Hampel leads Poles in thrilling clash
GREAT Britain will have to go to Thursday's play-offs as Poland won Monday night's Event Two in the World Cup.The Poles, SWC champions in 2005 and 2007, took the honours after a thrilling see-saw battle with Australia, eventually prevailing by 54 points to 52 to join Event One surprise packets Russia in Saturday's showpiece final at Leszno.
GREAT Britain will have to go to Thursday's play-offs as Poland won Monday night's Event Two in the World Cup.
The Poles, SWC champions in 2005 and 2007, took the honours after a thrilling see-saw battle with Australia, eventually prevailing by 54 points to 52 to join Event One surprise packets Russia in Saturday's showpiece final at Leszno.
Australia and Great Britain both go into Thursday's Race-Off at Leszno against reigning champions Denmark and Sweden, where the top two also qualify for the final.
The Aussies, with Grand Prix leader Jason Crump hitting top form after dropping a point to an impressive Jarek Hampel in his first ride, led the way in the first half of the meeting, but the Poles were always right on their tail-pipes.
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Poland, using the wide lines of the East of England Showground to great effect, snatched the lead in Heat 14 when Tomasz Gollob thrillingly pipped Britain's Danny King on the line, with Australia's Chris Holder third, but Australia led again after Heat 16 when Ryan Sullivan became the only rider to head home Hampel.
The Poles went into the final round of five races leading by just a point and the crucial race was SWC debutant Adrian Miedzinski's inspired win over a hard-charging Leigh Adams in Heat 23.
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It meant Hampel's fourth win of the night in Heat 24 was enough to take the Poles through, even though Gollob failed to make it to the tapes for the final race of the night.
Gollob said: “Our manager had told us we needed to win, and all the team were fantastic. Our aim now is to repeat this win at Leszno on Saturday.”
Great Britain's young guns performed with great credit, even though they never seriously challenged the head-to-head between Poland and Australia.
Skipper Chris Harris won for double points in Heat 12, Lewis Bridger creditably beat Gollob in Heat 8 and Sullivan in 11, while King raised his game to be the star for the Brits.
The former Peterborough rider, one of new boss Rob Lyon's surprise selections, produced a brilliant pass of Sullivan to win Heat 6, had victory stolen on the line in 14 after passing and leading Gollob right to the flag, and then won a titanic battle with Adams for second place in Heat 18.
Slovenia trailed at the rear of the field, with Matej Zagar scoring all but three of their 13 points. He might have got more had he not been harshly excluded for delaying the start in Heat 13 and then suffered a puncture on a joker ride in Heat 17.
Zagar was involved in one of the best races of the night, passing and repassing Crump in a gripping Heat 20 before finally losing out by the width of tyre on the line.
But most spectacular incident of the night came in Heat 22 when Poland's Piotr Protasiewicz defied gravity to stay aboard his machine while bouncing off the back-straight fence, regaining control to claim a point after King had retired at the start.
POLAND 54: Jaroslaw Hampel 14, Krzysztof Kasprzak 11, Piotr Protasiewicz 10, Adrian Miedzinski 10, Tomasz Gollob 9.
AUSTRALIA 52: Jason Crump 14, Leigh Adams 11, Chris Holder 10, Davey Watt 10, Ryan Sullivan 7.
GREAT BRITAIN 34: Chris Harris 11, Daniel King 9, Lewis Bridger 6, Tai Woffinden 5, Edward Kennett 3.
SLOVENIA 13: Matej Zagar 10, Alexander Conda 2, Maks Gregoric 1, Izak Santej 0, Denis Stojs 0.