There could have been no better homecoming for Workington Comets star Craig Cook as he went unbeaten to win the Cumberland Open Championship in style.

Former Comet Charles Wright put in an impressive showing to finish runner-up and Ben Barker recovered spectacularly from a poor first heat to end up third, but it was only ever going to be the Cleator rider’s name on the trophy.

It was obvious some riders were shaking off the winter rust with jumpy starts and mechanical woes but the strong field produced an entertaining meeting to raise the curtain on Comets’ season.

Ulrich Ostergaard led the opening heat from the start but Nick Morris was snapping at his heels and, when Morris shunted him off on the third lap, the race was awarded. Nicolai Klindt took second and Matt Williamson, who started from 15 metres after destroying the tapes, was third.

Wright hit the front of the quartet of current and former Comets in heat two, but Cook drove past him with ease out of the second bend and roared to a winning return while Adam Roynon beat another former Comet, Tero Aarnio, into third place.

Ty Proctor stormed into the lead and looked good value for it for much of heat three but Thomas Jorgensen had something to say about it with a sweeping pass on the final lap to snatch the win ahead of his Comets team-mate and Barker.

Last season’s Comets captain Ricky Wells reminded fans what he can do around Derwent Park with a comfortable victory in heat four, while Mason Campton started strongly before pulling up after Josh Auty slipped past to allow Nathan Greaves into third.

Cook didn’t miss the start this time, bolting and making a quick getaway from the chasing Proctor and Auty in heat five.

Wells started well in heat six but Wright sling-shotted past, while Rob Shuttleworth battled hard but couldn’t make a move on Klindt.

A stylish ride from Barker made him first to the flag ahead of Ostergaard and Aarnio in heat seven.

New Workington signing Jorgensen then showed the pace that made him a long-term target for Comets’ promotion in heat eight, while Morris and Roynon kept him honest but Campton again wrestled with his bike.

All four riders were wheel to wheel in heat nine until Barker shot through the pack like a cork from a bottle to take the lead, winning ahead of Wright and Williamson while Campton pulled out again.

Heat 10 looked set to be one of the races of the night, with the two stand-out riders up to that point facing off.

But as Cook cleared off from the line, Jorgensen found himself at the back and, despite a comfortable pass on Greaves, he couldn’t make up the ground on second-placed Klindt.

Proctor made the start in heat 11 but Wells and Roynon drove either side of him and, although he pegged back his new team-mate, the Australian couldn’t close the gap to the Monarch.

A feisty battle between Auty and Morris saw the former come out on top in heat 12, with Shuttleworth following the pair after Aarnio pulled up.

Wells’ fine form continued in heat 13 with an impressive win ahead of Jorgensen, while Aarnio rounded Williamson on the final bend for third, much to the youngster’s frustration.

Roynon muscled his way to the front in heat 14 but couldn’t hold on despite a strong ride as a blistering run from Barker earned him the win, with Auty finishing third.

Cook made it four wins from four rides in heat 15 but Campton was the man to watch as he finally got going with a superb ride to keep Ostergaard at bay and get two points on the board.

Wright didn’t have the best of times in blue and white but he continued to impress on the night as he led from Morris and Proctor in heat 16 and the race was awarded that way when Greaves came off.

It was an all-Comets heat 17 as Greaves missed out and Roynon got a flying start to leave his team-mates Williamson and Shuttleworth behind.

Campton seemed to gain confidence from his previous good ride as he rocketed away from gate three to chase Proctor in heat 18 and, although Klindt gave him a run for his money, the Australian clung on to second.

The penultimate heat proved to be another good one for Wright as he dealt with the attention of Ostergaard and Auty, while Jorgensen, who had started the meeting so well, was hampered by his bike.

And the final race was one of the best as Comets’ current and previous No.1s Cook and Wells tussled, with the former dealing with Barker’s dogged pursuit to complete his maximum and take the title.

Meanwhile, Kyle Bickley went unbeaten in four youth demonstration races to give Comets fans a glimpse of what to expect next season.

Match stats

1. Matt Williamson – 1, 0, 1, 0, 2 = 4

2. Nicolai Klindt – 2, 1, 2, 0, 1 = 6

3. Ulrich Ostergaard – 3, 2, 0, 1, 2 = 8

4. Nick Morris – X, 2, 2, 2, 0 = 6

5. Craig Cook – 3, 3, 3, 3, 3 = 15

6. Charles Wright – 2, 3, 2, 3, 3 = 13

7. Tero Aarnio – 0, 1, R, 1, 0 = 2

8. Adam Roynon – 1, 1, 1, 2, 3 = 8

9. Ty Proctor – 2, 2, 2, 1, 3 = 10

10. Rob Shuttleworth – 0, 0, 1, 0, 1 = 2

11. Ben Barker – 1, 3, 3, 3, 2 = 12

12. Thomas Jorgensen – 3, 3, 1, 2, R = 9

13. Josh Auty – 2, 1, 3, 1, 1 = 8

14. Ricky Wells – 3, 2, 3, 3, 1 = 12

15. Nathan Greaves – 1, 0, 0, X, 0 = 1

16. Mason Campton – R, R, R, 2, 2 = 4

HEAT 1 – Ostergaard (Aw.), Klindt, Williamson (15m), Morris (Ex.)

HEAT 2 – Cook (62.6), Wright, Roynon, Aarnio

HEAT 3 – Jorgensen (64.2), Proctor, Barker, Shuttleworth

HEAT 4 – Wells (65), Auty, Greaves, Campton (Ret.)

HEAT 5 – Cook (62.9), Proctor, Auty, Williamson

HEAT 6 – Wright (64.8), Wells, Klindt, Shuttleworth

HEAT 7 – Barker (65.4), Ostergaard, Aarnio, Greaves

HEAT 8 – Jorgensen (65.7), Morris, Roynon, Campton (Ret.)

HEAT 9 – Barker (64.9), Wright, Williamson, Campton (Ret.)

HEAT 10 – Cook (64.2), Klindt, Jorgensen, Greaves

HEAT 11 – Wells (66.3), Proctor, Roynon, Ostergaard

HEAT 12 – Auty (66.4), Morris, Shuttleworth, Aarnio

HEAT 13 – Wells (66), Jorgensen, Aarnio, Williamson

HEAT 14 – Barker (67.2), Roynon, Auty, Klindt

HEAT 15 – Cook (66.4), Campton, Ostergaard, Shuttleworth

HEAT 16 – Wright (Aw.), Morris, Proctor, Greaves (Ex.)

HEAT 17 – Roynon (67), Williamson, Shuttleworth, Greaves

HEAT 18 – Proctor (67.2), Campton, Klindt, Aarnio

HEAT 19 – Wright (67), Ostergaard, Auty, Jorgensen (Ret.)

HEAT 20 – Cook (65.7), Barker, Wells, Morris