finish third though, behind British duo Tony Turner (1st) and Nick Staples. Dagenham's Fabijan Seslar won the Division Two crown at Berkshire.
now on the latest news at the Forum