Jubilee Edition - ENHANCED
MAKE MINE A TREBLE
Invaders clinch league and cup
Having lost on their previous nine league visits to Station Road those banking on Dudley Wood denying Newark the points they needed to claim their fourth league title were on a loser from the off. And if the Invaders weren’t up for this one they might as well pack in now, a win required to earn them the title with a meeting to spare and a win is what they got. A heat five 5-1 from Scott Shannon (12+2) and second string Danilo Jeglich (8+1) earned the hosts a lead they would hold for the rest of the meeting, while three 5-1’s in the closing four races saw them sign off as SL29 League Champions in the style that was appropriate for such an achievement. Five different riders were involved in those late maximums, another example of the superb effort put in by the whole of the squad during SL29. Once again however there’s been a stand out rider in the Newark line-up, Alexey Otyutskiy leading the Invaders final averages for the sixth season in a row, in five of those—including this one—he’s ended the campaign with a double figure mark. No doubt the Russian will be back in a Newark race-jacket to defend the title in SL30, and having failed to do that following their previous three successes that must be the main goal now for the club and their promoter Graham Watmough. They’ll also be defending the Division One Cup and KO Cup next season, with the Invaders completing victory in the final of the latter competition just days after securing their title success, but the final was a closer run thing than many could have imagined. A win at Reading in the first leg of the decider had left the return looking like a formality, however the already relegated Whiteknights made a real fight of it, they taking it right down to a last heat decider before losing out by two on aggregate. Cameron Richards (12+1) was left to see Newark over the line after Otyutskiy (12) lost all power entering the second lap, seeing Richards was in the second place required to secure the leg draw and the trophy win he quickly left the track to cheer his team mate on from the centre green. It’s the first time Newark have won the league and KO Cup in the same season, they becoming the third club to do so after Willenhall (SL12&16) and Putney (SL18&19).
A wide open Grand Prix series ended with a fifth different meeting winner and a World Champion who didn’t win any of one of his eight World Championship meetings in SL29! Putney and Czech Republic star Pavel Vonasek (12) topped the overall standings following a second place finish in the Krakow decider, outgoing champion and series leader prior to the Polish round—Ole Sorensen—slipped back to second overall after scoring just seven on the night, the Dane’s chances gone with last place finishes in heats 15 and 17, 30 year old Vonasek mopped up with a heat 18 victory. Newark’s Alexey Otyutskiy (13) clinched the meeting victory following a last heat win over Brian Bell and took the series bronze medal as a result.
Stowmarket needed a point this week to secure a second successive promotion and themselves top flight racing in the quickest possible time. They earned five, with a home win over relegation threatened Croxley Green securing Bill Jones’s Vultures a second place finish in division two. They went on to pick up two points at Bracklesham, where a draw left the Rhinos without a league win in six and in the bottom three of the standings, with Croxley Green going on to win against divisional champions West Ham their failure didn’t matter anyway, they were certain to be relegated. While Bracklesham contemplate third tier racing for the first time in 22 years, Nick Wood’s Nottingham can look forward to being part of the top tier for the first time in six season’s, the Jazz taking the final promotion place following their last day 52-38 win over Wirral, top three challenger’s Peak Dean suffered a final round 52-38 defeat at Sturminster and miss out by two points.
The promotion places in division three had been decided prior to this weeks meetings, however both Herne Bay and Cradley were still in the hunt for the third tier title having exchanged top spot several times throughout the year. It was Herne Bay that landed the main prize, the Titans winning their final meeting of the campaign at Tresco 42-48 as Cradley—who’d earlier won at Benfleet—were defeated at home by Milton Keynes on the last day. The loss was Cradley’s first at the Wood all year and left the Titans as the only club in the whole country not to be beaten on home shale in the league in SL29.
Disappointment in SL29 for their main squad, but the youngsters once again impressed for Bracklesham, the Rhinos successfully defending their Junior League crown after beating main rivals for the title, Dover, home and away in the final week.