GREAT BRITAIN ROAR TO WORLD CUP FINAL
(King’s Lynn/Great Britain) Saturday evening at the Adrian Flux Arena in King’s Lynn saw Event 1 of the 2017 Monster Energy Speedway World Cup being won comfortably by hosts Great Britain, with Captain Craig Cook top scoring with 14 points to lead his side to the final. The captain was given great support throughout the British side with Chris Harris, track specialist Robert Lambert and Cook’s teammate up at Belle Vue in Steve Worrall, all scoring 13 points a piece in the meeting and see Great Britain heading back to the World Cup Final in Poland next Saturday night.
Great Britain made a stunning start to the meeting with all four riders winning out in their first rides. Craig Cook got the party started as he jumped on a error by Troy Batchelor in the opening race and then saw the first drama of the meeting in Heat 2, after Australian Nick Morris clipped the back wheel of the American youngster Gino Manzares down the back straight and sent the Swindon man tumbling off his bike and being excluded from the re-run.
Steve Worrall made it two wins on the bounce for the hosts after the third time of asking, when Worrall was guilty of jumping the gun in the restart, but in the second restart Worrall was superb from the gate and took the race win to open up a four point lead. Chris ‘Bomber’ Harris made a good gate and had enough speed to come around Vaclav Milik from the Czech Republic to take Heat 3 and in Heat 4 saw the battle of the King’s Lynn boys in Rob Lambert and Chris Holder, with the GB man forcing his Stars team mate out wide and securing victory.
In the second set of races it saw Lambert making it two wins from two in Heat 5, after the King’s Lynn rider made a superb gate ahead of Max Fricke of Australia and never looked in any danger what so ever. The same though couldn’t be said of Fricke though, as the Belle Vue man came into the final bend with too much speed and had Gino Manzares of the USA pinching second place to gift Team USA two-points and were proving to be a surprise package in Event one.
Australia then started to mount a comeback of sorts in Heats Six and Seven, with Chris Holder and Troy Batchelor winning the Aussies first two races in the meeting and saw Craig Cook making sure it wasn’t to be three wins in a row for Australia as the British Champion stole a march on his rivals in Heat 8, with the British captain leaving the others for dead. Steve Worrall was suffering with bike problems ahead of his ride in Heat 9 and saw the Belle Vue and Newcastle man forced to ride Chris Harris bike for the first run of the race, before the Czech rider Hynek Stichauer came off on the third bend and saw American Dillion Ruml unable to avoid the fallen rider and ended up crashing and hitting the air fence.
Heat 11 saw the Australian Team Manager Mark Lemon putting the Tactical Joker ride on Chris Holder with the Brits seven-points up, and that saw the the former World Champion coming into replace Nick Morris for the race. Holder took the win and scored six massive points for the Australians in the grand scheme of things to see them cutting the lead cut down to three points on GB in the meeting. Team USA saw them utilising the Tactical Joker in Heat 12 with Gino Manzares being the rider nominated and saw the American doubling his score to two, thanks to a third place finish but it was all about Harris and Batchelor at the front of the race and saw Team GB fending off another challenge from the Australians.
Great Britain starting to turn the screw a bit then on their rivals with relatively wins coming from Robert Lambert, Chris Harris, while a good ride by Cook saw him remaining unbeaten heading into the final four races of event one. Steve Worrall saw him riding two on the trot and helped book his sides place at the World Cup final in Poland next weekend with an comfortable win in Heat 17. Chris Holder and Troy Batchelor then gave the Aussies some confidence ahead of their race-off meeting in Poland on Friday night, after collecting a couple of race wins.
Czech rider Vaclav Milik provided the shock win of the night, after the former Poole Pirates man and ex-Grand Prix rider saw him denying Craig Cook from going through the card unbeaten to take Heat 20. Cook though was still forced to earn his two points in the race after missing the gate and that saw the Cumbrian rider getting by Nick Morris on the second lap and despite trying to chase the leader, he was forced to settle for second.
Australia will look back to the start of the meeting and know that their slow start cost them and that gave the hosts a good foundation to build on throughout and will look to make amends in the race-off. For the Czechs, they were never in the meeting at all to be fair and they seemed to struggled on the King’s Lynn circuit for power and just being able to match their opponents, especially the Americans and that saw them missing out on a race-off spot. Arguable the side of the meeting were the Americans, with the side mainly being made of youngsters put on a great performance and thoroughly deserved their place in the run-off.
Meanwhile the winners of the first event in this year’s World Cup was Alun Rossiter’s Great Britain side and saw his men providing 13 of the 20 Heats victories in the meeting. Victory also shown that they weren’t a man one-team like many thought prior to World Cup week, with Tai Woffinden being seen as a huge miss from the line-up following his refusal to ride after arguments with the bosses in British Speedway.
Czech Republic = 13
1. Matej Kus – F, 0, 0, 0 = 0
2. Vaclav Milik – R, 1, 0, 2^, 3 = 6
3. Josef Franc – 1, 1, 0, 1, 1 = 4
4. Hynek Stichauer – 1, FX, 1, 1 = 3
5. Eduard Krcmar – 0, 0 = 0
USA = 15
1. Ricky Wells – X, 0, 1, 2, 0 = 3
2. Gino Manzares – 2, 2, 2^, 0, 1 = 7
3. Luke Becker – 1, 0, 1, 0 = 2
4. Dillon Ruml – 1, 1, 0 = 2
5. Broc Nicol – 1, 0 = 1
Australia = 44
1. Max Fricke – 2, 1, 2, 1, 2 = 8
2. Chris Holder – 2, 3, 3, 6^, 2, 3 = 19
3. Nick Morris – FX, 2, 2, 1 = 5
4. Troy Batchelor – 2, 3, 2, 2, 3 = 12
5. NO RIDER
Great Britain = 53
1. Steve Worrall – 3, 2, 2, 3, 3 = 13
2. Craig Cook – 3, 3, 3, 3, 2 = 14
3. Chris Harris – 3, 2, 3, 3, 2 = 13
4. Robert Lambert – 3, 3, 2, 3, 2 = 13
5. Adam Ellis – DNR