by Keith Hamblin
at Shielfield Park
SEBASTIAN Alden twice rode his luck on his way to winning the Bordernapolis individual event at Shielfield on Saturday.. . but there can be no denying the moment of sheer brilliance which finally landed him the title.
Twice it looked as if the Swede might be denied his chance of contesting the £1,000 top prize.
First of all he was sitting second behind Ryan Fisher in heat 20, a race he had to win to force a run-off with fellow countryman Ludvig Lindgren, who was the leader in the clubhouse.
Fisher looked set for the victory when he unexpectedly fell for the second time that night, giving the Bandit the chance to win the re-run.
Elite League rider Oliver Allan, who had been consistent throughout the handicap meeting all night, took second place which meant a three-man run-off, all three having scored 13 points from their five rides.
At the first attempt to stage the ‘final’ Alden got all out of shape going into the first bend, bringing down Allen in the process.
Another referee might have excluded him, but Michael Breckon invited all three back for the re-run.
Allen picked himself up and made a blistering start, leading the race-off for three and three quarter laps.
Some fans might have even started marking their programmes - but what a mistake that would have been.
For Alden, despite being about 20 yards behind going into the third bend on the final lap, produced a brilliant burst of speed to pass Allen on the inside, which in the context of the meeting was probably one of the best overtakes ever seen at the Border track.
The move had the entire crowd on their feet and the Swede was fully deserving of his standing ovation.
Earlier, in the heats, Lindgren had produced his best Shielfield form yet, storming his way to four wins from his five races, only missing out to Fisher and Adam McKinna in heat 11 as a result of the handicap format.
Allan and Alden both won three of their five races whilst Bandits Josef Franc and Lee Complin each won two, as did Kevin Doolan.
Doolan and defending champion Complin both had an outside chance of reaching the run-off if they had won their final heats, but the handicap format was to prove too big a handicap as far as they were concerned.
To be fair the staggered starts didn’t produce the best of racing, although Alden and Lindgren kept the home fans happy with a double overtake of Aaron Summers in heat seve.
Fisher, who was probably the pre-meeting favourite in many people’s eyes, suffered as a result of his two falls, both when he was in good scoring positions.
The meeting also saw the return to action of Berwick reserve Mitchell Davey, who has been sidelined for the past few weeks with a back injury.
However, even with the handicap format which meant he started all his races from the tapes, he simply didn’t look competitive.
Unfortunately, the same could be said of young American Mikey Buman and Bulgarian Milen Manev, who were both making their debuts at the track, and who were both well off the pace.
The meeting attracted a decent crowd and was generously sponsored by New Holland, which enabled the club to put up the prize money.
Alden was a grateful and in the end worthy recipient, but one couldn’t help but feel sorry for Lindgren, who probably deserved more for his efforts.
Heat scorers: Lindgren 13, Alden 13, Allen 13, Doolan 12, Franc 11, Complin 11, McKinna 8, Fisher 7, Eklof 7, Nedermark 6, Mudgway 6, Wells 5, Summers 4, Davey 2, Buman 2, Manev 0. Run-off - Alden, Allen, Lindgren.