NEW Swindon Robins signing Edward Kennett was left cursing his luck as bike problems saw him miss out on a place in the final of the Monster Energy Speedway Invitational in Los Angeles.
The event at City of Industry was the biggest night of speedway in the United States for more than 25 years, and Kennett impressed on the tight 200m track as he beat the likes of Grand Prix regulars Freddie Lindgren, Antonio Lindback and Tomasz Gollob to qualify for the semis on 10 points.
He was sitting comfortably in second place on Saturday night before his bike packed up, allowing American duo Ricky Wells and Billy Hamill to progress to the final which was eventually won by Billy Janniro.
Despite missing out Kennett was pleased with a performance which saw him finish as the second placed European behind former Robin Scott Nicholls, and is hoping it will give him a boost going into 2013.
“I started really slowly but I got dialled in and I felt really good after that. I like the small tracks and I was enjoying myself, it’s was good fun,” he said.
“I was second in my semi and pretty comfortable too but then my bike gave up on me and that was that, I was gutted because I would have been the only European guy to make the Final.
“I’m pleased overall but I would have loved to get on the podium, but it gives me a target for next year now. I love it over here so I definitely want to come back in 2013.”
The Robins Elite League title-winning skipper Hans Andersen also took part in the event, and finished the evening on seven points alongside home rider Bryan Yarrow as the pair missed out on a place in the semi-finals by a single point.
The event had been billed as a battle between the best the US had to offer and some of Europe’s biggest names, and the outcome was clear-cut with four Californians lining up for the final while Lindgren ended on four points and Gollob on only one.
Former Coventry man Janniro’s eventually charged to victory over former world champion Greg Hancock, Wells and Hamill in the final, and the American was pleased to remind the speedway world what he was capable of.
“In the beginning the bike wasn’t working but then we changed some stuff and suddenly we got it working. I started making some starts and once I did that it was just about keeping it going and getting my head down,” he said.
“It’s a big meeting with all the European guys over here so I’m stoked to win it. It’s cool to show people that I can still do it. I may not ride in England anymore, but I can still ride a bike okay.”