BUCKING THE TREND
Derby make round two at Iwade’s expense
Derbyare in the second round of the KO Cup for the first time after coming through their opening round tie with Iwade by nine on aggregate, the Bucks the only side from outside of division one to beat top flight opposition this week. Without the injured Thorsen Keller—who’d been paid for seven at reserve despite a nasty crash in his last outing for his side—the Colts were always going to struggle to defend a two point lead on the East Midlands circuit, Derby in fact ahead in the tie by the end of heat one, Jake Beacham (13+1) joining Ferenc Bacskai (9+2) at the front for a 5-1 with a penultimate bend pounce on visiting number one Steve Vitale (11+1). The American’s confidence was obviously dented from that defeat, as three four heats later he was again on the wrong end of a 5-1, losing out meekly to second string Tomas Kascak (7) in a first corner battle, Marcus Linder (8+2) then cruised by on lap two. Bacskai picked up his second win of the contest in heat eight by defeating the first of Iwade’s tactical substitutes, Aleksandar Koljenovic, the Slovenian would end the night winless, Bacskai would go on to score in another 5-1 alongside Beacham two races later. Wins for Beacham and Kascak in turn completed not only the meeting victory but the aggregate one also in heats 13 and 14, Beacham won the last just for good measure. Leigh Rose’s side have been drawn against Linlithgow in the second round, the third division leaders beating cup debutants Cork home and away in their opening tie of the SL23 competition, Joel Slater (14) top scoring for the Lions in their 57-33 second leg win this week.
Canvey doubled the third tier representation in the last 16 of the KO Cup despite a 54-35 defeat in Torbay, the Cruisers wrapping up aggregate victory by heat 12 of the return, they having won the first leg by 28! Canvey and Linlithgow are the only division three sides to remain in the competition, equalling the collectives worse performance, and the omens do not look good for further progression either, the last club from that level to make it into round three was Cradley Heath back in SL17. The Hammers were amongst the oppresses this time around, a 41-49 victory at third tier Earley taking Carl Hadlington’s side through by 40 on aggregate, a much tougher challenge awaits them in the last 16 in Stowmarket, the Witches—who have reached the quarter finals at least in eight of the last nine seasons—completing an identical margin of victory over Lewes in round one. Elsewhere away wins for Huntingdon, Leeds and Verwood saw them safely through, the former and latter face each other in the second round, Leeds have been paired with last years runners-up, Telford.
Stowmarket closed the gap on leaders Willenhall with a first ever league victory at Eastbourne, the Witches winless run of 14 coming to an end courtesy of a last heat Grzegorz Kowalczyk (13+1) winning 4-2, Nate Stokes (12+2) going from last to second in the decider for the hosts, but it was too little too late to save the Seagulls from their second home league defeat of the campaign. Stowmarket led the clash for all but two heats, the top five all making useful contributions, aided by retirements for Andrey Spasskov in heat five—when second string Janez Jesenicnik (7+1) gained a point—plus Luca Fermiano (5) from the start of heat 13, a possible Seagulls 5-1 in that ending 3-3.
Division two leaders Leeds extended their unbeaten run to eight in all competitions, however they had to settle for a draw on their league trip to Brickhill, the Tigers recovering from an eight point deficit to level things up with Juris Moroz (16+1)/Levan Rekhviashvili (12+2) 5-1’s in heats 13 and 15. With Dudley losing at home to Kelso, 43-46, the Jags advantage at the top has actually grown to five points, Ramsgate now their closest challengers, the Robins climbing to second with a later 44-46 victory at the Kestrels. Three non-finisher’s for the hosts helped the Scot’s up and down week start on a high, however at home they came up against a rider in Raymond Muri (15) who was at the top of his form, the Norwegian putting on a scintillating display of speedway racing to leave promoter Sue Meech wondering why he can’t do this every week. His maximum gaining performance seem to inspire others too with second string Gabor Szbics (10+1) and number three Rune George (10) both scoring in double figures.
Linlithgow followed up their cup success over Cork with a hard fought 44-46 division three victory at Torbay, the Lions eventually prising away both league points thanks to a second place finish from away top scorer Joel Slater (12) in the last, the Aussie holding his nerve to pass newly installed home number one Colin Maddox by making a tricky outside run on the back straight of lap three. That was Slater’s third win over the £175,000 former Cork rider on the night, whose only defeats came against the 30 year old.