Brummies Reporter Sheila Bowen
All of my reports start with a weather update, So… I’m not going to break with tradition here!
After a lovely weekend I thought summer had actually arrived and was looking forward to shedding a few layers of clothing. Regretfully UK summers these days rarely last for more than 3 days in a row! So… thermals and coats still in use I entered the stadium in dull overcast conditions and feeling decidedly chilled. A cup of hot chocolate in hand I contemplated the upcoming meeting.
Belle Vue aren’t going to be a push over by any means, and they arrive fresh from a high scoring win over Eastbourne. Added to that it’s the first time our riders will perform with their new team positions. But… I’m fairly confident they will all quickly get into their stride and fully expect them to take all the points from the meeting!
Right… Crystal ball packed away… on with the meeting!
Brummies win the toss and take gates 1 & 3 for heat 1.
Matej Zagar made an excellent start and led in the 1st bend, Ben Barker settled into 2nd place, Artur Mroczka into 3rd, Danny King was ‘sandwiched out’ by the Aces pair and came out of the 2nd bend in last place… but not for long… as he quickly made up the ground and passed Artur Mroczka on the 3rd bend of lap 1.
Matej Zagar had a commanding lead and never looked likely of being passed by Ben, while Danny King remained in 3rd place for the rest of the race to secure a shared heat.
Mroczka, Barker, King, Mroczka
As the riders entered the 1st bend Nicolas Covatti was leading, Kauko Nieminen in 2nd, Ales Dryml in 3rd and Josh Auty in last place. But… Josh Auty from the outside gate stormed past Kauko Nieminen and Nicolas Covatti and led the race as they exited the 2nd bend, relegating Kauko Nieminen into 3rd place, but Kauko then dropped to the back as Ales Dryml passed him on the 3rd bend of the 1st lap.
Josh Auty was flying! He increased his lead over the rest of the field over the next 3 laps, and as he crossed the line to take the win the other riders in the race were still negotiating bends 3 and 4.
A superb maximum for the Brummies duo.
Auty, Covatti, Dryml, Nieminen
Result 5-1 (8-4)
Martin Smolinski edged forward, then pulled back, Craig Cook went forward too, the Referee called an unsatisfactory start with all 4 riders’ back.
Craig Cook made a superb start in the re-run to take the lead, Kevin Wolbert close behind him, while Martin Smolinski and Chris Harris were lagging behind in 3 and 4 into the 1st bend of lap 1. But the early lead was all to no avail as Craig & Kevin got in each other’s way, which resulted in Kevin Wolbert falling on bend 2. The Referee judged it another unsatisfactory start and rather surprisingly called all 4 back for another re-run. (In my opinion I thought Craig Cook had made contact with his team-mate causing the fall, but hey-ho I’m not the Ref!)
Heat 3 for the 3rd time of asking…
Craig Cook again made a superb start; Kevin Wolbert none the worse for his earlier tumble was close behind with Chris Harris and Martin Smolinski again in 3rd and 4th as they raced down the back straight of lap 1. Chris Harris clearly wasn’t going to settle for his lowly position and completed the pass on Kevin Wolbert on the 3rd bend of lap 1. As the race continued Martin Smolinski kept up the pressure behind Kevin Wolbert and finally squeezed past him on the 2nd bend of lap 3. A well earned shared race by the Brummie duo.
Cook, Harris, Smolinski, Wolbert
Result 3-3 (11-7)
Josh Auty moved prior the start of the race, race stopped, all 4 back.
The Aces are proving to be much sharper out of the gate, Ales Dryml and Magnus Zetterstrom stormed into 1st and 2nd, Jason Doyle and Josh Auty trailing in 3rd and 4th. Jason Doyle was unable to find enough momentum to make a serious challenge on the Aces as Magnus and Ales switched the lead on several occasions, team riding to ensure that Jason was kept in 3rd place. Zetterstrom crossing the line in 1st, Dryml in 2nd to win maximum points for Belle Vue.
Zetterstrom, Dryml, Doyle, Auty
Result 1-5 (12-12)
Chris Harris roared around the outside to the front as they entered bend 2 of lap 1, closely followed by Matej Zagar, Martin Smolinski in 3rd and Artur Mroczka trailing at the back. The race continued without any changes to these positions with Artur Mroczka dropping further and further behind before finally pulling up at the end of lap 3. The 4-2 result giving the Brummies a slender lead.
Harris, Zagar, Smolinski (Mroczka did not finish)
Result 4-2 (16-14)
Danny King, Magnus Zetterstrom, Ben Barker, Kauko Nieminen the positions as they entered bend 2 of lap 1. I was rather surprised that the race wasn’t stopped, Ben Barker seemed to have rather ‘sharp elbows’ as he muscled between the Aces pairing… clearly had some lessons from a certain Joe ‘elbows’ McLaughlin of cycle speedway fame!
Magnus Zetterstrom slowed down considerably as he approached the 3rd bend of lap 1, leaving Ben Barker to take up 2nd place behind Danny. Zetterstrom dropped to the back behind his teammate, and sluggishly trailed at the back for half a lap before picking up speed again. But by this time he had lost contact with the race and pulled up at the end of the 3rd lap almost a complete lap down on Kauko Nieminen. Brummies second 5-1 of the night, albeit as a result of Zetterstrom’s engine problems.
King, Barker, Nieminen (Zetterstrom did not finish)
Result 5-1 (21-15)
Craig Cook had an absolute flyer, half expected the Referee to stop the race, but he didn’t!
Cook was in a really strong 1st place as they entered bend 2 of lap 1, Jason Doyle in 2nd, Kevin Wolbert in 3rd, Nicolas Covatti in 4th. Covatti snuck past Wolbert at the start of the back straight but Wolbert took the position back just a few wheel turns later. Covatti kept up the pressure and eventually re-passed Wolbert on the home straight at the start of lap 2.
Cook with his flying start was untouchable at the front and by the time he crossed the finishing line he was a 1/4 lap in front of his opponents!
Cook, Doyle, Covatti, Wolbert
Result 3-3 (24-18)
Ben Barker and Josh Auty came out of bend 2 of lap 1 in 1st and 2nd place, Artur Mroczka and Ales Dryml in 3rd and 4th. A Brummie 5-1 was never in dispute as the pair led from start to finish.
They didn’t have the need to team ride either, as the Aces didn’t even get into race contention.
Barker, Auty, Mroczka, Dryml
Result 5-1 (29-19)
Martin Smolinski, having had (by his standards) 2 poor races as he hit the 1st bend of lap 1 in front! Magnus Zetterstrom 2nd, Chris Harris 3rd, Kauko Nieminen 4th. But just 1 bend later Chris Harris had overhauled Magnus Zetterstrom to put the Brummies into their 4th 5-1 position of the evening. And once there showed no signs of letting the Aces back into the race… They were away and gone!
Smolinski, Harris, Zetterstrom, Nieminen
Result 5-1 (34-20)
Craig Cook to take tactical ride in black & white helmet.
Danny King and Ben Barker stormed into 1st and 2nd place out of bend 2 lap 1, Kevin Wolbert in 3rd and Craig Cook in black & white helmet… In last place!
The Brummie duo were well and truly flying, by the end of the 2nd lap their lead over the Aces was a joy to behold! Craig Cook was completely off the pace and pulled up on the 1st bend of lap 3.
King, Barker, Wolbert (Cook did not finish)
Result 5-1 (39-21)
Matej Zagar in black & white helmet for the Aces second tactical ride.
No mistakes this time as Matej Zagar roared into 1st place, followed by Nicolas Covatti, Artur Mroczka and Jason Doyle. Jason’s determination was rewarded as he passed Mroczka at the end of the 1st lap. Mroczka was all over the back of Jason for 2 laps but wasn’t able to re-pass.
6 points for Zagar’s win but hardly a dent in the Brummies commanding lead!
Zagar, Covatti, Doyle, Mroczka
Result 3-6 (42-27)
At this point in the evening the sun decided to make its entry, and so low in the sky it virtually obscured the view of the back straight. Pen poised to write in one hand, notepad in the other I desperately needed a 3rd hand to shield my eyes from the sun!
From the tapes, Craig Cook in 1st, Martin Smolinski in 2nd, Josh Auty in 3rd, Kauko Nieminen in 4th. Josh Auty passed Martin Smolinski out of bend 2 of lap 1, but a couple of laps later I realised that Martin had re-taken 2nd place. I don’t know where it happened; I didn’t see it happen… it’s clearly the sun’s fault!
Craig Cook notched up his 3rd race win of the evening; however, it’s quite ironic that his impeccable gating deserted him while taking his only none-scoring race and tactical ride in heat 10.
Cook, Smolinski, Auty, Nieminen
Result 3-3 (45-30)
Matej Zagar and Magnus Zetterstrom into 1st and 2nd positions as they enter bend 1, Danny King in 3rd and Jason Doyle in last place. Jason Doyle regretfully lost his forward momentum and fell off on the 2nd bend of the 1st lap. He was just able to clear the track as the riders came round for the 2nd lap, thereby preventing the race from being stopped.
Just as it looked like Belle Vue were heading for their second 5-1 of the evening Magnus Zetterstrom lost power going down the back straight of the 3rd lap which allowed Danny King to move into 2nd place. Zetterstrom coaxed his ailing bike home in last place.
Zagar, King, Zetterstrom (Doyle fell)
Result 2-4 (47-34)
Into bend 1 Kevin Wolbert, Nicolas Covatti, Chris Harris, Ales Dryml the positions. Out of bend 2 Nicolas Covatti passes Kevin Wolbert and a few yards later Chris Harris also succeeds in passing Wolbert. In the euphoria of celebrating the upcoming 6th 5-1 of the evening I failed to notice that Chris Harris had taken the lead over Nicolas Covatti and the Aces pair had also exchanged places… I couldn’t blame the sun… it had totally disappeared again, it’s a bit remiss of me I know, but thankfully the missing details had no bearing on the race result, just the final race positions.
Harris, Covatti, Dryml, Wolbert
Result 5-1 (52-35)
Chris Harris, Ben Barker, Magnus Zetterstrom, Matej Zagar
Aces elect to take gates 2 & 4.
Out of bend 2 lap 1, Matej Zagar in 1st, Chris Harris 2nd, Magnus Zetterstrom 3rd, Ben Barker 4th.
With big gaps opening up between each of the riders by the end of the 2nd lap, this is also the result of the somewhat processional race.
Zagar, Harris, Zetterstrom, Barker
Result 2-4 (54-39)
Just what was needed to warm up a cold evening! A convincing win and a mini firework display to celebrate going joint top in the league, and with matches in hand too!
The new riding positions haven’t had any negative effects on the team, solid scoring throughout the whole team, in fact our total bonus points of 11 would be the second highest score if placed on the Aces score sheet.
Chris Harris had his best meeting by far in Brummie colours and was quite deservedly awarded Rider of the Night! Special mention also to Jason, scoring in all but 1 of his rides while fighting through the pain barrier, broken finger I think! Well done Jason!
Danny King 9 + 1
Ben Barker 9 + 2 (from 5 rides)
Martin Smolinski 7 + 1
Chris Harris 12 + 1 (from 5 rides)
Jason Doyle 4 + 1
Nicolas Covatti 7 + 3
Josh Auty 6 + 2
Belle Vue Scores
Matej Zagar 17 (5 rides, incl. 6 points from tactical ride)
Artur Mroczka 1
Craig Cook 9
Kevin Wolbert 1
Magnus Zetterstrom 6 (from 5 rides)
Kauko Nieminen 1
Ales Dryml 4 + 1