Thursday July 04, 2024
SHEFFIELD head into the break for the Speedway of Nations on the back of another away defeat as they went down 53-37 at play-off chasing Leicester.

It was a fourth straight loss on the road for the Tru7 Group Tigers who were again without injured top two Jack Holder and Tai Woffinden.

The South Yorkshire side managed just four race wins at the Pidcock Motorcycles Arena on a night where gating was of high importance.

It looked set to be the perfect start for Leicester until Sheffield skipper Kyle Howarth was on hand to make the most of a mechanical failure for Richard Lawson on the final bend.

The Tigers were again outgated by their opponents in Heat Two and despite a strong mid-race effort from Rising Star Dan Gilkes, the hosts opened up an early six point gap with the first 5-1 of the night.

The Tigers moved back within two by the first track grading break though with successive 4-2s.

First, Howarth made a fast start to get out in front whilst Josh Pickering settled for third after home man Luke Becker dropped a chain on the start line.

Heat Four initially saw the hosts gate on a 5-1, but Chris Holder steamed under their pairing down the back straight before Gilkes worked his way into third by the end of lap one.

Despite carrying plenty of speed, Pickering couldn’t quite find a way past Sam Masters in a shared Heat Five before back-to-back 4-2s for Leicester saw them regain their six point lead.

Guest Troy Batchelor and Gilkes took the minor places in a Heat Eight 3-3 before successive maximums for the Lions saw them open up a 14 point lead.

Batchelor and Holder hit back with a 5-1 of their own in Heat 11 though, prompting team manager Simon Stead to use the latter as a tactical substitute in Heat 12.

Holder made a terrific start to help him on his way to victory whilst Pickering again had to settle in behind Masters with the Tigers back to within eight.

Whilst home No.1 Max Fricke cleared off out front to maintain his unbeaten night, Batchelor moved into second. And whilst Holder did temporarily move into third, Leicester’s Ryan Douglas found a way back through to put the Lions on the verge of victory.

The Lions finished with two further advantages as the Tigers ran out of steam, but they still sit four points ahead of fourth placed Oxford and have meetings in hand on the two sides above them in the league table.

Sheffield resume their ROWE Motor Oil Premiership league programme when they host King’s Lynn at Owlerton on Thursday, July 18 (7.30pm).

LEICESTER 53: Max Fricke 14+1, Sam Masters 10+1, Richard Lawson 8, Ryan Douglas 7, Luke Becker 6, Craig Cook 5+2, Sam Hagon 3.
SHEFFIELD 37: Chris Holder 13+1, Troy Batchelor 8+1, Josh Pickering 7, Kyle Howarth 6, Dan Gilkes 3+1, Jason Edwards 0, Jack Holder R/R.

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