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Crusaders pair fail to build on fine start

Dean Felton
Dean Felton

THE Spray-Tex Sittingbourne Crusaders pairing of Danny Warwick and club captain Dean Felton finished seventh overall in the Conference Pairs Speedway championship at Scunthorpe on Sunday.

The Kent side were drawn in Group Two and faced highly-fancied Oxford plus Plymouth, Stoke and next Sunday's away League opponents, Buxton with just one place up for grabs in the Grand Final.

The qualifying campaign got off to a good start with Warwick storming past the Plymouth Devils' pairing to record the most impressive performance of the opening tranche of races in heat four.

However, a points scoring system of four points for a win, three for second and two for third favoured team riding over individual brilliance and with Felton unable to split the Devonian two-some the Spray-Tex Crusaders failed to move into pole position on the leader board.

That distinction went to Oxford who roared untroubled to three consecutive maximum 7-2 heat wins.

Next up for the Iwade-based club was Stoke, with Warwick this time having to concede defeat to 2004-winner of this title, Barrie Evans in a thrilling battle.

But with Buxton up next, the two Sittingbourne stars knew a maximum of their own could steer them into the play-off for third place and a coveted position on the rostrum.

Fired up by facing his old club, Felton was first out of the traps this time and the Kent pairing proceeded to team-ride for what looked like the necessary maximum result.

However, teenager Jack Roberts swept past Felton on the final bend to split the Sittingbourne pair.

After three rides Felton and Warwick stood handily placed third in their group, just one point behind Stoke, but defeat to last opponents the Oxford Cheetahs ended their hopes.

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