Brilliant Bears topple Cheetahs
Redcar produced a vintage performance to end Oxford’s unbeaten league start to the season with a superb 48-42 win. Danny King top scored for the “Agilia” Bears with 10 whilst Sam Masters and Benjamin Basso both hit 11 for the visitors.
Oxford started the night with a heat advantage as Sam Masters took the win after he passed Danyon Hume on lap 2 to take the chequered flag and with Danny King suffering bike problems at the back, the Cheetahs began in the ascendency. Heat 2 saw a superb moment as a clearly overjoyed Luke Harrison made a superb goal to win and with Jason Edwards riding a clever line to protect his younger teammate, the Bears had a 5-1 and a slender 2 point lead.
However, Oxford immediately hit back with a maximum 5-1 of their own as Jordan Jenkins came back to haunt his former side, and with Kyle Howarth keeping a faster looking Connor Bailey behind, the Cheetahs had a 2 point advantage of their own. Heat 4 saw Redcar level proceedings with a 4-2 as Wright rode superbly to hold off Oxford’s fast looking guest, Benjamin Basso and with Luke Harrison keeping Ryan Kinsley at the rear in the battle for third, Redcar were back level.
After Oxford riders (Masters & Basso) headed home heats 5 & 6 in shared races, Redcar retook the lead in a superb heat 7. Oxford’s guest, Kyle Howarth led the race and when Charles Wright locked up on lap 2, Howarth looked set for the win until Wright flew past Howarth entering lap 4 to take the 3 points, and with Jenkins at the back, Redcar were back in a familiar 2 point lead.
Heat 8 was a frenetic encounter which initially looked set to be a Bears 4-2 until Henry Atkins took a nasty tumble on bends 1 & 2 of lap 3 with the race being re-ran with 3 riders only. The re-run saw Redcar gate on a 5-1 until Cameron Heeps passed Luke Harrison and then set chase after Danyon Hume but the Bears number 2 rode intelligently to keep the Australian behind and the Bears had a 26-22 advantage at the ECCO Arena.
Another brace of shared heats saw the electric looking Basso win heat 9 whilst King won heat 10 to ensure the Bears remained in charge. Heat 11 saw the Cheetahs gate on a 4-2 but Wright passed Heeps on lap 3 to ensure Redcar’s 4 point lead remained intact. Heat 12 saw superb speedway as Connor Bailey and Jason Edwards rode as a partnership to keep Howarth behind and with that, the Bears now had an 8 point advantage heading into the closing stages.
Heat 13 saw controversy as Sam Masters was excluded for breaking the tapes with the Oxford management insisting their number 1 had only broken the tapes due to Danny King moving at the start but the referee was not for turning which resulted in Masters going off 15m in the re-run. The re-run saw Basso win despite early pressure from King, but with Masters unable to make any impression off the handicap, the Bears 8 point lead remained intact.
Heat 14 saw Oxford team manager, Peter Schroeck play his tactical substitute in the shape of Kyle Howarth and the switch paid dividends as Jenkins won and with Howarth in second, the Cheetahs were back within 4 and we had a last heat decider at the ECCO Arena.
The final heat of a classic encounter was preceded by loud home support for Redcar’s heat 15 representatives, King and Wright. King gated and won superbly whilst Wright had a superb scrap with Masters for second with the pair swapping places only for the Oxford stand-in skipper to win the battle but with King winning, Redcar inflicted Oxford’s first league defeat of the season after a superb scrap at the ECCO Arena.
Oxford did however take away the aggregate bonus point with a 92-86 success over the 2 league fixtures.
Redcar Bears = 48 (86)
1. Danny King = 10
2. Danyon Hume = 6+1
3. Connor Bailey = 7+1
4. Erik Riss = 3+1
5. Charles Wright = 9+2
6. Jason Edwards = 8+2
7. Luke Harrison (G) = 5
Oxford Cheetahs = 42 (94)
1. Sam Masters = 11
2. Henry Atkins = 1
3. Kyle Howarth (G) = 9+2
4. Jordan Jenkins = 7+1
5. Benjamin Basso (G) = 11
6. Cameron Heeps = 3
7. Ryan Kinsley = 0