Later match reports...
Saturday 3rd July PL
The Sheffield juggernaut rolls on as the top 5 all put in an performance of Herculean proportions to take the win. For a moment it looked like another heat 14 golden double might be the Tigers downfall again but Simon Stead rode the race of his life to block every move Stoney made to make the win secure.
Comets new boy Karlsson was helicoptered on to the centre green, spookily predicted by Nostradamus Bingham some moments earlier. We'll reserve judgement on Mr Karlsson for now. Here's what happened.
WORKINGTON 42 SHEFFIELD 49 Stoney 3 3 3 1 4† 2 16 Sean Wilson 2 3 1' 3 3 12+1 Geoff Powell rider replacement Paul Lee 0 2' 2 2 6+1 Peter Karlsson FX 1 2 2 1' FX 6+1 André Compton 3 3 1' 3 1 11+1 Grant MacDonald E 0 1' 1+1 Simon Stead 2' 1 2 3 8+1 Brent Werner 1 0 3 0 4 Scott Smith 2 2 3 2' 9+1 Barry Campbell 1 3 2 FX 0 6 Adam Allott 0 0 0 0 Darren Groves 1 3 1 3 0 1' 9+1 Simon Cartwright 2 0 1' 0 0 3+1
Heat 1 - Stoney gets the drop on Wilson who is right there for four laps but no way past. Campbell a comfortable third so 4-2 to the Comets
Heat 2 - Very nice win for Campbell but Cartwright beats Groves with Allott nowhere. 8-4
Heat 3 - Peter Karlsson has a rough introduction to British Speedway. Compton and Stead sitting on a 5-1 with Karlsson right behind them. But coming out of the fourth bend he runs right in to the back of Stead and goes in to the fence in a heap. Excluded and wrecked bike. In the rerun the Tigers are out front again and MacDonald siezes up. Sheffield 5-0 to sneak ahead 9-8
Heat 4 - A superb win for Darren Groves over Scott Smith. Groves rode terribly well and Smith just could not pass despite usually being within half a bike length. Werner a l-o-n-g way behind but beats Cartwright for third. Comets lead 12-11
Heat 5 - Karlsson out on a Stonehewer machine but Wilson and Lee hit the front and give a perfect example of team riding to block out the always pressing Karlsson is a rather good heat. Now 13-16 Sheffield.
Heat 6 - Stoney out in front but Smith passes Groves with Allott off the pace again. 17-18 cumulative. Close huh.
Heat 7 - Compton leads with Campbell all over him. Looked at one point that Campbell put both wheels over the white line attempting an inside pass but Compton held him off for the win withStead taking third and Werner last. Sheffield lead extended to 22-19.
Heat 8 - Cartwright was leading but behind Campbell fell right in front of Lee who executed a lightening lay down to avoid what would have been a grim spill. So, Campbell excluded. In the rerun, Cartwright hit the front again but was eventually passed by Groves with a fine dive under. Lee then got passed Cartwright and took up the chase just failing to catch the impressive Groves by a gnats. 22-25.
Heat 9 - Smith outpaces Karlsson and MacDonald. 25-28.
Heat 10 - Stoney outpaces Stead and Compton. 28-31.
Heat 11 - Werner pops put to spring a surprise and beat Lee and Wilson.
Heat 12 - Compton sees off Karlsson and Groves. 34-37.
Heat 13 - Stoney falls on the first turn but it's all four back for first bend bunching. Didn't expect what happened next. Wilson in front and Smith speeds past Stoney coming on to the straight and then holds Stoney off all the way for a Sheffield 5-1. This was not good news for us Yorkshire folk an it meant a seven point lead (42-35) and a certain Workington golden double in heat 14. We had kinda hoped that Scott would slow down a bit and let Stoney pass, but he didn't.
Heat 14 - Guess what! Stoney as the GD and Karlsson as a 'normal' T/S. Quite possibly heat of the season followed. Stead made the gate and forged ahead of Karlsson. Stoney passed Cartwright easily enough and was also allowed to pass Karlsson once he realised who was behind him. In no time, Stoney was all over leader Stead like the proverbial rash. But young Simon rode the perfect line blocking every move Stoney made and even held off a frantic last bend dash by the Spaded One. Pure classic indeed. Karlsson third for a Comets 5-3 but Sheffield lead by 5 with only heat 15 left. Secure away win.
Heat 15 - Drama not over yet. Wilson gates ahead of Stonehwere and the paid of the go at it hammer and tongs the entire race with the Prawn just sneaking it. Behind all this, Compton third and Karlsson last. But on the last turn of lap 4, Karlsson attempts a rather wild dive under Compton but only succeeds in putting the pair of them in to the fence at high speed earning himself an exclusion (third awarded to Compton) and André a very bent machine. Final score 42-49.
But Workington gain some consolation as Stoney beats Wilson (sick bike) for the Silver Topper.
Stoney apart, the Comets were kept in the hunt by great performances from their reserves and Groves in particular. He looked very very good and Campbell was up there in his first three rides. MacDonald presumably suffered from that first race retirement and was way out of it as was Werner apart from his moment of glory in heat 11. Karlsson will no doubt improve as he gets in to it but it looks like he needs a few rough edges taking off first.
The Sheffield top five were a class apart. Smith gets a special mention for 9 paid 10 and that great ride in heat 13. Wilson and Compton beat their opposite numbers nicely and Lee showed up real well heat 1 excepted. But surely rider of the night to Simon Stead. Always where the action was and then THAT ride in heat 14. You had to be there to appreciate just how good it was. Simon Cartwright lost a couple of places due to a lack of track craft and experience but he'll learn. Adam Allott never in danger of scoring.
Overall, Sheffield were much the better side and deserved the win. But can they do it again Sunday at Glasgow?
Report by Andy Machin
Thursday 1st July, PL
SHEFFIELD 54 IOW 36 Sean Wilson 2' 3 2' 3 ef 10+2 Phillipe Berge 0 2 3 2 1 2 10 Paul Lee 3 1 0 3 7 Wayne Carter 1 0 2' 1' 4+2 André Compton 0 3 3 3 9 Neville Tatum 1 1' ef 1' 2 5+2 Simon Stead 2 1 2' 3 8+1 Danny Bird 3 2 1 1' 7+1 Scott Smith 3 3 3 2' 3 14+1 Scott Swain 2 2 1 2 xm 1' 8+1 Adam Allott 1 0 0 0 1 Glen Philips r 0 0 0 Simon Cartwright 3 1 1 0 5 Tommy Palmer 2 0 0 2 1. 61.2 ( 5-1 ) Lee, Wilson, Carter, Berge 2. 62.3 ( 9-3 ) Cartwright, Palmer, Allott, Philips 3. 61.0 (11-7 ) Bird, Stead, Tatum, Compton 4. 62.6 (15-9 ) Smith, Swain, Cartwright, Palmer 5. 61.1 (19-11) Compton, Berge, Stead, Carter 6. 61.6 (23-13) Wilson, Swain, Lee, Philips 7. 62.0 (26-16) Smith, Bird, Tatum, Allott 8. 61.8 (27-21) Berge(t/s), Carter, Cartwright, Lee 9. 62.3 (32-22) Compton, Stead, Swain, Philips 10. 63.3 (37-23) Lee, Wilson, Bird, Tatum(ef) 11. 61.9 (40-26) Smith, Berge, Carter, Allott 12. 62.4 (43-29) Compton, Swain(t/s), Tatum, Cartwright 13. 62.7 (48-30) Wilson, Smith, Berge, Palmer, Swain(2 mins) 14. 64.2 (51-33) Stead, Tatum, Bird, Allott 15. 62.7 (54-36) Smith, Berge, Swain, Wilson(ef) Silver Helmet: Sean Wilson 1st, Danny Bird 2nd
Weather: drizzle for most of afternoon. Track: could have used a little more water.
1. Paul rounds Sean out of turn 2 & Sean pushes him around for a maximum win.
2. Simon gates, Adam lets Tommy go on turn 1, but then follows right on his heels without ever making an attempt to pass.
3. Danny gets a flyer, Simon nips under Neville who cannot avoid taking André v e r y wide. After a long chase André attempts an outside pass on turn 1 only for Neville to pick up some grip and struggle to regain control. André has to shut off and has no chance of making up lost ground all over again.
4. Scud traps, Scott rounds Simon out of turn 2, and Tommy follows suit around the outside on turn 4 of lap 2. Simon is having none of that and goes straight back under Tommy into the next bend, and makes it stick this time.
5. André wins comfortably, Simon goes around Wayne into turn 3.
6. After a good scrap Sean slices under Scott into turn 3 on lap3.
10. Paul traps again and Sean sits on his tail.
12. André traps and is away. Simon never gives in but cannot find his way past Neville.
13. Sean blasts past Scud on lap 3 with Phillipe a long way behind.
14. Simon rides a brilliant 2nd bend to go around Danny and split the IOW pair. Not content with that he goes straight under Neville into turn 3 to the delight of the home supporters.
15. Scud and Sean are the first to show with Sean slotting in behind his team mate until his bike expires at he start of lap 3.
The Islanders were well at sea tonight with only Phillipe and Danny winning one race apiece. Neville was very subdued, and Tommy was far from the trump card he should have been at reserve. With Scott and Wayne only giving token support the Islanders were lucky to go down by only 18 points.
Adam was once again the only Tiger not to claim a race win looking a bit subdued. Paul claimed the scalps of Phillipe, Neville and Danny but missed the start badly in heat 8. André bounced back from a disastrous first race to claim 3 wins, and Sean played a true captains role out on the track. Both Simons claimed good wins but my 'man of the match' was a determined looking Scud who romped to a well deserved paid maximum.
Sunday 27th June, PL
WORKINGTON 24 ( 74) STOKE 23 ( 93) SWINDON 22 (101) SHEFFIELD 26 (117) Sean Wilson (11) Simon Stead (9) André Compton (3) Scott Smith (3)
Sean dropped his only point to Carl Stonehewer in the last heat while both Scott and André suffered machine problems. Simon Stead rode magnificently to win his first ride and then claim 3 2nd places to enable to Tigers to win the leg.
Saturday 26th June, PL
STOKE 22 SWINDON 21 Paul Pickering 3 3 3 2(11) Glenn Cunningham 3 1 3 0 (7) Joachim Kugelmann 1 0 1 2 (4) Steve Masters E 1 1 3 (5) Rene Aas 1 0 (1) Neil Collins 1 2 0 3 (6) Mark Burrows 2 0 0 2 (4) Steve Bishop 0 2 1 0 (3) Jon Armstrong 1 1 (2) WORKINGTON 26 SHEFFIELD 27 Carl Stonehewer 3 3 3 3(12) Sean Wilson 3 3 3 1(10) Brent Werner 2 3 2 0 (7) Simon Stead 1 1 2 1 (5) Grant MacDonald 2 0 2 F (4) Andre Compton 2 2 2 1 (7) Peter Scully 0 1 0 2 (3) Scott Smith 0 2 FX (2) Paul Lee 3 (3) That means cumulative scores with final leg on Sunday as Sheffield 91 Swindon 79 Stoke 68 Workington 51
Scott Smith fell while leading a close behind Cunningham in heat 11 causing Cunningham to fall also. Glenn Cunningham leapt to his feet and threw handfulls of shale at the prostrate Scott. It looked bad but both walked away. Smith didn't take his last ride and no news on possible injuries. Cunningham won the re-run.
Evening highlight was a superb race long battle between Simon Stead and Jon Armstrong. Evening downer was losing a modest wager to Mr Moss on heat 16. Pickering, Wilson and Stoney went into it unbeaten and Dave said Pickering would beat Wilson. He did so I lost in a financial disaster.
Report by Andy Machin
Thursday 24th June, PL
SHEFFIELD 55 READING 35 Sean Wilson ef 3 3 3 3 12 Dave Mullett rider replacement (7) Paul Lee 1 1 3 1 6 Justin Elkins 2' 0 ef 1 ef 3+1 André Compton 2' 3 2 3 1 11+1 Phil Morris 1 1 2 2 2 3 0 11 Simon Stead 3 2' 1' 2 8+2 Paul Clews 0 1' 0 0 1+1 Scott Smith 3 3 ef 1 7 Craig Watson(g) 3 2 2 2 3 2 2 16 Adam Allott 2' ef 2 1' 5+2 Shane Colvin 0 0 0 0 0 Simon Cartwright 3 1 1 1 6 Jarno Kosonen 1 0 3 4 1. 63.5 ( 1-5 ) Watson(r/r), Elkins, Lee, Wilson(ef) 2. 64.4 ( 6-6 ) Cartwright, Allott, Kosonen, Colvin 3. 63.3 (11-7 ) Stead, Compton, Morris, Clews 4. 63.6 (15-9 ) Smith, Watson, Cartwright, Kosonen 5. 62.8 (20-10) Compton, Stead, Morris(r/r), Elkins 6. 61.5 (24-12) Wilson, Watson, Lee, Colvin 7. 63.4 (27-15) Smith, Morris, Clews, Allott(ef) 8. 62.5 (31-17) Lee, Watson(t/s), Cartwright, Elkins(ef) 9. 62.9 (34-20) Watson, Compton, Stead, Colvin 10. 63.3 (38-22) Wilson, Morris, Lee, Clews 11. 64.1 (40-26) Kosonen(r/r), Allott, Elkins, Smith(ef) 12. 62.8 (44-28) Compton, Morris, Cartwright, Colvin 13. 62.2 (48-30) Wilson, Watson, Smith, Elkins(r/r) 14. 64.5 (51-33) Morris, Stead, Allott, Clews 15. 62.5 (55-35) Wilson, Watson, Compton, Morris Silver Helmet: Sean Wilson 1st, Phil Morris 2nd
Weather: fine and sunny. Track: could have used more water.
1. Sean's bike expires as he leads into turn 3. After a slow start Paul cannot find a way past Justin.
2. Simon & Adam gate & win comfortably. Adam lifts exiting turn 2 on lap 3 but controls it sweetly without losing ground to Jarno.
3. With seconds to go André emerges from the pits on Paul's bike. Simon traps but André doesn't have the power to go around Phil. After pushing hard for 3 and a half laps André finds the smallest of gaps between Phil and the fence to claim the maximum heat advantage.
4. A brilliant first turn sees Scud leading from Simon. Craig powers under Simon on lap 2 and closes in remorselessly on Scud who just holds on to win on a dodgy motor.
5. André wins comfortably & Simon resists pressure from Craig.
6. Sean wins easily from Craig, Paul can't quite get on terms.
7. Scud (on his second bike) easily outpaces Phil.
8. Paul and Simon trap on Craig, who soon dispenses with Simon but finds a determined Paul too hard to crack.
9. André & Craig have a real humdinger of a race with the lead changing hands so many times I lost count! Get this kind of racing on the television and show people what speedway can really be like! Brilliant!!
10. Sean wins easily from Phil.
11. Adam crawls from the start miles behind, but Justin's bike develops big problems before the 3rd bend & Adam goes up to 3rd. Scud's engine splutters to a halt at the start of lap 3 and Jarno inherits the lead while Justin nurses a very sick motor around for 4 laps to claim the odd point.
12. André traps and is away. Simon is given a guided tour of the first bend fencing courtesy of Phil Morris and can't quite get back into contention.
13. Sean wins easily, while Craig wears down & passes Scud on an ailing motor. (He must have let Justin touch it at some time!)
14. Phil bullies his way to the front & the Sheffield boys have no reply. Phil finishes the race on a rear tyre with a blown tube and a gaping great hole in the cover. After a brief hiatus he is allowed a fresh replacement.
15. Sean powers away to another superb victory in the nominated heat, but all the interest is with Craig & André who have yet another brilliant scrap before Craig emerges once again as the victor.
The Racers might never had a chance of winning, but Phil Morris and Craig Watson certainly did enough to keep the fans entertained. Jarno inherited one of the Racers 4 race wins but hardly deserved it as he was well off the pace and neither Justin or Paul offered much support. After his exploits in the Newcastle match Craig was enthusiastically booed by the home fans in the early heats, but after two of the most brilliant scraps with André he had won over all but the most partisan supporters present and turned from villain to hero.
Adam was the only Tiger not to claim a race win & Paul's win over Craig Watson was a great booster, although André seemed able to make Paul's bike go even faster when he borrowed it for heat 3. Scud had a torrid time with both his bikes developing problems & he will now have his work cut out preparing for Stoke and Workington this weekend.
Simon Cartwright continues to improve, Simon Stead posted another impressive home score, Sean bounced back from a heat one bogey with four faultless wins, but my 'man of the match' is André who rode brilliantly on a borrowed machine in heat 3, and then featured in 2 of the best races of the night, and possibly the season, as he passed and re-passed Craig Watson in 10/10ths full action style in heats 9 and 15..
Monday 21st June, PL
The match was over and done with after a terrible pile up robbed Reading of No.1 Dave Mullett after the Racer locked with Compton at full speed - being thrown over the fence into the greyhound wall. The smash was the worst I've ever seen at Reading. Andre Compton was rightfully excluded with the most telling comment coming from an Oxford fan - "I think Compton would have to accept a lot of the blame". Dave Mullett looks like he has badly broken an ankle and will certainly be out for the season.
For Reading it is the end of their season but hopefully a decent signing can be made to build around in the coming seasons. I wouldn't be surprised if Dave Mullett never rides again.
From the Sheffield boys point of view the Tigers rode well - Sean Wilson was sensational, Scott Smith came good when required and Simon Stead was in the right place at the right time.
Reading were really very poor. Chalky White's efforts could not be faulted but 8 from 5 was not what Reading needed! Elkins was woeful apart from heat 8 and Clews had his worst match for a while.
D Mullett (2.3.F/ns) 5
(Disgracefully pulled back by the ref after Wilson was caught out rolling in heat 1 - then comprehensively beaten by the ultra impressive Wilson. Easily accounted for Smith. He was then racing Compton in heat 10 with the Sheffiled rider clearly taking handfuls of throttle - going into lap 2, Compton looked to go straight into the first turn and took Mullett at full speed into and over the fence. The two had locked together and Dave went into the greyhound wall at a fearsome pelt. This was reckless at best and three people I spoke to who viewed the incident from the centre green were scathing about Compton. "He just didn't turn" was an oft repeated quote.
Bryn Williams perhaps will offer a more impartial view but I was disappointed at the total lack of respect Andre had for Dave - he had no chance - how was Compton going to turn? He would have been off anyway had Dave not fallen...)
J Elkins (0.F.3.ex) 3
(Three stops and one win over Lee and Cartwright - pitiful. I've had it with this bloke - he's got to go. I could maybe understand it if he was ours but he's Pooles and its a waste of a team place)
P Morris (220.127.116.11.1) 12
(Absolutely superb - kept Reading in it until heat 12 when it was 37-34, but then three 5-1s without Dave and we'd had our chips! some great passing - the only Racer who can hold up his head in defeat)
P Clews (18.104.22.168.) 3
(Poor - just when we needed a good display.)
C White (22.214.171.124.R) 8
(Fantastic effort but not really the points replacement for Petri we needed - it never rains eh?)
S Colvin (ef.0.0.0) 0
(had both Sheffield reserves beaten after a good tussle with Cartwright when his engine went...that was really the end of him.)
J Kosonen (3.1.2*.2.1.EX) 9+1
(Not brilliant but ok - Jarno was easilly moved over if anyone even looked like getiing close to him - even Scud Smith passed him on the inside!)
S Wilson (126.96.36.199.3) 15
(Apart from having the ref be very generous indeed to him in heat one Wilson looked a class apart. I love watching him ride - brillaint)
P Lee (188.8.131.52) 4
(Workmanlike, unspectacular, ok)
A Compton (ef.3.EX.2) 5
(twice passed impressively by Phil Morris - the first when he lost second place with an ef. I was not happy with his passing attempt on Mullett and he was ruthless when closing down on the field in heat 12 into the first turn, but Morris pulled off the pass of the night whe he caught up two bike lengths to thunder inside Compton. Both shook hands after the race.)
S Stead (184.108.40.206) 9
(Highly flattering score coming from two wins - one was a match race against Kosonen after Mullett and Compton were missing from heat 10; then a heat 14 win over Clews and Kosonen (who was excluded for having an ef - don't ask). But having said all of that - he hardly put a wheel wrong!)
S Smith (220.127.116.11*.2*) (Rode well enough taking the bends in an extraordinary two wheeled manner. A breathtaking ride by Wilson kept White behind both riders for three laps leaving Smith to hang on for a lap. Superb stuff by Wilson. A minor revalation in his last two rides though...)
A Allott (1*.1*.0) 2+2
(Has a lovely style and looks a very good bet for the future. Both points gifted)
S Cartwright (2.ef.0.0.2*)
(Unimpressive until his last ride when he held on gamely to beat Paul Clews on Phil Morris' bike)
Sean Wilson beat Phil Morris for the Silver Helmet.
Report by Nick Dyer
In response to Nick Dyer's views on the Dave Mullett/Andre Compton incident I would like to give my views as a neutral observer.
I was sitting in the stand close to the starting line and had a good view of what happened. Andre Compton attempted a passing manouver by cutting under Dave Mullett on the fourth bend. He came down the straight inside, but slightly behind Dave. As he crossed the line his front wheel lifted but he managed to get it down just before the first bend. As his wheel came down Dave Mullett cut in hard from the outside and Andre Compton had no chance of turning so sharply as to avoid contact. What happened next has already been well documented with the unfortunate Dave Mullett receiving a serious injury.
I agree that the referee had to exclude Andre Compton for being the prime cause of the incident but I believe that it was a racing accident and that Andre Compton should not be totally blamed for what happened. Both riders were racing hard.
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