Tom Neave wins British Indoor Flat Track Championship in Grantham
Tom Neave pulled off a fantastic pass on the last corner to win the British Indoor Flat Track Championship held at Grantham's Arena UK Equestrian Centre.
Neave had a great start to Thursday's event by taking two wins and a second in his heat races.
The only rider to beat him was Scunthorpe Speedway Ace Ashley Birks who also took two wins in his heat races.
Other heat winners were Tom's twin brother Team Suzuki rider Tim, who scooped two
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wins, and short track regular rider Glyn Pocklington also on two wins.
The biggest surprise of the day was short track's number one Ade Collins who didn't triumph in any of his three heats.
From the 32-rider field the top 16 point scorers from the heats progressed to the eight lap semis.
In the first semi Ashley Birks, looking good for his first short track meeting, stretched the lead but by lap six Tom Neave started to pull him in and Peter Boast passed Rich Mason to take third spot.
On the last lap Tom was trying everything to get past Birks but didn't quite make it and Boast held on to take the last transfer spot to the final.
In the second semi Alan Birtwistle stole the show, taking a flag-to-flag win.
But he had his work cut out holding off Aussie speedway star Kevin Doolan, who was riding high and wide on every corner.
Doolan had to settle for second spot, with third going to Glyn Pocklington.
The Last Chance race for the remaining final places saw a frightening crash on the back straight of the first lap with Rich Mason and Tom Woolley going down.
Mason ended up with a broken collar bone, but today reports are that he is recovering well.
The race was restarted and it was Ade Collins who hit the front for the first time, with Tim Neave challenging for the first two laps.
Ade kept his cool and took the win, Neave was second, Damien Koppe third and Darren Trapmore took the last spot for a place in the final.
Tensions were running high for the start of the 12-lap Grand Final.
Ashley Birks was in pole position, from Birtwistle and Tom Neave on the front row, Doolan, Boast and Pocklington behind them and Collins, Tim Neave, Koppe and Trapmore off the back row.
On the first attempt Birks and Birtwistle clashed, stopping the race, with Birks put back
to the penalty line for the restart.
On the first corner of the restart Collins went down, was hit by another
rider and was out of the final.
Only on the second restart did everyone get around the first corner safely, with Boast and Birtwistle side-by-side for first lap.
Then Birtwistle edged past Boast to take the lead, with Pocklington third, Birks fourth, Tom Neave fifth and Doolan sixth.
On lap 3 Birks went down on turn three and was out of the race.
Tom Neave continued to work his way through the field passing Pocklington and later a great outside line to pass Boast.
By lap 10 Tom was putting pressure on Birtwistle, Boast was holding third spot from Pocklington, who in turn was under pressure from Doolan.
On the final lap Birtwistle was still leading but going into last corner Tom Neave went flat out around the outside to surprise Birtwistle, who gave it a big handful of throttle and went down - never making it to the chequered flag - as Tom bounced off the fence to take the win.
Boast took second spot and Pocklington took the final podium spot.
1st # 68 Tom Neave...............450 TCR Honda
2nd # 54 Peter Boast................450 Team Suzuki
3rd # 71 Glyn Pocklington.........525 Kinrade KTM
4th # 14 Tim Neave...................450 Team Suzuki
5th # 42 Kevin Doolan...............450 KTM
6th # 62 Damien Koppe.............450 Homan Yamaha
7th # 20 Darren Trapmore..........450 TCR KTM
8th # 30 Alan Birtwistle..............450 Honda
9th # 16 Ashley Birks.................450 Truelove Honda
10th # 1 Aidan Collins................450 HRC Honda
Peter Boast, from organiser Short Track UK and also the championship runner-up, said: "We are very pleased with the turnout for the event - it wasn't a sell-out, but considering we have moved a long way from our original venue in Essex, we are still very happy.
"It was great to see that there were a lot of local people among the spectators.
"The Arena UK venue was excellent.
"As a rider there was a real sense of excitement, being so close to the crowd.
"It felt like a big occasion and I could certainly sense a little bit of pressure."
The next indoor short track event at Arena UK is a double meeting on February 23rd when the England V Rest of the World is held at 1pm and The International Short Track Arena Championship at 6.30pm.
For more information and tickets visit www.shorttrackuk.com