Mixed fortunes for Rebels

THE Somerset Rebels travelled to Birmingham with the Brummies having just hit a rich vein of form.

THE Somerset Rebels travelled to Birmingham with the Brummies having just hit a rich vein of form, picking up two away victories in as many days over the weekend, and being the first team to defeat Rye House on their own track in 65 matches, and then they followed that up by taking maximum points at Newport the following day.

Birmingham hit Somerset hard from the start and after just four heats had established a 10-point lead.

Somerset team manager Steve Bishop wasted no time in making a double point tactical move, sending skipper Steve Johnston out in the black and white helmet colour in Heat 5. Johno did everything that was expected of him in taking the race win, and although his partner Simon Walker failed to get among the points, the Rebels had cut the deficit to seven.

Just two heats later that deficit was down to a single point as a combination of tenacious riding and luck saw Somerset get themselves right back in the match.


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Heat 6 saw Somerset's Cory Gathercole take the race with Somerset guest Ben Taylor collecting a gift point for third.

Somerset's fortunes improved further in the following heat as,

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at the second time of asking, Birmingham's Jay Herne was excluded for falling in the first

running. Emil Kramer won with Justin Sedgmen in second for a 5-1.

The Brummies hit back immediately with a 5-1 of their own in Heat 8 to take their lead back to five points before Somerset had another slice of fortune in Heat 9 when Ludvig Lindgren, holding a comfortable third place, lost

control of his bike as he came off the final bend, allowing Ben Taylor to pick up third place to give Somerset a share of the spoils.

Perhaps sensing that this might just be their night, the Rebels picked up their second maximum heat win of the night in Heat 10, Emil Kramer winning with Justin Sedgmen in second to bring them to within a point of the hosts.

Just 60 seconds later Somerset were in front, Johnston and Walker racing to a heat advantage to take the Rebels into a slender one-point lead.

Again, Birmingham hit back, Ludvig Lindgren holding off Sedgmen with Smart picking up the point for third place for the Brummies.

In Heat 13, Steve Johnston forced his way to the front, but in trying to manoeuvre to deal with a challenge by Jason Lyons, he inadvertently blocked the path of Cory Gathercole, who had moved into second. With no alternative but to shut off power, the Birmingham duo eased ahead of Gathercole and instead of a potential maximum heat win for the Rebels, they went into the final two heats still a point in arrears.

Birmingham secured the meeting victory with a maximum 5-1 heat win in the penultimate race, and in the final heat, Lindgren just got the better of the hitherto unbeaten Johnston with Sweetman beating Gathercole for third as Birmingham won by seven points.

Somerset Rebels 52 Workington Comets 41

AFTER narrowly missing out on another valuable away point at Birmingham, the Rebels looked to get their play-off quest back on track when they entertained the Workington Thomas Armstrong Ltd Comets at the Oak Tree Arena.

Both sides were injury depleted, with the Rebels tracking Mark Baseby in place of broken collarbone victim Tom Brown, and the Comets brought in former Rebel Jay Herne to cover for John Branney.

Steve Johnston won Heat 1 with Workington's Kevin Doolan in second and Phil Morris in third for a share of the points.

Mark Baseby's first race in Rebels colours went pretty well for both him and the team as he won with Nick Simmons in second for a full house in Heat 2.

Emil Kramer and Justin Sedgmen gave the Rebels another full house in Heat 3.

Heat 4 saw the Comets blast from the gate, Andre Compton and Jay Herne claiming a full house. The Rebels hit back in Heat 5, as Justin Sedgmen and Emil Kramer pulled clear to a bloodless maximum.

The Rebels hammered home another full house in Heat 6, Simon Walker and Steve Johnston dominating. In the first running of Heat 7, Comets' Richard Lawson collided with Mark Baseby and had to be taken to hospital. All at Somerset Speedway wish him well. Comets team manager Ian Thomas sent out Adrian Rymel on a tactical ride with Jay Herne against Cory Gathercole with Baseby excluded. The Comets claimed a 7-2 heat advantage to narrow the lead.

The next two heats were shared to leave the Comets still in the match at the half-way stage. Simon Walker winning Nick Simmons in third. Heat 9 proved to be a cracker of a race, despite the points being shared. Justin Sedgmen took the win with Emil Kramer in third.

Over the next two heats the Rebels put their foot on the accelerator and pulled out a nine-point lead with two more heat advantages. Heat 10 went to Steve Johnston with Simon Walker in second, and in Heat 11 Cory Gathercole won with Mark Baseby in third.

Adrian Rymel won Heat 12 for the Comets with Justin Sedgmen second and Nick Simmons in third

Heat 13 was shared, Steve Johnston taking the win, but Cory Gathercole crashed out when in second spot.

With the scores now at 45-36 the Comets were still in with a chance of taking a valuable away point back to Derwent Park, but any lingering thought of that were quickly consigned to the dustbin as the Rebels smashed in their fourth maximum heat advantage of the night in Heat 14. Nick Simmons and Emil Kramer taking the honours.

With the match, and any away points now well beyond the reach of the Comets, the nominated heat went to the visitors 4-2. Kevin Doolan heading Emil Kramer with Rymel in third. The final score was 52-41, with the Rebels taking all three points on offer.

Seventeen-year-old Justin Sedgmen was given the Rider of the Night award for the second week running. Another positive for the Rebels fans, and the team, was the return of Steve Bishop as team manager and it was good to see Ian Thomas getting back into the swing of things after his recent illness.

On Friday, the Rebels are home to Rye House in the Premier League, tapes up 7.30pm, and the following night are away to Rye House in the return fixture.

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