Rebels complete a double over Ipswich
AFTER the previous evenings stunning victory at Foxhall, many expected the Somerset Rebels to suffer the backlash from a wounded Ipswich Witches.
AFTER the previous evening’s stunning victory at Foxhall, many expected the Somerset Rebels to suffer the backlash from a wounded Ipswich Witches.
The fans need not have worried, despite losing the first heat when Kevin Doolan gave Ipswich a 4-2 advantage. The Rebels hit back with a maximum in heat two, with Kyle Howarth and Dakota North cruising to victory.
Another maximum followed in the next heat, Christian Hefenbrock and Sam Masters taking all the points on offer. Heat four took two attempts to finish, Chris Mills being excluded in the first attempt. Howarth and Cory Gathercole were beaten to the line by Chris Schramm.
Heat five saw Sam Masters and Christian Hefenbrock combined for their second full house of the night. The Rebels were now 12-points to the good, forcing the Witches into a tactical move early in the piece.
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Chris Schramm was the man to carry the ‘Black and White’, but almost threw it away in the opening turn, but the referee brought all four riders back to try again. Schramm was let through by Jerran Hart to claim maximum double points to cut the deficit to seven.
Any hopes of a Witches fight back were short lived, with the Rebels wasting no time to re-establish their dominance, with their fourth 5-1 in seven heats, Gathercole and North taking the top two spots.
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North hardly had time to reflect on his great ride, before he was back out in heat eight, replacing Kyle Hughes. Howarth coming home second and North fourth.
The Rebels dominated the next four heats. Masters and Hefenbrock produced their third maximum advantage in as many outings in heat nine. Travis McGowan took his first win of the night in heat 10, followed by Hughes.
Heat 11 produced what has to be the race of the season to date. Gathercole passing Kevin Doolan on the final bend, before North took Doolan on the inside to claim a Rebels 5-1 on the line.
Hefenbrock took his second win of the night, and kept himself on track for a paid maximum, with another superb display in heat 12. Howarth being edged into third spot by Witches man Lasse Bjerre.
The Witches took the honours in heat 13, as Gathercole split the pairing of Doolan and Schramm. Heat 14 saw North and Masters get away quickly, but Morten Risager managed to split them at the tapes.
Hefenbrock and Masters competed in heat 15 and it was Hefenbrock who registered another victory, with Masters taking third spot, coming home behind Doolan.
Dakota North underlined what a talent he is, and showed that his previous evening’s seven-ride paid maximum was no fluke, as he produced a six-ride version on the night.
However, his efforts did not gain him the Rider of the Night award from sponsors, Bridgwater Car and Van Hire, that deservedly went to Christian Hefenbrock, who produced a paid maximum of his own.
IPSWICH 42 SOMERSET 51
SOMERSET travelled to Ipswich, many people’s favourites for the Premier League title, on the back of a memorable away win at Newport the previous Saturday.
They left Foxhall Heath with an even more stunning away victory under their belts, with their young Aussie reserve Dakota North, scoring a sensational seven-ride paid maximum for the Rebels.
The opening three heats were shared, Somerset however, providing all three heat winners.
A sign of things to come came in heat four when Gathercole and North combined for a 5-1 maximum heat win, the first of three that this partnership were to record on the night.
Consistently out-gating the home riders, the Rebels were in supreme form, and further 5-1 to the aforementioned Gathercole/North combination in heat six, North riding a great four laps to keep the Witches No 1, Kevin Doolan, back in third place.
Six points to the good going into heat eight, Ipswich hit back with a 5-1 of their own, but any hopes the homes fans might have harboured of a fight-back were quickly dashed when Somerset immediately hit back with another maximum heat win to restore their six point advantage.
From thereon in it just got better and better for the Rebels, two consecutive maximum heat wins in heats 11 and 12 leaving the Witches no option but to suffer the ignominy of resorting to the double point tactical ride in heat 13, Doolan being their nominated rider.
Initially it looked as if Somerset were going to limit the effectiveness of the move.
Then, in a blink of an eye, it all went wrong for the Somerset duo as McGowan lifted badly, spinning right in front of Gathercole who could do nothing but run straight into his team-mate.
Thankfully both riders were able to walk away from the incident, though Gathercole’s bike looked to be a complete write-off, the second bike he was to lose the use of on the night.
Although the Witches made no mistake in the second running of the race to record a 8-1 heat win, the Rebels were in no mood to let this one slip and re-exerted their authority in the penultimate heat.
Masters, who looked supreme in dropping only a single point from his five rides, and North scoring Somerset’s fifth maximum heat advantage of the night, North’s second place behind his compatriot completing his seven-ride paid maximum.
All Somerset needed to make it the almost perfect night was for one of their two riders to pick up at least a second place in heat 15 to ensure all four league points would be heading the way of the Rebels, and Masters duly obliged by winning the final race of the night to give Somerset victory by nine points and to the top of the Premier League table.
The next home fixture will be the inaugural staging of the Emil Kramer Memorial Meeting, which will see a great field take to the track to honour the late Rebels legend and to raise further funds for the trust set up for Emil’s daughter, Nellie.