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Dockers crowned best in Europe

West Ham have become the first side from division two to win the European Cup after completing a four point aggregate win over Putney in this years final of the competition. A handy ten point lead from the first leg was expertly defended by the Dockers at Tibbetts Corner, a run of four straight heat victories from heat three onwards piling the pressure on this weeks hosts, the scores on the night level entering the final half of the clash. The Dockers weakness lay in the make up of the bottom three of their side, the top score between the trio just three in the first leg and the failure of any to beat an opposition rider between them in heats eight and nine threatened to derail their side’s trophy bid. Anthony Kelly (1) and Martin Rice (2+1) was on the wrong end of a 5-1 in the first of those races, Callum Hicks (2+1) last in heat nine as the Spitfires quickly closed their aggregate deficit down to four points with a 4-2. Erko Teever (7+1) though picked himself up from a poor start to his night—he’d claimed just a point from his first two races—to win heat ten, while Brian Bell (10+1) won the next in a much needed West Ham 4-2. Still Putney weren’t done yet though, back-to-back 4-2’s and suddenly they were within two of their visitors and with two races remaining the gap was easily bridgeable. Steve Hebden had no hesitation in sending in Bell to join Teever in heat 14, both got the jump on Roland Havran from the gate and there’s no one better than Bell when it comes to defending a lead, for four laps he repelled the advances of the Hungarian, a 5-1 for West Ham, the European Cup was theirs.


TODAY: Shorts

Having beaten the division one’s second placed side in the European Cup West Ham (111) turned their attention to those in third and fourth, Stoke and Dudley, who they came up against in the 4TT semi finals. With four riders averaging over eight points in the league the Dockers certainly had the quartet on paper to do well in this competition, points in all but two races in leg one at Stoke secured them a strong start to the tie, one backed up brilliantly in the second leg at Stag Hill where they would share the meeting win with the Wildfire. They put it to bed at home in the third leg, three race wins apiece from Brian Bell (11), Vayk Kari (10) and Erko Teever (10) plus six points from Marcin Baklaski (6) ending any hopes their opponents had of group victory, West Ham eventually going through by eight on aggregate. Stoke’s 103 point tally wasn’t enough to see them go through to the final as the highest scoring second round runners-up, that spot going to another second division team in Bracklesham (113), who finished eight points behind holders Putney in Group B. Newark (114) completed the final line-up by winning Group C by 14 points from Brighton.


Putney’s league winning run is over but not before they set a new record for any division of 14 victories in a row with a 47-43 home success over Brighton. They required a tactical substitute victory from Pavel Vonasek (11+1) to keep them in contention in the early stages of the clash, a clash they won thanks to Daniel Southwood’s victory over Hobart Buus in the last. However 12 points from Southwood at Swanage wasn’t enough to prevent a Spitfires defeat there, the Swans 48-42 winners on the night, a victory which moves them seven points clear of the drop zone. Swanage’s earlier meeting at Dover had ended all square.


West Ham could seal promotion to the top flight as early as next week after a seventh away win of the season helped them to a 16 point advantage over fourth placed Peak Dean in the standings. The Dockers latest success on the road was returned at bottom of the table Sturminster, 40-50, Vayk Kari (13) and Brian Bell (13+2) finishing the night with 5-1’s in heats 13 and 15. Sturminster end the week 12 points adrift of safety with 24 left to ride for, Wirral aren’t in a much better position in ninth, they left on a losing run of four in the league by Croxley Heath, who climbed out of the bottom three with a 44-46 win at Birkenhead Park, three crucial league points secured by the Cavaliers with a last heat 4-2 won by second string Klemen Vrsic (13).


Herne Bay dropped their first home point of the season but the draw against fourth placed Woodhouse was enough to see them go top of the division three table for the first time in three months. Leading by nine with five heats to go of the meeting the Titans missed out on victory as Ross Bailey (11+1) and Petr Kowalik (15+1) between them scored 14 points in the closing period. Earlier Herne Bay had won at Milton Keynes 41-49 as reserve Craig Parrish scored a season best 13.


A win on his Grand Prix debut for 23 year old Hobart Buss (12) was met by huge delight by the home nation fans in Horsens, the Brighton rider coming back from a opening heat fall to win his next four and take the Danish GP title by two points from Daniel Southwood.


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