Jubilee Edition - ENHANCED
Two wins take Sharks top
Brightonare the early pacesetters in division one after they won their opening two league fixtures of the new season. Success too in the Pairs for the Sharks as their top two of Hobart Buus (14) and Glyn Ferrell (10) earned victory in the first round of that competition at Croxley Green, however it wasn’t all plain sailing, with Nick Ward’s side going down 44-46 when hosting Stoke in the Division One Cup. The Wildfire won the first of their four qualifiers this season thanks to a last heat Matthew Francis (14)/Charles Trosky (14+1) 5-1 at the Aqua Dome, Francis’s win the sixth in the final seven races for visiting riders as they recovered from six down in the meeting, a run which began with Trosky’s success as a heat nine tactical substitute. A blot on the week that started so well for Brighton, they recording a shock win at favourites for this years title Dover on the opening day, in a meeting they led in from start to finish. The performance of £75,000 pre-season signing from Newcastle Jonas Salstrom was key to the victory, the 28 year old reserve racing to a win and two seconds in his first three rides, the third of which saw him beat home number one Ole Johannesen (5), who’d come into heat nine as a tactical substitute. It was another victory over a home heat leader from Salstrom that confirmed Brighton’s win, with the Swede beating Jan Tervo (12+1) to the line in heat 14. It’s the first time in their 15 years in the top flight that Brighton have won their opening away league meeting of the campaign, and by following it up with a 53-37 win over West Ham they have made themselves out as real title contenders.
It was worth the wait for the fans of Peak Dean who witnessed their side win both their first two top flight meetings after 14 years away. The Plunderers opened their account with a 48-42 win over fellow newly promoted side Newcastle, before going on to make an real impression with a win at Swanage. On paper Peak Dean certainly had the firepower to beat the Swans, their top three having a total GSA nearly five points in excess of that of their hosts. But to turn that advantage into a result at Days Park takes come doing, which the Plunderers no only too well, they having won just once in their previous 22 league visits there. The visitors turned up the heat late on, racing to two 4-2’s and a two 5-1’s in the final six races, the second of those maximums scored by Miroslav Koubsky (14) and Mark Smith (13+2) in the last as the meeting went their way, 42-48. Those same two riders had already breezed into the next round of the Pairs, scoring 27 out of a possible 30 to win their opening qualifier at Bolsover from Kent (22).
Dropped points at home in a week that had been going well for Swanage. Optimism for the season ahead at a high as they opened their 14th straight season at the highest level with an opening day victory at Warrington, Jokke Muurimaki (13+2) unbeaten in his five rides on his competitive debut for the club as the Swans ran out 44-46 winners. The £50,000 signing from West Ham—the only pre-season addition for the Swans—was then one of five different heat winners as his side earned a solid draw at Dover in their first Division One Cup qualifier of the season. Newark were another side to endure a mixed start to SL31, with a home draw against Putney spoiling their opening day celebrations at Station Road. A reality check perhaps for what lies ahead, but better was to come for the Invaders at Newcastle, where a run of six successive heat wins from their riders helped them turn a two point deficit into an eight point lead, the sixth coming from Cameron Richards (13) in a heat 13 5-1 with Alexey Otyutskiy (10+1).
A second WSO meeting win of the season for 18 year old Aaron Gilbert (15) with the Woodhouse youngster again scoring a maximum to win a national semi-final. He added to his BU19 success with another at the same stage of the BU21 championship, topping the standings in this weeks qualifier at Suffolk by a point from pre-meeting favourite, Jamie Armstrong. Another 18 year old Cameron Ryan (14) won the second of the semi-finals at Herne Bay, the Dover man beating defending champion Jake Hyde (11) on his way to his third career WSO success.
With no away wins recorded in the first two rounds of racing in this season’s division two campaign Kent’s draw at Suffolk was enough to see them top the standings. A last heat 4-2 won by unbeaten visitor Espen Askelien (17+1) ensured the meeting scores ended all square. Woodhouse lead the way in division three following back-to-back wins, the second a two point success at Witham, where loanee Erko Teever (13+1) impressed for the visitors. A disappointing end to the Kestrels first competitive week in league speedway, especially as it had began so well. Witham’s debut meeting a 44-46 victory at Calne, where a heat 14 5-1 won by reserve Andrew Smith (8) took them into a late lead.