SPEEDWAY: Rory Schlein wins Elite League Riders’ Championship at Swindon for second time
7:05pm Sunday 20th October 2013 in Sport
AUSSIE ace Rory Schlein conquered a strong line-up and difficult track conditions to race to his second Elite League Riders’ Championship in just three years at Swindon.
Schlein fended off King’s Lynn team-mate Niels-Kristian Iversen to repeat his sensational triumph at the Abbey in 2011, while British star Craig Cook bagged a well-deserved third place.
Robins favourite Hans Andersen rounded off the finalists after a battling display – but after losing his seat in the decisive race he was unable to take a podium spot.
His Swindon team-mate Troy Batchelor also put in a solid showing yet was unable to advance past the semi-final stage, while Peter Kildemand narrowly missed out on progression on the countback having been tied with Batchelor and Scott Nicholls on seven points.
Riders were forced to deal with tricky track conditions throughout after the meeting was hit by heavy afternoon rainfall.
Despite some sterling work from the Swindon track staff, the number of qualification heats was cut down to 16 with each rider taking four rides rather than the five originally planned.
After a retirement in his opening ride, Schlein reeled off three straight wins with some determined racing to book his place in the semi-finals alongside Swindon men Andersen and Batchelor plus Jason Doyle, while Iversen and Cook went straight to the Grand Final.
The popular Schlein then battled past Birmingham man Doyle to edge second place behind home favourite Andersen before gaining the upper hand in a tense final to claim a memorable victory.
Schlein’s win sees him join Tony Rickardsson, Jason Crump and Nicki Pedersen as only the fourth multiple winner of the prestigious event.
ELITE LEAGUE RIDERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP, Swindon
Qualifying scores: Niels-Kristian Iversen 10, Craig Cook 9, Rory Schlein 9, Jason Doyle 9, Hans Andersen 8, Troy Batchelor 7, Scott Nicholls 7, Peter Kildemand 7, Fredrik Lindgren 6, Grzegorz Zengota 6, Chris Harris 6, Davey Watt 2, Kenneth Bjerre 2, Krzysztof Buczkowski 2, Oliver Greenwood (res) 2, Bjarne Pedersen 1, Paul Starke (res) 1, x Darcy Ward 0.
Semi-Final: Andersen, Schlein, Doyle, Batchelor
Final: Schlein, Iversen, Cook, Andersen.
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