Somerset Rebels race to narrow home win over Leicester Lions

PUBLISHED: 11:05 21 April 2018 | UPDATED: 11:21 21 April 2018

Somerset Rebels rider Charles Wright in full flow.  Picture HAGGIS HARTMAN

Somerset Rebels rider Charles Wright in full flow. Picture HAGGIS HARTMAN


After suffering a heavy defeat at the hands of the Leicester Lions, just two days previous, a full strength 'Cases' Somerset Rebels opened their home season at the Oaktree Arena against the very same opponents, writes Dave Thompson.

Somerset Rebels rider Richard Lawson leads Leicester Lions pair Krytian Pieszcek and Danny King. Picture HAGGIS HARTMANSomerset Rebels rider Richard Lawson leads Leicester Lions pair Krytian Pieszcek and Danny King. Picture HAGGIS HARTMAN

For their part, the Lions drafted Chris Harris in place of the injured Martin Vaculik, with the other injury victim, Michael Palm-Toft covered by the rider replacement facility.

On home shale, the Rebels would have expected to make a much better start than they did on Monday, and to a degree, they did, but not before Jake Allen took a tumble in a tightly contested first turn. In the re-run Jason Doyle stormed from the tapes to lead all the way, winning easily. Allen was squeezed out in the turn, and try as he might, couldn’t get back in the hunt, as the heat points were shared.

However, the home side were quickly put under pressure, as the superior gating skills of the Lions saw them take the next two heats by the maximum score. Heat two came and went for the Rebels, as Kyle Newman and James Sarjeant outpointed Jonas Jeppesen and Bradley Wilson-Dean to the bend. The Rebels new Danish recruit gave a spirited chased, just failing to nab a second place at the flag.

The Lions were again rapidly away in the next heat, with Danny King and Krystian Pieszczek producing lightning starts, which gave the Rebels duo of Charles Wright and Jack Holder no chance to get in the hunt, leaving the Rebels trailing by 8pts after just three heats.

Somerset Rebels rider Jack Holder in action.  Picture HAGGIS HARTMANSomerset Rebels rider Jack Holder in action. Picture HAGGIS HARTMAN

Whatever Garry May said to his team in the pits, it must have had the desired effect, and they immediately came back with a maximum of their own. This time the gating boots were on the feet of the Rebels, with Bradley Wilson-Dean leading up Richard Lawson. Apart from a very brief Kyle Newman challenge to Lawson’s position inside the third turn, the Rebels ran out easy winners, cutting the deficit to 4pts.

By the end of the next heat, the Rebels were back within striking distance, taking the race by a 4-2 margin. Charles Wright and Chris Harris contested the early running, with Wright getting the better run around the turn to lead into the back straight. Jack Holder got the better of James Sarjeant, and that’s the way it stayed to the line.

After that, the match became a tight affair, with neither team able to take an advantage over the next three heats. Jason Doyle and Jake Allen had no answer to Hans Andersen’s flashing start to Heat 6. Andersen was in the wind right from the off, as the Rebels pair chased shadows to the flag.

The roles were reversed on Heat 7, with Richard Lawson getting the better of Krystian Pieszczek in a tight first bend. Jonas Jeppesen gave chase to Danny King for third, buzzing around his back wheel for the whole race, before throwing a big challenge, which ultimate just failed, on the run to the line.

Heat 8 served up plenty of excitement and incident, with Jake Allen producing a storming inside run through turns three and four to lead from Kyle Newman, with Bradley Wilson-Dean in third place. Just as it looked as though the Rebels would break the deadlock, Wilson-Dean took a fall as they ran the back straight for the second time, and was excluded from the re-run. Rebels fans feared the worst as Newman and Krystian Pieszczek outpaced Allen at the tape rise. However, they needn’t have worried as the third season Rebel, produced a stunning run to blaze around the outside of both Lions in the final turns of the opening lap, before outrunning his opponents to the line.

The home side broke the stalemate with a maximum advantage in Heat 9, helped by a huge jump into the tapes by Hans Andersen. Andersen took the 15mts handicap, but the best he could do in the re-start was third place as the Rebels duo of Jack Holder, with Charles Wright riding shotgun, left James Sarjeant in arrears from the off, as the resulting four-point margin put the Rebels in the lead for the first time in the match.

Jason Doyle flirted with the tapes in the next heat, but luckily his early jump saw him miss the more serious indiscretion by a matter of millimetres. In the re-start he was a little more circumspect, which saw him make a slow start, hitting the first turn in last place. Fortunately, Jake Allen wasn’t so benevolent to the Lions, bolting off the tapes to pass both Lions on the run to the turn. Allen powered away, never giving his opponents a chance of running him down. For his part, Doyle shot up the inside to guide through to second place, but his tenure was short-lived, as he battled it out with Krystian Pieszczek, with the Pole eventually getting the upper hand.

The Lions produced another gating lesson in Heat 11, although Richard Lawson did his best to match them, before losing out in a tight first turn. After the turn, the order was settled, as Lawson hit them with everything he had, but failed to get back on terms with a flying Kyle Newman, and Chris Harris, who did a brilliant job of team riding him out of the race.

With the scores now tied at 33-33, the match could have gone either way. Either way that is, until the Rebels put the result virtually beyond doubt with two consecutive maximum heat wins. Firstly Charles Wright made short work of Danny King in the run to the turn in Heat 12, with Bradley Wilson-Dean following up in third. Wilson-Dean then set about overhauling King, with a strong challenge off the final bend of the lap, before making a neat inside run around the opening turns of the second lap, to steal second place away from the Lions skipper, before going on to give the Rebels the ‘full house’.Heat 13 saw Jason Doyle contest the run to the turn, with Chris Harris. Proving too strong for the Cornishman’ Doyle’s inside run forged an ideal opportunity for Richard Lawson to make hay, as he powered through the gap created when his skipper moved Harris off the line, passing both Lions in one move.

Harris tried to hit back, but could never get close enough to throw in a meaningful challenge.

A tied Heat 14 saw the Rebels across the line to take the win, but it still left the visitors with an opportunity to take away a consolation point. Garry May switched the reserves, bringing in Bradley Wilson-Dean in place of the unlucky Jonas Jeppesen. Krystian Pieszczek contested the early running with both Wilson-Dean and Jack Holder, taking the lead as they hit the turn. Wilson-Dean gave chase, and at the third bend, made a superb inside run, which did for the young Polish rider. Holder was quickly on the scene, putting Pieszczek under strong pressure, as the two swapped places a couple of times.

Holder looked as though he might make a pass stick, as he continued to press, but a lift off the second bend of the final lap saw him run wide, and put him out of the running, as Kyle Newman took third place.

The Lions found their gating skills again in the final heat, as Krystian Pieszczek and Hans Andersen charged off the line to lead every yard of the way.

The lightning exit from the start, produced by the Lions duo, put the Rebels pair of Jason Doyle and Charles Wright on the back foot straight away, and despite chasing hard, neither could make any impact, as the visitors brought the scoreline back to 47-43, claiming a bonus point in the process. That extra point saw the Lions take an early lead in the championship, as they headed the table on four points.

The Lions are clearly a useful side, and when they’re back to full strength they could be a handful for many of the SGB Premiership sides. In Krystian Pieszczek (12+2) they have an exciting and talented individual, who should bank them a large number of points this season, and combined with Hans Andersen (7+1), Kyle Newman at reserve (11+1) and Danny King, on a better night than he had on Wednesday, they have the potential to be right up there.

As they have proved in the past, the ‘Cases’ Somerset Rebels are a tough bunch to beat on their home shale, even when they come under pressure, and once again they produced an in-depth, all-round performance that saw them home.

This was illustrated in the fact that no one team member returned a massive score, but Jason Doyle, Charles Wright and Richard Lawson all returned 9+1. They were ably backed up by the superb Bradley Wilson-Dean (8+1) and Jake Allen (7+1), who had two stunning wins, which earned him the ‘Rider of the Night’ award from meeting sponsors Parker Transport (SW) Ltd. Jack Holder had a quiet night with four points, whilst the unfortunate Jonas Jeppesen rode well enough to score more than his solitary 1pt return.

The Rebels now have a two week break at home, returning on May 2, to take on Poole Pirates in the rearranged first leg of the SGB Premiership KO Cup. Before that they travel to the National Speedway Stadium in Manchester to take on the Belle Vue Aces.

Meeting statistics

Somerset Rebels - 47

1. Jason Doyle - 3, 2, 1, 2*, 1 = 9+1

2. Jake Allen - 0, 1*, 3, 3 = 7+1

3. Charles Wright - 1, 3, 2*, 3, 0 = 9+1

4. Jack Holder - 0, 1, 3, 0 = 4

5. Richard Lawson - 2*, 3, 1, 3 = 9+1

6. Jonas Jeppesen - 1, 0, 0 = 1

7. Bradley Wilson Dean - 0, 3, F/X, 2*, 3 = 8+1

Leicester Lions - 43

1. Chris Harris - 1*, 2, 2*, 1 = 6+2

2. Michael Palm Toft – Rider Replacement

3. Daniel King - 3, 1*, 0, 1 = 5+1

4. Krystian Pieszczek - 2*, 2, 1*, 2, 2, 3 = 12+2

5. Hans Andersen - 1, 3, 1, 0, 2* = 7+1

6. James Sarjeant - 2*, 0, 0, 0 = 2+1

7. Kyle Newman - 2, 3, 0, 0, 2, 3, 1* = 11+1

A minute’s applause in memory of Ivan Mauger & Vaclav Verner was held before the meeting

Heat Details

Heat 01: Doyle, Newman, Harris, Allen (3-3) (3-3) 57.20

Heat 02: Newman, Sarjeant, Jeppesen, Wilson Dean (1-5) (4-8) 59.63

Heat 03: King, Pieszczek, Wright, Holder (1-5) (5-13) 58.77

Heat 04: Wilson Dean, Lawson, Andersen, Newman (5-1) (10-14) 58.58

Heat 05: Wright, Harris, Holder, Sarjeant (4-2) (14-16) 58.68

Heat 06: Andersen, Doyle, Allen, Newman (3-3) (17-19) 58.72

Heat 07: Lawson, Pieszczek, King, Jeppesen (3-3) (20-22) 59.45

Heat 08: Allen, Newman, Pieszczek, Wilson Dean (F/X) (3-3) (23-25) 59.53

Heat 09: Holder, Wright, Andersen (Tapes – 15mts), Sarjeant (5-1) (28-26) 59.90

Heat 10: Allen, Pieszczek, Doyle, King (4-2) (32-28) 59.66

Heat 11: Newman, Harris, Lawson, Jeppesen (1-5) (33-33) 59.70

Heat 12: Wright, Wilson Dean, King, Sarjeant (5-1) (38-34) 59.92

Heat 13: Lawson, Doyle, Harris, Andersen (5-1) (43-35) 59.87

Heat 14: Wilson Dean, Pieszczek, Newman, Holder (3-3) (46-38) 59.81

Heat 15: Pieszczek, Andersen, Doyle, Wright (1-5) (47-43) 59.66

The pictures supporting the Rebels report are from Picture HAGGIS HARTMAN

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