Rebels still hoping for play-off place

SPEEDWAY - Edinburgh Monarchs 42 Somerset Rebels 33 (meeting abandoned after heat 12 due to rain, result stands)

SPEEDWAY - Edinburgh Monarchs 42

Somerset Rebels 33

(meeting abandoned after heat 12 due to rain, result stands)

AFTER an afternoon of fairly constant rain and drizzle that only let up some half an hour before the scheduled 6.30pm start, it was a testament to the application and willingness of all 13 riders that this match got started at all, let alone that it got as far as heat 12 before the weather finally brought proceedings to a premature halt.

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In truth the track rode surprisingly well, given the adverse conditions and that Edinburgh had raced on it only 24 hours earlier. Although the opening few heats were subject to riders slithering and sliding on the slippery top surface, it only took a couple of heats before a more consistent riding line came to the fore.

It was in two of the opening three heats that track conditions played a part in what ultimately may well have decided the final outcome.

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After Somerset had taken a 4-2 lead in the opening race, this after two re-runs, the first of which saw Dilger excluded as a result of a fall. Things looked good for the Rebels in Heat 2 when Justin Sedgmen took the lead from the tapes, but he lost control slippery surface, and the sudden, unexpected, movement further aggravating an arm injury he carried into the match.

The injury gave him so much discomfort that he was a virtual passenger in his remaining outings. Emil Kramer was the next to suffer an incident, Edinburgh's W�lbert locking up in front of the Somerset rider causing Kramer to come to a virtual standstill, which allowed Wethers through into second place behind W�lbert. Gathercole impressively came from behind to take Rajkowski to win Heat 4.

Until now the track became better with every heat, but the drizzle returned, making the track greasy once again, with Gathercole being its next victim in Heat 6. He lost control when in a comfortable lead, and what had looked to be a 4-2 heat win to the Rebels became a heat advantage for the Monarchs, their lead now stretching to 10 points.

Kramer's win in Heat 7 maintained that differential, and so Heat 8 saw Gathercole taking a double point tactical ride in an attempt to claw back some of the deficit. The Aussie did not disappoint, taking the heat victory and the six points that went with it to take the Rebels to within seven points of their hosts. Those seven points quickly became just three when Kramer and Simmons took full advantage of Fisher's fall, after his bike shed a chain in Heat 10, to take a maximum 5-1win.

By now the conditions were worsening with riders finding visibility becoming a real issue, even the race leaders finding it difficult to see as a result of the drizzle falling on their goggles.

With Heats 11 and 12 going to theMonarchs to take them back out to a nine-point lead, the sides agreed that with rider safety being of paramount importance, in what had become difficult conditions, there was no alternative but to call a halt to the proceedings. The 42-33 scoreline in Edinburgh's favour being declared the result as the minimum requirement of 12 heats had been completed.

Somerset Rebels 59

Newport Wasps 34

AFTER banking their first away win of the season at Newport, the Rebels had their sights set on taking all three league points against the same opponents at the Oak Tree Arena.

The Rebels were still without Simon Walker, while the Wasps had Chris Kerr back in the main body of the team, with James Holder moving in the opposite direction.

In Heat 1, Kerr broke level with Steve Johnston and Jari M�kinen and went on to win over Johnston with Jari M�kinen in third over Leigh Lanham.

Nick Simmons and Justin Sedgmen made it 5-1 in Heat 2. Emil Kramer took his first win, of what would turn out to be a terrific night for the Swede, in Heat 3 and in Heat 4 Nick Simmons and Cory Gathercole made it another 5-1.

Heat 5 was quite an eventful affair, ending up being contested by only two riders, M�kinen falling and Leigh Lanham's engine exploding. The race got under way at the third time of asking, Kramer heading Kerr for a 3-2 advantage.

The Rebels wasted no time in opening up a big lead, hammering home two 5-1s on the trot to take a 17-point advantage. Steve Johnston made up for his earlier defeat taking Heat 6 with Justin Sedgmen, in as rider replacement, in second. Sedgmen was out again in the next heat, and with Cory Gathercole registered another maximum.

It was Gathercole's turn to take consecutive rides as he substituted for Simon Walker in Heat 8. The Wasps chose this heat to send out Chris Kerr as a tactical rider,. The move gave Wasps a heat advantage, but not the one they wanted. Kerr broke quickly, with Gathercole on his outside, but Gathercole stayed wide and squeezed through the narrowest of gaps and once in the vanguard, Gathercole strolled home to thwart the Wasps tactical move.

Emil Kramer added his third win of the night in Heat 9, ahead of Jordan Frampton, and Kyle Newman held off Jari M�kinen to share the points for the Wasps.

Still 15 points down the Wasps used their second tactical, with Paul Fry sporting the Black and White. Steve Johnston broke well, with Jonas Andersson. Johnston was forced back to third place by the time they had reached the third turn, but in a stunning move, he blew by the Wasps pair on the wide outside, and was in front by the time they entered the fourth bend. Nick Simmons closed over the course of the race to challenge Andersson on the final bend. It was a move that looked booked for success, until Andersson unceremoniously slammed the door shut on Simmons.

The 5-3 advantage only gave the beleaguered Wasps a temporary respite as the Rebels were soon to increase their lead. Heat 11 was shared, as Cory Gathercole led from Chris Kerr. Justin Sedgmen was having a great battle with Leigh Lanham.

The home side's 17-point lead was restored in Heat 12, as Jari M�kinen and Nick Simmons combined for a 5-1. Another maximum followed immediately as the Rebels blitzed the visitors in Heat 13, Johnston and Gathercole taking the honours. Gathercole's win gave him a paid maximum on the night.

Emil Kramer completed his programmed rides with another win. He broke well with Paul Fry on his inside and Fry showed no compunction in slamming the door shut in the Swede's face. Kramer knocked off the throttle, and avoided any major contact. For two laps he powered after Fry, and by the time they exited the opening turns of the third lap, he was in front. Justin Sedgmen completed another good night for him, and the Rebels, taking an easy third place from James Holder.

The nominated heat saw Kramer join Steve Johnston at the tapes, with Chris Kerr and Leigh Lanham for the Wasps. Lanham's inclusion was, to say the least odd, considering he had only scored two points all night, with Paul Fry, who has vast experience around the Highbridge circuit, sitting in the pits on nine points.

By the time they had reached the first turn, Johnston was in front. Emil Kramer came sailing around the outside to move to the head of affairs. Chris Kerr was close up and eased past the Rebels skipper. By the time Kerr was in second place, Kramer was long gone, and he strode to an imperious full 15-point maximum.

The highlights of the night were Jari M�kinen's first win for the Rebels, and the full maximum for Emil Kramer, and a paid maximum, and Rider of the Night, from match sponsors Parson's Parts, for Cory Gathercole.

The win lifts the Rebels to third place in the table, and the big points win may prove useful if things get tight for places.

Next home match is on Friday, September 11, against Scunthorpe in the Premier League: Tapes up 7:30pm

THE Rebels will be one of only two clubs with two representatives in the prestigious Premier League Riders' Championship which is to be held at Sheffield's Owlerton Stadium on Sunday, September 27.

Steve Johnston and Emil Kramer will fly the Rebel colours at the meeting at which the top rider from each of the 14 teams that make up the Premier League, plus the next two highest-scoring riders in the league, will contest the championship.

The meeting is staged over 20 qualifying heats, with each rider facing everyone of the other 15 that make up the field, the top two points scorers going directly through to the grand-final, with the next four highest points scorers battling it out in the semi-final, the top two from that proceeding on to that winner take all grand-final.

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