Rampant Redcar reach KO Cup final!
Redcar produced one of their best performances of the season in front of a large crowd to demolish Edinburgh 54-36 (97-83 on aggregate) to progress to the KO Cup final for the second time in three years. Charles Wright made a successful return from injury with 13+1 whilst Josh Pickering hit 13 for the Monarchs.
Richard Lawson continued his scintillating form with a heat 1 win whilst Jason Edwards gained a creditable third place to give Redcar their first heat advantage.
The original staging of heat 2 was brought back with James Sarjeant receiving a warning for an unsatisfactory start. In the restaging, Redcar went ahead in the tie with a superb 5-1 courtesy of the new reserve pairing, Kasper Andersen and Kyle Newman both passing Sarjeant with the Edinburgh reserve then retiring with bike problems.
Charles Wright’s return to form started with a bang in heat 3 as the skipper stalked Kye Thomson for the first lap before making a calculated pass up the inside on the 2nd bend of lap 2 to take the win and with Jordan Jenkins in 3rd, Redcar went 16-8 up and 4 points ahead on aggregate.
Edinburgh had their first heat winner in heat 4 as Pickering stemmed the Bears winning flow but no heat advantage could be gained for the visitors as Redcar packed into the minor placings.
Edinburgh were left cursing their luck after an eventful heat 5. Sam Masters was leading comfortably and with Lasse Fredriksen looking likely to pass Jenkins, Edinburgh were set for their first heat advantage. Despite Fredriksen indeed passing Jenkins, Masters dramatically slowed on the final lap to gift Wright the win and hand Redcar another 4-2 heat advantage.
Nevertheless, the Monarchs fans did not have to wait much longer for their first heat advantage though as Pickering made it back to back wins by holding off Lawson whilst Sarjeant overcame Edwards for third to give Edinburgh a potential springboard.
Determined to stay in control, Redcar immediately returned the favour with their 4th 4-2 of the match as Lewis Kerr continued his fantastic form with a win after an early battle with Paco Castagna whilst Newman had to settle for third after his own battle with the Italian.
Edinburgh hit a fantastic 5-1 in heat 8 to reduce the aggregate gap to 2 and send shockwaves throughout the ECCO Arena as Fredriksen and Sarjeant combined to bring the Monarchs right back into contention.
Wright took another win with Pickering becoming his latest victim in a shared heat 9. Lawson settled some of the crowd’s nerves as he passed Thomson at the conclusion of lap 1 to take the win whilst Edwards defeated Castagna to double Redcar’s aggregate advantage to 4. Another 4-2 followed in heat 11 with a fantastic battle involving Masters and Newman. Kerr gated and rode off into the sunset whilst Newman stormed up the inside with his front wheel on the bend 4 grass to pass Masters but the Aussie returned the favour 1 lap later to limit the damage for the visitors.
By now, the tie was getting away from the Monarchs who struggled for consistent backup for their main man, Pickering. Heat 12 was another killer blow for Edinburgh. Sarjeant, coming off a paid win was deemed to be moving at the start and after already receiving an earlier warning was excluded from the re-run with the Monarchs boss, John Campbell electing to send out Sarjeant’s reserve partner, Hook in his place. Wright won again and with Andersen in third, Redcar were 8 points up overall with only 3 races remaining.
Kerr inflicted a rare defeat on Pickering in heat 13 with a fantastic win and with Lawson in third, Redcar were nearly there!
The mathematical qualification was secured in heat 14 as Andersen and Newman combined for a perfect exhibition of team riding to keep Castagna behind them for Redcar’s 10th heat advantage of the match.
Heat 15 was won by the impressive Pickering but Edinburgh could not gain a consolation heat advantage as the brilliant Bears packed into 2nd and 3rd.
The atmosphere was fantastic from start to finish, the riders can feel it. The noise you make is vitally important, so from Redcar Speedway, thank you and as Lewi Kerr says, “Redcar have the best fans in speedway!”
Redcar Bears = 54 (97)
1. Richard Lawson (G) = 11
2. Jason Edwards = 2
3. Charles Wright = 13+1
4. Jordan Jenkins = 2
5. Lewis Kerr = 10+1
6. Kyle Newman = 6+2
7. Kasper Andersen = 10
Edinburgh Monarchs = 36 (83)
1. Sam Masters = 4
2. Lasse Fredriksen = 5
3. Kye Thomson = 6
4. Paco Castagna = 3
5. Josh Pickering = 13
6. James Sarjeant = 3+1
7. Jacob Hook = 2+1