Speedway: Sheffield Tigers’ Simon Stead wins Premier League Riders’ Championship

podium l/r sam masters 2nd , simon stead winner , david bellego 3rd
podium l/r sam masters 2nd , simon stead winner , david bellego 3rd

Hometown hero Simon Stead stormed to a fairytale triumph in the Premier League Riders’ Championship at Owlerton last night.

The Tigers’ skipper saw off a star-studded field to repeat his remarkable 2014 victory in the prestigious event and cap off an extraordinary journey.

He nearly called time on his career after suffering season-ending injuries early last year, which caused him to miss out on the chance to defend his PLRC crown.

But he sensationally regained the trophy at the first attempt with a dramatic Grand Final victory over Australia World Cup star Sam Masters.

He bravely blasted underneath Masters on the second lap of the decisive race to take the chequered flag and spark jubilant scenes on the Owlerton terraces.

Stead quickly underlined his intentions early in the evening with wins in his opening two rides to set the early pace.

He eventually ended the qualifying heats on 13 points, topping the score chart alongside Richard Lawson to book his spot straight in the final.

They were joined by Masters and former Sheffield man David Bellego, who saw off British Champion Danny King and Aussie ace Jack Holder in the semi-final.

But there was no denying Stead in his quest to climb to the top of the rostrum as he demonstrated his determination and class in abundance to hit the front and withstand heavy pressure from Masters.

Bellego saw off Lawson to claim third after a battling individual performance, although the night was all about Sheffield hero Stead as be joined an exclusive club of multiple PLRC winners.

Meanwhile, Tigers’ team-mate Kyle Howarth put in a typically battling display after accepting a late call-up to the event.

He came in as a replacement for Edward Kennett after he withdrew at the final hour and only narrowly missed out on a semi-final spot.

He won heat eight after a determined first bend but was forced wide by Stead in his final race as he ended with a hard-fought eight points.

Howarth and Stead will be back in action as Sheffield look to strengthen their spot in the Premier League play-offs at Rye House on Tuesday (7.30) before hosting local rivals Scunthorpe in a crucial clash at Owlerton 24 hours later.

SCORERS: Simon Stead 13, Richard Lawson 13, David Bellego 12, Jack Holder 11, Sam Masters 11, Danny King 11, Kyle Howarth 8, Josh Grajczonek 8, Kevin Doolan 6, Steve Worrall 5, Craig Cook 5, Josh Auty 5, Ricky Wells 5, Aaron Summers 4, Ulrich Ostergaard 3, Claus Vissing 1.

SEMI-FINAL: Bellego, Masters, King, Holder.

FINAL: Stead, Masters, Bellego, Lawson.