SGB Premiership
Somerset Rebels 44, Swindon Robins 46

THE ‘Cases’ Somerset Rebels were left ruing two mechanical failures as they slipped to their first home defeat of the season in a last-heat decider against local rivals the Swindon Robins, writes Ian Belcher.

After the first six heats had been completed Somerset had eked out a four-point lead, but an engine failure for skipper Josh Grajczonek in heat seven, while he was holding a comfortable lead, gifted a maximum 5-1 to the visitors to bring them level.

Worse was to follow for the home side when Paul Starke’s bike gave up the ghost while in second place in the following race, the consequent 4-2 putting Swindon into a two-point lead.

To their credit, Somerset fought back, and Grajczonek put his mechanical woes behind him to figure in the race of the night with Swindon’s world number 5, Jason Doyle.

The pair passed and re-passed throughout all four laps of heat 13, with Grajczonek just getting the verdict with a last bend pass on Doyle.

Going into the final heat, Somerset held a two-point lead, but the Swindon duo of Bellego and Doyle crucially got the better start over Grajczonek and Tungate, and they made that count as they took the race with a maximum 5-1 to snatch the victory 46-44.

The real winners were the Oaktree Arena crowd, who were treated to an exceptional night of top quality speedway.

Somerset team manager Garry May commented: “It was disappointing to lose for the first time on home shale.

“It was always going to be difficult going into the match having to use rider replacement in place of Patrick [Hougaard], who was riding in a Danish Championship qualifying meeting.”

“But the Somerset boys gave it their all, and I think that but for the two engine failure which gifted six points to Swindon we would have had another home win under our belts,” he added.

Somerset (44): Josh Grajczonek 13, Charles Wright 10+1, Jake Allen 8+1, Rohan Tungate 6+1, Jan Graversen 4, Paul Starke 3, rider replacement Patrick Hougaard. 
Swindon (46): David Bellego 13+1, Jason Doyle 12+1, Nick Morris 7, Adam Ellis 6+1, Bradley Wilson-Dean 5+1, Emil Grondal 2, Zach Wajtknecht 1.