Later match reports...
Thursday 15th July, KO Cup
SHEFFIELD 55 READING 35 Sean Wilson 3 3 3 3 3 15 Petri Kokko 2 3 3 3 2 ef 13 Paul Lee 1 1 ef 1 3 Justin Elkins told to sod off (3) André Compton 3 2 3 2 2' 12+1 Per Wester 2 3 1 2 3 1 12 Simon Stead 1 1' 2' 3 7+2 Paul Clews 0 ef 1 0 0 2 3 Scott Smith 3 2 2 ef 7 Phil Morris 2 2 0 x 1' 5+1 Adam Allott 2' 0 1' 1 4+2 Peter Collyer 0 0 0 0 Simon Cartwright 3 1 2 1' 7+1 Mark Norris 1 0 1 0 2 1. 63.4 ( 4-2 ) Wilson, Kokko, Lee, Clews(r/r) 2. 65.1 ( 9-3 ) Cartwright, Allott, Norris, Collyer 3. 63.3 (13-5 ) Compton, Wester, Stead, Clews 4. 63.4 (17-7 ) Smith, Morris, Cartwright Norris 5. 63.2 (20-10) Kokko, Compton, Stead, Collyer(r/r) 6. 62.7 (24-12) Wilson, Morris, Lee, Collyer 7. 63.3 (26-16) Wester, Smith, Clews, Allott 8. 64.7 (28-20) Kokko(t/s), Cartwright, Norris, Lee(ef) 9. 62.5 (33-21) Compton, Stead, Wester, Norris 10. 62.0 (37-23) Wilson, Wester, Lee, Clews 11. awd (40-26) Kokko, Smith, Allott, Morris(t/s) (x dangerous riding) 12. 62.4 (43-29) Wester, Compton, Cartwright, Clews 13. 62.1 (46-32) Wilson, Kokko, Morris, Smith 14. 63.3 (50-34) Stead, Clews, Allott, Norris 15. 62.9 (55-45) Wilson, Compton, Wester, Kokko(ef)
Weather: fine and sunny. Track: pefectly watered with no sign of dust all evening. (Perhaps if Reading paid their water bill they too could prepare a propper RACING strip. Then again is there anyone left down there who is interested? The Racers listees seem content to watch what passes as racing down there, shame that more fans aren't as easily duped.)
1. Sean traps. Paul snaps at Petri's heels but to no avail.
2. Adam & Simon trap. Mark is miles off the pace and Peter in a different dimension.
3. André rounds fast starting Per out of turn 2. Simon pushes hard but Per is his match.
4. Scud traps, Simon goes under Mark out of turn 2 and starts to wear down Phil. As he builds up for an outside blast into turn 1 Phil checks over his shoulder and turns right on Simon, leaving him lucky to hold onto his bike let alone 3rd place.
5. Petri traps. André winds eveything up for an outside blast which takes him into the lead out of turn 4 on lap 2, but Petri dives inside him into turn 1 and all but stuffs him into the fence on turn 2. André promises to return the compliment after the race.
7. Scott fails to find a way past fast starting Per having disposed of Paul on the first lap.
8. Petri traps as Paul's bike dies at the start. Simon passes Mark out of turn 2 but tries too hard to catch Petri and loses more ground than he makes.
9. André traps, Simon winds it up to go around Per on turn 4, lap 2, and follows through on a surprised looking Phil on turn 2, lap 3. Brilliant speedway!
11. Petri traps from Phil with Scud climbing all over him. Scud tries a wreckless inside dive on turn 1 going between Petri & Phil to gain 2nd, but drifting way too wide and losing it again. Phil checks over his shoulder as they race down the back straight, sees Scud bearing down on him, switches his line taking Scud's fro front wheel and sends Scud arse over tit down the back straight at full tilt! The referee awards the race with Morris excluded for dangerous riding (sorry Nick, he must be dirty, the referee excluded him!) Scud eventually limps back to the pits with a wrecked machine, aches all over, a gammy right hand and two mangled fingers (very lucky!)
13. Sean traps, but an extremely brave Scud discovers his bike is not right before the first bend.
14. Simon rounds Paul on the fourth turn, but Mark is never in with a chance of challenging Adam for 3rd place and finishes half a lap behind.
15. Sean traps from Petri. André is right on his heels when Petri's machine expires entering turn 1 on the last lap. How André manages to avoid him is a miracle, and Petri is the first to thank him on the wind down lap.
The Racers were never in it. Petri was hot when he gated, but lukewarm otherwise and never looked capable of making ground. Per was hot when he gated, but lukewarm otherwise and never looked capable of making ground (where have have I heard that before?). Phil was struggling and obviously prepared to do anything for a point. On the phone to the ref. he never tried to defend his actions, but merely tried to justify them in context to Scud's untidy challenge on the first turn. Sorry Nick but you cannot even begin to justify such a blatent disrespect for your fellow riders. Paul scraped together 3 points but only beat Adam, Mark was gifted 2 and Peter was in a different league finishing (seriously!) half a lap adrift (that's a long way at Owlerton!)
Scud finished the night battered & bruised with his best bike (brand new engine) in a terrible state. Nik has got André's motors singing again, while Sean was untouchable tonight. Simon(C) got stuck in, Paul stopped in his only easy heat and young Adam was fighting his emotions after a dismal 2nd ride feeling he'd let everyone down. Steady had a quiet start and then set the track alight with two brilliant rides in heats 9 and 14 and gets my vote for rider of the night.
Stephen Z could be right in saying that Per is more likely to succeed than Peter I K, as he is a trapper, but I know who I would rather watch.
Monday 12th July, KO Cup
Reading 46 Sheffield 44 Kokko 2 3 3 3 1' 12+1 Wilson 3 3 3 2 3 14 Elkins ef ef ef 0 Lee 1 1 3 1 6 Wester 3 2 3 3 2 13 Compton 0 1' 2 2 5+1 Clews 1 0 2' 2 5+1 Stead 2 2 1' 3 0 8+1 Morris 2 3 2 1 8 Smith 1 2 1 0 4 Collyer 2' 0 0 2+1 Allott 1 1' 0 2+1 Norris 3 0 1 r 1 1' 6+1 Cartwright f 3 2' 0 f 5+1
The Tigers make a quick return to Reading's Smallmead stadium hoping for a repeat of the recent narrow league win. The weather is scorching hot, without a cloud in the sky. On arriving at the stadium at 1730, the track appears to be well watered with lots of dirt. However the stadium is in need of a lick of paint and all but the 'grandstand' would be closed on safety grounds in Sheffield. Certainly the back straight 'terracing' should be closed immediately. After some debate I choose to watch the racing from the grassy bank above the 1st bend.
After the introductions, Petri Kokko wins the toss and chooses gates 1 and 3. Racing commences at 1945.
Ht 1: Sean Wilson, Petri Kokko, Paul Lee, Justin Elkins(ef) (2-4) 61.96
Sean takes an easy tapes to flag win with the action at the back. Paul tries everything he knows and on the last lap goes inside Justin on the 1st bend. As he makes the pass, Justin's bike quite predictably gives up the ghost.
Ht 2: Marc Norris, Peter Collyer, Adam Allott, Simon Cartwright (f)
(5-1) (7-5) 64.89
Simon is leading the race by the proverbial mile when he inexplicably falls on the 3rd bend gifting the maximum to the distant home pairing. Adam makes a last lap challenge but fails to catch Peter.
It should be noted that from this point on it becomes very difficult to see, especially round the 1st and 2nd bends, due to the huge clouds of dust billowing up behind the riders. Quite simply this is the worst prepared track I have seen since the KOC final at Belle Vue at the end of '95. With no rain forecast, to leave the track this dry is dereliction of duty. What could have been a good meeting is reduced to dull processional 'races' with passing being the result of riders drifting off the inside line. 'Tracks' like this are an insult to the paying customer and are what is killing speedway today. If this is the norm, then it is little wonder that crowds at Reading are so sparse.
Ht 3: Per Wester, Simon Stead, Paul Clews, Andre Compton
(4-2) (11-7) 62.55
Per takes an easy win with the Tigers pair tucked comfortably behind. Unfortunately, Andre gets into a terrible mess on the 3rd bend allowing Paul to take the point.
Ht 4: Simon Cartwright, Phil Morris, Scott Smith, Marc Norris
(2-4) (13-11) 63.43
The Sheffield comeback begins as Simon streaks from the tapes to take an easy win. Scott is nearly fenced by Phil on the 3rd bend and looses a lot of ground which, try as he might, he is unable to make up.
Ht 5: Sean Wilson, Per Wester, Paul Lee, Paul Clews
(2-4) (15-15) 62.12
Tapes...nothing...flag, easy for Sean, similarly easy for Paul Lee in beating his namesake for the deciding point.
With a third of the meeting gone and all square, things look good for the Tigers.
Ht 6: Petri Kokko, Scott Smith, Adam Allott, Justin Elkins (ef)
(3-3) (18-18) 63.02
Petri leads easily, Justin behind him with Scott trying to make the outside pass round the 4h bend when Justin's bike stops yet again.
Ht 7: Phil Morris, Simon Stead, Andre Compton, Peter Collyer
(3-3) (21-21) 63.49
Arguably the race of the night. The Tigers pair gate but Andre drifts wide on turn 2 allowing Phil through. A titanic struggle ensues with Simon taking a mid-track line and Phil hugging the inside. Unfortunately Simon drifts too wide on the 4th bend allowing Phil through to take the win.
Ht 8: Paul Lee, Simon Cartwright, Marc Norris, Justin Elkins (ef)
(1-5) (22-26) 63.33
The Tigers pair gate once more with Justin in close attendance. On the second bend, Justin tries to pull incredibly tightly inside Simon but only succeeds in locking up and stopping once more.
Ht 9: Per Wester, Paul Clews, Scott Smith, Adam Allott
(5-1) (27-27) 63.58
Things look bad for the Tigers with Scott in 'Death Valley' - gate 1 provides only 1 race winner all night. Trying too hard to make a good turn he is thrown wide and the Racers disappear into the dust.
Ht 10: Petri Kokko, Andre Compton, Simon Stead, Peter Collyer
(3-3) (30-30) 64.17
The Racers bring in Peter for his 3rd ride in place of the inept Justin, thus enabling them to replace him with Marc Norris later in the meeting. A shrewd tactical move. At last Andre seems to have come to terms with the awful 'track' but can do nothing to stop the home number 1.
After two thirds of the meeting, the Tigers are still on level terms and, barring an England cricket-like collapse, seem well on the way to a place in the semi-finals.
Ht 11: Sean Wilson, Phil Morris, Paul Lee, Marc Norris
(2-4) (32-34) 63.68
Tapes...Sean...flag...easy. At the back Paul chases Marc really hard and with the pressure mounting by the inch, Marc finally cracks. Paul goes inside Marc on turn 1. In reply, Marc tries to turn hard across but only succeeds in an impressive 360 degree spin without falling.
At this point we see the emergence of the legendary Reading blue line about a third of the way out from the inside.
Ht 12: Per Wester, Andre Compton, Marc Norris, Simon Cartwright
(4-2) (36-36) 64.68
Per Wester performs the miracle of the night...the sole win from gate 1. Simon, comfortably in 3rd, yet again has trouble on the 3rd bend, locking up allowing Marc through for another gift point. On the very last turn, in an infinitely optimistic move, Simon repeats his Swindon 'Wall of Death' ride with the same result ... sitting on his bum looking silly. He remounts to cross the line for an entertaining zero.
Ht 13: Petri Kokko, Sean Wilson, Phil Morris, Scott Smith
(4-2) (40-38) 64.23
After the miracle of the previous heat, we get another ... a good race. The only thing that looks like beating Sean all night is 'Death Valley' gate 1. Sean makes a reasonable start and might actually be in front but Petri finds some drive from nowhere and goes round the outside coming out of the 2nd bend. On the 3rd lap, Sean gets a good run out of the 4th bend and pulls alongside Petri on the home straight and dives for the inside maybe even inching ahead. However, Petri maintains his blue line position and pulls away for the win. At the back, Scott looses 3rd as he becomes the latest victim of turn 3 and locks up, Phil gratefully accepting the gift.
Ht 14: Simon Stead, Paul Clews, Marc Norris, Simon Cartwright (f)
(3-3) (43-41) 65.39
Simon takes a routine win with Simon falling on the 3rd bend for the umpteenth time. This time he was last and no damage was done points wise.
Ht 15: Sean Wilson, Per Wester, Petri Kokko, Simon Stead
(3-3) (46-44) 64.62
There is no announcement as to who wins the toss and chooses which gates but as the riders emerge Sean is off 2 with Petri in 'Death Valley'. Sean makes the start and takes an untroubled win. Simon brings up the rear after a poor start and nearly falls in a brave yet vain bid to extract some grip from the Sahara-like track.
The final result was a two point victory for the Racers. Had this been a league meeting I would have been very disappointed as we threw away many points in a futile bid to ride the wide outside. If Simon Cartwright been able to stay on his bike then we would probably have won the meeting. As it is only halfway in the KOC, this should be more than sufficient to take the aggregate victory which will see the Sheffield Juggernaut thunder onwards.
It is hard to put into words just how bad track conditions were. Fortunately the scores were close throughout which helps to maintain interest. Passing was mainly due to riders drifting off the inside or locking up in the dust. Particularly troublesome was the 3rd bend. There appears to be a lump on entry to this bend which could be the cause. Indeed, during the second half, one of the juniors came off at this very spot and was taken to hospital.
For the Racers, Petri Kokko and Per Wester performed extremely well, especially Per in only his second meeting. The rest were inconsistent except Justin who consistently stopped.
For the Tigers, Sean was only beaten by the awful gate 1 and otherwise looked untouchable. Paul always did what was needed, chipping in with an invaluable ht 8 victory. Andre looked very uncomfortable in his first two rides before settling down. Simon rode well without troubling the home heat leaders but once more scored a vital heat 14 victory and earned his place in the nominated race. Adam was never far away but only scored due to the misfortunes of others. Simon was, well Simon. Always trying, usually too hard on this occasion. Would have had double figures had he not fallen off, yet contributed valuable points.
In conclusion, yet another immense team effort with everyone contributing to the score but what a shockingly poor track!
Report by Paul Bingham
Thursday 8th July, PL
SHEFFIELD 49 WORKINGTON 41 Sean Wilson 2 1 3 2 2 10 Carl Stonehewer 3 3 2 3 1 3 15 Paul Lee 1' 3 3 0 7+1 Geoff Powell rider replacement (2) André Compton 1 1' 2' 1 5+2 Peter Karlsson 2 2' 1' 1 2 8+2 Simon Stead 3 2 3 3 1' 12+1 Grant MacDonald 0 3 1 1 5 Scott Smith 2 1 2 0 5 Brent Werner 3 2 1 3 0 9 Adam Allott 0 0 0 0 Barry Campbell 0 2 0 0 2 Simon Cartwright 3 0 2' 3 2' 10+2 Darren Groves 1' 1 0 0 0 0 2+1 1. 62.9 ( 3-3 ) Stonehewer, Wilson, Lee, Campbell(r/r) 2. 65.5 ( 6-6 ) Cartwright, Campbell, Groves, Allott 3. 62.7 (10-8 ) Stead, Karlsson, Compton, MacDonald 4. 63.5 (12-12) Werner, Smith, Groves, Cartwright 5. 63.1 (15-15) Stonehewer, Stead, Compton, Campbell(res) 6. 63.7 (19-17) Lee, Werner, Wilson, Groves 7. 64.3 (20-22) MacDonald, Karlsson(t/s), Smith, Allott 8. 62.6 (25-23) Lee, Cartwright, MacDonald(r/r), Groves 9. 62.6 (30-24) Stead, Compton, Werner, Campbell 10. 62.2 (33-27) Wilson, Stonehewer(t/s), Karlsson, Lee 11. 62.9 (35-31) Stonehewer, Smith, Karlsson(t/s), Allott 12. 62.8 (39-33) Cartwright, Karlsson, Compton, Groves(res) 13. 62.8 (41-37) Werner, Wilson, Stonehewer, Smith 14. 62.7 (46-38) Stead, Cartwright(res), MacDonald, Groves 15. 61.4 (49-41) Stonehewer, Wilson, Stead, Werner Silver Helmet: 62.7, Carl Stonehewer 1st, Simon Stead 2nd
Weather: fine and sunny. Track: overwatered with piles of deep s**le.
1. Carl traps. Sean is filled in and cannot make ground.
2. Simon traps, Adam does not want to know (track putting him off?).
3. Simon traps, André is perhaps understandably reluctant to risk passing a raw looking Peter on the outside & cannot make ground on the inside.
4. Brent traps, Scud goes around Darren out of turn 2, but Simon can barely see a thing and trickles in last.
5. Stoney traps, André still unusually subdued.
6. Brent rounds Paul out of turn 2, but Paul goes straight back under him into turn 3. Sean cannot even make up lost ground.
7. Grant traps, Sean tries an inside pass only for Peter to pass him out of turn 2 on the 2nd lap. Scud tries to fight back on the inside line but to no avail.
8. Paul traps and is joined by his team mate on the back straight.
9. Simon and André sew it up easily
10. Sean traps to win from Carl. Peter throws away 2nd place on turn 4 lap1, but comes back stronglt around Paul on the 2nd lap.
11. Carl traps, Scud goes hard under Peter into turn 3 but loses it on the next turn. Scud builds up for the next pass and makes it stick at the end of lap 2.
12. Simon rounds Peter out of turn 2, as André goes arond Darren. Simon rides a perfect line, but André cannot get on terms with the Swede.
13, Brent and Carl trap. After a brilliant chase Sean claws his way around Carl out of turn 4 on the 3rd lap and hangs on for 2 important points.
14. Simon is joined at he front by partner Simon(C) who rides a lovely line to deny Grant.
15. Carl traps from Sean, Simon resists determined pressure to deny Brent.
The Comets might never have had a chance, but no-one told them that and they tore into the Tigers with abandon. The track was well watered and deep and caught out the Sheffield heat leaders in particular, while the Tigers second-strings responded by getting stuck in. In the final analysis it was the two Simons who stole the show.
Peter K was fast, but a bit ragged by Premier League standards. I'm sure the experience will soon show fruit and help him develop into a world class rider. Brent was fine when he gated as usual, but to be fair passing was at a premium tonight.
Scud was less than happy that yet another bike has returned from Billy Hamill's expert tuning in a less than race worthy condition, and André also had problems all night long.
As top scorer it was Simon who had the thankless task of the Silver Helmet match race aginst Stoney, which was all over by the 1st bend.
Sunday 4th July 1999. Ashfield Stadium PL
GLASGOW 44 SHEFFIELD 46 Mick Powell 2' 1 2' 0 5+2 Sean Wilson X 2 3 3 8 Will Beveridge 3 3 3 3 2' 14+1 Paul Lee 1 1' 2 2' 6+2 Les Collins 3 3 3 3 3 15 André Compton 2 3 0 2 7 Sean Courtney 0 0 1 0 1 Simon Stead 1' 2' 1 3 7+2 Emiliano Sanchez 2 0 1 1 4 Scott Smith 3 2 2 2' 1 10+1 Brian Turner 3 0 1 0 1 5 Adam Allott 1' 0 0 1+1 Jittendra Duffil 0 0 0 0 Simon Cartwright 2 1 1' 1' 2' 0 7+3
On the 4th of July, the Tigers of Sheffield and Glasgow engaged in a battle of epic proportions at the Ashfield Stadium in Glasgow. The weather at the start was overcast with some dark clouds but as the afternoon progressed, these dissipated to leave the stadium bathed in hot sunshine. This caused the track to dry out but the well prepared surface gave us typically fast and furious Premier League speedway. With passing galore and incidents and controversy to the end, this meeting will be hard to better anywhere this season.
The referee, Graham Reeve had followed us from the previous night at Workington, where some of his decisions were questionable to say the least.
This meeting was the 900th appearance of the eternal Les Collins who looked as fit as ever.
Sean Wilson won the toss and opted for gates 1 and 2 only for our splendid meeting presenter, Mr. Michael Max, to lay down the law and remind him to take 1 and 3.
Ht 1: Mick Powell, Will Beveridge, Paul Lee, Sean Wilson (X)
(5-1) race awarded
Sean Wilson jets from the tapes, closely followed by Will, Mick and Paul bringing up the rear. Will tries everything to overhaul Sean, unfortunately falling on the last bend in a last desperate bid to pass. Mick expertly manages to avoid his stricken team mate with Paul glad of the gift point. A 4-2 to Sheffield was a welcome start. However, after a few moments, the white exclusion light shines inexplicably. The result is announced as an awarded win to Mick, followed by Will and Paul with Sean excluded. No reason given. Michael Max explains that Sean locked up coming out of turn 4 causing Will to fall. Although a distance away, I had a clear view and rate this decision as one of the most unbelievable in 14 years of watching the sport. Sean was at least 2 bike lengths clear when Will fell in an untidy manner. Will's fall looked anything but a lay down. It appeared that Sean had slightly overslid his back end to enable him to get his wheels in line earlier, as he had done all race. There was a long gap whilst the expected heated discussion took place between Reg and the ref. We overheard on Radio Qfm, the Glasgow sponsors were doing a live broadcast, that the Sheffield management were considering pulling out of the meeting, such was their disgust at the decision.
Ht 2: Brian Turner, Simon Cartwright, Adam Allott, Jitendra Duffil (ef) (3-3) (8-4) 60.1 equal track record.
As the tapes rise and Brian Turner surges to his incredible time, Jitendra suffers an unfortunate stoppage. A shared heat, Simon chased Brian for 4 laps in a promising performance given the speed of the winner.
Sean Wilson emerges from the pits, visibly angry and tries to cross the centre green to the referee only to be restrained by a brave member of the Glasgow track staff.
Ht 3: Les Collins, Andre Compton, Simon Stead, Sean Courtney (3-3) (11-7) 61.5
A good, close battle at the back sees Simon retain 3rd place from the ever-trying Sean. At the front, Les marks his 900th appearance with a fine win.
Ht 4: Scott Smith, Emiliano Sanchez, Simon Cartwright, Brian Turner (2-4) (13-11) 61.9
New track record holder Brian Turner was brought in as a reserve replacement for Jitendra Duffil, who was still suffering from the gremlins. The Sheffield pair shot from the start, only for Emiliano to go under Simon on entry to the 3rd bend with Brian surprisingly a distant last. Scott maintained his excellent form with a fine debut win to give the Sheffield Tigers their first genuine winner.
Ht 5: Les Collins, Sean Wilson, Paul Lee, Sean Courtney (3-3) (16-14) 61.0
Sean blasts from the tapes with Les and Sean in close attendance with Paul last. On the second lap, Les overhauls Sean with a perfect outside blast to give a Glasgow heat advantage, only for Paul to copy the move one lap later.
Ht 6: Will Beveridge, Scott Smith, Mick Powell, Adam Allott (4-2) (20-16) 62.4
Scott gates and leads until Will, obviously following Les' example, charges round the outside of the 3rd/4th turns to sweep past Scott and away for a well deserved win.
Ht 7: Andre Compton, Simon Stead, Brian Turner, Emiliano Sanchez (1-5) (21-21) 62.3
With Sheffield 4 points down we needed a big result. We got this and more - yet another fabulous ride by Simon. Andre missed the start completely with Simon powering round the outside from gate 4 to take the lead coming out of the 2nd bend. He moves across going into the 3rd bend and sits on the inside. Andre is still at the back trying the outside. Simon stays on the inside, slowing the race down as Andre moves on the outside of the Glasgow pair, trapping them on the inside. For 2 more laps, SS slows the race enabling AC to swoop round from 4th to 1st entering the last lap. Nice team riding for the last lap sees Andre take the win but Simon all the praise. A brilliant tactical ride by the youngster showing maturity beyond his very tender years to level the match.
Ht 8: Will Beveridge, Paul Lee, Simon Cartwright, Jitendra Duffil (3-3) (24-24) 61.4
Paul tries hard but Will takes a very impressive victory.
Ht 9: Les Collins, Scott Smith, Sean Courtney, Adam Allott (4-2) (28-26) 61.6
Unbelievably Scott gates again and leads for a lap. However he doesn't go wide enough into the dirt on the 1st/2nd bends allowing Les to take that route and draw level coming out of turn 2, pulling away down the back straight and completing the pass round the 3rd.
Ht 10: Will Beveridge, Mick Powell, Simon Stead, Andre Compton (5-1) (33-27) 61.5
With Mick's bike refusing to start, Brian Turner came to his rescue. Maybe the heroics of ht 7 had gone to the heads of the Sheffield pairing because when the tapes rose they were asleep. No amount of chasing could rescue the awful start. Will rides effortlessly to a 4 ride maximum. A surprise result opens up the biggest gap of the match enabling the use of tactical substitutes.
Ht 11: Sean Wilson, Paul Lee, Emiliano Sanchez, Brian Turner (1-5) (34-32) 62.4
The visitors start the faster with Emiliano closely behind. For the next 4 laps, Sean shows all his immense skill as he rides the fast outside line blocking every effort by the home man to get past Paul. Many times it looked like Paul would be passed only for Sean to slow and cover the attack from the Argentinian. A superlative display of team riding and a true captain's ride brings the difference to 2 points.
Ht 12: Les Collins, Andre Compton, Simon Cartwright, Jitendra Duffil (3-3) (37-35) 62.2
Les faultlessly races to his 4th win from 4 starts but Sheffield easily share the heat.
At this point, although 2 points behind, all is not lost for Sheffield as the Glasgow riders for the next 2 heats were off form against the strength of Sheffield with the unbeatable pairing of Will and Les having completed their programmed rides. 2 five-one's would wrap up a priceless victory.
Ht 13: Sean Wilson, Scott Smith, Mick Powell, Emiliano Sanchez (1-5) (38-40) 61.6
The heat leader power of Sheffield comes to the fore as Sean takes an untroubled win. Behind him, Scott and Mick, this time on Will's bike, go at it blow for blow for 4 laps. With each turn, Mick dives up the inside and pulls level with Scott who manages to open up the gap as he drives out of the bend. One slight mistake from Scott would let in Mick, but for the entire race Scott holds the faster line and finally pulls clear to win by a couple of bike-lengths.
This maximum puts Sheffield in the lead for the first time with only 2 heats to go. Another 5-1 to win the meeting and forego the ordeal of a last heat decider.
Ht 14: Simon Stead, Simon Cartwright, Brian Turner, Sean Courtney (1-5) (39-45) 63.2
Simon and Simon v Sean (on Les' bike) and Brian. Simon S. starts off the less favourable inside gate but gets a lightening start to lead down the back straight, with Brian followed by Simon C. Again hugging the inside, Simon S. slows the race to a crawl. Simon C. tries for 2 laps to get round the outside of Brian who tries everything to get past Simon S. On the 3rd lap he gets a good run round the 3rd/4th bends to take second. The last nerve-tingling lap takes an eternity until our heroes cross the line for a match winning 5-1. With Simon Stead again dominating the race and slowing it down dramatically (the slowest of the afternoon), Simon Cartwright saves his best 'til last to join his younger team mate.
With the match won, we looked forward to a great race in ht 15 with Sean fired up to lower the colours of the home favourites. Glasgow nominate Les and Will, Sheffield Sean and Scott. As the riders prepared, suddenly the red light came on. Word spread that the referee has ruled that Sean is ineligible for ht 15 as he was not one of the top 3 scorers. At this point we have Sean on 8, Paul 8, Andre 7, Simon 9, Scott 10, Simon C. 10. The referee ruled that Simon Cartwright, a reserve, was one of the 3 top scorers, much to the amazement of the Sheffield pits. Either the rule concerning eligibility has been changed mid-season or the referee was making up his own rule-book. After several minutes discussion, Sheffield elected to send out Simon Cartwright. What would have happened had it been a last heat decider is unknown but Sean emerged from the pits and gesticulated angrily to the referee, who obviously needed a lesson in counting up to one!!
Ht 15: Les Collins, Will Beveridge, Scott Smith, Simon Cartwright (5-1) (44-46) 62.0
In an academic last heat, the home pairing take a routine win over the ever trying Scott.
To round off a miserable day for Sean Wilson, he was picked to have his engine tested and was therefore unable to take his place on the victory parade.
Man of the match was undoubtedly Les Collins. Riding like a 20 year old, it was fitting that this true gentleman of the sport mark such a milestone with a maximum.
For Glasgow, although benefitting from the referee, Will Beveridge recorded his first ever maximum and rode extremely well. Mick Powell was unimpressive (possibly due to the gremlins), Sean Courtney was poor, Emiliano Sanchez scored 3 but his efforts deserved far more. Brian Turner started with a track record equalling ride but thereafter looked like a reserve. Jitendra Duffil was off the pace (gremlins?)
For the victorious Sheffield Tigers, only Adam did poorly, gifted a paid second in ht 2. Sean would have only dropped a point but for a bizarre decision and then was hit by another ruling from the referee. Paul looked good without ever threatening, Andre had an up and down night, Scott rode superbly and Simon Cartwright only missed out in heat 15, previously looking safe and fast. For my man of the match I must go for Simon Stead who's two rides in heat 7 and 14 turned 3-3 and 4-2 into 5-1s. Improving by the heat, you could feel the confidence oozing from every pore after his mind-blowing victory over Stoney at Workington. Without a doubt a future superstar. Sheffield fans enjoy this young man while we've got him. It won't be for long.
Report by Paul Bingham
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