SGB Championship
Somerset Rebels 49, Berwick Bandits 41

SOMERSET Rebels heralded a new track record holder and delivered a late flourish to move into third place in the SGB Championship table with a 49-41 victory over Berwick.

Somerset's number one Rory Schlein produced a stunning ride in heat six to complete the four laps in a time of 55.12, beating the existing track record, held by Craig Cook since September 2015 by an amazing 0.46 of a second.

The Australian said: "I thought it was a good pace but I didn't feel it was exceptionally fast and so I was a bit surprised, but equally delighted, when they told me that I had smashed the track record."

With Todd Kurtz backing up in third place, Schlein's pace was only enough to level up the meeting at 18-18 as Berwick had gone clear by four points with a 5-1 from the impressive Jye Etheridge and guest rider Kyle Howarth a heat earlier.

Etheridge was again masterminding another Berwick heat advantage in heat eight (22-26), this time reserve Leon Flint partnering him home, and it was thus that the visitors held a slender 31-29 lead after heat 10, when Schlein and Kurtz were again able to trim the deficit.

A key ride for Valentin Grobauer came in heat 12 as he held out against Fernando 'Coty' Garcia, but what really proved critical to the Rebels' fortunes was Anders Rowe, replacing the struggling Henry Atkins, making sure he led the experienced Kevin Doolan home for third place, as the scores again matched at 36-36.

A brilliant last lap assault by Chris Harris – after his first lap attempt to squeeze by Howarth and Garcia had the Rebels skipper needing to take quick evasive action – claimed a point on the line as Schlein was completing his third winning ride of the night.

That was followed by a third win from injury returnee Nico Covatti in heat 14 with Rowe's point, after intense determination to hold off Flint, putting Somerset in control entering the final heat.

And finally, another excellent ride by Harris saw the Rebels rob the Bandits of a league point as he went through the traffic to join Schlein on a 5-1.

The Rebels now embark on a sequence of four away meetings before returning to the Oaktree Arena on July 31.

Two of those matches will be ridden without the services of Harris, who has been called up for this weekend's Black Monster Speedway of Nations final in Togliatti (Russia), an event that coincides with the Rebels' visits to Edinburgh (tomorrow) and Berwick (Saturday).

Somerset (49) - R.Schlein 14, C.Harris 12+1, N.Covatti 9, V.Grobauer 5, A.Rowe 4, T.Kurtz 4+1, H.Atkins 1
Berwick (41) - J.Etheridge 10+1, F.Garcia 7, L.Flint 5+1, N.Busk Jakobsen 5+1, D.Gappmaier 5+1, K.Howarth 5+1, K.Doolan 4