Somerset Rebels race to victory over Poole Pirates
PUBLISHED: 13:46 22 June 2018 | UPDATED: 13:46 22 June 2018
Seven weeks ago the ‘Cases’ Somerset Rebels opened the SGB Premiership KO Cup campaign, with a resounding 52-38 victory over Wednesday night’s visitors, writes Dave Thompson.
The Poole Pirates, who arrived at the Oaktree Arena for this SGB Premiership league encounter, residing at the bottom of the table. After a much tighter meeting, they departed back to Dorset after this edition of the local derby, with, what must be said, an extremely fortuitous away point tucked in the bag.
The Pirates arrived minus Nicolai Klindt, who was riding in Denmark, but with an ‘Ace in the Hole’ in the form of Kacper Woryna, who has lately moved to reserve after recent team changes, whilst the Rebels were at full strength, including Claus Vissing and Nico Covatti, who joined the team this week, following a change in the home side’s line up.
The racing got underway to a stuttering start, with two restarts in Heat 1. Firstly, World Champion Jason Doyle made an early move at the start, and the race was rightly stopped with the Rebels duo on a maximum advantage, and Doyle was duly warned. The re-run resulted in Linus Sundstrom getting away quickly, but too quickly for referee Dave Robinson, who stopped the race as they entered the back straight, again with the Rebels on a 5-1 and Sundstrom back in third. With the Swede receiving a warning, the race eventually got underway, thankfully without the application of ‘Sod’s Law’, with Doyle quickly into his stride, just behind his partner, Bradley Wilson-Dean. Once Doyle joined Wilson-Dean at the front, the race was over, as the Rebels duo easily rode home the maximum advantage.
The Pirates immediately levelled the score, with Kacper Woryna flying from the tapes to lead every inch of the way. Like the previous race, he was soon joined by his partner Mateusz Szczepaniak and the two comfortably took the win, from a hard chasing Jake Allen, with Nico Covatti not getting in the hunt.
The third heat followed a similar pattern to Heat 1, with the race being restarted following a jump start and a warning for Richie Worrall. As with the first race, at the time the red lights came on the Rebels duo of Richard Lawson and Claus Vissing, were into the back straight at the head of affairs. In the restart, Worrall again appeared to chance his arm with a flyer at the tapes, which seemed to go unnoticed. Vissing and Lawson were close up, but Vissing got swallowed up, losing his place and dropping to the rear, losing third place to Mateusz Szczepaniak. Lawson set off in chase of Worrall, and as they approached the third turn of Lap 2, he made a superb move, slipping inside the St Helens rider, and stealing away the lead, to keep the scoreline level. In Heat 4 Kacper Woryna continued in the same vein he had started, bombing from the tapes to contest the run to the turn with Jack Holder, with the Pole just edging in front at the bend. Holder ran Josh Grajczonek wide at the second turn, allowing Nico Covatti through, but in the process, he then lost his place to the former Rebels skipper. His stint in last place didn’t continue for long, as he soon powered by Grajczonek and then his own partner Covatti on the final two turns of the lap. He gave chase to Woryna, but the Pirates reserve was long gone, leaving the points to be shared.
Linus Sundstrom, Richard Lawson and Brady Kurtz broke level, riding three abreast around the opening turns of Heat 5, before Sundstrom appeared in front on the back straight. Kurtz shot underneath Lawson at the third turn, but the Rebels flyer was having none of it and moved back to second on the very next curve. Lawson continued his run and was up the inside of Sundstrom on the opener of the next lap. But it was a move he couldn’t make stick, as the Swede powered back to the lead off the next bend. Lawson chased hard for the following two laps, trying different lines to find a way to the front. However, it was not to be, as Sundstrom met every challenge in a superb defensive ride. Vissing never got in a blow at the back as the Pirates edged ahead in the meeting, 14-16.
The Rebels reacted immediately, blasting in a maximum advantage in the very next race. As in the first heat, Jason Doyle and Bradley Wilson-Dean broke very quickly, and Doyle was soon in the van, with Wilson-Dean not far behind. Mateusz Szczepaniak moved to harry the young New Zealander, powering around the outside line, exerting pressure and probing for an opening. But Wilson-Dean answered every question he posed, until he cleverly ran the Pirates man wide, and forged a gap he was not to lose. On the final lap, he comfortably followed Doyle home, to post the Rebels second ‘Full House’ of the evening.
The Pirates brought Kacper Woryna into Heat 7 as Rider Replacement, looking to capitalise on his good run of late, but things don’t always work out how you want them to, something the Rebels were also about to find out. As the tapes rose, Jack Holder burst to the front, leading into the turn, with Woryna and Richie Worrall coming next in front of Jake Allen. As they hit the turn, Allen blazed around the fence line, blasting past the Pirates duo down the back straight. He joined Holder at the front, and the pair held a comfortable lead, which looked as though it would yield the maximum points. As they entered the final lap, Allen suddenly slowed, and it soon became obvious that the problem was a puncture, leaving him stranded on the second turn, and handing the Pirates an unexpected share of the points.
Heat 8 was also shared when the busy Kacper Woryna bolted from the traps to lead from the other three, who were line abreast. Out of the second turn, Linus Sundstrom just held second place, but Nico Covatti was intent on changing that. He moved wide to forge past Sundstrom before cutting inside to dive bomb Woryna, for the lead, on the third turn. Meanwhile Bradley Wilson-Dean, who had run wide on the second turn, also got the better of Sundstrom. Wilson-Dean’s third place lasted only until the final turn of the next lap, where Sundstrom executed a neat cutback to claim back the third spot, and with Wilson-Dean unable to hit back. Claiming a share of the points as he filled the minor places with his partner, behind the fast disappearing Covatti.
Garry May replaced Claus Vissing in Heat 9, with Jake Allen, as he felt Allen was stronger following his Heat 7 ride. From the tape rise, Richard Lawson flew off the line with lightning speed and showing his number to the rest of the field for all four laps. Allen found himself at the rear out of the turn but was soon laying down the beats as the flashed down the back straight, before executing his trademark dive inside in the third bend, demoting Mateusz Szczepaniak to the rear. He then found himself on the rear wheel of Josh Grajczonek, pressing him all the way, until a lock up on the final turn of the third lap, and another on the second bend of the final lap did for his chances. The second of these errors forced him to run wide, giving Szczepaniak the chance to close and challenge, but even then Allen just had too much in hand, giving the home side a heat advantage and a 29-25 lead.
The abundant Kacper Woryna made his fifth appearance of the night in ten races, and he made it a winning one, as he once again made a jet-propelled start to lead all the way and take the scalp of the World Champion. Jason Doyle gave chase, but couldn’t find an answer to the young Pole’s speed. He was also hampered when he found a hole, which had appeared towards the inside of the last two turns, but fortunately, he kept it rubber side down as they completed the opening lap. Meanwhile, behind the pair, Bradley Wilson-Dean was doing his best to hold off the pressing Richie Worrall. Nevertheless, the Pirates’ man proved too strong, taking third place inside the second curve of the second lap, to bring the Pirates two points closer.
In the very next race, Heat 11, the hole that Doyle found, was to play a big part in the outcome of the race. Jack Holder made a blinding start to lead from the ‘off’, and as he had done two heats earlier, Jake Allen rode a superb bend to come with a wet sail down the back straight, charging by the Pirates twosome of Brady Kurtz and Linus Sundstrom. As with Heat 9, he soon fell in behind Holder and fought off the close attention of Kurtz. On the final lap, he had broken the tow from Kurtz and was now comfortable in the second spot. As they rounded the final turn, he too struck the rut found by Doyle in the previous heat. Unlike his captain, Allen’s fortune ran out, when his excursion through the rut threw his chain, causing him to fall, with a maximum advantage in sight. The following Pirates duo did well to avoid the stricken Allen, saving him from adding injury to the insult.
The Pirates took a two point lead at the conclusion of Heat 12, and it was that man Kacper Woryna, who again did the damage. Not for the first time in the evening, he careered from the tapes to lead up, and win untroubled. Claus Vissing made a decent start and charged up the inside of Richie Worrall on the third turn. He then held a comfortable second spot, looking like he had the measure of the chasing Worrall. But it was not to be for the newly signed Rebel, as he took a big lift running onto the back straight of the final lap, and by the time he had it under control, Worrall was up his inside. As they approached the final two turns, Vissing cut back from the outside to power through the inside towards a quickly narrowing gap, and by the time he got there, the gap was gone, and Vissing found himself looking up from the ground at the fast disappearing Worrall. Nico Covatti never got into the race and finished quite a way back in third.
No sooner had the visitors grabbed the lead, the Rebels took it back when Jack Holder added his third straight win to his tally. The story of the race was a simple one, the tapes rose, Holder flashed from the line to make every yard a winning one. Jason Doyle was third away, but a neat move inside a faltering Brady Kurtz on the final turn of the lap saw him grab second place and never look back, as the home pairing took the honours, adding a third Rebels maximum to the scoresheet.
Heat 14 was shared, but not before the Rebels looked to have posted another heat advantage in their account. When the tapes rose, Nico Covatti, who was in for Jake Allen who had missed the two minutes, bolted to the front, powering away from Linus Sundstrom, Richard Lawson and Mateusz Szczepaniak. With Sundstrom just showing a nose in second place, Lawson pressed Szczepaniak, with the pair running wide. As they reached the exit of the second turn, Szczepaniak ran out of room and fell by himself. With Covatti well clear the race progressed to the final turn of the lap, and with Szczepaniak still on the track, the red lights came on. To the home fans astonishment, the referee called an unsatisfactory start and put all four back.
In the re-run, the inevitable happened, as Linus Sundstrom bolted from the line, with the two Rebels in behind. Szczepaniak was run out wide in the opener and wasn’t a factor after that. Lawson went by Covatti, taking up the chase on Sundstrom. By the final turns he was close up, challenging wide, and putting in a big run around the Swede, who eventually held just too much of an advantage for Lawson to overcome.
With the poor showings of the Pirates heat leaders, the travelling support was presented with the strange sight of their number two, Linus Sundstrom, and number seven, Kacper Woryna, appearing in the nominated heat. Their opponents, inevitably, were the Rebels current top two, Jason Doyle and Jack Holder. The home duo made no mistake, making rapid exits from the tapes, and heading the field before the turn. From that point on, the Pirates pairing had no answer to the rapidly vanishing Rebels. The resulting 5-1, gave the ‘Cases’ Somerset Rebels the win, by a margin of six points, 48-42.
Kacper Woryna (17pts) and Linus Sundstrom (9+2) apart, the visitors were woeful, and in truth, the final scoreline flattered the Pirates, who were a shadow of the team we have come to expect. Had it not been for Jake Allen’s two unfortunate incidents alone, the Rebels would have enjoyed at least a fourteen point win, and the Pirates would have returned to Wimborne Road pointless.
For the home side, Nico Covatti had a good debut, posting a 6+2 return, and should certainly improve on that with more track time around the Oaktree Arena circuit. He produced an all action display, which will surely endear him to the Rebels faithful in weeks to come. Claus Vissing had a seasonal debut he’d wish to forget, but he fronted up in the clubhouse post-meeting interviews and didn’t hide away from some tough questions.
Richard Lawson produced a great performance, with a ten point haul, which saw him back to somewhere near the form he showed in his first season in Highbridge. Jack Holder and Jason Doyle shared identical 13+2 records, both dropping just a single point to an opponent. Holder must have been particularly pleased with his efforts, having been released by Poole in the close season. Doyle’s night not only produced a joint top score but also earned him the Somerset ‘Rider of the Night’ award from team sponsors, ‘Cases’ Engineering.
After receiving the award, he then took questions from the fans and produced a totally entertaining, amusing, enjoyable and frank 15 minutes, not shying away from any of the questions he was asked. At one point track announcer, Rod Cork, failed to recognise Nico Covatti and asked him if he had a question for Doyley, and to everyone’s amusement, he asked his skipper, with a big grin on his face, ‘How did I do tonight’.
The next home action sees the Kings Lynn Star, with the New British Champion Robert Lambert, visit the Oaktree Arena on Monday (25th June). With Lambert in stellar form, they could prove to be difficult opponents on the night. Two days later the Rebels visit Wimborne Road, in the second leg of their KO Cup Quarter Final, holding a fourteen point lead.
Somerset Rebels - 48
1. Jason Doyle - 3, 3, 2, 2*, 3 = 13+1
2. Bradley Wilson-Dean - 2*, 2*, 0, 0 = 4+2
3. Claus Vissing - 0, 0, F = 0
4. Richard Lawson - 3, 2, 3, 2 = 10
5. Jack Holder - 2, 3, 3, 3, 2* = 13+1
6. Jake Allen - 1, R, 1, F, EX = 2
7. Nico Covatti - 0, 1*, 3, 1, 1* = 6+2
Poole Pirates – 42
1. Brady Kurtz - 0, 1, 2, 0 =3
2. Linus Sundstrom - 1, 3, 1*, 1*, 3, 0 = 9+2
3. Richie Worrall - 2, 1*, 1, 2* = 6+2
4. Nicolai Klindt - R/R
5. Josh Grajczonek - 0, 0, 2, 1 = 3
6. Mateusz Szczepaniak - 2*, 1*, 1, 0, 0 = 4+2
7. Kacper Woryna - 3, 3, 2, 2, 3, 3, 1 = 17
SCB Referee: Dave Robinson
Heat 01: Doyle, Wilson-Dean, Sundstrom, Kurtz (5-1) (5-1) 58.25
Heat 02: Woryna, Szczepaniak, Allen, Covatti (1-5) (6-6) 57-75
Heat 03: Lawson, Worrall, Szczepaniak, Vissing (3-3) (9-9) 58.06
Heat 04: Woryna, Holder, Covatti, Grajczonek (3-3) (12-12) 57.25
Heat 05: Sundstrom, Lawson, Kurtz, Vissing (2-4) (14-16) 57.53
Heat 06: Doyle, Wilson-Dean, Szczepaniak, Grajczonek (5-1) (19-17) 57.75
Heat 07: Holder, Woryna, Worrall, Allen (Ret) (3-3) (22-20) 57.68
Heat 08: Covatti, Woryna, Sundstrom, Wilson-Dean (3-3) (25-23) 58.19
Heat 09: Lawson, Grajczonek, Allen, Szczepaniak (4-2) (29-25) 58.25
Heat 10: Woryna, Doyle, Worrall, Wilson-Dean (2-4) (31-29) 58.37
Heat 11: Holder, Kurtz, Sundstrom, Allen (Fell) (3-3) (34-32) 58.12
Heat 12: Woryna, Worrall, Covatti, Vissing (Fell) (1-5) (35-37) 58.43
Heat 13: Holder, Doyle, Grajczonek, Kurtz (5-1) (40-38) 57.93
Heat 14: Sundstrom, Lawson, Covatti, Szczepaniak (3-3) (43-41) 58.62
Heat 15: Doyle, Holder, Woryna, Sundstrom (5-1) (48-42) 58.44