Witches dominate to win 4TT final
Stowmarket have won the 4TT for the third time in nine years after dominating this years four-legged final. The Witches quartet of Grzegorz Kowalczyk, Paul Hope, Lasse Classen and Erich Pavlik proved to be unstoppable as they gathered in their first trophy since landing the league title three years ago with relative ease, the opening leg of the final at Verwood the only one they wouldn’t win. And they were unlucky not to claim the clean sweep, 30 points would have normally been enough to see them to the leg victory, but that was two shy of the score achieved by the hosts after Miloslav Dorosh (12) completed his maximum with a last heat win in what proved to be a two-rider race. The decider took three attempts to complete, with Travis Foxman first to comedown in the increasingly tricky conditions, then Kowalczyk slid out of contention in the first of the re-runs as the light drizzle turned into a downpour. It wasn’t long though before Bill Jones’s quartet had the aggregate advantage, in front of nearly 12,000 they took control of the final with victory on their home track in the second leg, Kowalczyk this time getting his deserved maximum after riding to four of the eight race wins achieved by the hosts. One leg win became two at Coalville where this time Classen (9) was the pick for the visitors, with the third success the icing on the cake at Huntingdon as they went through the motions of confirming their victory in the competition. The margin of that victory stood at an impressive 26 points, Verwood (97) winning their battle with Huntingdon (88) for the runners-up spot.
Stowmarket (60 points) have held on to top spot in division one with fixtures against two sides battling relegation to come. Key to their current two point advantage over Leeds (58) at the summit was the Jaguars single point loss at Eastbourne in their latest fixture, Nathan Kay (10+1) finishing last for the two-times defending champions in the heat 15 decider. Stowmarket meanwhile were defeated at Verwood, 46-44, the Vipers regaining the lead in that meeting with a last race 4-2. Mathematically Verwood (54)—whose earlier meeting at Wimbledon ended all square—could still top the final standings, they just need two big wins from their remaining meetings and both Stowmarket and Leeds to lose both theirs! Coalville (47) have made themselves short-odds on favourites to take the fourth European Cup place on offer for British clubs in SL29, they end the week four points clear of Eastbourne (43) in that race following a draw at Brickhill, given to them by a heat 15 Mark Jolly (13) victory.
Ronnell Hawtin (13) did it for the Brits in his home nation round of this years GP series but it was Paul Hope (11) who benefited most from the contest in the race to be World Champion. Hope leads the standings by seven points heading into the Polish finale after finishing as runner-up to the 30 year old Eastbourne star—who had the benefit of riding on his home club circuit—Hope’s closest rival Travis Foxman scoring just seven in the meeting. Third on the podium went to rising star Cerek Ostrowski, who has a busy final week to SL28, when as well as club and GP commitments he has the challenge of regaining his WU21 crown to come at Linlithgow.
Verwood ended Leeds’s remarkable unbeaten run at the Hawthorne to give themselves a great chance of winning the KO Cup for a second time next week. The Vipers won the first leg of the final 44-45 after taking an early 11 point lead in the meeting, reserve Matthias Zimmerman (7+1) and 17 year old Elliot Pike (5+1) having added a 5-1 in heat four to a 5-0 scored by Miloslav Dorosh (12) and Cerek Ostrowski (8+3) a race earlier. Mitigating circumstances in both for the hosts, with their reserve Aaron Joyce the only one of four riders to finish either race. Leeds’s defeat is the first at home since the final week of SL25 and ends an unbeaten sequence of 81 competitive meetings at the venue for the club.
Gorleston secured promotion back to division one at the first attempt with a 44-46 victory at Beverley. An Owen Mitchell (14+1)/Tomasz Jozwiak (13+1) 5-1 earned the Ghosts the necessary league points in the final race of a meeting they had trailed in by eight. The defeat meant Beverley became the third side to be relegated from the second tier this season. Following Gorleston up are Runcorn, successive promotions confirmed for Adrian Heathcote’s Rockets thanks to their later 60-30 home win over Beverley, in which Jake Coiner (14+1) scored his fourth maximum of the season. It’s still very much advantage Derby in the battle for third, they currently five points clear of fourth placed Cork. However it’s still anyone’s guess who’ll follow Wentworth up in division three, with Calderwood (47 points), Paull (47), Keswick (46) and Earley (45) all still in contention for a top three finish. Earley host Calderwood on the final day needing to win by ten to take the bonus.