GB booked their place in next month’s final by running out comfortable winners in a meeting that produced some great racing especially in the second half of the meeting.
With Robert Lambert unavailable due to a clash of FIM fixtures, GB didn’t have their strongest side and as only Dan Bewley had ridden at Ashfield this season, there was always the chance that another nation could spring a surprise.
The first set of four heats started well for the home side, only dropping a point when the impressive Jaimon Lidsey passed new Glasgow signing Nathan Greaves in heat 1. Australia were only 3 behind though with the Germans and Czechs struggling to get to grips with the track.
GB 11 Australia 8 Germany 4 Czech Rep 4
Bewley extended GB’s lead to 6 in heat 5 after Kye Thomson had stopped before a brilliant second bend from Lidsey in heat 6 took him past Perks for the win. Greaves then re-stored the 6 point lead, winning heat 7 before a great heat 8 saw Wajtknecht go from third to first with some great wide riding.
GB 22 Australia 15 Czech R 6 Germany 5
If the home side thought that they would go on and dominate the meeting the next 4 heats momentarily put paid to that!
Ellis Perks led heat 9 for a lap but succumbed to a Jan Kvech pass on the outside of the first and second bend. Worse was to follow when he pulled up with engine failure allowing Jordan Stewart in to cut the gap to 5.
Dan Bewley took an easy win in heat 10 before disaster struck in heat 11 when Wajtknecht, chasing Lidsey, cut across him on the second bend causing both of them to fall , the home man being excluded. He also withdrew from the meeting. Lidsey took the match race win over Fabian Machs, as Josef Novak had fallen in the original staging despite appearing to be impeded. It was interesting to note that unlike a couple of recent decisions on similar incidents at Ashfield, it wasn’t stopped and an all 4 re-start.
The Czechs then used their joker to great effect in heat 12 with Kvech taking the win over Greaves.
GB 27 Australia 23 Czech R 16 Germany 8
Greaves took heat 13 to settle some nerves followed by Connor Mountain coming in and winning heat 14 although he had the rest breathing down his neck for the first couple of laps.
Heat 15 was quite simply sensational speedway!
Kye Thomson took an early lead but didn’t have the speed and was passed by both Perks and Patrik Mikel, who then passed each other, before Perks took what looked like a decisive lead into the last two bends. With Thomson gaining on the Czech, it looked like second would be where the battle was but Mikel rode a tight inside line , surprising Perks on the 4th bend, to win, with the home man just hanging onto second as Thomson tried to blast around him.
Surprisingly having failed to bring in Lidsey in as a tactical in heat 15, Mark Lemon then declined to use his joker in heat 16(the last heat he could), although he trailed in third to Bewley and Kvech
GB 38 Australia 29 Czech R 21 Germany 10
The home side only needed a point over the next four races to qualify at worse as the highest runner up, with the Aussies needing 10 to do likewise.
Greaves made sure there would be no last minute problems by taking heat 17, also insuring a home win in the process. Thomson’s second place keeping the Aussie’s still in with a chance.
Heat 18 saw a spectacular fall by Zaine Kennedy, whilst chasing Mountain, picking up too much drive on the outside of the first bend, lap 3 and clearing the second bend fence. Luckily he landed in the 2m zone which is protected by tyres.
The only thing left was to see if Dan Bewley could get his maximum but he was up against the impressive Lidsey and it was the Aussie who made the gate. However Bewley swiftly passed him at the start of the second lap for his 5th win.
Amazingly GB won the last 5 heats!
GB 50 Australia 33 Czech R 26 Germany 13
So GB go to Denmark probably looking for a silver medal with the Poles expected to dominate. The Australian’s probably should’ve joined them but for them to inexplicably fail to use the joker and tactical at their disposal.
The Czechs notably improved as the meeting progressed, especially Jan Kvech, who scored more than half their total.
Unfortunately the German’s couldn’t cope with losing so many of their better riders pre match and struggled all night.
Germany 13 Dominik Moser 1 1 F* 0 2 4 Fabian Wachs 1 0 2 0 0 3 Marius Hillebrand 0 0 0 1 1 2 Niels Oliver Wassel 1 1 1 1 0 4 Australia 33 Jaimon Lidsey 3 3 3 1 2 12 Kye Thomson 1 R N 1 2 4 Zaine Kennedy 2 2 2 2 FX 8 Jordan Stewart 2 2 2 2 N 8 Cooper Riordan 1 XT 2 Great Britain 50 Dan Bewley 3 3 3 3 3 15 Ellis Perks 3 2 R 2 3 10 Zach Wajtknecht 3 3 FX 6 Nathan Greaves 2 3 2 3 3 13 Connor Mountain 3 3 6 Czech Republic 26 Jan Kvech 2 1 3 6* 2 1 15 Patrik Mikel FX R 1 3 1 5 Petr Chlupac 0 1 fx 2 3 Josef Novac 0 2 X 0 1 3