Rebels notch up narrow Trophy victory
SPEEDWAY - WITH the match finely balanced, and the Somerset Sharp Rebels holding a slender two-point lead, the Oak Tree Arena hosted its first competitive action of the season, with the second leg of the Severn Bridge Trophy challenge match.
WITH the match finely balanced, and the Somerset Sharp Rebels holding a slender two-point lead, the Oak Tree Arena hosted its first competitive action of the season, with the second leg of the Severn Bridge Trophy challenge match. For the majority of the 2009 Rebels this opening home fixture must have seemed like riding on an away track, while the Newport Wasps arrived tracking four former Rebels in their line-up, with thousands of laps around the Highbridge circuit between them. All of which promised to combine for an exciting match, and it did not disappoint.The Wasps, recently back to full strength with Paul Fry replacing injured Craig Watson, suffered a late blow with the withdrawal of Chris Kerr, with a bruised tailbone, following a fall the previous evening while riding for Wolverhampton. On the Rebels front, Justin Sedgmen was making his debut, having only arrived in the country on Wednesday, and not having ridden for six weeks.Corey Gathercole's eagerness to make a good start at his new home track cost him his place in Heat 1, as he burst the tapes in his effort to make a good start. Tom Brown deputised in the re-run, and rode a superb race to hold off last year's Rebels sensation Jordan Frampton in a battle for third spot, until a mistake on the final bend allowed Frampton through. At the front Steve Johnston made a level break with Mark Lemon, but was in front by the first turn. Johno then scorched away from his fellow Aussie, pulling well clear to win in a near track record time of 56.91.In the reserves heat, James Holder and Tom Brown broke well, but the Wasps man came out on top of the battle for the bend. Jay Herne came with a powerful run round the outside of the opening turn to grab second spot, with Kyle Newman in close attendance. Herne and Newman engaged in a close encounter that was settled when Herne was barged out of the way by Newman on the second bend of Lap 2. Meanwhile, Brown fell, remounted, but retired before the end, leaving the Wasps to take a maximum advantage.Heat 3 saw Simon Walker's first competitive action since his crash at Reading last June, which caused him to miss the remainder of the season. He produced a powerful performance to beat another Rebels old boy, Paul Fry. Jordan Frampton took third spot after debutant Justin Sedgmen had held him off for two laps.The Rebels reduced the deficit to two points, and made the aggregate score all square in Heat 4. Emil Kramer followed his stunning Queensway Meadows maximum with a fast start that saw him lead all the way, taking the win over last year's team mate Brent Werner. Jay Herne took third spot a long way in front of Kyle Newman.The Wasps immediately restored their aggregate advantage with a 4-2. Simon Walker was quickly away, leading from the opening turn. Mark Lemon made an inside pass on the final bend of the lap to grab the lead. Jordan Frampton took an unchallenged third spot as Justin Sedgmen shed a chain, just yards after the tapes rose.Heat 6 brought the Johnston-Gathercole pairing back to the line, and this time Cory made no mistake. The field broke level, before Johnston moved into the lead at the first turn. Gathercole made a cutback under James Holder, moving into third before setting off after Brent Werner in second spot. From there it was all Rebels, bringing the scores on the night level.Emil Kramer took his second win of the night in the next heat, and behind him it was all tight as Tom Brown got among the Wasps pair of Lemon and Fry. Eventually it was Fry's greater experience that told, as he held off Brown to the line. Heat 8 gave Cory Gathercole his first win of the night, and his provided the Rebels with a four-point lead on the evening. Gathercole led on the initial turn, and was joined by Jay Herne, who grabbed second place over Jordan Frampton.In Heat 9, the Wasps hit back as Justin Sedgmen caught a big lift, and that put paid to his chances. Simon Walker dropped to last place and the Wasps took a 5-1 win to bring the scores back level on the night, and put them right back in the hunt for the trophy.Johno and Gathercole added their second 5-1 in the next heat, to restore the Rebels advantage. Emil Kramer made it a hat-trick of wins in Heat 11, as he got the better of an early battle with Mark Lemon. Jordan Frampton took third place from Tom Brown.The Wasps came back again, reducing the meeting deficit to just two points, as Paul Fry got the better of Simon Walker. Behind them, James Holder and Jay Herne had a battle of their own, which came to an end when Holder put a hard move on Herne.Paul Fry added a second win to his nights tally, with victory in Heat 14. Leading from the start Fry was never troubled, but the race was notable for the ride of Justin Sedgmen, who gave the crowd a glimpse of the undoubted potential that prompted his signing for the Rebels.The 2-4 advantage gained by the Wasps set up another last-heat decider for the meeting, but only a 5-1 to the visitors would stop the Rebels from taking their first silverware of the season. Steve Johnston and Emil Kramer came to the tapes for the Rebels, and Mark Lemon and Paul Fry opposed them and it finished with the heat points shared, so the Rebels took the match by two points, 46-44, and the aggregate win by four points, 92-88. The top end of the Rebels scored well, as was expected, and on the face of it the bottom end did not provide too many points. However, Tom Brown and Jay Herne were worth much more than they scored, with Brown in particular suffering two retirements, and a mistake that gifted points to the opposition. Herne produced some spirited riding, and no doubt both will come good as the season gets underway in earnest with the coming Premier Trophy matches. Justin Sedgmen showed enough for the fans to see he has good potential, Next home match is on Friday against Rye House in the Premier Trophy. Tapes up 7.30pm.