SWINDON Robins boss Alun Rossiter has this evening guided Great Britain to the World Cup final from Event One at King’s Lynn.
The hosts had victory wrapped up by the end of heat 18, with Tai Woffinden (12), Chris Harris (11), Simon Stead (10) and Danny King (11) all contributing as Britain reached their first final in four years.
Rossiter’s side won the meeting on 44 with USA second on 37 and Australia third on 36. Italy were fourth with 10.
Former Robin Simon Stead got the hosts off to the best possible start as he made a superb gate from trap three and lead Darcy Ward for all four laps, with the Aussie only narrowly avoiding the Sheffield man’s back wheel on the exit of the final corner of the third lap.
Jason Doyle levelled matters with victory over a hard charging Chris Harris in heat two, with the States third and the Italians last again, before a stroke of luck saw Danny King take victory over Greg Hancock, with leader Cam Woodward suffering mechanical problems and retiring.
Batchelor’s night got off to a good start with a win over world champion Woffinden, who was behind Manzares in third, leaving the Brits a point ahead after the first round of races.
Another electric gate saw Stead jump from the outside to lead former world champion Hancock, with the Yorkshireman calm and assured for all four laps as the American tried every line to pass the Britain man but couldn’t find a way through.
Ward picked up his first win of the night with a superb move to round Harris, before King produced a tough move to chop off Ricky Wells and secure second place behind Robins skipper Batchelor who kept up his 100 per cent record in heat seven.
After struggling by his own standards in his opening outing, Woffinden joined the party in his second as he won heat eight by nearly the length of a straight as Nicolas Vicentin nearly wiped out Woodward coming out of turn two.
Woodward’s escape from the fence didn’t last long as he was pushed wide by Stead entering turn one of the very next race, hitting the deck and being excluded for his troubles while Nico Covatti was leading for the Italians.
Stead’s second in the re-run, behind Manzares, left Rossiter’s side five ahead before heat 10 was stopped and Nicolas Vicentin excluded for forcing Harris to lay the bike down, with Hancock taking his first win in the re-run with Harris third behind Batchelor.
Ward’s mechanical issues at the gate in heat 11 saw GB stretch their lead to six as King finished second behind winner Covatti, with Aussie boss Mark Lemon’s decision not to use his joker immediately on Doyle perhaps proving to be the right one as Woffinden beat him home to extend the host’s lead to seven.
Woodward’s tough night continued as he fell from first to last in his fourth outing, with Harris the beneficiary as he took victory from Covatti after a hard move to come under the former Birmingham man.
Hancock dragged his side back into the contest with victory while on a joker, before Doyle did the same for the Aussies to leave Britain five points ahead with their two nearest rivals having both declared their hands.
In the battle of the world’s top three, Hancock took victory ahead of Woffinden and Ward, giving the British team a four-point lead over the Americans and a six-point cushion over Australia going into the nominated heats.
Woffinden put the Brits on the brink with victory over Batchelor in the first of the nominated rides, before Ward was excluded in a bizarre incident in the second which saw him stop on the track after thinking he saw a red light, forcing the referee to stop the race.
Harris needed second place or better to win the meeting from the re-run, and the Coventry man didn’t disappoint as he led from the tapes to the flag to book the Brits’ place in Poland.
With the result sorted, Hancock and Doyle won the final two races but it mattered not on a special night for Rossiter.