Rebels tame Fen Tigers
PUBLISHED: 12:32 10 April 2006 | UPDATED: 09:06 24 May 2010
WITH just 30 minutes to go before the tapes were due to rise on the first race between the Somerset Mike Manning Audio
Rebels 50 Tigers 43WITH just 30 minutes to go before the tapes were due to rise on the first race between the Somerset Mike Manning Audio Rebels and Mildenhall ASL Freight Fen Tigers, and with rain still falling, it looked as though the weather would be the only winner. Just as it looked likely that the only action would be at the car park exit, the rain stopped, and the track staff set about clearing the water with such gusto that the meeting went ahead with the minimum of delay.Again the Rebels took to the track with only six riders, following Jamie Smith's unfortunate accident. With the signing of Stephan Katt, the team should have been back to full strength, but for Smith's accident, so it looked as though a tough match was on the cards.The match started badly for the Fen Tigers, with top man Jason Lyons being excluded for touching the tapes, his place being taken by Jon Armstrong. The Rebels seized the initiative straight away, with skipper Magnus Zetterstrom taking the opening heat, but not before Armstrong had led him to the fourth bend. Stephan Katt, making his home debut, took the minor placing for a 4-2 advantage.In the next three heats the home side plundered a 10-point lead on the wet track, with good wins by Simon Walker, in the reserves heat, who also followed Paul Fry home in Heat 3 for a 5-1, and Glenn Cunningham, who accounted for the useful Daniel King in Heat 4, after a re-start following movement at the tapes.With the visitors now trailing 17-7, it was time to wheel out Jason Lyons, wearing the black and white tactical colours. At the start Lyons got the better of a slow start by Paul Fry, and squeezed him out at the first turn, but no one told Simon Walker, and ex-Rebel Jason King how the script was supposed to go, as they blasted off in front. Lyons was soon on terms, however, and passed both in one move on the back straight, leaving them to fight for second spot, which eventually went to Walker, in as Rider Replacement.With the gap now down to five points, the Rebels came roaring back with a 5-1 in the next heat, when Magnus Zetterstrom and Stephan Katt shot from the tapes to lead at the first turn. Daniel King gave chase, but could make no impression on the home pairing, as they won unchallenged. Heat 7 was shared, as Glenn Cunningham got the better of a brief tussle with James Brundle, at the first bend. Simon Walker, already having his fourth ride of a busy night, challenged Shaun Tacey at the fourth turn, but the experienced Fen Tigers skipper held him off, and protected his young partner for the remainder of the race.With the track drying out, the visitors started to claw their way back into the meeting, and set about reducing the nine-point deficit to such effect that they provided the winner of the next five heats, and the Rebels did not enjoy another heat advantage until one heat after that.The Mildenhall outfit could consider themselves unlucky in Heat 8, a heat that often sees a team throw in a tactical to reduce arrears. They sent out Jason King, returning to the Oak Tree Arena for the first time since becoming a victim of the points limit last summer, to attempt to score double points. He never got past the tapes, as his machine burst into flames just as the green light came on. He was left frantically waving to his crew for help, as the tapes rose, and with the race stopped while his bike was removed, he was excluded for not being under power when the race was stopped. Jon Armstrong, in for Barry Burchatt, won the re-run after a quick start alongside Stephan Katt. Katt harried the Mancunian all the way, and was closing him down at the line, with Ben Barker in third.Heat 9 saw a terrific opening two laps as Paul Fry and Daniel King slugged it out side by side and close to the fence. For the first lap King tried to go round the outside of Fry, who held his line. King cut back inside of the last turn, and now he was the one holding Fry out wide, and with a neat move squeezed him out on the third turn, his partner Jon Armstrong took the minor honours for 4-2 advantage. It was a fantastic battle, with both riders giving the other room to operate, and the warm handshakes after the race showed the respect they had for each other. Heat 10 saw Magnus Zetterstrom suffer his only defeat of the night, as Shaun Tacey flew from the gates. Zorro, try as he might, could not claw back the advantage, and had to be content with second, with Katt following home in third.The next heat was also shared, but not before Simon Walker had give Jason Lyons a scare, by flying from the tapes, and leading the experienced Australian for the first lap. Lyons pulled ahead off the last bend, and Glenn Cunningham followed him two bends later. Cunningham then made steady progress around the outside, and was a fast closing second, by half a bike length, at the line.Ben Barker made a tremendous start in the next, leading away from Armstrong, and Tacey, with Katt a close up fourth. Armstrong chased the young Cornishman, and slid past him off the fourth bend. Katt harried Tacey for third, until Tacey cleverly denied him room around the outside on Lap 3, leaving the German in last place. Tracey then set off after Barker, passing him on the back straight of the final lap. The 5-1 advantage brought the arrears down to just three points.The eagerly awaited Heat 13 clash, between the top four riders, was taken by Magnus Zetterstrom to give the Rebels their first heat win since Heat 7. Daniel King was fast away, only to be passed by Zorro in the first turn, and then by his partner over the next lap. Lyons could not get on terms with Zetterstrom, meanwhile Glenn Cunningham tried in vain to pass King, and the heat was shared, with Zorro returning the fastest time of the night, 61.18.Paul Fry got back to winning ways in the next, getting the better of the opening exchanges with Jon Armstrong. Simon Walker took third spot to give the Rebels their first heat advantage since Heat 6. Walker and Armstrong were completing busy nights, each talking his seventh ride in this heat.The nominated riders for Heat 15 were a repeat of Heat 13. The result was almost identical, the only difference being third spot, which this time went to Cunningham. Zorro made a blinding start, but almost threw it away as he lifted badly on the run to the first turn, but once he had the bike under control; it was business as usual, as he went on to account for Lyons again, in the second quickest time of the night, 61.26.