Wasps frozen out by the Rebels
PUBLISHED: 09:58 20 March 2006 | UPDATED: 09:01 24 May 2010
A GOOD crowd assembled at the Oak Tree Arena despite the freezing weather, to witness the 2006 Somerset 'Mike Manning Audio' Rebels season opener against the 'Everest Group' Newport Wasps
A GOOD crowd assembled at the Oak Tree Arena despite the freezing weather, to witness the 2006 Somerset 'Mike Manning Audio' Rebels season opener against the 'Everest Group' Newport Wasps. Wasps debutant reserve, Billy Legg took a bad looking fall in his opening race, when he clipped the back wheel of his team mate Joel Parsons bike, as he attempted to pass Ben Barker. A rejuvenated Simon Walker won the re-run, after a flying start, which left him with a relatively easy win over Joel Parsons.Billy had already suffered a heavy looking fall in the warm up, when he flipped his bike on a practice start. So the luckless Billy's involvement got no further than a trip to the local hospital. Initial reports suggest that he has suffered some concussion, and bruising, and thankfully nothing worse. He should soon be on the road to recovery.The match itself proved to be an entertaining affair, which belied the earliness of the season. Both teams appeared to be up for the task, with the Rebels getting the better of the opening heats, racing to an eight-point lead by Heat 3.Rebels skipper, Magnus Zetterstrom, got the home side of to a flying start, with what proved to be the fastest time of the night on a track that had seen a huge amount of rain over the last week.Paul Fry started where he left off last season, with a 5-1 heat win, with Jamie Smith taking the place of the departed Ritchie Hawkins, as his partner.The Wasps replied in the next heat, with their own 5-1 win, after Ben Barker was left stranded at the gate, and Glenn Cunningham dropped a chain, whilst leading into the final lap, with Craig Watson seemingly beaten. He ended the race pushing the bike over the line for the final point.The Rebels piled on the pressure again, taking the next three heats, and establishing a 12-point lead. The highlight of these races was a typical Glenn Cunningham last to first effort in Heat 7.After Simon Walker produced another flying start to lead, with Cunningham in last place, the Bristol scrapper took a lap to assess the situation, before despatching the Wasps duo of Wilkinson, and Atkin, in one swoop of the third bend of lap two. Half a lap later he was in front, with Walker following him home for a 5-1.As they had done earlier the Wasps struck back immediately with their own maximum, but this time with the added bonus of a tactical ride from Chris Schramm. Pavel Ondrasik, having his first meeting in Rebels colours, had suffered with poor starts all evening, but on this occasion he got a flyer, only to see his front wheel climb into the air, and give him no chance to cut across the closing Wasps pair.Once he had the machine down and running it was too late to force his way back in front. For four laps he tried every trick in the book to pass his rivals, but a great bit of team riding from Schramm and Parsons saw him shut out, as they brought the gap down to five points.In Heat 9, Jamie Smith scored a superb win over Craig Watson, after he had made a superb start to lead Watson and teammate, Paul Fry. The Rebels pairing almost made it a 5-1, only losing out as Paul Fry spun out as he tried to cut back underneath Craig Watson.Heat 11 saw Glenn Cunningham having to do it the hard way again, with Schramm getting the better of the start. Again it only took Cunningham a lap to find the pass, as he despatched Schramm on the back straight, whilst his partner, Simon Walker, succumbing to mechanical problems.Heat 12 saw the Wasps reduce the deficit to three points, when Carl Wilkinson, who has shown his liking of the Oak Tree circuit in the past, scored a good victory over the confident Jamie Smith. A quick start saw the Lincolnshire born rider never headed, despite the close attentions of the quick Smith.That was as close as the visitors got to winning this 'British Car Auctions sponsored BCA Vehicle Remarketing Trophy challenge match. The Rebels took the tie by the scruff of the next from here on in, with skipper Magnus Zetterstrom defeating the returning Craig Watson twice.The best of these races was Heat 13, where Craig Watson got the better of Zetterstrom off the start. Zorro stalked Watson for all four laps, with hardly a bikes length between them, before making a stunning pass up the inside to lead just before the winning line.Meanwhile Glenn Cunningham, who had been last away, and had accounted for Neil Collins on the second lap, was closing fast on the outside, and at the line would surely have been level with Watson in a few more yards.Paul Fry completed his night with a 5-1-heat win, with Simon Walker, to extend the lead to nine points. Jamie Smith, and Chris Schramm were both awarded for their good work, with a berth in the nominated Heat 15, alongside their more illustrious colleagues. Smith made another flying start, to lead with Zorro, before Watson took second place from him at the end of the first lap. The resulting 4-2 win to the Rebels, gave them an 11-point lead to take to the second leg, which will again be sponsored by BCA.Magnus Zetterstrom finished the night with a full five-ride maximum, and produced some great racing in the process. Paul Fry, and Glenn Cunningham both produced solid performances, but the plaudits on the night must go to Jamie Smith, and Simon Walker, with 9+1, and 7+2 respectively in the 52-41 victory.Simon Walker deservedly won the man of the match award, again sponsored by BCA, and was presented with his trophy amid loud cheers from the home supporters.The second half racing saw the Somerset Junior Rebels take on the Newport Mavericks in a four-a-side, six-heat match.This is the first in a series of similar challenge matches being staged for the junior side this season. Future matches will feature teams from other PL and CL clubs, including the possibility of teams from Weymouth and Plymouth.The star of the match was Karl Mason, with nine points from three rides, with his quickest time of the night being only a second behind some of those in the main match.Unfortunately, the last two heats of this match fell foul of the curfew, due to the earlier injury to Billy Legg. However, the match concluded with the scores being nicely balanced on 12-points each, leaving it all to play for in the return leg at Queensway Meadows.