|Sheffield 'PIRTEK' Tigers v Hull 'BHK' Vikings||Premier League||8th August|
|Simon Stead (g)||9.69||3||3||3||3||3||15|
|André Compton ©||8.96||3||3||3||1||2'||12+1|
|Sheffield 'PIRTEK' Tigers||(40)||3||7||10||13||14||19||22||25||28||32||36||38||42||47||52||92|
|Hull 'BHK' Vikings||(54)||3||5||8||11||16||17||20||23||26||28||30||34||36||37||38||92|
|Bonus Point Run-off|
A bumper crowd turned up to witness the end of the Tiger's unbeaten home run, so many that they ran out of programmes!. (Not that they were any good, they were riddled with mistakes, only heat 2 didn't require alterations!) It was action right from heat 1 with Simon Stead battling his past the quick starting Vikings pair but leaving it to the last lap to pass Ross Brady. The Tigers reserves were the first to show in heat 2, but Joel Parsons caught Birko napping on the 4th turn to move into 2nd place. Birko fell on turn 2 on the third lap and as he remounted Joel's bike spluttered to a halt gifting us a heat win. Ricky won heat 3 from the tapes with Richard unable to make any impression on the Vikings pair. André limped from the gate in heat 4 but reeled the Vikings in before switching back to pass Sanchez out of turn 2 on the third lap, and repeated the maneouvre on Karlsson on the last lap. Brady and Thorp made another electric start to lead heat 5 and Ricky was well beaten before something caused him to fall on the 3rd turn, and although Richard Hall was quick to lay his bike down he unfortunately slid into his fallen team mate. It was at this point that Paul Thorp showed exactly what a s**t he is as he mocked the fallen Tigers as they lay on the track, and gesticulated at the moronic Hull fans on the 4th turn who celebrated with him. I'm sure they were all disappointed to see the Sheffield pair walking from the track after being checked over by the paramedics.
Steady trailed Karlsson for a lap in heat 6 before streaking away to shave 0.1 secs off Andy Moore's month old track record, with Andy himself getting a good run out of turn 2 and passing Magnus down the back straight on the third lap. Emil Kramer powered around André to lead heat 7 but the Tigers skipper regained the lead on the pits bend with Garry Stead moving through to second and Birko's bike seizing at he back. Ben Wilson briefly led heat 8 until Paul Thorp breezed past down the back straight, and Andy Moore was content to sit on Ben's back wheel until it was clear that Sanchez didn't prove any threat. Karlsson sped into the lead in heat 9 but the real interest was the scrap between Hall and Parson's for 3rd place which changed by the turn until Richard got the upper hand in the latter laps. Garry Stead dived under Andy Moore to snatch 3rd place in heat 10, but Andy replied with and even better move out of the pits turn, while Steady left it until the 3rd lap to depose Emil Kramer at the front.
André powered past Thorp to lead heat 11 and it looked like being a shared heat until Birko eventually found his way around Brady off the very last turn to extend the Tigers lead to six points. Birko was brought in for Wilson in heat 12, but the Vikings swapped Parson's for Sanchez and it was Emiliano who sped from the tapes to lead. Richard Hall followed hot on his heels while at the back Garry Stead passed Birko on the 2nd lap. With Steady and André unbeaten heat 13 looked a sure 5-1, but that would have left us with an 8 point advantage and a possible Vikings tactical ride in heat 14. Reg Wilson was seen communicating with André at the starting gate and the message must have been received. Steady streaked away to lead and André moved past Brady down the back straight. We expected to see him slot behind Magnus for a conservative 4-2, but not our André. He moved up into 2nd with a blistering wide pass on lap 2, but then took a very wide entry into turn 1 allowing Magnus back into 2nd. Another scintillating pass exiting turn 4 took André back into 2nd place, and another too wide entry into turn 1 saw Magnus back into 2nd place. Just to make everyone aware he could do it André passed him again on the 3rd turn before shutting off out of the pits turn and virtually waving Magnus past on the run to the line.
A good result from the Vikings in heat 14 could have set up a grandstand finish, but Ricky moved Kramer wide on the 4th turn letting Ben Wilson through to second, and with Ben exploring unfamiliar territory he kept the Vikings at bay to win the match for the Tigers and set up another possible end game. A 5-1 in heat 15 would force a run-off for the bonus point and Steady and André were pitched against Thorp and Karlsson. Eric Boocock was there at the pit gate winding Paul Thorp up, a little too much perhaps, as Thorpy flew from the start. I couldn't see what had happened where I was standing but assumed the ref had brought them back for an unfair start, but then Thorp's exclusion light came on. The video replay showed Thorp's wheel touching the tapes just as they were released, and will probably also show the obscene gestures he subsequently made at the referee before refusing to start from a 15m handicap. The Tigers easily accomplished the required 5-1 and we waited to see who would get the nomination. Steady never looked like being troubled all evening, and although a Workington rider we're sure Ian Thomas would have appreciated us taking the bonus point from their championship rivals, but it was the skipper who got the nod. Surprise, surprise it was Paul Thorp (now suitably fired up) for the league leaders, and he made no mistakes from the gate this time, and to his credit rode a perfect line to deny André any chance of getting past.
The Vikings fans celebrated their bonus point, the Tiger's fans their extended unbeaten home run, but everyone should have appreciated the superb speedway witnessed along the way.
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