PIRATES CLAIM EURO BOUNTY
Stowmarket cup run ends
Peterboroughhave ended Stowmarket’s two year reign as European Cup champions, the Pirates impressive 52-38 winners in the second leg of the SL22 final, a result which sees the David Hayden side claim the silverware by eight on aggregate. Revenge—Peterborough lost out in the SL20 final to Stowmarket—was sweet and clear-cut, the Pirates racing to 13 heat wins in this weeks meeting, although ironically the victory was completed by a second place finish from reserve James McGuire (7) in heat 14. Steve Wales (13+1) and Steve Johnson (13+1) also missed out on the chequered flag in the last, Grzegorz Kowalczyk taking that in front, but that was scant consolation for the Pole, who’d failed to win any of his previous five outings to the track. The defeat for Wales and Johnson cost both of them maximums, but that mattered not to the pair, whose performances throughout the tie had been exemplary. Second string Wales especially impressive, having dropped just a point at Stowmarket in leg one, the youngster began the return meeting with a bang, passing Kowalczyk on the final lap to take all three points in heat one after his team mate Henri Myllyniemi had suffered an engine failure at the start. The same partnership picked up crucial 5-1’s in heats six and ten, while in between Wales defeated tactical substitute Juris Moroz for another victory in heat eight. The trophy is the first on the club front won by Wales since he signed for the Pirates at the start of SL20, and is also Peterborough’s first in the European Cup and means they have now won all six major competitions at least once in their 22 year history.
With Steve Wales being only the fourth best rider in the Peterborough side—on paper at least—the club should be shoe-ins for the 4TT, however they only managed to qualify for this years final by the skin of their teeth. Peterborough finished second in their semi final tie to Stowmarket (118) this week, their 113 point total just enough to see them through to the last four at the expense of Leeds, who missed out on the best runners-up place by two points. The Pirates had led by ten going into the final meeting of the four in the qualifier, however the Witches—two-times defending champions in the competition—scored 39 in the decider to claim the automatic spot in the final. Leeds lost out to Eastbourne (116) in their tie, the Seagulls—who are into their 11th successive final—topping the standings despite finishing second to the Jags in the final leg at Beverley. Last years runners-up Willenhall (123) won the third of the groups, Danny Powis’s decision to strengthen his squad ahead of the semi final paying dividends, new arrival Gary Hughes scoring eight of the Wolves 42 points in their home second leg as they took control of the tie.
Eastbourne closed to within five points of leaders Peterborough at the top of division one with a second away win in three meetings, surprisingly they were made to work hard for the success at basement side Gorleston though, the Seagulls having to overhaul a six point deficit to claim their eventual 44-46 victory. The defeat extends the Ghosts run without a win to 11 meetings and seals the club’s relegation fate with still two months of the season remaining. Elsewhere Leeds bid for survival looks increasing forlorn, a 39-51 home defeat for the Jags at the hands of Wimbledon leaving them nine points adrift of safety, World Under 21 Champion Stig Martinson (14+1) scored a maximum for the visitors in that, earlier in the week though he was on the wrong end of a last heat 5-1 as Stowmarket clinched a 44-46 success at the Werewolves.
Henri Myllyniemi (11) hadn’t won a WSO event prior to this season, but this week he leads the World Championship after making it three wins from four in SL22 with success in the opening round of the GP series. The Peterborough rider added to his Finnish and Scandinavian titles with success in the Danish GP, taken with a race-off victory over Anton Kihlstedt and Kim Cedegren.
Iwade boosted their chances of a second successive promotion with a 41-49 win at rivals for a top three finish in division two, Brockmoor. The success and 30 point win over Exeter which followed moves the Colts six points clear of the Bulls, who drop to sixth in the standings. Up to fourth—five adrift of Iwade—move Kelso, 41-48 winners at Verwood in their latest meeting, Lee Wills scoring 9+3 at reserve for the Scots. Meanwhile a 50-40 win over Derby has left leaders Huntington requiring just two more wins from their final eight fixtures to secure promotion back to the top flight at the first attempt. In division three Claygate moved four points clear at the top of the standings with a 38-52 success at Canvey, second string Tomaz Bozic (8+1) one of five different heat winners for the visitors in the victory.