CLOSE, BUT NOT CLOSE ENOUGH!
GREAT Britain’s Tom Brennan was agonisingly close to a qualification place from Saturday’s ultra-tough World Under-21 (SGP2) qualifier in Sweden.
Brennan picked up ten points from five rides at Gislaved, including two race wins, and was left to rue a last place in Heat 5 as the top four on the day all qualified for the Final series on 12 points, led by Czech racer Jan Kvech.
Brennan was classified sixth, just behind Danish rider Benjamin Basso, and will now have to wait for the possibility of one of three nominated positions in the Final.
Jordan Palin scored five points in the same meeting and Drew Kemp four, whilst Sam Hagon scored three in Latvia on his first appearance at this level.
LEICESTER kept the ball rolling with a 55-35 win over Oxford at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena to go back to the top of the Championship table.
The Lions had been usurped by Glasgow on Friday evening, but another convincing home performance saw them take over at the summit once again – although the Tigers can overhaul them again on Sunday.
Nick Morris scored another 12-point maximum and smashed his own recent track record, taking nearly half a second off the mark, whilst Richie Worrall scored 13 from five rides.
Troy Batchelor scored 11 for the Cheetahs but Josh Macdonald’s return from injury came to an end after just one ride.
Leicester boss Stewart Dickson said: “It was a decent scoreline, three points, and sending probably a play-off hopeful team away without any points.
“Our heat-leaders were once again on fire today, with the rest of the team chipping in with valuable points as well.
“Oxford were down to six riders straight after the second race, which can stretch both men and machinery, but I think we should maybe look at the home team and say we deserve a bit of credit rather than saying they were below expectations. All in all, it’s three points and another good night for us.”
KYLE Bickley and Greg Blair scored paid maximums as Berwick kept up their strong start to the NDL campaign with a 55-35 win over Belle Vue.
Bickley collected 14+1 and Blair 13+2 for the league leaders, whilst Nathan Ablitt scored 10+1 for the Colts in a meeting high on entertainment.
Berwick boss Gary Flint said “We did everything right tonight and got the just win we deserved, but also we go into these NDL matches wanting to progress from one to seven, and we did that comfortably.
“We also go out to have some fun, and I don’t think any fans would disagree that that tonight was top-level fun! Such a great meeting tonight.”
Ablitt said: “We had a bit of bad luck before we even started, with JPB (Jack Parkinson-Blackburn) withdrawing and Sam (McGurk) blew an engine on parade but even so we were still in the mix.
“I think with a little more track knowledge, things could have been closer, but we can’t take away from the Bullets. They were strong at home and deserved winners.”
GLASGOW skipper Ulrich Ostergaard is urging his side to keep errors to a minimum when they visit Newcastle today (Sunday).
The Tigers can end the weekend top of the Championship with a win, but slipped up at Brough Park last season when they went down 48-42.
Ostergaard said: “We all need to fire, avoid all those last places, and score in every heat.
“I’m sure we can do that, we can go there and win. On paper we have a stronger team but they have some good home advantage.
“We need to look to get some away points if we want to get to the play-offs.”
Newcastle bring in Kyle Howarth at No.1 to guest for the injured Bradley Wilson-Dean, whilst Jason Edwards comes in for George Congreve who is out with concussion.
SUNDAY MAY 8:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Newcastle v Glasgow 4pm
MONDAY MAY 9:
PREMIERSHIP: Peterborough v Belle Vue 7.30, Wolverhampton v Ipswich 7.30
TUESDAY MAY 10:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Plymouth v Oxford 7pmCHAMPIONSHIP: Plymouth v Oxford 7pm