Premier League Cup – Group Match
Somerset Rebels 38 Plymouth Devils 28
Meeting Abandoned After 11 Heats (Rain) Result Stands
LEAGUE action took a temporary break from the Oaktree Arena this week, as the Somerset Rebels completed their home fixtures in their League Cup group.
The Rebels needed to take at least a 10-point win against their local rivals, the Plymouth Devils, to ensure that any kind of win in the return fixture at the St Boniface Arena, would see them top the group at the expense of the Rye House Rockets.
The Rebels were without Rohan Tungate, who suffered a shoulder injury racing for Swindon on the previous evening, and operated Rider Replacement, whilst the Devils fielded a full strength side, with Ben Barker guesting in the ‘Number One’ spot.
Local Derbies are unpredictable affairs, as this fixture has proved in the past, but this one had the added variable of the weather to contend with, as the forecast indicated that rain could come into the equation later in the evening - and that's how it panned out, with the meet abandoned after 11 heats.
With the rain persisting the riders appeared at the line for Heat 10. At the tape rise, Jack Holder bolted from the gates, and after shrugging off the initial challenges of Josh Grajczonek and Jake Allen, he pulled out a huge lead to take the win, and share the points.
Heat 11 was at the tapes, with all but Ben Barker sitting waiting for the start, when they were suddenly called back to the pits, with a track inspection being called.
An announcement being made that under the rules, at any point, the losing team had the right to call for an inspection, if they felt that the track was getting dangerous. Rebels skipper, Josh Grajczonek, explained that they are finding 'icy' patches then hitting berms, which was making the track dangerous.
Following consultations between the referee and team captains, it was decided to do some work on the track to remove some of the dirt berms, which some of the riders felt were getting dangerous, and then try to continue with the meeting.
Following the work, and with the rain now falling steadily, the rider returned to the tapes. Paul Starke and Bradley Wilson-Dean charged off the line to lead up, consolidating their lead by the back straight.
On the final turn of the lap, Kyle Newman stopped and returned to the pits. He later explained that the roost from the riders in front was so heavy in the rain that it had destroyed his High Tension lead in the ignition system, and the engine, consequently, stopped. Ben Barker provided no further challenge as the Rebels pairing ran out to a bloodless maximum advantage to take a 10-point lead on the night, 38-28.
By the end of the race the rain was getting heavier, and it came as no surprise when the announcement was made that the meeting had been abandoned, with the result standing.
Josh Grajczonek top scored for the Rebels, with 11-points, and was ably back up by Paul Starke with seven points.
However the ‘rider of the Night’ award was presented to Zach Wajtknecht, by meeting sponsors, ‘TQ exel’ for his ride in Heat 2. Before the meeting, both Bradley Wilson-Dean and Zach Wajtknecht received £250 awards from SREF (Somerset Riders Equipment Fund), and also some donations from members of the public.
The Rebels will now just need an away win at the St Boniface Arena to progress, but that now won’t happen until a later date, following the postponement of tonight’s (Saturday) tie, due once again to the weather, which has cause a waterlogged track.