Spitfires take revenge in Pairs
Cruelly denied Pairs victory in SL7, Heath’s Daniel Williams (11) and Olcay Fugleberg (14) returned to the final of the competition to earn their revenge on Totton, the holders second best in the SL8 final despite once again claiming a last heat victory. Last year at Bradford the late set of maximum points saw them win the title ahead of Heath, this time around it was only good enough to take them above Houston (20) and Caversham (19) and onto second spot on the podium, Fugleberg and Williams having already assured Heath would win their first major trophy when dispatching Hallamshire’s Wlod Wieczorek and Julian Harrison in heat 19. That 5-1 was the third earned by the Spitfires duo in the meeting, their first had come in heat nine and as it was returned against Mathe and Adams, it was one that set them on their way to victory. Crucial in the final reckoning, and the race itself was the highlight of a night which showcased very few overtakes, as although the impressive Fugleberg cruised to victory the other three disputed the minor places for most of the four laps, Williams in fact going from second to last and back to second again. Buoyed by that success Heath returned to the track three heats later to pick up their second 5-1, Cranford’s Deryugine Mikhail and Kenneth Flaa providing much easier opposition for the Spitfires, who finished nearly half a lap in front of their two rivals. Now four points up the final was theirs to lose, but it would have been a nervier run in if Belfast’s Nyek Timko hadn’t locked up in heat 16, he rapidly laying his bike down to avoid carnage, a 1-5 against turned into a 3-3 for Heath in an instance, no one was stopping them now.
First the Pairs trophy handed over and then the division one leadership, Totton paying a heavy price for Miksa Mathe’s one barren ride in their home top of the table contest with Bradford, after four wins the Tigers number one finishing last in a heat 15 decider, Sarkis Evanoff (14) and Bailey Smith (9) both beating the Hungarian to claim a match winning 4-2. With no Wayne Parkes at reserve—he left out by Dave Robinson to maintain his sub-four average—the 44-46 victory was a doubly unexpected result, but one which sees the Speedsters go a point clear at the top of the league standings. The defeat followed away wins in both league and cup for the Tigers, they winning their division one clash at Caversham 43-47 despite Mathe again running a heat 15 last, before going on to beat Long Eaton by the same score in the first round of the Division One Cup. Totton fought their way back from a six point deficit to win the latter with 5-1’s in heats 13 and 14, the result earning them three vital points in the group stage as they bid to reach the semi finals of that competition for only the second time in six years.
Julian Harrison (17+1) scored his second successive league maximum as Hallamshire fought back from an eight point deficit after heat 11 to win at Stourbridge, 43-47. The comeback began with Harrison’s win as a tactical substitute in heat 12, a 5-1 in that completed by Wlod Wieczorek (7+1), more maximum points in heat 13 for the visitors with Harrison leading home Miroslav Kucera (12+1) to level the scores. With a 3-3 in heat 14 that remained the match situation heading into the last, in the decider another 5-1 to the visitors as Harrison and Kucera rounded off their club’s first win at the venue since SL3.
Somerset notched up the first away win by any club in division two this season, they defeating Swindon 42-48 at The Alley having trailed their hosts by six at the halfway point of the meeting. Seven wins in the final eight races took the Wolves to victory, Mikael Tolleson winning the first and last of those plus two in between on his way to a season best 17. Miroslav Pen was also amongst the points, his 14+1 tally included six for heat nine and 12 wins over home heat leader Burr Sandborn (8+1), plus two for a second place finish behind Tolleson in a last heat 5-1. Somerset end the week fourth in the standings, Swindon bottom, albeit just three points off Alfreton in top spot!
Away wins are also in short supply in division three with just three so far this season, and no team came close to making it four this week with all ten meetings decided prior to heat 15. Finchampstead did though beat Wavendon 44-46 in the first round of the Division Three Cup, a semi final place now beckoning the Flyers.
Brookwood’s Harry Nicholls scored maximums in both the WU19 and BU21 finals to take the two titles for the first time, the 18 year old a convincing winner of the former in Oslo before going on to take his third different youth national title in Cranford. The current BU18 champion completing victory with a heat 20 success over Stuart Stokes (10), Adam Lucas (13) finished as runner-up, however SL7 winner Simon Snow (6) disappointed, he finished down in tenth.