STIG DUMPS LIONS OUT
Linlithgow lose out in tense tie
Linlithgow fans would have been expecting the worse when a full moon greeted their arrival at Pride Park for the second leg of their KOC quarter final tie with Wimbledon, the conditions off the track at least favouring the Werewolves. Having limited their first leg loss to just six points in London the third division Lions though had every hope of reaching the last four of the competition for the first time in ten years, hope that turned into real belief when their reserve pairing of Antony Rose (9) and Joel Loomis levelled the aggregate scores with a heat two 5-1. The class of Wimbledon’s top four however would curtail the Lions ambitions, each returned from the track with a race win under their belts over the course of the next five heats, the visitors back in front heading into heat nine. Wimbledon’s chances of finishing this one early were undone by Jacek Czyzewski’s machine in heat nine, having got away in front he lost all power at the end of the first lap, a 3-3 turned into a home 5-1 and suddenly Linlithgow were in front in the tie for the first time. Their lead would last two heats, tactical substitute Stig Martinson (12+2) winning a heat 11 4-2 to level things up once more, a 5-1 followed in the next for Wimbledon, the Lions though hit straight back with a heat 13 4-2, this one wasn’t over with yet. Martinson ensured it would be his side heading into a decider in front with his third win of the night in heat 14, and it was the young Norwegian who finished things off in the last, he shutting the door on Ray Smith (10) coming out of the second bend and then team riding with Kenny Dornan for the remainder of the race, the pair returning to the pits with the necessary minor places for an overall two point victory. Wimbledon have been paired with Stowmarket—who eliminated second division Coalville this week—in the last four, the all top flight semi final line up is completed by Peterborough, who progressed with a 44-46 second leg victory at Huntingdon, and league leaders, Willenhall.
There are plenty of reasons to believe Willenhall will overcome Peterborough in that KO Cup semi final, not least their performance in limiting the Pirates to a draw at the Showcase in league fixture there between the two sides this week. Aaron Macaulay (14+2) and Ronnell Hawtin (14+2) both picked up second places in 5-1’s as tactical substitutes in the meeting, those results helping bring about an eight point turnaround in the scores, and it was a maximum from the same pair in the finale which denied the home side victory against the league leaders. With Stowmarket’s clash at Coaville also ending all square—that after a Charles Knapper (14+1) heat 15 winning 5-1—the gap between the two leading sides in the table remains at seven points heading into their crucial top of the table clash at the Werewolves next week.
Iwade inflicted Eastbourne’s third home defeat of the season on them to boost their hopes of top flight survival, a heat 14 5-1 from reserve Radoslaw Dzierzega (9+2) and second string Tas Bard (9+1)—neither of whom started the season for the Colts—securing the points in an eventual 44-46 win for the visitors.
Leeds’ Nathan Kay (13) reached the GP series for a seventh time—equalling the record for a British rider—with a third career Overseas Final victory, the 32 year old topping the standings in Peterborough ahead of fellow qualifiers, world number three Aaron Macaulay (12), and Jake Coiner (11), who finished 14th in last years world championship. Over in Pila there was a shock victory for Aleksandar Komjenovic (13) in the Continental Final, the 27 year old—whose averaging just 7.79 in the British League for Iwade—defeated world number 11 Oleg Gabulov (13) in a race-off to top the podium on his debut at this stage of the world championship. The rostrum was completed by current World Champion, Grzegorz Kowalczyk (12).
Despite losing at home to leaders Leeds, 44-46, Derby remain on course to at least challenge for a top three finish in division two, they having earlier beaten promotion rivals Ramsgate on the road by eight. Leigh Rose’s Bucks benefited from a strong finish to the meeting in the south-east, they going clear with heat 13 and 15 5-1’s, both won by Jake Beacham (13). Ramsgate’s loss allowed Brickhill to creep into the top three for the first time this season, the Tigers taking that spot on points difference from the Robins with a 42-48 win at Gorleston.
Division three leaders Linlithgow moved six clear of second placed Earley after extending their club record unbeaten home league run to 38 meetings with a 53-37 win over the Gravediggers, earlier the Lions had beaten Newport 43-47 on their travels, where reserve Antony Rose raced to two heats wins in scoring paid ten.