GALLERY: Dudley Heathens win National League Pairs at Mildenhall Fen Tigers

Mildenhall's Dan Halsey outside Buxton's Charles Wright.

Mildenhall's Dan Halsey outside Buxton's Charles Wright. - Credit: Archant

Dudley Heathens were crowned National League Pairs champions, taking the title from the holders, Mildenhall Fen Tigers, at their home track.

Dudley emerged unscathed in group A after a difficult start and, after Lewis Blackbird’s bike packed up in race one, Ashley Morris took a second race victory, defeating Stoke pair Smart and Priest, despite starting 15 metres behind in the re-run, due to breaking the tapes.

The Potters recorded a 6-3 victory over the Isle of Wight and a 7-2 over the King’s Lynn pairing, to qualify for the final along with Dudley.

In group B, the home side’s challenge started in an uneasy manner when Dan Halsey was squeezed out around the first bend.

A smart move saw him squeeze past Buxton’s Adam McKinna to join Josh Bates and although Charles Wright was clear, a 5-4 result gave the Fen Tigers a foothold in the group.

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At the end of five rides Kent were on 14 points and Buxton on 13, with Mildenhall on 10 and Coventry eight.

In the final race, the Fen Tigers took on the Storm and the initial running saw the Mildenhall pair tuck into second and third place and a final place looked guaranteed, however Bates was excluded, his bike packing up and causing Halsey to fall.

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The re-run was the race of the afternoon as the Mildenhall Captain swept past the Storm pair of Branford and Sarjeant in sensational style to secure the heat win and a place for the Fen Tigers in the final, along with Dudley, Stoke and Kent.

Dudley put down an early marker with a swift 7-2 victory over Stoke, before the Fen Tigers met Kent and recorded a 6-3 victory, after Kent’s Boxall was excluded for getting too close to Halsey, causing him to fall on the first bend of lap three.

A now pumped-up Halsey again was fast away against the Dudley pairing, but Bates could make no impression on his second bike after blowing an engine, and Dudley took a step closer to the trophy with a 5-4 heat win.

Another 5-4 victory in their final ride, put Dudley firmly in the driving seat and left Mildenhall requiring a 7-2 in the final race to cause a run off with Dudley.

Although Halsey got away quickly, he was looking for his partner when Stoke’s Priest swept under him and the meeting was decided.


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