Brit stars as Vipers exit
Adam Roberts (15) scored his second successive maximum of Sankey’s SL19 Division One Cup campaign as the Sharks secured progression to the last four with a slender 46-44 win over Don Valley. The most successful side in the competition made their exit after Roberts wrapped up victory for the home side with a last heat win over young Russian duo Lesta Markoff (12) and Valeris Lach (9+1), two heats earlier Lach had been on the wrong end of a Roberts/Simon Driffield 5-1 which had given the lead to the hosts for only the second time in the crunch meeting. The result sees Derek Moody’s side go though to the semi finals from second place in Group A, Quantock winning the section on points difference following a 54-36 bonus point win over Southampton in their final first round meeting, 17 year old reserve Charlie Pickering (9+2) amongst the heat winners for the Rangers as they like Sankey reached the knock out stages of the competition for the first time in three years. Nick Howard’s side—who are yet to lift the trophy despite reaching the final three times—will take on Altrincham in the last four, the Panthers taking their place at that stage following a 49-40 win over Exeter this week. James Robinson’s recent drop to reserve helped Altrincham record their crucial success, the 19 year old winning a heat 14 5-1 to finish the meeting with season best figures of 7+2 and secure the necessary group points for the hosts. Ramsgate—finalists in each of the last four seasons—had already qualified for a fifth straight semi final and will take on Sankey next as they continue their bid for a third win in the competition.
Sankey extended their unbeaten league run to a club record nine by surpassing their previous best sequence with a 43-47 win at Exeter. A tight meeting fell their way thanks to 5-1’s in heats 14 and 15, the first won by a rider who has been in and out of the side this season, Scott Russell. The win was the second recorded by the reserve on the night and left him with season best figures of 7 points from five rides. Adam Roberts’s (14) last heat success was his fourth of the encounter, the Brit turning the tables on Graham Hancock (12) who’d inflicted his only defeat of the meeting on him five races earlier, Simon Driffield (11+1) ensured the Sharks fourth away win of the campaign with a strong second place finish. The win keeps Sankey a point clear of Southampton at the summit, a side who dominated their latest meeting at bottom of the table Swindon, Paul Adams (15) racing to five of the Scorpions 11 heat wins as they recorded their first double digit away league win (40-50) in over two years despite new £305,000 signing Tanek Zajac adding just three points to their cause.
A winless end to a near three and a half year stint at Ramsgate for Artur Kyluk. For himself and the club. The 31 year old signed off for the Rams with four second places at Newquay as the Rams recorded their third away draw of the campaign, although two of those were recorded in 5-1’s behind Shane Goodwin (16) in heats nine and 13. Kyluk has been used as a makeweight by Phil Watmough in the signing of Alexander Wagner from Buxton, the Rams boss also paying £600,000 for the 20 year old German who had been the Braves number one for the past two seasons. Wagner joined Buxton on a 6.00 point assessed GSA when they made their debut in the league in SL17 and helped them to their first promotion a year later.
Alexander Wagner (5) was disappointing to say the least as Buxton succumbed to their biggest ever home defeat with the visit to the Battleground of division two leaders Merseyside. The young German finished without a heat win as the Marauders trailed from start to finish in a meeting they lost by 21, only Thomas Pesir (15) scored more than six points for the hosts. In contrast teenage reserve Connor Robertson (8+1) was one of five riders to beat that mark for the visitors, who have extended their advantage at the top of the standings to four points, that despite them failing to win at home for the first time in nearly a year. The last team to take points off them at the Riverside were Manor, and it was they again who halted their winning run, just a draw this time for the Miracles, but a good point for the club who remain in the second tier relegation zone.
Marek Belic (13) was denied a winning start to the defence of his world title when he was beaten in a race-off for the first round qualifying win at Malmo by Liam Marlow. The Cradley Heath rider secured his fourth win at this stage of the championship—only Espen Berntsen (6) and Vyacheslav Kuznetsov (5) have won more—after defeating Belic and fellow SL19 GP rider Alexey Simakov in the extra race. Quantock’s World Number five Corey Wolin (14) won the final first round meeting at Sankey from British duo, Paul Smith (12) and Simon Driffield (11).