DOYLE WINS RIDERS CHAMPIONSHIP

Wednesday May 09, 2018
WORLD champion Jason Doyle roared to victory in the Premiership Riders’ Championship at Poole with a comfortable triumph in the final.

The 2015 Elite League riders’ champion finished in the top two in each of his races and topped the qualifying bill alongside Troy Batchelor on 13 points.

Batchelor opted for gate one but despite a tight start, there was no stopping Somerset Rebels star Doyle who triumphed with ease ahead of his compatriot in second, Hans Andersen in third and home hero Brady Kurtz fourth.

In the semi-final, Kurtz flew out of the traps from the favoured inside gate with Andersen comfortable in second despite having jumped the start at the first attempt.

Kurtz had dominated the early qualifying heats, winning his opening three but Doyle and Batchelor built form and ultimately proved too hot to handle.

THE QUALIFYING HEATS

Chris Harris got off to a flying start, stretching his lead over Batchelor throughout the opening race.

Doyle went close to recovering from a slow start, overtaking Ty Proctor before making do with second behind Sam Masters who made a clean getaway.

Nick Morris roared to victory out of the traps in heat three, seeing off the early challenge of Charles Wright while Josh Grajczonek got by Kyle Newman at the back.

The fourth race was another from the gate as home favourite Kurtz jetted away from gate one.

Harris stole a march at the start of the fifth to make it two wins from two while Niels-Kristian Iversen retired when last to stay on zero.

Heat six provided the closest battle of the night up to that point with Jacob Thorssell working overtime to hold off Morris before extending his lead late in the day.

Kurtz held on to a bouncing bike around the first corner to leave his rivals eating dust and win by a quarter of a lap in heat seven.

Doyle produced another fightback, this time to win, by passing Andersen around the outside of turn two to seal a comfortable chequered flag.

Masters emerged ahead from a tight start to win the ninth with Max Fricke and then Newman relegating Harris from second to the rear.

Charles Wright and Kurtz battled handlebar to handlebar for a lap before the Pirates ace claimed a hard-fought third straight success.

Doyle was caught in a third engaging battle, this time with compatriot Batchelor who had to work hard to maintain the edge he had gained in the second turn. Thorssell’s attack on Doyle around the boards proved futile.

Morris suffered an awkward-looking fall in the 12th and was excluded with Andersen gating again at the second attempt, putting himself back in contention for the semi-final despite close attention from Iversen during lap two.

Scott Nicholls retired after completing three heats, leaving three riders to contest heat 13 which saw Wright edged out by Thorssell after a nip-and-tuck start.

Doyle then got the better of rapid-starter Adam Ellis who was overtaken by a rejuvenated Iversen on lap two .

Proctor hit the fence on bend one under pressure from Morris at the back with Batchelor claiming an easy three points from the gate.

Kurtz found it tricky from the outside gate but blasted around Poole team-mate Grajczonek to file in behind comfortable winner Andersen.

Heat 17 was feisty battle at front and back but Doyle stamped his authority on proceedings by just about seeing off Harris’s last-ditch push from out wide to book a place in the final. Morris gained what proved to be a futile point having been swarmed by backmarker Kurtz throughout.

Fricke bagged an unorthodox victory in his final programmed ride, bouncing back from a terrible start to cruise between Grajczonek and Ellis only to get out of shape on turn four and slip to second. Undeterred, the Australian found some extra speed to get around Ellis once more by the end of lap two and made no mistake from there.

Batchelor was untouchable in heat 19 to join Doyle on 13 with Iversen’s impressive fourth-to-second showing not enough for a slot in the top six.

It all went on behind Proctor in heat 20 as Andersen passed Thorssell after a lap with the Swede then losing out to a tenacious Newman at the back.

QUALIFYING SCORES: Troy Batchelor 13, Jason Doyle 13, Brady Kurtz 11, Hans Andersen 10, Chris Harris 9, Jacob Thorssell 9, Max Fricke 9, Ty Proctor 7, Nick Morris 7, Charles Wright 7, Sam Masters 6, Niels-Kristian Iversen 6, Adam Ellis 5, Josh Grajczonek 4, Kyle Newman 3, Scott Nicholls 1.

SEMI-FINAL: Kurtz, Andersen, Thorssell, Harris.

GRAND FINAL: Doyle, Batchelor, Andersen, Kurtz.

Picture: LES AUBREY

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