Rebels complete a double over Newport
PUBLISHED: 11:49 24 April 2006 | UPDATED: 09:10 24 May 2010
A LARGE Good Friday crowd were treated to a thoroughly entertaining Premier Trophy clash in which the visitors from Newport played their full part
A LARGE Good Friday crowd were treated to a thoroughly entertaining Premier Trophy clash in which the visitors from Newport played their full part. However, things could have been a lot worse for the Wasps as twice in the first three heats, the Rebels, through Glenn Phillips and Paul Fry in Heats 1 and 3, suffered engine failures while on clear 5-1 heat victories that could have left the home side 15-3 up after those opening races.Undeterred, Somerset gradually eked out a 10-point advantage by the half way stage of the match, during which time Newport's only heat winner came courtesy of Craig Watson in Heat 4. A 5-1 to the Rebels in Heat 8, left the Wasps 14 points in arrears and in an attempt to stem the tide, Newport team manager Tim Stone sent Watson out on a tactical ride in Heat 9, but to no real advantage as Stephan Katt flew from the tapes to hold the advantage and fend off Watson's challenge. By now the meeting was all but beyond Newport's grasp, and all that was left was for them to try and restrict any advantage the Rebels would be taking to the Hayley Stadium in Sunday's return match, their hopes being raised when Carl Wilkinson took the tactical ride in Heat 12 and became the only visitor to lower Katt's colours in, not only taking the race victory, but also giving the Wasps their first heat advantage of the night.The fans were treated to an Oak Tree Arena classic in Heat 13 as the Newport duo of Collins and Watson made the better start to lead around the first bend, only for Zetterstrom to get back on terms by the fourth bend and cut underneath both of them to take the lead. Collins turned back the years to produce a stunning move to take Zetterstrom through the narrowest of gaps on the back straight, scraping the fence in the process, and going on to take a well deserved win. This was racing of the highest quality that even had Zorro applauding Collins in appreciation after the riders had taken the chequered flag. With Watson holding off Cunningham for third place, Newport had closed the gap to nine points, but if the home fans had any concerns about the final outcome, these were soon put to rest as Simon Walker powered away to a well deserved victory in the penultimate heat, and with Fry claiming third place, albeit on borrowed machinery such were his bike problems on the night, the match points were safe in the Somerset locker.To round off the night, the fans saw another exciting contest in Heat 15 as Collins and Watson rode an aggressive first bend to try and block Zetterstrom's outside swoop. While Part 1 of the plan initially worked, it allowed Katt to cut back on the inside to take the lead, and not to be outdone, Zetterstrom kept the power to join his team-mate up front and round the evening off with a maximum heat advantage, and a 15-point lead to defend in the return fixture.The Rebels secured their first bonus point of this season's Premier Trophy in the return match at Newport, but were unable to take all three points on offer by claiming the away victory as well. At one point, it did appear that the bonus point might also be winging its way over the Severn Bridge, the Rebels defending a 15-point advantage from Friday's home match, as by Heat 10 the Wasps had clawed back all but one of those points, but a superb ride by Rebel skipper Magnus Zetterstrom while on a double point tactical ride, and his partner, Glen Phillips, in Heat 11 calmed the nerves of the large travelling band of Somerset fans.On quite a dusty track, the Rebels were generally second to their hosts in getting away from the starts, which was all important as opportunities to pass were at a premium. The impressive Neil Collins-Chris Schramm combination secured two maximum heat victories in the opening six heats, a feat also achieved by Carl Wilkinson and Tony Atkin for the Wasps in Heat 3. By the halfway stage, things were looking bleak for the Rebels as they were now 12 points in arrears, and while the match victory was now looking beyond them, the all important bonus point was also slipping from their grasp.However, the Rebels are made of stern stuff, and with Glenn Cunningham steadying the ship with a fine second place tactical ride in Heat 9 to ensure a share of the points, the stage was set for Zetterstrom and Phillips in Heat 11 to turn the tide as far as the bonus point was concerned and a maximum tactical ride 8-1 heat advantage over home favourite, and previously unbeaten, Craig Watson, left the Rebels management breathing a sigh of relief.Two shared heats and a last heat race advantage in the final four races to Somerset left Newport to take the match spoils by seven points, but by claiming the aggregate bonus point, it left the Rebels still in with a fighting chance of progressing through as one of the top two teams from their group into the semi-finals of the Premier Trophy.In the second half of the meeting the Somerset Junior Rebels beat the Newport Mavericks in the second leg of the BCA Junior Challenge, 17-19, to take the overall victory by 31 points to the Mavericks 29. Star of the Junior Rebels team was Jordan Frampton who scored 10 points from his four starts, winning his third race in a time that was only half a second slower than the winning time in Heat 2 of the main event.SOMERSET Rebel Ben Barker headed the list of qualifiers at Rye House for Wednesday's British Under-21 Championship to be held at King's Lynn. With only the first three from each of the qualifying meetings assured of progressing through to the final, Barker was up against it as the field of 16 included five riders from Rye House.Despite this, 18-year-old Barker came through his five rides, dropping only one point to Rye's Steve Boxall in his third race, and was tied for first place with another of the home riders, Luke Bowen, whom Barker had already beaten when the pair met in Heat 5. In a run-off for first place on the night, Barker repeated his heat victory over Bowen, and can now look forward to taking his place in the final.