Cheetahs edge out Bears in Championship clash
Redcar were edged out by a resilient Oxford side 47-43 in a Championship thriller at Sandy Lane. Oxford led throughout the meeting with their skipper, Scott Nicholls top scoring with 13 whilst Charles Wright hit 14 for the Bears.
Scott Nicholls started superbly to win heat 1 with Wright getting the better of Kyle Newman to limit the damage. Disaster struck in heat 2 with the Bears looking set for a 5-1 until Jordan Jenkins picked up some unexpected drive, thus then being excluded from the race. The re-run was won by an impressive Jason Edwards who shone on the night for the 2019 KO Cup winners.
Redcar registered their first heat advantage in heat 3 as a fast starting Erik Riss won comfortably and with Jenkins 3rd the Bears levelled the meeting. Another electric Bears gate saw both Bears, Lewis Kerr and Jason Edwards emerge on the back straight on a 5-1 but the Cheetahs guest, Chris Harris forced himself into second, and with Dillon Ruml passing Edwards the scores remained level.
Back to back 4-2’s for the Championship newcomers saw Oxford take a 4 point lead with heat 7 providing exciting viewing for the crowd. In the original staging, Jenkins was excluded after a first bend clash with Nathan Stoneman. The re-run saw Riss and Harris pass each other numerous times with Harris winding it on in true Bomber style to take the win on the last lap.
The Teessiders steadied the ship with two 3-3’s as Edwards won yet again and Kerr made it 8 points from 9 as he defeated Jack Thomas. The Bears boat was again rocking by the climax of heat 11 as the busiest man in British Speedway, Chris Harris got the better of Charles Wright after an almighty battle for the win.
The “Agilia” Bears played their tactical substitute card in heat 12 in the shape of Wright who duly did the job required of him and with Riss in 3rd, Redcar reduced the arrears to 6. Harris yet again proved to be a thorn in Redcar’s side as he stormed from last to first in the space of 1 lap to take the win and with Nicholls getting the better of Kerr the Cheetahs went into a commanding 8 point lead.
Redcar then battled back in heat 14 with a 5-1 as Riss and Edwards combined to send the clash into a final heat decider. Harris was yet again involved in the thick of the action as he battled with Wright but on this occasion, the British legend fell but with Nicholls out front the Bears were forced to settle for a 3-3. The shared heat gave the Cheetahs 3 league points with the Bears returning to Teesside with a consolation point.
Redcar co-promoter Jamie Swales was disappointed with the result, “I’m disappointed, we targeted a win from the meeting but a couple of things didn’t go our way. We had some bad luck on the night but we fought hard to take a point.”
The former rider was impressed with the action, “The Oxford promotion have got some different shale for the track and the rain made the track a little heavier which gave the opportunity for more racing lines, especially on the outside.”
Swales was also impressed with the performance of Oxford’s guest, Harris, “Harris made the difference tonight, Troy Batchelor would not have scored as heavily as Bomber did. He was definitely a match winner for them.”
Swales also spoke about the Bears reserves, “Jordan (Jenkins) hurt his back after his heat 2 fall. He then struggled for the rest of the meeting. Jason Edwards picked up the slack for us, he was brilliant with 2 race wins and a paid win.”
Oxford Cheetahs = 47
1 Scott Nicholls = 13
2 Kyle Newman = 5
3 Jack Thomas = 8
4 Cameron Heeps = 3+2
5 Chris Harris (G) = 11
6 Dillon Ruml = 4+3
7 Nathan Stoneman (G) = 3
Redcar Bears = 43
1 Charles Wright = 14
2 Adam Roynon = 0
3 Erik Riss = 9
4 R/R for Kasper Andersen = 6
5 Lewis Kerr = 9+1
6 Jordan Jenkins = 1
7 Jason Edwards = 10+1