SAM MASTERS CROWNED LEAGUE RIDERS' CHAMPION

24/08/22

The extensive work done to the Wimborne Road racing strip in the build up to this prestigious meeting in the SGB Championship calendar seemed to work wonder for Lewis Kerr who scorched to the fastest time of the season (58.82 seconds) to win heat one from the gate, with Ryan Douglas taking second place. 

Leicester's Nick Morris was prepared to take no passengers at the first turn in heat two but the Poole pair of Danny King and Richard Lawson went either side of him as they all prepared to leave turn two. Lawson couldn't make the move stick as Morris hit back but he could on spectate from his vantage point in second as King built up a healthy and impressive lead. The fans' favourite, Chris Harris had been squeezed at the first turn and spent much of the race at the rear nursing a sick motor. Sam Masters took full advantage of a ragged start in heat three, caused by an early twitch from Scott Nicholls, the Oxford rider though having to concede second place to Charles Wright. Kyle Howarth established a big distance victory in heat four to underline his short-odds for the meeting, but it was Josh Pickering who caught the eye as he worked the track well to try and close in, without success on Troy Batchelor.

Morris shrugged off the early attentions of Nicholls in the first heat of second rides  and whilst Batchelor was able to limp home on a reluctant motor, Michael Palm-Toft pulled on to the in-field and out of the meeting, still feeling the effects of the injury he had sustained at Poole on his previous visit. King delivered a gutsy heat six ride, sliding in between riders at turn one and then running a very wide line on Justin Sedgmen's shoulder to squeeze by. Heat seven saw Pickering collect a race win, as he bettered first time out winner Kerr whilst behind them Wright and Harris briefly traded places. Lawson brought the second batch of rides to a close by working hard around the first and second turns to fend off Douglas before making the rest of the race look easy. 

Howarth, Masters, Nichols and Douglas were the winners in their respective third rides, whilst King in heat nine failed to make a decent start from gate one and ran a last place. Lawson missed out on a second race win when the cunning Nicholls out-foxed him in a re-started heat eleven after Tom Brennan had fallen first time of asking as he approached the first turn. 

So, with two thirds of the qualifying heats completed the meeting had produced nine different winners with just three points separating the top eleven scorers, underlining the evenness of the field.

Harris took that tally of race winners to ten as he claimed a tapes to flag heath thirteen victory and second meeting reserve Zach Cook, covering Palm-Toft's third ride, was set to hold off Masters until the Edinburgh man showed his experience. Heat fourteen culminated in an incredible last lap as long time leader Batchelor went from first to third, Lawson sneaking up the inside and Wright blasting round the wider route, with the Redcar rider becoming the eleventh rider to celebrate a chequered flag. Kerr collected his second victory in heat fifteen, Morris making his presence known as he hounded Sedgmen. Heat sixteen had Josh Pickering having to react swiftly having nowhere to go round the wide first arc as King and Douglas were scrapping for superiority. Clearly Pickering was expecting the red lights as he glanced back across to the referee's box but the race continued with Douglas stamping his authority on the race.

Pickering had no such obstacles in heat seventeen and took his total to nine points and a long wait to see whether that would be enough. Behind him Lawson had to battle had to get by Ben Cook  and the time spent in doing so allowed Pickering a chance to escape. Harris enjoyed a tapes-to-flag heat eighteen victory before Masters ensured he would be going direct to the final as he claimed his third win of the meeting with victory in heat 19, King coming under late pressure from Kerr, both semi-final bound . A final qualifying heat victory for Morris earned him a semi-final place whilst Douglas's second place, holding out the fence-scraping Wright, was enough for him to join Masters on 12 points, whilst Wright's point left him shy of qualifying.

King sped away in the semi-final but Lawson couldn't make it a two-Pirate final as Kerr had the advantage over him, thus generating a Masters, Douglas, King and Kerr final line-up. King had the game plan to run wide into the first turn and then make a sharp cut-back to the inside as he expected the rest to push out. That they did, but the two Aussies collided with each other and in spectacular fashion both flew into the air-fence and King was alert enough to lay his bike down to avoid any further damage. Remarkably, not only were both riders able to walk away from the crash site, the track staff were able to effect the running repairs required without too much of a delay and the meeting, which some expected might have to be called without the restaging of the final, was able to continue. Not for Douglas though as he was suffering with a shoulder injury and sat out the final, but his fellow stricken rider Masters was able to ride on and he made no mistakes in the re-run as he led King home. Whilst the large number of home fans were hoping that their skipper would prevail, few could fail to admire the bravery and talent of Masters to have picked himself and continued on.
 

Qualifying Scores
(Top two to Final / 3rd to 6th compete a semi-final with top 2 qualifying for final)
1. Sam Masters  (3,1,3,2,3)
2. Ryan Douglas  (2,2,3,3,2)
3. Danny King  (3,3,0,2,2,3)
4. Lewis Kerr  (3,2,1,3,1,2)
5. Nick Morris  (2,3,1,1,3,R)
6. Richard Lawson  (1,3,2,2,2,1)
7. Josh Pickering  (1,3,2,0,3)
8. Scott Nicholls  (1,2,3,1,2)
9. Charles Wright  (2,1,2,3,1)
10. Chris Harris  (0,0,1,3,3)
11. Kyle Howarth  (3,0,3,0,1)
12. Troy Batchelor  (2,1,2,1,R)
13. Justin Sedgmen  (0,2,0,2,0)
14. Ben Cook  (1,1)
15. Tom Brennan  (0,1,FD,0,0)
16. Michael Palm-Toft  (1,R,NS,NS,NS)
17. Zach Cook  (1)
18. Leon Flint  (0,0,0,0,0)

Heat Details
Ht.1 Lewis Kerr, Ryan Douglas, Michael Palm-Toft, Leon Flint
Ht.2 Danny King, Nick Morris, Richard Lawson, Chris Harris
Ht.3 Sam Masters, Charles Wright, Scott Nicholls, Justin Sedgmen
Ht.4 Kyle Howarth, Troy Batchelor, Josh Pickering, Tom Brennan
Ht.5 Nick Morris, Scott Nicholls, Troy Batchelor, Michael Palm-Toft(rtd)
Ht.6 Danny King, Justin Sedgmen, Tom Brennan, Leon Flint
Ht.7 Josh Pickering, Lewis Kerr, Charles Wright, Chris Harris
Ht.8 Richard Lawson, Ryan Douglas, Sam Masters, Kyle Howarth
Ht.9 Kyle Howarth, Charles Wright, Ben Cook, Danny King, Michael Palm-Toft (Non-Starter)
Ht.10 Sam Masters, Josh Pickering, Nick Morris, Leon Flint
Ht.11 Scott Nicholls, Richard Lawson, Lewis Kerr, Tom Brennan(fell ex)
Ht.12 Ryan Douglas, Troy Batchelor, Chris Harris, Justin Sedgmen
Ht.13 Chris Harris, Sam Masters, Zach Cook, Tom Brennan, Michael Palm-Toft (Non-Starter)
Ht.14 Charles Wright, Richard Lawson, Troy Batchelor, Leon Flint
Ht.15 Lewis Kerr, Justin Sedgmen, Nick Morris, Kyle Howarth
Ht.16 Ryan Douglas, Danny King, Scott Nicholls, Josh Pickering
Ht.17 Josh Pickering, Richard Lawson, Ben Cook, Justin Sedgmen, Michael Palm-Toft (Non-Starter)
Ht.18 Chris Harris, Scott Nicholls, Kyle Howarth, Leon Flint
Ht.19 Sam Masters, Danny King, Lewis Kerr, Troy Batchelor(rtd)
Ht.20 Nick Morris, Ryan Douglas, Charles Wright, Tom Brennan
Ht.21 Danny King, Lewis Kerr, Richard Lawson, Nick Morris(rtd)
Ht.22 Sam Masters, Danny King, Lewis Kerr, Ryan Douglas (Non-Starter)
 

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