Adam's marathon effort bears fruit
ADAM Shields, who rides for Eastbourne, won the 25th running of the 16-Lap speedway classic at Foxhall Stadium last night.The Australian had previously won this event in 2004, but on this occasion he just pipped Ipswich rider Kim Jansson after both had finished on 21 points.
By Elvin King
ADAM Shields, who rides for Eastbourne, won the 25th running of the 16-Lap speedway classic at Foxhall Stadium last night.
The Australian had previously won this event in 2004, but on this occasion he just pipped Ipswich rider Kim Jansson after both had finished on 21 points.
Shields took the top prize because he started off the back grid, having finished in the top four after the 12 qualifying races.
Jansson, who is hoping to remain a Witches' rider in the 2007 speedway season, suffered a fall in his final qualifying race, which confirmed that he started off the front grid. This, in the end, proved crucial.
Shields knew that as long as he finished in third place in the marathon race, he would take the honours and once he achieved this position by the fourth lap, he eased off to hold his position.
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Robert Miskowiak was his main danger after the Pole looked good in the qualifying heats and only dropped one point when beaten by Jansson in race seven.
Miskowiak threatened to pass Shields for a couple of circuits in the 16-lap encounter, but by lap 11 he began to suffer ignition problems and he slowed down and fell back into the field.
Lewis Bridger failed to finish the marathon race - which was completed in one attempt - and one or two other riders were rather limping around in the final stages.
The field was decimated somewhat with a number of late withdrawals including Witches' favourite Mark Loram, who was troubled by a neck injury and was unable to take his place.
Loram was at the track and presented with the rider of the season award, selected by the junior section of the Witches' supporters club.
The curtain went down on a disappointing campaign for Ipswich, with Miskowiak doing his best to impress with a view to keeping his place next year and doing a good job while Tobi Kroner also did his chances of a return to Foxhall no harm.
With Jansson leading from tapes to chequered flag in the marathon race and going so close to an overall win, the Swede will also be keeping his fingers crossed that he gets a call when the Witches team is formulated during the winter.
Time will tell on these decisions and it also remains to be seen whether this meeting will continue next year with most clubs finding it difficult to attract riders to take part in individual meetings these days.
Compared to some years since this event first took place in 1979, last night's field was much weaker than some fans would have hoped, but there was some interesting racing in the heats with passes by Miskowiak and Kroner particularly impressive.
The four Ws of Davey Watt, whose engine seized in his first ride, Carl Wilkinson, Klas Wissing and Mildenhall Conference rider Matthew Wright competed in the consolation six- lap final.
Wissing is a young Dane, but a breakdown in communications led to the announcement that his name was Neilson, which in fact is the name of his mechanic!
Wissing did not disgrace himself on this first visit to Foxhall on a night when Shields proved himself to be the strong man of speedway by winning the sport's marathon event.