Lakeside Hammers reserve, Stuart Robson, caused a few eyebrows to be raised last night with his superb performance in the British Final, which took place at Wolverhampton’s Monmore Green track, when, after the 20 qualification heats, he claimed a place in the Semi Final ahead of more fancied British riders.
In front of the live Sky Sports cameras Robbo scored nine points, which took him forward into the Semi Final, for the third to sixth placed riders. The top two from that race then joined the two highest scorers in the Grand Final.
Unfortunately for the Hammers fans Robbo finished in fourth place in that Semi Final from the unfavourable outside gate so he failed to get through to the Grand Final. That Final was contested by the top two scorers, Grand Prix rider Chris Harris and his Coventry team mate Ben Barker plus the first and second placed riders in the Semi final, who were Ipswich riders Scott Nicholls and Daniel King.
Harris went on to retain his British Championship in front of Nicholls who, by virtue of that second place, automatically becomes the ‘Wild Card’ in the British Grand Prix, which takes place at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff on Saturday 10th July.
The evening did not start well from the Lakeside Hammers rider as he had to lay his bike down on the first bend in his opening race to avoid former Hammers rider Leigh Lanham. The referee did not stop the race so Robson got back on his bike and eventually managed to pick up a point for a third place when Chris Schramm, a local Essex based rider, had machine problems.
In his second ride Robson managed to pass another former Hammers rider, Oliver Allen, to claim second place behind Daniel King, who has, in the past, also ridden for the Essex based Club. Heat 10 then saw Robson up against the reigning British Champion, Chris Harris, and the Hammers reserve showed no fear for reputation as he led the Grand Prix rider out of the second bend. However, Harris eventually got past the Hammers rider to claim the win but the two points gained by Robbo moved his score up to five points after three rides.
Robson then added another two points to his tally after a superb outside pass of Simon Stead in heat 16 to claim another second place. Stead went into this meeting in confident mood after winning a Grand Prix qualifier at the weekend in Italy in a meeting that also saw the Hammers No.1, Lee Richardson, qualify for the next stage of the process to achieve a place in the 2011 Grand Prix Series.
Richardson will be joined in the Semi Final stages of that competition by fellow Hammers riders Jonas Davidsson and Kauko Nieminen who also qualified via their round in Denmark.
Robson needed points from his final qualification race to gain a place in the Semi Final and he achieved that with yet another second place behind Edward Kennett in heat 17. He was involved in a great race with Lewis Bridger that ended when Bridger ran out of room on the third/fourth bend of the penultimate lap when attempting to go round the outside of the Hammers rider.
Hammers Co Promoter and Team Manager, Jon Cook, was delighted for Robson and commented: “Stuart’s performance in the British Final, where he got to the Semi Final stage, is a further indication of just how important he will be for us in the reserve berth over the second half of the season, which re-starts at our Arena-Essex Raceway on Friday 25th June against Eastbourne in a meeting that will now be a League fixture and not the Cup match, which will now take place later in the year.”
Robson’s last place in the Semi Final should not detract from what was an excellent performance from the Hammers reserve.