Future secure for Rebels...

AFTER the announcement that the current promoter, Dave Pavitt, could not continue at Somerset Rebels due to financial reasons, the long-term future of Somerset speedway was quickly secured after two frantic hours.

AFTER the announcement that the current promoter, Dave Pavitt, could not continue at Somerset Rebels due to financial reasons, the long-term future of Somerset speedway was quickly secured after two frantic hours.

Landlord Bill Hancock's daughter Debbie will take over as promoter at the club with the approval of the BSPA, and ex-Rebel rider Steve Bishop will take over the position of team manager.

The long-term future of the club has been secured by a consortium of well established local businessmen, including Oak Tree Arena landlord Bill Hancock.

A spokesman for the consortium stated that all those involved have been Rebel supporters for a number of years, and had no qualms in supporting Bill with his long-term development plans and vision for Somerset speedway.

The new management team did not have time to rest before having to put on its first home meeting against Rye House some six hours later.

The Oak Tree Arena, the home of Somerset speedway has, in the last 10 years, grown from a speedway track in a farmer's field to what is widely regarded as one of the best purpose-built speedway arenas in the country, being voted best prepared track by the Speedway Riders' Association at the end of last season.

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Only last week saw further investment of over �20,000 on tarmacking the car park roadways and internal arena walkways, and the commissioning of architects to draw up plans for a proposed new covered seated stand.

Somerset Sharp Rebels 46

Rye House Rockets 44

WITH Tom Brown already sidelined with a broken collarbone, the Somerset Rebels were left reeling after eleventh hour injuries ruled out Nick Simmons and Brendan Johnson.

The riders were taking part in the Isle of Wight's National league fixture on Thursday evening and both had to be transported to hospital following separate incidents. Simmons was released from hospital on Friday, but Johnson was airlifted to Southampton General Hospital with swellings on his brain, and was put into an induced coma to allow the injury to heal. The thoughts of everyone connected with Somerset Speedway are with Brendan and his family at this time. Ben Hopwood and Andy Braithwaite were brought in at a late stage.

The Rebels looked to be in for a tough night as the Rye House Silver Ski Rockets arrived with a full side. Under the circumstance the match could not have started better for the home side as they registered a 5-1 maximum in Heat 1, Steve Johnston and Simon Walker taking the honours.

The Rockets tracked a strong reserve pairing in Tommy Allen, and Andrew Silver, and took a 5-1 against Ben Hopwood and Andy Braithwaite, who took a heavy fall and had to withdraw from the meeting.

The next two heats were shared, with Emil Kramer taking Heat 3 and Justin Sedgmen last. Heat 4 saw Cory Gathercole take the win with Ben Hopwood bringing up the rear.

In the next two heats the sides swapped 5-1s to keep the score even. First blood went to the Rebels as Justin Sedgmen and Emil Kramer took the honours. The Rockets pulled of a shock result in Heat 6 to level the match again, Linus Sundstr�m and Tommy Allen overcoming Steve Johnston.

The depleted Rebels held off the Rockets, sharing the next three heats. Cory Gathercole took Heat 7 over Chris Neath and Simon Walker won Heat 8 with Ben Hopwood at the back. In Heat 9, Emil Kramer took the win with Justin Sedgmen in third.

The Rebels finally broke the deadlock in Heat 10, with skipper Steve Johnston and Simon Walker taking maximum points to open up a lead. After the race Walker pulled up with an injury and had to withdraw from the meeting, putting his participation in the return leg in doubt.

Rye House levelled the match in a re-run of Heat 11, Cory Gathercole falling in the first attempt. He was excluded from the rerun, leaving Allen and Mear with an easy 5-1 over Ben Hopwood.

Heat 12 was won in a tight battle by Tommy Allen over Justin Sedgmen with Luke Bowen taking third from Ben Hopwood and in Heat 13 the Rebels recorded a 5-1, with Steve Johnston and Cory Gathercole taking the honours to give them a vital two-point lead going into the final two heats.

In Heat 14 the Rockets again levelled the scores with a 4-2 heat win, Tommy Allen heading Emil Kramer with Chris Neath in third with just the nominated heat to run.

Emil Kramer was back out to accompany Steve Johnston against Linus Sundstr�m and Chris Neath. Neath's machine expired on the line and he eventually retired on the final lap, giving the Rebels a full house.

A special mention for Ben Hopwood who, despite only scoring two points, gave a gutsy battling display. He rode his socks off all night, giving some much more experienced riders a hard time, with a performance which won him the rider of the night award.

Rye House Rockets 57

Somerset Sharp Rebels 35

THE Rebels travelled to Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, for the return fixture with the Rye House Rockets with just four regular riders to carry the burden.

The Rebels did really well to hold the Rockets in the early stages, but they might have been forgiven for thinking that luck had deserted them when Steve Johnston took a heavy looking fall in Heat 1 when he collided with Robert Mear.

Mear, who was down for some time, was excluded from the re-run leaving Linus Sundstr�m to take on Steve Johnston and win.

Heat 2 was taken by Andrew Silver with Matthew Wright and Ben Hopwood filling the minor placings. The Rebels shared the next two heats with good wins from Emil Kramer in Heat 3 with Justin Sedgmen in third.

Cory Gathercole beat Andrew Silver in Heat 4 with Matthew Wright in third. Steve Johnston added a third Somerset win in Heat 5 and gave the Rebels their only heat advantage of the evening over Chris Neath and Luke Bowen for a 4-2 advantage.

The Rockets hit back immediately with a 4-2 of their own, as Linus Sundstr�m got the better of Cory Gathercole, with Robert Mear in third. Heat 7 was also shared, Rockets' Joe Haines winning from Emil Kramer and Justin Sedgmen. Rockets' Tommy Allen had to withdraw from the meeting with a broken finger.

From here on in to the end the Rockets stamped their authority on the match and, despite 100 per cent effort, the under-strength Rebels could not get to grips with the Rockets' powerful home form. Heats 8 and 9 went to the home side, as they recorded maximums in each.

Two shared heats followed, maintaining the Rockets 12-point lead. In a re-run of Heat 10, Emil Kramer took the win with Sundstr�m in second and Rob Mear in third.

Although Joe Haines took Heat 12, the points were shared 4-4 as second placed Steve Johnston took a tactical ride. Andrew Silver finished third and Ben Hopwood fourth.

Justin Sedgmen made a great start in Heat 12, but could not capitalise, Andrew Silver taking the heat for the Rockets' fourth 5-1 of the night. In Heat 13, Robert Mear headed Cory Gathercole with Steve Johnston in third to share the points.

With a 15-point lead, the Rockets had virtually sealed the three points, but the Rebels still had a mathematical chance of taking a valuable away point. To that end Steve Bishop used his second tactical ride, and sent out Emil Kramer in the Black and White.

In the event the Rockets pair just got the better start, and blocked out Kramer at the first turn. Kramer's challenge ended when he fell on the second turn, giving the Rockets another 5-1.

The nominated heat saw Sundstr�m and Neath take on Emil Kramer and Cory Gathercole. The race turned out to be a battle of the Swedes, with Sundstr�m taking the honours over Kramer with Chris Neath in third.

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