Bees make Play-Off Finals
Last Monday was all set for a great night of nail-biting speedway with both the Elite League play-off semi-final second legs. Well thanks to the British weather that was totally scuppered with the Poole v King’s Lynn meet cancelled due to rain. The Swindon v Coventry second leg did go ahead though but wasn’t quite what most of us were expecting.
Swindon went into the meet eight points behind Coventry and all was set for a close battle, especially as Swindon had recorded a convincing win the last time the two teams had met on the track. However any hopes Swindon had of making a great comeback soon began to fade.
After just four heats the expected Swindon charge had totally failed to materialise and it was Coventry who led 16-8 on the night and a sixteen point lead in the tie. Tactical rides were employed by Swindon boss Alun Rossitter but when Max Fricke won Heat 10 for Coventry the lead was 13 points on the night and the Bees were virtually home.
Swindon rallied in the final heats but Coventry ran out 50-45 winners on the night and 99-86 aggregate winners. Star of the night for the Bees was Kyle Howarth with a 13+1 against his former team.
So who do Coventry meet in the final? Well, we still don’t know because the second attempt to stage the second leg of the Poole v King’s Lynn semi-final was again rained off last Thursday. It’s now set to take place on Wednesday October 15th with Poole one point up from the first leg. If that does manage to finally take place the first leg of the final at Coventry on the 17th with the return leg on the 20th.
Hancock makes History
Greg Hancock has won the World Speedway title for the third time in his career. It’s an amazing performance as the American became the oldest rider to win the title at the age of 44 years and 130 days. He first won the title back in 1997 with his second title coming fourteen years later
Winning the title this year was an uphill struggle for Hancock after he finished last in his first three heats in the opening Grand Prix held in New Zealand. He won his next two heats and hasn’t looked back since. Hancock commented: “The momentum grew, the bikes got better. The bikes were already good, but I think I started to work better with my equipment at that stage.”
The American even managed to miss the Nordic Grand Prix last month. He had to pull out after suffering multiple fractures to his left index finger at the Gorzow Grand Prix in August. He needed two operations to insert and then remove two metal pins but that didn’t stop his charge to a third world title. No other rider has won the title after missing a round. He only won one of the twelve events – the British Grand Prix event held in Cardiff- but his consistency throughout the year won him the title.
Despite the injuries suffered this season, Hancock is already setting his sights on a fourth world title next year: “The way I look at it is as long as it’s not some kind of threatening-type injury, I’ll carry on. You know you’re going to have the knocks, the bumps and the bruises. You have to fight on and get over those things. “There’s nothing wrong with the heart! The heart is running well. I have all the heart there and the ambition to do it. As long as the body holds up, I can do this. “The mind is still probably too young for the body, but that’s okay. I keep myself in good shape and I have the desire to win.”
He added: “If I wasn’t confident, I wouldn’t say I’m going to ride next year. Every year I ride, the biggest carrot at the end is to win the World Championship. The first one was fantastic; the second one was amazing and this is unreal.”
Hancock finished the season on 140 points; eight clear of Krzysztof Kasprzak in second with Nicki Pedersen a further 11 points back in third. Top British rider was Tai Woffinden who finished in fourth place.