WOLVES 51 ROBINS 41: Swindon have no answer to Woffinden and Pawlicki
SWINDON Robins had no answer to Wolverhampton’s top two as world champion Tai Woffinden and Polish star Piotr Pawlicki inspired the hosts to a 51-41 home victory.
Woffinden was unbeaten by a Robins rider all night as he stormed to a 13+2 paid maximum, while Pawlicki won his first four outings to finish third in heat 15 to end on 13.
In contrast the Robins top two of Peter Kildemand and Troy Batchelor only managed 17+3 between them, with six of Kildemand’s points coming with a tactical victory in heat six.
The Robins never recovered after giving themselves work to do from the off as Dakota North, twice, and Nathan Greaves were both excluded for falling on their own, while Nick Morris had the speed but couldn’t find a way past on the tough Monmore track as he scored four.
The Robins’ shining light was Steve Worrall as the reserve managed 11+2 from his five rides, but Alun Rossiter was left cursing his riders’ inability to get the better of Woffinden and Pawlicki.
“We had no answer to their top two really and that is it,” he said.
“Tai and Pawlicki were on fire and there’s nothing to answer. Pawlicki is a good rider and he’s done the business against us again.
“Peter seems off at the moment and he’s struggling over here, whether it’s him or the bikes I don’t know. I don’t think it’s tiredness at the moment like it was before but he’s got a couple of days off before we ride King’s Lynn on Thursday.
“It was nice in the pits tonight because they did so well in Denmark in the GP and we needed to bounce off that one, but we couldn’t beat their top two.
“Dak would have had seven points if he’d stayed on when he came off, and Nick worked hard but didn’t have an awful lot of confidence in his bikes.”
All eyes were on Kildemand in the opening race of the evening with the expectation of him repeating his GP heroics, but the Dane came together with teammate North and was forced to the back. After Aussie North went down on his own in turn one of lap two, Kildemand was handed another chance, but he moved at the start and was again beaten away from the tapes by winner Woffinden.
Both Worrall and Nathan Greaves rolled up for the start of heat two at a track they ride regularly in the National League, and Worrall showed all his track craft as he won the first reserves encounter be a mile, with Greaves just about on the pace but unable to make an impression at the back.
Heat three got off to a false start as the tapes failed to go up evenly but, when they did eventually go up fairly, home Pole Pawlicki was the easy winner ahead of Batchelor as Morris struggled to keep his bike down at the back.
Heat four proved disastrous for the visitors as first Greaves and then North going down on their own before a 5-0 was awarded, with North particularly lucky to avoid injury as both Ty Proctor and Joe Jacobs only narrowly avoiding cleaning him out after he lost control while leading.
A predictable 5-1 from Pawlicki and Woffinden over Morris and Simon Gustafsson left the Robins in tactical territory, with Rossiter using his first black and white helmet ride immediately on Kildemand. It proved to be the right decision as the Dane jumped out the gate and was joined by Batchelor for an 8-1 which gave the visitors hope.
The gap remained at six points as heat seven was shared, with Jacob Thorssell the winner, before a maximum from Ricky Wells and Proctor over a hard-charging Morris and shaken North took the home lead back into double figures.
Worrall won the second reserve race of the night from the gate to take his tally to eight, with Greaves backing him up in third, cutting the gap by two but still leaving the visitors with a mountain to climb.
Shared races in heats 10 and 11, with Wolves top two Woffinden and Pawlicki the winners, kept the eight-point lead intact at the interval, and that’s how it stayed as heat 12 came and went with Thorssell winning ahead of the Robins duo.
The battle of the big guns saw matters swing further in the home side’s favour as Woffinden and Pawlicki left no room for Batchelor and Kildemand in turns one and two as they stormed to a maximum, with both riders still to be beaten by any of the Robins’ septet.
Worrall and Gustafsson gave the Robins hope with a 5-1 of their own in the penultimate race, leaving them needing a heat advantage to claim a point, but world champion Woffinden put paid to the Robins’ chances with victory in the final race.
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