Tag Archives: winners

Pit Stop – Part One of 2014 Season – By Lewis Brearley

It’s scary to think that by the end of this month, pre-season testing in Formula One will already be underway. It gives you a sense of the work rate needed by the teams to get their new cars made and transported to Spain just two months after they packed up their 2013 cars in Sao Paulo.

But this year the turnaround is even more complex than usual. The 2014 cars are designed to brand new technical regulations: new engines, new KERS, new exhausts and new aerodynamics.
When the teams turn up and unveil their new cars on 28 January down at Jerez, Spain a new era of Formula One will begin.

The biggest change will be the introduction of 1.6 litre, turbocharged engines – or “power units” as they are being termed – with much more powerful energy recovery systems than the 2013 cars.

The power unit will contain both a kinetic energy recovery system similar to the ones used in 2013, only more powerful, and a second system which will utilise waste power from the turbo. However, unlike 2013 this energy will be used automatically and not at the press of a button.

Furthermore this system will be restricted to using only 100kg for the entire race with a maximum flow rate of 100kg per hour meaning fuel efficiency may be almost as important as outright power.

Next, the requirement of a single exhaust exiting the centre of the car at an upright angle, eradicating practically all of the downforce derived from blowing the exhaust gases towards the diffuser – Red Bull’s specialty.

The other changes are aerodynamic such as a front wing 75mm narrower and, for safety reasons, a much lower nose. These will affect the flow of air around the entire car and therefore are perhaps much more important than they may first appear.

The decrease in engine power combined with the loss of aerodynamic downforce means the 2014 cars are almost certainly going to be slower than the 2013 cars, as was intended by the regulations. How much slower they will be is unknown however, but the pessimistic predictions of silent cars circling six seconds slower is probably rubbish.

Even if the pace of the cars is much slower, such is the pace of development at the top teams that they will soon close in on the speed of the V8 machines.

The truth is that no one, not even Adrian Newey at Red Bull or Pat Fry at Ferrari, knows what next season will bring and that’s why 2014 is so highly anticipated. By the end of this month the first piece of the puzzle will be in place.

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Pit Stop – All down to last race – By Lewis Brearley

This weekend sees the 18th and final chapter of the globetrotting duel that is the 2013 MotoGP world championship.

At Valencia, either Marc Marquez – the current leader by 13 points – or Jorge Lorenzo – the current champion – will take this year’s title.

For only the second time in 20 years, the battle has come down to the final round. It’s a fitting statistic as both of the contenders have raced at a standard rarely seen in this sport.

Both Marquez and Lorenzo have been superb all season with only the odd mistake to blot their record. Marquez has been the luckier of the two, with just a dislocated shoulder at Silverstone and a badly grazed hand at Mugello on his injury list. Lorenzo, meanwhile fractured his left collarbone and injured his shoulder after making a mistake in practice at Assen.

This cost him points, despite a magnificently brave ride, at Assen and the following race at the Sachsenring where he exacerbated the injury after a second practice crash forced him out of the race altogether.

Marquez took advantage of this free hand to start a run of four consecutive victories in the middle of the season, which made him the championship leader by 43 points with just three rounds to go.
But Phillip Island had a surprise in store, or rather Bridgestone’s inability to make a tyre last the full race distance did. The race was made into a two part affair with a mandatory pitstop enforced on laps 10-11.

When Marquez pitted on lap 12 eyebrows were raised and much to Honda’s embarrassment and anger, the black flag was given to Marquez. With Lorenzo taking the win and the 25 points, the lead was down to just 18 with two races remaining.

Honda claimed it was a team decision and that they had been led to believe a stop on lap 12 was allowed as only 11 laps would have been completed by Marquez. However, it’s much easier to believe this was just an excuse for Marquez missing his pit board. With all the brainpower present in the Honda garage, a simple bit of maths is unlikely to have stumped them.

The confusion and controversy of Australia followed by Lorenzo’s victory in Motegi, means Marquez leads by 13 points going into the finale. But that is the important bit – Marquez leads. He only needs a fourth place finish even if Lorenzo wins and Marquez hasn’t finished lower than third all year. Marquez has the advantage.

However, Valencia in November can serve up a few shocks. Last year it rained and Dani Pedrosa won after starting from the pit lane. In 2006 Valentino Rossi ended up in the gravel and gifted the title to Nicky Hayden.

Marquez too could easily end up in the gravel if he hits a damp patch, or the pressure finally gets to him. The only thing that’s certain is that it’s going to be a thrilling finale.

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It’snowheaven – There is no rest for the wicked – By Jess Softley

When it comes to being  the best, you have to beat the best. And on the 8th September, you’ll find them hitting the slopes of New Zealand as Burton holds their second annual High Fives snowboarding competition.

This six day event combines the conventional aspects of a snowboarding as well as other ‘off-snow’ challenges to test teamwork, style and technicality.

The Cardrona Alpine resort will welcome 60 of the best male and female snowboarders around to compete in the, invite-only, Slopestyle and Halfpipe events where each athlete will be awarded on their individuals performances, as well as having the chance to be a part of a team in the range of ‘off-snow’ competitions.

Burton have decided to bring a little of New Zealand to the event, hosting some of those thrill-seeking, adrenaline pumping sports the Kiwi’s love so much.

Co-sponsor of the event, Mini; have provided their Countryman 4×4 cars which the competitors will all drive in an event to test their skills behind the wheel in just one of the ‘off-snow’ challenges.

This event not only holds the prestige of a 5*TTR ranking, but is also a major event for those Olympic hopefuls on their route to Sochi next year.

With some of the biggest names in snowboarding history, there’s no doubt that this event will be even bigger than last year, as 2012’s podium placers will be back to defend or improve their score.

Last year, many riders pushed their own personal boundaries to pull off a triple cork and land it successfully.

However, the trick that so many riders won their titles with has now become the stock trick of many events. So where does this leave this year’s competitors? How will they reach the high scores this time?

Tune in to The Sporting Week to find out.

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Terrace View – Arsenal Clinch Fourth – By Billie Marshall

Arsenal endured a nervous last game of the season to qualify for the Champions League for a 16th consecutive season after a narrow victory over Newcastle at the Sports Direct Arena.

Heading into the final day needing to win to assure Arsenal the 4th place they wanted, Laurent Koscielny scored the only goal of the game to fend off any potential challenge from north London rivals Tottenham.

It was a nervous ending for the Gunners after Gareth Bale had struck late in the game at White Hart Lane but Arsenal held on to the relief of the travelling support.

Newcastle had the better of a first half starved of any real chances, but it was another second half performance that inspired Arsenal to victory. Koscielny smartly turned in a Theo Walcott free-kick to score the winner.

At a ground that has been somewhat unfortunate to Arsenal in the past, Newcastle started the better. Yanga Mbiwa escaped down the Arsenal right and pulled back the ball but Papiss Cisse hit his shot well over.

In a similar move at the other end, Kieran Gibbs raced cleared and cut inside of Debuchy, but his pull back was hit high and wide by Santi Cazorla from the edge of the area.

Both sides failed to create many chances in a first half dominated by each sides defensive capabilities, with long range shots from Hatem Ben Arfa and Yohan Cabaye comfortably wide.

Arsenal have the best record in the Premier League in the second half of games this season and it showed yet again. Walcott’s free-kick was headed goal bound by Lukas Podolski for Koscielny to smartly turn and volley the ball past goalkeeper Steve Harper from close range.

Newcastle continued to apply pressure but failed to break the Arsenal defence, capped by a fantastic performance from goal scorer Laurent Koscielny.

Ben Arfa again shot from long range, but when Tiote gave the ball to Theo Walcott in injury time the striker could only see his shot cannon back off the post and miss a chance to wrap up the game.

Despite more Newcastle pressure Arsenal held out to claim a vital victory which see’s Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger again achieve Champions League qualification.

There was a small chance of 3rd place or a potential play-off to decide 3rd place, but due to Chelsea’s victory over Everton, Arsenal will remain in 4th position.

It has been a season of up and down’s at Arsenal but their 7th 1-0 victory of the season has ended the season on a high and seen them once again finish above rivals Tottenham.

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Pit Stop – F1 is Back – By Lewis Brearley

This weekend marks the long awaited first grand prix of the Formula One season. Down in Melbourne, Australia, the lights will finally go out to kickstart the race for the 2013 World Championship.

Last year’s championship was one of the closest and most competitive in the history of the sport, with seven different winners in the first seven races – an all time record – which became eight when Kimi Raikkonen took victory later in the season.

This season looks set to be even closer, with rules remaining the same, performance gains become ever smaller as teams reach the very edge of the potential of the rules. Also Pirelli has constructed a new range of tyres with the aim of 2 and 3 stop races becoming the norm. This was in response to criticism from some fans after a run of one stop races later in the season. Testing has shown the new tyres to be very delicate but more predictable and less erratic than the early 2012 versions which will surely come as a relief to the teams.

Predictions currently fill the F1 news-sites and magazines, but the only prediction that you can be confident about is that no-one, not even the team’s technical directors, know who the contenders will be.

Actually such is the current development rate of F1 that even the form for the first race is unlikely to tell us who will be on form come the final part of the season at the long-haul Asian races.

The big three teams – Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren – are all looking strong even if McLaren do seem slightly concerned that their car is lacking consistency in its pace.

These look likely to be joined in the battle for the championship by Lotus, led by Kimi Raikkonen – revitalised after his two year break, and Mercedes; boosted by the addition of one of the biggest names in F1, Lewis Hamilton.

These five teams appear to have a slight performance advantage over the remaining six teams. Williams, Sauber and Force India all look strong with Toro Rosso having made significant gains over the winter after the arrival of a new technical chief, former Sauber man James Key.

The midfield teams lack a couple of tenths to the bigger teams, however good tyre understanding and management or a bit of luck could, in a field so close, see them achieving the occasional podium.

Lagging behind the group, Caterham and Marussia look set to continue their quest for a single point. At the moment only an attrition filled race would bring such a result, but the two teams should edge closer to the midfield throughout the season.

The form of the teams may decide who is challenging and who isn’t but this weekend it’s finally the turn of the drivers to take their place in the limelight.

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Terrace View – Liverpool Shock Spurs – By Billie Marshall

Liverpool won an enthralling match against Tottenham to keep alive any faint hopes of a late challenge for a top four position

A late Steven Gerrard penalty ended Tottenham’s 12 match unbeaten run and sees Liverpool rise to 6th place in the Premier League

Luis Suarez continued his recent good form with a toe-poke finish after a slick Liverpool move involving Jose Enrique and Phillipe Coutinho.

Tottenham turned the game around with two goals from an unlikely source. Jan Vertonghen first scored a precise header before firing the visitors in front at the start of the second half.

However, a series of poor mistake’s from Kyle Walker and Hugo Lloris allowed Stewart Downing to score and level the game.

Another mistake from Jermain Defoe resulted in Suarez winning the home side a late penalty in which Gerrard slotted home comfortably for a vital win for the reds.

Liverpool started quickly and when Benoit Assou-Ekotto lost possession, Daniel Sturridge fired high and wide in an early warning sign for the Londoners.

Liverpool were ahead shortly after. Coutinho and Enrique with some good link up play before Suarez poked the ball past Lloris for his 22nd Premier League goal of the season.

Tottenham responded well, and arguably should have drew level. Gareth Bale flicked the ball into the path of Sigurdsson who could only drag his shot wide.

Tottenham were level just before the break. Bale found space on the right and his cross allowed Vertonghen to head home

As the second half began, Vertonghen and Tottenham soon had their 2nd. Another cross from Bale bounced into the path of the Belgium to fire home and give the visitors the lead.

Bale continued to torment the Liverpool defence. He breezed past Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher before picking out Sigurdsson who could only hit his shot against the post.

Chances missed would come back to bite Spurs as Liverpool drew level. Kyle Walker played a horrendous back pass and Lloris failed to make contact giving Stewart Downing a simple finish.

With Liverpool seemingly gaining momentum, they were given the chance to go ahead late on from another Spurs mistake from Defoe.

Defoe hooked the ball back into the penalty box as Assou-Ekotto brought down Luis Suarez. Gerrard stepped up and confidently stroked the ball past Lloris to give Liverpool a late lead.

It was Liverpool’s first victory over a team higher in the table, and moves them above local rivals Everton in the hunt for European football next season.

 

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Bowled Over – England Clinch Series – By Luqman Liaqat

England sealed the series in the third and final one-day international with a five-wicket victory over New Zealand at Eden Park, Auckland.

Steve Finn led the way in brilliant fashion as he finished with figures of 3-27, as the hosts were dismissed for 185 in only 43.5 overs despite Brendon McCullum’s explosive innings of 79 off 68 balls.

Skipper Alaistair Cook started the chase in solid fashion, he scored 46 helping the tourists reach the target with relative ease.

Tim Southee’s impressive bowling reading (3-48) did little to interrupt the comfortable win.

The three lion’s new-bowling pair made immediate inroads into the Black Caps batting line-up during the first powerplay, leaving them reeling on 18-3. Finn had BJ Watling caught at second slip by Graeme Swann off his fourth ball and followed it up by removing Hamish Rutherford for just two. In between the Finn wickets, James Anderson had Kane Williamson (7) edging behind.

Ross Taylor and Grant Elliot made a mini recovery with a partnership of 53 for the fourth wicket. Both the batsmen fell in the space of nine deliveries during the 23rd and 25th overs, Elliot was run out after Taylor sent him back when the pair were searching for a second run to fine-leg and Taylor himself was caught behind by Jos Butler off Stuart Broad.

The Hot-spot replay showed no contact with the bat for Taylor wicket however, the third-umpire backed up his on-field colleague’s call as the New Zealanders slumped to 67-5.

Again it was left to McCullum to boost his team’s batting effort; in the batting powerplay he pulled Finn for two fours before flat-batting him for a maximum over long-off.

The lower order provided no support to McCullum, as Andre Ellis top-edged Broad (2-38) to fine-leg and Chris Woakes wrapped Kyle Mills on the pads in the next over leaving the score on 150-9.

McCullum hit two meaty sixes off Swann before holing out at deep mid-wicket to Anderson giving the spinner his second wicket meaning the hosts innings ended on 185-all out with 37 unused deliveries.

England encountered very few problems when chasing down the small target, openers Cook and Ian Bell put things firmly on track. Bell went for 24 when he mis-pulled Ellis at deep midwicket leaving England on 42-1 inside 7 overs.

Cook and Jonathan Trott’s partnership of 69 for the second wicket steadied the chase. In the 21st and 23rd overs Southee struck twice as England’s chase (112-3) took a slight wobble. Both batsmen were caught behind to loose-shots by the wicket-keeper.

But a stand of 56 between Eoin Morgan (39 off 24 balls) and Joe Root settled the issue, Morgan’s innings saw strong driving off Southee before lifting a huge six over mid-wicket and he also struck one off Nathan McCullum over long-on.

The dangerous left-hander Morgan lost his wicket swinging to Mills at fine-leg off Ellis and an over later Butler edged behind to Watling to give Southee his third wicket with only 16 runs left for victory (171-5).

Root again played a composed and mature innings of 28 from 56 balls as he took England home with 12.3 overs still remaining.

The win secures England first ODI series triumph in New Zealand since 1992 leaving them in strong stride ahead of the test series beginning in Dunedin on the March 6.

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