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CZECH MATE

Pedersen back to deny Prague

Former Prague favourite Dan Pedersen lost a few friends on the night, but he gained a first trophy while racing for a British club, his heat 14 win on the Czech circuit confirming a Sedgemoor victory in the final of SL21 European Cup. For the second successive season the two club’s went head-to-head in the decider, and once more it was the Rebels that came out on top, the British visitors finishing the stronger in a tie that was level with four heats remaining. Mark Allen (9) and Pedersen (8+1) secured the first of three straight heat advantages in the closing stages for the Rebels, but it was a heat 13 5-0 that did the majority of the damage, Bryan Baah (11) and Morten Kristensen (9+1) gifted maximum points when Lars Braathen’s (9) engine gave up entering the third lap, the former Birmingham man had already lost his team mate Marcel Strba (11) to a fall on the opening lap. It was then left to reserve Pedersen to secure the aggregate success, following a flying start off gate three the 30 year old Dane—who joined the Rebels for just £40,000 early in the season—eased to victory with the aid of Sebastian Koch (5+1), who played the role of rear gunner perfectly. In picking up two points for a second place in the last Baah ensured the margin of victory on the night—at 42-47—would be the largest for the club on the road in their 20 ties in the competition, they also becoming the first club to lift the trophy in back-to-back seasons as well as extending their own record number of final wins to four. Nick Howard’s hopes of landing a second piece of silverware this season lie solely with the Division One Cup, the first leg of that final against New Forest takes places at Holford Park next week.

TODAY: Shorts

Pennsylvania have cut the gap to leaders New Forest to four points ahead of their ‘must-win’ top of the table clash against the Knights next week, a third league victory on the road in four maintaining the Pirates bid for their first title since SL18. Smethwick was the venue for the win, the visitors dominating the early stages with eight race wins from nine taking them into a six point lead. Three of those successes were returned by Rafal Robakiewicz (9), while a brace apiece came from his number one Kevin Dobinson and back-up rider Wlod Kwiatkowski (8+1), the Pole enjoying his time at reserve while it lasts, the next change in averages likely to see him return to the top five. The Pirates picked up just two heat wins in the final six, but they had more than enough in the tank to record their fourth top flight win at London Road in five visits there.

 

The win at Smethwick capped a great week for Pennsylvania, who had already secure a fifth final appearance in the 4TT in six years with a convincing second round aggregate victory. 42 out of a possible 48 points in their home leg—in which Rafal Robakiewicz (12) scored one of only two maximums in the 16 meetings ridden this week—left their rivals battling for second, one of those, March (100), did enough to claim the place in the final reserved for the highest scoring runners-up over the three groups. Colney Hatch (111) topped Group A despite Kristoff Muller scoring a maximum for New Forest (96) at the Crusaders, while holders Rugby (114) reached the final for the third year in a row with victory over Maldon (99) in Group C.

 

Risto Anttila (13) hadn’t won a WSO event prior to the start of SL20, the 25 year old now has five victories to his name, including two Finnish titles and after this week, the SL21 Swedish GP crown. The latter claimed on his series debut no less, with the Finn defeating fellow GP newcomer Valeri Elin in a race-off for the opening round success, Maldon—who he is averaging 11.39 for this year—will struggle to keep hold of their higher flyer now even if their almost certain promotion to division two is confirmed, Tom Naylor expecting irresistible big money bids for his superstar at the end of the season. Third on the night went to world number two Kevin Dobinson (12) who beat Sandro Jelic in a race-off for that position.

 

Cambridge eased their relegation concerns with a first away win in six months, the 43-46 victory at Whitemoor taking them above the Witches in the division two standings and three points clear of the bottom three. In fact that Cougars—relegated for a third successive top flight campaign in SL20—may start looking towards an unlikely return to the highest level at the first attempt, they now have a better points difference than Oxford in third spot and are just three points off the Silver Machine, who they host next week. Cambridge’s win at the Witches came as David Ridenton (7+1) tallied his best score since signing for the club a month ago in a £45,000 deal, the 38 year old defeating home heat leader Harrison Gibson (6+1) along the way. Maldon meanwhile extended their advantage at the top of division three with a 42-48 win at Reading, while Greensforge closed in on a return to the top three with a club record 39-51 away victory on their trip to injury hit Kesgrave.

 

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