Rebels enjoy away victory in local derby

AN away victory is always a sweet moment to savour, but that moment is all the sweeter when the vanquished are your local rivals.

Newport Wasps 43 Somerset Rebels 50

AN away victory is always a sweet moment to savour, but that moment is all the sweeter when the vanquished are your local rivals.

The opening heat was shared, with Travis McGowan taking an easy victory. The Rebels took a full house in heat two. Dakota North and Kyle Howarth shot out of the traps, closely followed by Todd Kurtz. The Rebels pair stormed to maximum points, giving the Rebels the lead, which they were never to relinquish.

Sam Masters blasted off the line in heat three, and swooped around the outside of Kyle Legault. Robin Aspegren cut inside Christian Hefenbrock to grab third spot, but Masters won with some ease. In heat four Cory Gathercole managed to hold on to second spot, despite carburettor problems.

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In the next four heats the Rebels extended their lead to 10 points, with Travis McGowan getting the ball rolling with his second win of the night in heat five. Gathercole stormed to victory in heat six, with Dakota North taking third spot.

The Wasps recorded their second heat win of the night in heat seven, Kim Nilsson winning with Masters and Hefenbrock sharing the points. Steve Bishop and Gary May replaced Kyle Hughes with the other Kyle, Howarth, in heat eight. After a restart, Howarth again blasted off in front, but this time North got the better of Jones.

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Now 10-points down, the Wasps nominated Legault for a tactical ride in heat nine. Legault shot through the middle chased by Gathercole and North, but the Wasps rider held on for victory.

The Wasps closed the gap even more in heat 10, when Leigh Lanham and Mark Jones combined to deal a huge blow to the Rebels, by posting the Wasps first full house of the match. The Rebels struck back immediately, with McGowan and Hughes recorded a maximum after Nilsson suffered a puncture when leading.

The luck was returned in the next heat. Howarth, who was in for North, suffered a blown engine as the tapes rose, leaving Hefenbrock as the sole Rebel. Heat 13 was shared to leave a tight situation going into the last couple of races.

Heat 14 can often be a match breaker, and so it proved for the Wasps. The Rebels recorded a maximum as Masters and North extended their lead to seven points.

In the last heat, Gathercole romped home and his win guaranteed the Rebels of a seven point advantage, and all four league points.

Somerset Rebels 46 Rye House Rockets 44

With two home defeats at the hands of Rye House last season, the Rebels were always going to have a stiff task.

The early exchanges did nothing to dispel that thought, in fact there was never more than four points between the teams at any point during the meeting.

Jason Doyle’s league return to the Oak Tree Arena started inauspiciously in heat one, despite passing Kyle Hughes he made little further progress. For the Rebels, Travis McGowan shot from the line to lead every inch of the trip, and won easily from Luke Bowen.

Heat two proved costly for the Rebels, not only because the Rockets took a 4-2 advantage, and the lead for the one and only time on the night, but the Rebels also lost a man, as James Holder was forced to withdraw from the meeting after aggravating last year’s shoulder injury in a fall.

The Rebels struck back immediately, and opened up a two point lead of their own with two 4-2 advantages on the trot, Christian Hefenbrock and Cory Gathercole both registering victories.

The next two heats maintained the status quo, as the points were shared in both. Doyle took heat five and Jordan Frampton heat six, but the Rebels took the next positions. The now busy Dakota North took a good win in heat eight, and another shared heat followed, with Frampton beating Hefenbrock and Masters.

In heat 10, the Rockets cruised to the easiest of 5-1s to level the match. McGowan eventually took third spot with Hughes retiring on the third lap.

It was all square in heat 11, as Gathercole’s colours were lowered for the first time on the night by Doyle with North taking third spot.

Heat 12 saw Hefenbrock get back to winning ways after two second spots as the Rebels restored a two point lead. Gathercole returned the favour from his last encounter with Doyle in heat 13, with McGowan at the rear.

The Rebels found some breathing space in heat 14, as they increased their lead again, to give themselves a four point cushion. Masters powered off the line to lead all the way, with North coming home third.

With only a mathematical chance of losing the match, Hefenbrock and Gathercole flashed from the tapes. Gathercole was stretching his advantage and pulling away at will when it all went wrong. His machine slowed dramatically and the whole field swept past him as Frampton went on to win from Hefenbrock.

As many predicted this turned out to be a tight tense affair, with some exciting racing, especially from young Dakota North, whose 10+1 haul earned him the ‘Rider of the Night’ award from the meeting sponsors, and this seasons Rebels charity partners, the National Autistic Society, whose Jennifer Green presented North with the cheque.

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