Cook’s joy on a night of thrills

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BRITISH star Craig Cook won an incident-packed Premier League Riders Championship after it became the survival of the fittest at Owlerton.

A fantastic meeting with some breathtaking passing manoeuvres, the Premier League’s showpiece event descended in to chaos as no less than three riders got caught out in the semi-final and the final.

Josh Auty was the first to hit the deck on turn one of the semi-final, and his heavy tumble saw him end the afternoon in a sling with a trip to hospital imminent.

Rene Bach was the next man to fall foul of the deep outside dirt line as his spectacular fall got him excluded from the final, but thankfully the young Dane emerged relatively unscathed and was able to walk back to the pits.

The unwanted hat-trick came in the second running of the final when experienced Aussie Jason Doyle took a huge fall at exactly the same spot as Auty and Bach had, and like Auty he left Owlerton in an ambulance with suspected lung and rib injuries.

The late-meeting drama should take nothing away from Cook though, as he fought magnificently to claim the title. Still suffering considerable pain from the rib injuries he suffered two weeks ago, he was the top rider in the qualifying heats.

He topped the scorechart with 12 and that saw him straight through to the final, and each time it was staged he was in contention.

After the exclusions of Bach and Doyle it was left to Cook and Anders Mellgren to battle it out one-on-one and the Cumbrian triumphed with a perfect start, leaving the impressive Swede to pick up second place.

Sheffield’s representative Richard Hall had a desperately unlucky afternoon; he stopped while in second in his fourth ride and had he picked up those two points he could have made the semi-final.

As it was he ended up on a respectable seven, and some of his incredible passing moves will live long in the memory, particularly the last-to-second swoop on the last lap of heat 18.

It was Cook who took the title though, and the Cumbrian racer was fully deserving of the win.

n Result: 1 Craig Cook (Edinburgh); 2 Anders Mellgren (Rye House); 3 Jason Doyle (Somerset).