RAMS CLOSE OUT TITLE
Vipers miss out after late drama
Ramsgatehave equalled Don Valley’s record of four League Championship titles after winning the SL20 crown in dramatic fashion. Not the finish to the season Rams boss Phil Watmough had hoped for, they closing out the season with two defeats to finish just a point clear of the Vipers. Bottom of the table and already relegated Merseyside should have provided the Rams with the ideal opposition to close out the title in the penultimate round, especially given the meeting was on home shale. A disastrous start to the clash however with the hosts on the wrong end of 5-1’s in both heats one and two, Shane Goodwin (10+1) excluded in the first when bringing down his opposite number John Crisp (15). Crisp won the re-run and four more races, results which provided the backbone for the Marauders first success at the Channel Arena in a decade. Ramsgate got close to overturning the deficit, but it was a big ask of such a young side, they eventually going down 42-48. Their saving grace however was that Don Valley were simultaneously losing at another of the division two bound sides, Altrincham, the Panthers winners by eight thanks to a last heat 5-1. If that maximum had gone the other way, the Vipers would now be champions. As it was the results left Ramsgate needing just a point to clinch the trophy, and that was almost a given on their final day trip to Sankey, with the Rams leading by 32 from the reverse fixture. The crucial bonus secured by heat eight. Ramsgate were champions again, but having endured relegation form in the second half of the campaign all is not right in the camp, a rethink for SL21 certainly on the cards at the Rams.
Quantock have won the KO Cup for a second time after beating Sankey in this years final by five points. Nick Howard’s Rangers slipped behind on aggregate after conceding a 5-1 in heat 12 of this weeks second leg at the Sharks, however their deficit was short lived, the visitors hitting straight back with successive heat advantages to secure the silverware with a race to spare. Corey Wolin (15) won both, the second as a tactical substitute, a race in which Mauro Bruno (9+2) also made a successful appearance, Wolin’s fellow replacement finishing second to complete a trophy-clinching 5-1. Sankey—who won the league and cup double for a third time in SL19—end the year without a trophy, but at least with their division one status intact, their final day win over champions Ramsgate ensuring top flight racing for a tenth successive season for themselves, and relegation for Altrincham.
Marek Belic (13) is World Champion for a second time after SL20 double GP winner Bradley Law’s (7) challenge faltered in this weeks final round in Warsaw. Law failed to win a race in the Polish GP, he soon slipping down the pecking order after being beaten by title rivals Alex Marini (13) of Gateshead and Belic early on in the contest. Malmo’s Belic secured top spot with a heat 17 victory over outgoing world number two Paul Adams (8), Marini taking the runners-up spot in the championship with victory over Valeri Lach (12) a race later. Marini beat Belic in a race off for the meeting win, capping a great season for the Italian, the success not only his first in a GP, but also in any WSO meeting!
Cradley needed a point this week to secure promotion back to the top flight after two years away. They got three in a penultimate round win over Lye, Bradley Law (15) scoring his 14th maximum of the campaign in the 50-40 success. Law however was out maxed by Tinoi Stroud over the course of SL20 league season, the 37 year old scoring 15 in total for Exeter and more recently in his loan spell with Sheffield. Stroud will be in division one with Exeter next season, with the Falcons securing the third promotion spot in division two.
Bolsover’s Andy Rose (12+1) beat Liden’s John Stewart (13+1) in a race off to claim the Knights their 14th bonus point of the division three season. Significant as it brought promotion to division two for Kevin Lilley’s side after three years in the third tier. Bolsover finish second to division three champions London, third spot went to SL20 rookies Medeswell, Paul McLaughlin’s side celebrating promotion at the first attempt following their win over Jericho.
Junior League title number 14 for Don Valley who took the SL20 silverware by a point from Southampton, they finish as runners-up to the Vipers for a fourth time. 19 year old Jacob Brady was one of two riders to average in double figures for the champions, the other, Joseph Williamson, having since become a regular at reserve in Matt Akers main team.
A draw at Bolsover against rivals Russia earned England top spot in the SL20 International League standings. The Stuart Mills led Lions winning the title for the 12th year in a row.