Speedway: Local hero Kyle Howarth books place in British Final

Sheffield Tigers (Speedway) captain Kyle Howarth booked his place in the British Final
Sheffield Tigers (Speedway) captain Kyle Howarth booked his place in the British Final

Flying Sheffield skipper Kyle Howarth scorched to a stunning win in the British Semi-Final at Owlerton.

Howarth notched 12-points to top the podium and book his place in Manchester for the final in front of the TV cameras on June 19.

But it wasn’t such a memorable night for team-mates Josh Bates and Robert Branford who missed the cut.

Berwick man Lewis Bridger and Scott Nicholls both made the most of quick getaways by easing to victories in equal times in the opening two races.

Heat three saw Swindon’s Adam Ellis take a bizarre looking tumble on bend three after Stefan Nielsen’s footrest got caught in his front wheel. Ellis, who suffered a broken scaphoid earlier in the season, withdrew as a precaution shortly after. The re-run saw Lewis Kerr make the best start before Craig Cook pulled off a great ride to charge underneath down the back straight on lap three.

The fourth saw all three Tigers representatives go up against each other, but it was club captain Howarth who came out on top. Team-mate Bates looked in control early doors before Howarth pulled off a super move to blast his way around the outside off the exit of bend four.

Bridger was hoping for two out of two in the fifth, but when his bike packed up on the start line, that gave track reserve and Tigers youngster Parkinson-Blackburn the opportunity to enjoy some extra Owlerton track time.

Things wouldn’t get too much better for Branford and Bates in their second outings. Branford was forced to settle for third place after being passed up the inside by Scunthorpe favourite Auty before Bates slid off on the opening lap of the eighth and was excluded as a result.

But from a home point of view, things improved in the next as Howarth leant across his opponents away from the outside on the opening two bends to make it back-to-back race wins.

However, Howarth’s unbeaten night would come to an end when recent Scunthorpe signing Stefan Nielsen cut back up the inside off bend four.

While fast gating was of high importance, the next stunning action came in Heat 14 when Auty went from last to first, passing both Robson and Lambert, over two spectacular laps.

With leader Cook’s bike packing up prior to heat 17, Howarth knew a second place or better in the 18th would secure victory on the night.

While Auty got the better of him, Howarth rode sensibly to settle in behind to claim a huge meeting victory.

With the top six qualifiers sorted, Lewis Bridger blasted his way from last to first in a three man run-off while Stuart Robson joined him after walking away from a horrible smash with Carl Wilkinson in the final race.

QUALIFIERS: Kyle Howarth 12, Scott Nicholls 11, Craig Cook 10, Josh Auty 10, Chris Harris 10, Lewis Kerr 10, Lewis Bridger 9, Stuart Robson 9.

OTHERS: Carl Wilkinson 9, Edward Kennett 8, Stefan Nielsen 7, Josh Bates 5, Simon Lambert 5, Robert Branford 3, Adam Roynon 2, Adam Ellis 0, Jack Parkinson-Blackburn 0, Joe Lawlor 0.