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Kiwi stars as Maldon reach last four

Four wins from Martin Lovett (12) helped Maldon pull off a superb four point aggregate win over Plymouth to reach the semi-finals of the KO Cup. Both sides were competing in the quarter-finals of the competition for the first time in their history, Plymouth doing so after 21 previous early round exits. Just four adrift following their first leg visit to the capital, it was they who were favourites to progress when the two second tier sides met this week. However they didn’t get any closer than that despite home advantage in the return, the Marauders superior firepower telling, with Lovett’s quadruple success on the track just part of combined ten heat victory haul. Fellow heat leaders Jonas Bauer (10) and Darko Jericek (8) picked up a brace of wins apiece while there were successes to at second string and reserve, with Andrey Rastourguerv’s (6+1) win in heat eight coming in a 5-1 with Harrison Gibson (6+1) which resulted in the visitors going ten up on aggregate. A rare failure for Lovett in heat 11 handed the hosts a 5-1 to give them some hope heading into the closing races, however their best run in the competition would be ended by the Kiwi, who clinched victory for Tom Naylor’s side by taking the chequered flag in front in both heats 13 and 15. A first set of top flight opponents await the Marauders when they make their debut in the last four, they’ll start as big underdogs when taking on Sedgemoor, who have won the competition four times. The Rebels reached their first semi-final since SL20 with an 18 point third round aggregate win over two-times defending champions Newport Pagnell, they securing their passage from the all top flight tie by heat 11 of the return.

TODAY: Shorts

The holders are out but it’s on to the last four of the KO Cup once again for Bridgwater. The runners-up in each of the previous two seasons overturned an eight point deficit from the first leg to beat Netherton, 95-85, Bernd Hoover (15) adding to his maximum in the first leg with another on home shale, this time both Mario Gottardi (13+2) and loanee Kyle Ward (9+3) also finished unbeaten by an opponent. The Baboons next opponents, Whitemoor, were made to work harder for their last four place, late tactical substitutes required from them as they progressed by four at Smethwick. Terry Duffield (11+1) clinched the Witches place in the semi-finals when winning his extra ride in heat 14, two races earlier Roland Mair (8+1) had finished second to team mate Christian Lindblad to help record a much needed 5-1 for the visitors when replacing reserve Trevor Stanton.


Sedgemoor moved clear in second after holding third placed hosts Whitemoor to a draw in their latest top flight away trip. The Rebels reached the two-thirds mark of the season three points adrift of leaders Newport Pagnell, who they face twice in the next two months. Crunch clashes to come, and Nick Howard will be hoping for more of the fighting spirit that was on show at the Witches, they taking the share of the spoils only after coming back from eight down with 5-1’s in heats 14 and 15, won in turn by Vidar Juhl (13+1) and Mike Conlon (14). Elsewhere Bryan Baah (14) and Valeri Elin (12+1) scored a last heat 5-1 for Rugby as they won at Netherton, 44-46, their third away win of the campaign helping them regain their place in the top half of the division and move six points clear of the relegation zone.


Cup disappointment for Plymouth but it’s now five unbeaten for the Devon side as they seek to complete a first promotion to the top flight. The club have finished no higher than fourth and in the bottom three six times in 14 years in division two, however they continued their best ever form by earning a draw at Maldon, that despite their riders recording just three heat wins between them. They turned them into two 5-1’s and a 4-2, with second string Dezso Barak (6+2) involved in both of the maximums. In division three the in-form team are certainly Bolsover, unbeaten in 13 now for the Kings who went top for the first time this season with a draw at Ashton. And not many would have been betting against a visitors win heading into heat 15, where the previously unbeaten Tomasz Blasiak (14) and Tomas Trojan (12+2) were due on track. However recent £17,000 Rangers signing at second string, Ousman Grimstad (11+1), deprived them of their maximums and the visitors the meeting win with a stunning tapes to line victory. Claygate meanwhile end the week third after they scored three 5-1’s in the closing five heats to win at Witham, 41-49, Stuart Barnett (14+2) involved in all three.


After a poor start to the campaign Bengt Karim stormed back into World Championship contention by scoring a maximum 15 to win the Russian GP in Pskov. The SL22 and 24 World Champion scored just six in the opening round last week, but has now moved into second spot—two points adrift of holder Bernd Hoover (11)—in the series standings.


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