Nicholls in seventh heaven
Coventry ace retains British crown
By Graeme Bailey. Last Updated: 01/08/12 8:21am
Scott Nicholls made history by becoming the first man to win seven British titles as he also claimed the wild card for the British Grand Prix in Cardiff.
Nicholls repeated last year's success at Monmore Green, as he took the title finishing ahead of old rival Chris Harris and luckless Tai Woffinden in the final.
The meeting was marred early on by a couple of nasty crashes which ruled out Great Britain international Danny King and Robert Mear.
It was Eddie Kennett who set the pace early on as he was the only rider to win his opening three rides, before following that up with two seconds.
That was enough for the Coventry Bees man to finish the 20 heats in the top-two and progress into the Grand Final, where he was joined by team-mate and defending champion Nicholls.
Nicholls came third in his opening ride, but bounced back in impressive style with four straight wins - which was enough to move straight into final - ahead of pre-meeting favourites Woffinden and GP star Harris, who both finished on 12 one point back.
They were joined in the semi-final by Ben Barker and Simon Stead - who finished on 11, edging out impressive youngster Craig Cook.
The one off semi-final decided the final two spots, and it was Woffinden and Harris who progressed, although Barker gated ahead of the pair - but he lost control on the first lap and his chance of making his first British final was gone.
That meant it was a repeat of the 2011 final, which Nicholls took 12-months ago - and just like last year Kennett crashed out in spectacular fashion on the third bend of lap one, much to the annoyance of Woffinden who had flown from the start.
That left Harris, Nicholls and the Wolverhampton man in the re-run and remarkably last year's result repeated itself.
Nicholls made a great gate, with Woffinden slowest away, and Harris came back at him twice but each time Nicholls dived back inside and he held on to claim the British title for a record seventh occasion.
The win also confirms his place at the British Grand Prix once again as the wild card for the showcase event in Cardiff next month.
"It was a fantastic race, I was delighted, and number seven in the record books, so I am a happy man," he told Sky Sports.
Nicholls is already looking forward to another trip to the Welsh capital, adding: "It is an amazing event so I am looking forward to that as I always do."