Exciting racing at the Arena
SPEEDWAY - Somerset 47 Scunthorpe 43 - THE fans at the Oak Tree Arena cannot say they do not get value for money as another superb meeting was served up in which both teams played their part.
THE fans at the Oak Tree Arena cannot say they do not get value for money as another superb meeting was served up in which both teams played their part.
In a titanic struggle, the visitors held the initial advantage, only for the Rebels to hit back at the half-way stage but from being on their way to collecting all three points, the Scorpions certainly had a final sting in their tail.
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After conceding 5-1s to the opposition in the opening heat of each of their last three matches, it was something of a moral victory that the Rebels shared the spoils in Heat 1, but then disaster struck the home side in Heat 2, which just about capped what had been a traumatic last seven days.
Somerset's Ritchie Hawkins sped off into an early lead, with team-mate Tommy Allen holding third place. Allen came to grief and it was announced he had suffered possible knee ligament damage and had to withdraw from the meeting..
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Scunthorpe took the lead in the match in Heat 3, ex-Rebel Justin Sedgmen coming back to haunt Somerset as a guest rider to take the race victory.
Despite an excellent victory for Somerset's Sam Masters over Scunthorpe number 1, David Howe in Heat 5, the Scorpions maintained their slender two-point lead, which was doubled after the following race, one in which Shane Parker was the Rebels' sole representative as team managers Steve Bishop and Garry May juggled their resources to cope being a rider down.
Heats 7 and 8 proved to be the turning point for Somerset, as Gathercole and Hawkins combined for successive maximum heat wins to turn a four-point deficit into a four-point lead.
As the meeting entered its final third, Somerset had stretched their lead to six points, which became eight after Heat 13 as man of the match Gathercole took two more race victories to bring his tally of wins to four, and with the penultimate heat being drawn, the riders came to the tapes with the home side holding a healthy eight-point lead.
In the final race, Scunthorpe's Sedgmen and Magnus Karlsson sped from the tapes to leave the Somerset pairing of Gathercole and Parker in their wake, collected two league points with one point going the way of the Scorpions.
Kings Lynn 53
THE Rebels travelled to the Norfolk Arena with nothing but pride to play for in their final Premier Trophy match of the season, whereas King's Lynn needed all three points if they were to keep their hopes alive of qualification through to the semi-final stages.
Both teams went into the match short-handed, King's Lynn missing their number 1, Tomas Topinka, and the newly crowned British Under-21 champion Joe Haines to injury, the Stars bringing Wolverhampton's Ty Proctor as a guest replacement for Topinka and operated rider replacement for the absent Haines.
Somerset, while missing Steve Boxall and Brent Werner, Rye House's Jordan Frampton guested for Boxall and rider replacement was used as cover for Werner.
The home side raced into an eight-point lead after the first four heats, but Somerset managed to get themselves back into the match in Heat 5 when Shane Parker became their first race winner of the night, with Frampton picking up a point for third place, it cut the Stars lead to six points.
The Rebels joy was short-lived, as King's Lynn hit back with a maximum in Heat 6, and followed that up with a 4-2 heat win a race later to give them a 12- point cushion as the meeting reached its halfway stage.
In an astute managerial move, Somerset elected to put Frampton out on a double point tactical ride in Heat 8, and the move almost worked as he sped from the tapes to head home the hitherto unbeaten Doolan, and with Hawkins finishing in third ahead of Darren Mallet, the resultant 7-2 heat advantage to the Rebels brought them right back in the match, trailing now by just seven points, 29-22.
Again King's Lynn hit back with another maximum heat win, but by now Somerset were throwing everything at the Stars, and with Frampton and Sam Masters fully dialled into the conditions, the Rebels were certainly not going to lie down and let King's Lynn have everything their own way.
Masters took a superb win over Proctor in Heat 10 and with Frampton defeating Doolan for a second time in the following race, the home fans looked to be in for a nail-biting finale as they sought to win the match by seven points or more in order to claim the maximum three group points.
Home nerves were settled when Wortmann and Smith combined for a 5-1 win in Heat 12, and with the Stars 15 points to the good with just two heats to go, they looked home and dry.
Sam Masters who was riding the Norfolk Arena for the first time, came into the penultimate heat as the rider replacement while using it as a double point tactical ride.
Coming off Gate 1, which had given no help to the riders all night, Masters sped from the tapes, and was joined up front by Ritchie Hawkins, and the maximum 8-1 heat win for the Rebels was on the cards.
And so it was for three and threequarter laps the Somerset duo held sway, but with the finishing line in sight, Hawkins made a slight error as he came off the final bend that allowed Ekl�f to nip through into second place. However, the 7-2 heat win to Somerset meant that a 5-1 to the Rebels in the final heat would scupper any hopes King's Lynn had of possibly making it through to the semi-final stages of this year's Premier Trophy.
With Frampton making another lightening start and Shane Parker in third place, and Parker started to put pressure on Ty Proctor second.
Suddenly, Proctor got out of shape and Parker had to take evasive action, but in doing so it virtually ended any interest the Somerset captain had in the race, and so with the final heat ending with a share of the spoils, it gave King's Lynn victory by 10 points.
The Somerset Dickies Rebels have signed Czech Republic rider Lubos Tomicek to replace Steve Boxall who sensationally quit the sport just hours before Somerset's Premier Trophy match against Rye House.
Tomicek (24) will base himself in the UK and joins Somerset on an 8.96 average, which will see him ride in the Number 1 race-jacket for the Rebels.
With Tomicek's place in the Somerset team now confirmed, the Rebels are expected to announce a further new signing, this time as replacement for Brent Werner, within the next few days.