Bears toil as Pirates reign supreme
Poole struck a decisive blow in the first leg of the KO Cup final as they took a deserved 41-48 win back to Wimborne Road. The top scorer for the Pirates was the impressive Ben Cook who hit 13+1 whilst Charles Wright returned 14 for the Bears with a scintillating display. Poole had strength in depth through their lineup with the Bears heat leaders struggling for back up in a tough night on Teesside.
The clash started off in the worst possible fashion for the Bears as Ben Cook and Danny King stormed from the tapes and left the Bears standing at the start to record an early 5-1 advantage for the visitors.
Heat 2 saw Redcar’s first heat winner as Kyle Newman took the win but with Jason Edwards at the back, Redcar could not eat into Poole’s early lead.
Heat 3 saw further trouble for the Bears as Jordan Jenkins tangled with Wright on the opening bends with the Redcar skipper hitting the deck and Jenkins excluded from the re-run. Wright didn’t make the gate in the restaging but impressively stormed up the inside of Steve Worrall on the 3rd bend of lap 1 to take a superb heat win.
The Pirates extended their lead to 6 with a heat four 4-2 with another great race. Going into the third bend of the opening lap, Richard Lawson, Lewis Kerr and Nathan Ablitt were 3 abreast with Kerr briefly hitting the front before Lawson passed the Bears man. Despite Kerr’s best efforts, Lawson rode an intelligent line to take the win.
Another shared heat followed in heat 5 as the fantastic Wright passed Ben Cook in the latter stages of the opening lap for the win but with Jenkins at the rear, Redcar remained 6 in arrears. Following a shared heat 6 won by Erik Riss, Redcar hit back with their first 5-1 to send the large home audience wild as Newman rounded Worrall and Drew Kemp on the opening bends to join Kerr at the front to drag Redcar back into contention.
However, with the Bears looking to stamp their authority on the clash, Poole hit back with a 5-1 of their own courtesy of the Cook brothers despite Newman’s best efforts to split the Pirates pairing. The best race of the night followed in heat 9 as Wright stormed past Zach Cook on the opening lap and then made a frankly unbelievable outside pass to beat Lawson on the run to the line to take his 3rd win on the bounce and stop Poole extending their advantage.
Redcar hit only their second heat advantage in heat 10 with a 4-2 despite being on a 5-1 in heat 10’s original staging. Drew Kemp locked up and Kasper Andersen and Erik Riss looked set to emerge on a 5-1 until Kemp came down and brought Riss and Worrall with him. Riss won the re-run fairly comfortably and with Andersen 3rd, the Bears were again within 4 points.
Yet again, as soon as the Bears had a sniff of the comeback, Poole hit a 5-1 as both Bears (Kerr and Newman) got in each other’s way to give the Pirates the fresh air they needed to claim a massive 5-1 to extend their lead to 6 points again. Heat 12 saw Wright tangle with Worrall on the opening bends with the Poole man excluded from the restaging. Wright won yet again and with Jason Edwards third, Redcar still had slim hopes of a home win.
Danny King brilliantly won heat 13 by a huge distance but with both Bears (Riss & Kerr) packing the minor placings, slim hopes remained of a home comeback. Hopes of a home comeback were ended by Zach Cook in heat 14 who won comfortably but with Ablitt at the back, Poole could not extend their advantage.
A thrilling heat 15 saw Wright shoved wide by King with Wright somehow managing to stay on his machinery, only half a lap later, King came to grief and fell on his own with the re-run being won by the superb Ben Cook and with Riss falling and being lapped, there were only 2 finishers with the Pirates taking home a 7 point lead to defend in the second leg.
Man of the match Wright was happy with his own performance, “ It was a good night personally but it is disappointing to be down going into the second leg.”
Wright also explained his recent upturn in form is partly down to a change of engine tuner, “ It hasn’t been me riding the bike, it has been my engine, I have changed my engine tuner and it is paying off.”
Redcar Bears = 41
1. Erik Riss = 9
2. Kasper Andersen = 2
3. Charles Wright = 14
4. Jordan Jenkins = 2
5. Lewis Kerr = 6+1
6. Kyle Newman = 7+2
7. Jason Edwards = 1
Poole Pirates = 48
1. Danny King = 9+2
2. Ben Cook = 13+1
3. Steve Worrall = 5
4. Drew Kemp = 1+1
5. Richard Lawson = 7
6. Zach Cook = 11+3
7. Nathan Ablitt = 2+1