Rebels brought back down to earth

PUBLISHED: 10:31 10 July 2006 | UPDATED: 09:35 24 May 2010

AFTER the weekend euphoria of cruising into the Knockout Cup semi-final with a dominant away win at Mildenhall, the Somerset Mike Manning Audio Rebels were brought back to earth with a bump with their visit to Premier League leaders, King's Lynn

AFTER the weekend euphoria of cruising into the Knockout Cup semi-final with a dominant away win at Mildenhall, the Somerset Mike Manning Audio Rebels were brought back to earth with a bump with their visit to Premier League leaders, King's Lynn. With Lee Smart coming in at reserve for the injured Simon Walker, the meeting started well for the Rebels as Magnus Zetterstrom and Emil Kramer combined to take a 4-2 heat advantage, Zetterstrom making light work of the victory. This opening heat, however, was to be a false dawn as the home riders took the Rebels apart, recording four maximum 5-1 heat wins in the next six heats, the only comfort for the small band of travelling Somerset fans being another 4-2 for the Zetterstrom-Kramer combination in Heat 5. Somerset team manager Mick Bell was forced to utilise the double point tactical move in Heat 8 with Emil Kramer donning the black and white helmet colour.The move was a partial success as Kramer forced his way into second place behind the Stars' Number 2, Troy Batchelor, and with Ben Barker taking a gutsy third place, the Rebels clawed back a further two points to leave themselves 12 points down, and level for the aggregate bonus point, at the half way stage.Any remote hopes the Rebels might had of mounting a comeback to take victory on the night were extinguished as the home side ran in two further maximum heat wins in the next two heats to put them in an unassailable lead and in pole position to clinch the bonus point. Zetterstrom made good use of his tactical ride nomination in Heat 11 to record his third straight heat win of the night, and brought Somerset back in with a chance of at least taking the bonus point, but three shared heats in the last four races ensured that the Stars took all three points on offer from the meeting and leaving the Rebels on the wrong end of a 17-point defeat.The final margin of defeat would have been a lot worse if had not been for the superb form of Magnus Zetterstrom, who went through his five rides unbeaten, but apart from compatriot Emil Kramer and to a lesser extent reserve Ben Barker, who was always in the thick of the action, Zorro received little or no back-up from the rest of the team to put Somerset in with any chance of coming away from Norfolk with any league points.Just two weeks after knocking Mildenhall out of the Premier League Knockout Cup, the Fen Tigers are back at the Oak Tree Arena this evening, this time with Premier League points at stake. Despite winning both of the previous home meetings, Somerset have been run close on both occasions by their Norfolk rivals, and although the Rebels recorded a great away win at West Row last month to progress into the cup semi-final, they will be looking not only for victory on the night, but a good lead to take to Mildenhall in order to be in chance of the bonus point.Rebel star Ben Barker has been nominated as July's official challenge for the Conference League Bronze Helmet match race title. Riding for the Stoke Spitfires in the Conference League, 18-year-old Barker challenged the current holder of the Bronze Helmet, Scunthorpe's Wayne Carter for the title at Stoke's Loomer Road.WITH no meeting scheduled for the Rebels, it was the chance for the second half riders seen at the Oak Tree Arena to grab the limelight in this challenge match against a virtually full-strength Newport Mavericks side.What followed was an entertaining meeting full of good racing, but which had the shine taken off it as a result of a coming together between the Junior Rebels Matt Bates and Newport's Ezergalis, which resulted in Ezergalis being taken to hospital suffering from concussion.Ezergalis and Mason apart, the Mavericks had little to offer against a competent and exciting looking Somerset side, for whom Jordan Frampton and Cory Gathacole completed a paid maximum which was the basis for the Junior Rebels' victory.Gathacole, cousin of Leigh Adams, and Frampton won heats in times that would have not disgraced a Premier League match, and both looked good prospects for the future.Gathacole was untroubled in recording his maximum, Frampton, on the other hand had to rely on Newport's Ezergalis making a mistake on the final lap of the opening heat, when under pressure from Frampton, the Australian fell when leading the race. Having established a 10-point lead after the opening four heats, Ezergalis and Webster combined to record an 8-1 heat win the bring the Mavericks to within three points of the home side, but this was to be a false dawn for the visitors as the Junior Rebels pulled away again, and although Mason took another tactical win in Heat 9, the result was almost beyond doubt by then. Despite the seemingly one-sided score line, the crowd were treated to some excellent and spirited racing by the youngsters, showing that the potential future of British speedway is in good hands, but their enthusiasm was tempered somewhat by an horrendous looking accident in Heat 11.Coming out of the fourth bend, Bates seemed to pick up some extra drive and lifted. Losing control of his machine, the bike careered into Ezergalis, the unfortunate Maverick being powered into the fence.After a lengthy delay, the young Aussie was taken to the local hospital suffering from concussion, but luckily reports appear to indicate there was no further injury.Without their Number 1, the Mavericks had no answer to the Junior Rebels in the final four heats, but although the Junior Rebels ran out comfortable winners, it was the development of these junior riders and the future of British speedway that really won through.

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