Cases Somerset Rebels continued their unbeaten home run with a comfortable 52-43 win over Rye House last night.
A last-heat 5-1 win for the visitors gave the final scoreline a more respectable look as far as the Rockets were concerned, but the meeting was marred by a serious injury to Rye House skipper Luke Bowen following a bad crash in heat eight that saw him taken to hospital with a suspected broken thigh.
Heat 1 saw the Rebels get off to the best possible start with Jason Doyle and Alex Davies combining for a maximum 5-1 race win, though it took two attempts to get the race completed.
The first time of asking saw the unfortunate Bowen take to the centre green as the riders headed into the first bend, he then taking a tumble as he came back onto the track, just missing the other three riders in the process, leaving referee Margaret Vardy no option but to exclude the Rye House number two and order a re-run.
The Rebels quickly built on that good start with Tom Perry winning the reserves race in what was to prove to be the fastest time of the night, and although Mellgren and Gjedde were to have race wins for the visitors in Heats 3 and 5, they had no back-up to make them count and with the Rebels 12 points to the good after the conclusion of Heat 6, it came as no surprise when Rye House sent Anders Mellgren out on a tactical ride.
The move was not the success the Rockets had hoped for as James Wright made a dream start to hit the front from the off, leaving Mellgren in his wake.
Meanwhile behind the front two, Rye’s Ritchie Hawkins was holding a third place that would have at least given the visitors their first heat advantage of the night, but Perry had other thoughts and swept around the outside of the ex-Rebel and into third place on the last lap to ensure a share of the spoils.
After what had been two disappointing rides for Rye’s Luke Bowen, Heat 8 looked to be showing a change in his fortunes as he took an early lead before Somerset’s Kyle Newman got on terms, the pair swapping the lead before Newman eked out what looked to be a decisive advantage at the half-way stage of proceedings.
As they came off the fourth turn, however, Bowen’s bike lifted violently and despite his best efforts, man and machine were thrown into the safety fence on the home straight with considerable force, the bike flipping over the fence itself, but thankfully stopping short of hitting any spectators.
Unfortunately Bowen was not so lucky and a lengthy delay ensued as first the St John Ambulance and then paramedics from the local hospital arrived to administer treatment to the stricken rider.
After some 45 minutes of on-track treatment, Bowen was able to be transferred into the waiting ambulance and taken to hospital with what was suspected to be a broken thigh together with possible pelvic injuries.
The re-run saw Somerset extend their lead to 14 points with Newman taking a tapes to flag victory ahead of Jason Bunyan with Davies third for the Rebels, that 14-point lead stretching out to 16 points in Heat 9 with Masters impressively picking off Frampton off the final bend to take the race win while James Wright collected the point for third place ahead of Jason Garrity.
Heat 11 saw Rye’s second use of the tactical ride come into play with Charlie Gjedde donning the ‘black and white’ helmet colour as the Rockets looked to stem the Somerset tide and try to get themselves back into the match.
This time around the move brought rewards to the Rocket camp, Gjedde coming round Sam Masters as the riders hit the final turn to take the race win and, in the process, six crucial points, which was further enhanced with Garrity taking third place ahead of Tom Perry.
Despite clawing back those five points, Somerset still held a healthy 11-point lead with just four heats remaining, a lead that was to increase to 13 points come the conclusion of heat 12, Masters posting up his second heat win of the night as he headed home Anders Mellgren, his Rebel team-mate Kyle Newman collecting the point for third place.
With the Rebels now virtually assured of the meeting win, the riders came to the tapes for Heat 13, but Jason Doyle was a bit too eager to get a good getaway, he demolishing the tapes as they started to rise, the Somerset team management electing to send him off a 15 metre handicap in the re-staging of the race.
As the tapes rose at the second time of asking, it was the Rye House duo of Gjedde and Frampton that held sway, but Alex Davies was quickly on to Frampton’s case and with Doyle making light of his handicap, Davies got up the inside of his adversary to move him out wide to allow Doyle to come through into second place, while Davies continued to follow his captain home to ensure a shared heat to maintain Somerset’s 13-point advantage.
A further shared heat followed in Heat 14 which confirmed that Somerset would collect all three league points from the match, James Wright making a tremendous start to take an unopposed win, his second of the night.
With everything decided the four riders came to the tapes for the last race of the night, but if anyone thought that it would, therefore be a dull affair with there being nothing at stake, then they were in for a shock as it produced one of the races of the night.
As the tapes rose, it saw Gjedde and Mellgren hit the front with Somerset’s Jason Doyle in close attendance.
Over the next four laps Doyle tried to go between, under and around the Rye House duo in his attempt to split them, or indeed get into the lead, but team-riding to perfection they thwarted his every move in what was real ‘edge of the seat’ racing, but eventually Doyle had to concede defeat as Rye House collected that consolation 5-1 with which to finish the meeting.
For the Rebels, once again it was a classic all-round team performance with all six riders being at least paid for a race win, and four of the sextet being paid for double-figure returns, whereas the Rockets were very much a two-rider team as Gjedde and Mellgren accounted for 30 of the team’s 43 points.
Although they did receive back-up with an eight-point haul from reserve Jason Bunyan, they would have expected far better from the likes of Jordan Frampton and Ritchie Hawkins who could only muster four points between them.
The Rebels now have a seven-day break before their next league match, the visit of the Scunthorpe Scorpions to the Oaktree Arena on Friday, June 29.
J Doyle 3 3 3 2 2◊ 1 - 14
A Davies 2* 2* 1 1* 1* - - 7+4
S Masters 2 1* 3 2 3 0 – 11+1
J Wright 1* 2 3 1 3 - - 10+1
Rider replacement – Claus Vissing
T Perry 3 1 0 0 - - - 4
K Newman 1 1 3 1 - - - 6
RYE HOUSE 43
C Gjedde 1 3 6^ 3 3 - - 16
L Bowen X R X - - - - 0
A Mellgren 3 4^ 3 2 2* - - 14+1
R Hawkins 0 0 1* - - - - 1+1
J Frampton 0 1 2 0 - - - 3
J Garrity 0 0 0 1 0 - - 1
J Bunyan 2 2 2 0 2 - - 8
1: (re-run) Doyle, Davies, Gjedde, Bowen (f.exc), 58.15 (5-1) (5-1)
2: Perry, Bunyan, Newman, Garrity, 57.72 (4-2) (9-3)
3: Mellgren, Masters, Wright, Hawkins, 57.84 (3-3) (12-6)
4: Doyle, Bunyan, Newman, Frampton, 57.88 (4-2) (16-8)
5: Gjedde, Wright, Masters, Bowen (ret), 58.15 (3-3) (19-11)
6: Doyle, Davies, Frampton, Garrity, 58.06 (5-1) (24-12)
7: Wright, Mellgren^, Perry, Hawkins, 58.50 (4-4) (28-16)
8: (re-run) Newman, Bunyan, Davies, Bowen (f.exc), 60.33 (4-2) (32-18)
9: Masters, Frampton, Wright, Garrity, 58.04 (4-2) (36-20)
10: Mellgren, Doyle, Davies, Bunyan, 58.39 (3-3) (39-23)
11: Gjedde^, Masters, Garrity, Perry, 59.25 (2-7) (41-30)
12: Masters, Mellgren, Newman, Garrity, 59.80 (4-2) (45-32)
13: (re-run) Gjedde, Doyle (tapes, 15m), Davies, Frampton, 59.59 (3-3) (48-35)
14: Wright, Bunyan, Hawkins, Perry, 58.92 (3-3) (51-38)
15: Gjedde, Mellgren, Doyle, Masters, 59.12 (1-5) (52-43)