Challenge Match
Somerset Rebels Select 51, Isle Of Wight Warriors 38

IN a highly entertaining meeting last Friday, a Somerset Select septet – comprising riders who currently ply their trade in speedway’s National League, the third tier of the sport in the UK – overcame a septet representing the Isle of Wight, writes Ian Belcher.

A final two-heat ‘flurry’ of maximum heat advantages over the course of the last three heats gave the final scoreline a more one-sided look than the thoroughly competitive meeting probably deserved.

Indeed, it was the Warriors who drew first blood with a 4-2 race win in the opening heat, only for the Somerset Select side to hit back immediately with a maximum race advantage in the next heat to put themselves into a two-point lead, and not falling behind after that point.

Yet the Isle of Wight did not allow the Rebels to capitalise on their lead, there never being more than four points between the two teams until the Somerset side hit the visitors with those maximums in heats 13 and 14.

The former provided the race of the night as the Warriors duo of Ben Wilson and Ben Morley initially hit the front from the tapes, only to find themselves overhauled by Adam Roynon, in a move which took him from third to first in the blink of an eye.

Not to be outdone, Roynon’s race partner Zach Wajtknecht set about the Warriors pair, and after manoeuvring his way past Wilson for third, the newly crowned British under-19 champion passed Morley for second place as the pair exited the final bend.

Victory was sealed for the Rebels Select when 16-year-old Henry Atkins and Luke Priest combined for a further 5-1 in the penultimate heat.

The meeting was brought to a premature end when Roynon came to grief after suffering a mechanical issue in the final heat, although the Cumbrian was quickly to his feet looking none the worse for his tumble.

Afterwards, the Somerset team manager Garry May said: “I think all the lads who took part tonight deserve praise for putting on such a good night of racing.

“I was a very entertaining meeting, with some excellent action, and was one which I am sure was appreciated by the fans who were here tonight.”

Somerset Select (51): Zach Wajtknecht 13+1, Adam Roynon 11, Dan Greenwood 8, Henry Atkins 7, Luke Priest 5+2, Callum Walker 4+2, Ryan Terry-Daley 3.
Isle of Wight (38): Mark Baseby 14, James Cockle 8, Ben Morley 8, Ben Wilson 4+1, Connor Coles 2+1, Adam Portwood 1+1, Lewis Whitmore 1.