Edinburgh Monarchs’ No.1 rider Craig Cook continued his excellent run of form by lifting the inaugural Peugeot International Speedway championship at Ashfield Stadium, defeating home favourite Richard Lawson in the Grand Final.
Cook, who broke the track record at Berwick just 24 hours earlier when guesting for Sheffield Tigers, kept that momentum going as he cruised to a flawless 15-point maximum in the qualifying heats. However, it was his duel against Lawson, Aaron Summers and Josh Grajczonek which had the bumper crowd on their feet as Cook pipped Lawson to the title.
Lawson made the gate and blocked Cook, who had fought his way into second place, at every turn, but Cook switched his attention to the outside line and powered around the Glasgow Tigers star just inches from the winning post. The Cumbrian admitted afterwards that he almost killed his own chances of victory after picking the poorer gate in the final, but revealed he sold Lawson a dummy to get past him
“I don’t know what I was thinking,” said Cook, pictured below. “You don’t let someone like Lawson get off the inside of you, not with a good gate like gate two because he just popped out of the start and went.
“It made it more interesting for the crowd, although it probably wasn’t great for the Glasgow fans to watch. Richard looked at me and saw how quick I was round the first two turns of the second lap. He saw what I was doing and I sold him a dummy and went to go round the inside after that. I knew what I needed to do.
“I knew I needed to carry as much momentum as possible so on the back straight I just sat back and got the bike driving, but he went to the kerb because he was scared I was going to cut back up the inside of him.
“He just allowed me a big gap into the second last turn and fortunately I carried enough speed to nip past him on the line.”