Bears battle to Brummies success
The Redcar “Agilia” Bears had to dig deep to clinch a 48-42 win over a strong Birmingham side. The Bears were handicapped during the meeting and ended up with only 5 riders for the second half of the match but in a must-win encounter they came out on top.
The night started off in the worst possible fashion for the Bears as the Brummies hit a 5-1 in the opening race courtesy of British legend Chris Harris and Brummies guest Stefan Nielsen. Redcar immediately hit back with a 5-1 of their own in heat 2 as Jordan Jenkins and Drew Kemp got the better of the Birmingham reserve pairing of Paco Castagna and Jack Thomas. Heat 3 saw the Bears hit another 5-1 as Drew Kemp grabbed himself his second paid win in succession. Heat 4 looked likely to be another 5-1 for Redcar as Michael Palm-Toft flew out of the gate and was closely followed by Redcar reserve Jordan Jenkins but it was not to be as the Bears rising star was passed by Rory Schlein on the final lap.
Heat 5 saw the first crash of the evening as Jordan Jenkins and Stefan Nielsen tangled and the Poole man came down and was excluded from the re-run. With the Bears having 75% of the heat winners at this stage it was vital the second city side saw the chequered flag first to get back on track and their captain Chris Harris did just that with a fine win but the gap remained at 6 as the Bears packed the minor places.
Heat 6 saw the Brummies edge their way back into contention with a 4-2 heat advantage as Rory Schlein picked up the win and Paco Castagna passed James Sarjeant on lap 3 for third place. Heat 7 initially looked good for the Bears as they gated on a 5-1 but drama ensued as Michael Palm-Toft hit the fence onthe back straight and Drew Kemp made an error on the 4th bend of lap 1 which gave James.Shanes the chance to capitalise and take the win for the Brummies as they reduced the gap to 2.
Heat 8 saw the Bears lose their rising star to injury as Jordan Jenkins once again tangled with Stefan Nielsen but this time came off worse as he had to withdraw from the meeting with a wrist injury. Birmingham brought the meeting level in the re-run with another 4-2 heat advantage.
The ninth heat of the evening saw Rory Schlein pick up his second win of the evening but with the Bears packing the minor placings the scores remained level. Heat 10 saw Bears skipper Charles Wright pick up his maiden win on the night and with James Sarjaentclaiming third place Redcar took a slim lead into the latter stages of the meeting.
Heat 11 saw the Brummies gate on a 5-1 but Michael Palm-Toft managed to split the Brummies pairing and limit the damage. Heat 12 saw the Bears strike a decisive blow as Jake Allen glided around the outside of Paco Castagna to claim a precious win for the Bears and with Drew Kemp notching another paid win Redcar went 4 points up on the night.
Heat 13 saw major controversy as Charles Wright and Rory Schlein both came to grief on the opening bends of lap 1, many spectators believed that Wright could have been excluded as the primary cause of the stoppage but the referee Phil Griffin invited all 4 riders back for a re-run. Unfortunately, due to the effects of the crash Schlein could not take his place in there-run and had to withdraw from the meeting. Brummies boss Laurence Rodgers opted toreplace Schlein with Jack Thomas. The second staging of heat 13 saw yet more drama as 2of Britain’s best, Wright and Harris tangled and, to the dismay of Brummies boss Laurence Rodgers, Chris Harris was judged to be at fault and was excluded. It was third time lucky for the Bears in the third staging of heat 13 as they hit a big 5-1.
Heat 14 was Redcar’s chance to end the meeting as a contest but the Brummies used their tactical substitute as Chris Harris passed Drew Kemp and Paco Castagna caught Kemp on the run to the line meaning the Brummies were 4 points behind heading into a vital heat 15. The last heat of the match saw Stefan Nielsen gate with Chris Harris in second but the Bears skipper Charles Wright flew around the outside of Nielsen which gave the Bears a massive 3 points.
After the meeting we caught up with both team managers after a pulsating evening of speedway. Brummies boss Laurence Rodgers had this to say on the meeting, “Tonight was a missed opportunity for my side but when you get a controversial exclusion in heat 13 it doesn’t help. I decided to go with Jack Thomas in heat 13 as he needs a bit of confidence and he rode very well. If heat 13 had gone another way things may have been different for us but overall I am content with a consolation league point.
Finally, Jade Mudgway was happy with the result and had this to say on the evening’s entertainment, “It was nice to get back on track with a win, I think we made hard work of it at times but it was a battling performance in the end and our heat leaders came through for us. Unfortunately, our injuries are piling up at the moment and we haven’t had any luck with them recently. Jordan Jenkins injured his wrist this evening but hopefully it is not too bad of an injury and we can have him back soon.”
Redcar = 48
1. Charles Wright 1, 2, 3, 3, 3 = 12
2. James Sarjeant 0, 0, 2, 1 = 3
3. Jake Allen 3, 2, 1′, 3, 0 = 9+1
4. Rider Replacement for Jordan Stewart
5. Michael Palm Toft 3, 0, 2, 2′, 1 = 8+1
6. Drew Kemp (G) 2′, 2′, 2, 2, 0, 2′, 1 = 11+3
7. Jordan Jenkins 3, 1, 1′, Fx = 5+1 Withdrawn
Birmingham = 42
1. Chris Harris 2′, 3, 3, Fx, 3, 2 = 13+1
2. Stefan Nielsen (G) 3, Fx, 3, 1, 0 = 7
3. James Shanes 1, 3, 2, 0 = 6
4. Ashley Morris R, 1, 0 = 1
5. Rory Schlein (G) 2, 3, 3 = 8
6. Paco Castagna 1, 1, 1, 1, 2′ = 6+1
7. Jack Thomas R, 0, 0, 1 = 1