PETERBOROUGH were held to a 47-43 win over Ipswich in the first leg of the Championship KO Cup Final – despite the Witches losing heat-leader Rory Schlein in his first ride.
Schlein crashed in Heat 4 and was withdrawn with an ankle injury, leaving the Foxhall side to mount a rearguard action to remain in contention.
The Panthers extended their lead to 14 points after Heat 9 but the visitors finished strongly, with reserve Nathan Greaves partnering Danny King to a 5-1 over Chris Harris in Heat 11, whilst Kyle Newman and Connor Mountain combined over Ulrich Ostergaard in Heat 14.
King won his final three rides to finish on 13 points with Cameron Heeps adding 12; whilst for the Panthers, guest Scott Nicholls top-scored with 12+1.
Peterborough boss Carl Johnson said: “We had the opportunity to build a commanding lead, but we didn't take it. If we don't manage to win the trophy, it will be the last few heats tonight that cost us.
“We have to give credit to Ipswich for the way they came back at us after losing Rory, but our boys all know we should have done better.
“They've given themselves a tough job to do in the second leg, but it's not until it's over. Anything can happen on the night in 15 heats of speedway.”
Ipswich boss Ritchie Hawkins said: “It sums up our season and in a way it helped us as we have been in this position so many times.
“When we lost Rory it was the same position as we were in at Sheffield when we needed to do the same and keep it to a reasonable target and do the business at home.
“To get it down from 14 points to four is an amazing effort but there is still a job to do on Thursday. It is certainly not won, we are four points down and we cannot relax.”
NEWCASTLE wrapped up their SGB Championship campaign with a double win at Brough Park on Sunday.
The Diamonds first demolished Workington 62-29 with Robert Lambert scoring a full 15-point maximum, Steve Worrall adding a paid maximum (13+2) and Ludvig Lindgren (12) unbeaten from four rides. Mason Campton scored eight for the Comets.
The second meeting was a closer affair with Newcastle defeating Redcar 48-41, as the visitors just missed out on a league point to lift them up the table.
Worrall top-scored for the hosts with 13 points and Lindgren added 10, whilst guests Aaron Summers (12) and James Sarjeant (11+1) hit double-figures for the depleted Bears.
Newcastle boss George English said: “Two great wins signed us out of 2017 very nicely with some great performances, and now the hard work begins as I can't say we are or are not running in 2018.
“The bias is in favour of the Diamonds coming back to the tapes, but at this stage we cannot confirm either way. Hopefully we can make an announcement in the next couple of weeks or so.”
EASTBOURNE took control of the National League KO Cup Final with a 59-31 win over Mildenhall in the first leg.
The Eagles dominated at Arlington with Josh Bailey powering to a 15-point maximum, whilst Georgie Wood (14+1) and Tom Brennan (9+3) were also unbeaten by an opponent.
Youngster Drew Kemp top-scored for the Fen Tigers with 10+2 at reserve, but they face a major recovery bid in next Sunday’s second leg at West Row.
Eagles boss Connor Dugard said: “It really went well. It was a good meeting. The track was set up the way we wanted and it was brilliant for our boys.
“We are not really a gating team; that is not our forte. We are a racing team but to do that you have to have a racing track. When you do that, you can show people what you can do.
“Josh has got this place down to a tee now. He came in at the end of August and got paid five. Now he has a 15-point maximum.”
SHEFFIELD try again to wrap up a remarkable 2017 season when they face Redcar at Owlerton in the SGB Championship tonight (Monday).
And there’s a mixed bag of team news for Simon Stead’s men as they look to finish with three more points having already secured the league title.
Josh Bates and Kyle Howarth return from injury tonight with Scott Nicholls once again deputising for the injured Josh Grajczonek, whilst Lasse Bjerre is ill with food poisoning.
Sheffield co-promoter Damien Bates said: “We want everyone to come along and enjoy the night.
“It’s been a great season for the team and we want to show them how much we appreciate their efforts.”
CRADLEY complete their campaign with the staging of their ever-popular FAST Golden Hammer individual at Monmore tonight (Monday).
Former favourites Ashley Morris, Max Clegg and Nathan Greaves are all expected to mount a strong challenge for the crown, with sensational Belle Vue youngster Dan Bewley also included along with American hopeful Broc Nicol.
The meeting could also be the Heathens’ last after a successful eight-year revival with uncertainty over their future at Monmore due to a lack of available race dates.
Chairman Nigel Pearson said: “It's fair to say it's been a tricky time with circumstances changing as fixtures and results developed.
"We've been on the phone 24/7 to riders. Gary Patchett and Will Pottinger have done a wonderful job and we are delighted with the way the line-up has fallen into place.
"This is the final action of the season and we are hoping to be back in 2018. I'm sure we will all have a fun night and we hope everyone comes along and enjoys themselves.”
MONDAY OCTOBER 23:
SGB CHAMPIONSHIP: Sheffield v Redcar 7.30
FAST GOLDEN HAMMER: Cradley 7.30
TUESDAY OCTOBER 24:
TRAVEL PLUS NATIONAL LEAGUE: Stoke v Isle of Wight 7pm
THURSDAY OCTOBER 26:
CHAMPIONSHIP KO CUP FINAL 2nd leg: Ipswich v Peterborough 7.30
SUZUKI MOTOR CORPORATION - MXGP AND ALL JAPAN MX STATEMENT
Team Suzuki Press Office – October 23.
Suzuki Motor Corporation has decided to suspend the FIM World MXGP Championship and All Japan Motocross activities from 2018.
Suzuki Motor Corporation, having reviewed its Motorcycle operations to focus on the core business functions and restructuring of our motorcycle business, concluded to suspend the MXGP activities from 2018.
Suzuki will continue to produce RM-Z250 and 450 series and support those customers the entire world.
Suzuki expresses its great appreciation to sponsors and fans around the world for their strong support to its activities. The company will continue to provide valued products for its customers by utilizing the experiences earned through the Racing activities.
Results Sunday October 22, 2017
Newcastle 62 – Robert Lambert 15
Workington 29 – Mason Campton 8
Championship points: Newcastle 3 Workington 0
Newcastle 48 – Steve Worrall 13
Redcar 41 – Aaron Summers 12
Championship points: Newcastle 3 Redcar 0
CHAMPIONSHIP KO CUP FINAL 1st leg
Peterborough 47 – Scott Nicholls 12+1
Ipswich 43 – Danny King 13
NATIONAL LEAGUE KO CUP FINAL 1st leg
Eastbourne 59 – Josh Bailey 15
Mildenhall 31 – Drew Kemp 10+2