Howarth leaves best 'til last to pip Howe in Bordernapolis
Sheffield's Kyle Howarth emerged as the winner of the end of season Bordernapolis individual at Berwick.
But the young Tiger left it late, only managing to overhaul David Howe after an epic battle in the final.
The pair went wheel to wheel for three laps, with Berwick’s Howe having the home crowd on the edge of their seats as they sensed a possible Bandits’ victory.
But coming out of the second bend on the last lap, Howarth finally managed to power his way past up the back straight, holding out for the chequered flag.
In what was an open, evenly contested meeting, Howe, with three race wins, toopped the qualifying scorecharts on 12 points, whilst Howarth was one of three riders who finished on 11, his two victories, two seconds and a third place giving him the same return as Berwick’s Kevin Doolan and Newcastle’s Matty Wethers.
Wolverhampton’s Sam Masters, who suffered a blown engine in his second race which restricted his scoring, also qualified for the semi’s on ten points, along with Australian Josh Grajczonek - the only other rider to win three qualifying races - surprise packet Kasper Andersen of Sheffield and the home-based Jye Etheridge, who all had nine.
Jason Garrity, who many thought might be amongst the leading contenders, was unfortunately forced to retire from the meeting after only one ride. He blew his engine in his opening race, and with no spare motor was forced to sit out the rest of the meeting.
In all, there were ten different race winners from the qualifying heats, the majority of which came from the outside gates, and it was no surprise that in the two semi’s and final the leading contenders all chose to go off gates three and four.
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In the first semi, Grajczonek bit the dust on the first bend, walking back to the pits rather gingerly. He was allowed back into the re-run, but at the second attempt it was Howe who passed Wethers, two of the ‘old guard’ from the meeting progressing to the final.
There they were joined by Howarth and Masters, who safely negotiated their semi.
Howe, who had been in his sick bed earlier in the week, and who at one stage almost pulled his entry, shot from the gate in the final, but for the home fans he was unfortunately unable to hold on as Howarth staged a grandstand finish.
Afterwards, Howarth said: “It was a close run thing at the end. David made the gate and I didn’t think I was going to be able to get past. It was last chance saloon for me and when I saw the gap open up I just had to go for it.”
Howe said: “It would have been a great way for me to end the season at Berwick, but sadly it was not to be.
“My arms were really aching by the third lap in the final and I was finding it hard to hold onto the handlebars. Congratulations to Kyle though, because he rode very well.”
This was the first staging of the Bordernapolis since 2011 and he now joins a list of former winners which includes the likes of Mark Loram, Jason Crump, Chris Harris, Sam Ermolenko, Todd Wiltshire, Rory Schlein, and further back, Doug Templeton, Steve McDermott, Lou Sansom,Joe Owen and Paul Bentley.