Scorpions sting Bears
Scunthorpe struck the first blow in the KO Cup semi-final as they overcame Redcar 54-36 at the Eddie Wright Raceway. The Bears started well and found themselves well in contention at 25-23 down but the Scorpions went up a gear in the second half of the meeting to stamp their authority on the semi-final. The ever impressive Ryan Douglas hit 14 for the hosts whilst Danny King hit paid 10 for Redcar.
King started in superb fashion as he inflicted a rare defeat on Douglas, but with Danyon Hume at the rear, Redcar could not take an early lead in Lincolnshire. Heat 2 saw the Scorpions take the lead as Drew Kemp flew from the gate to win comfortably but Jason Edwards held onto 2nd despite strong pressure from Nathan Ablitt to limit the damage for Redcar.
Leon Flint, Redcar’s guest number 4, passed Jake Allen on bend 3 of the opening lap to win heat 3 with gate four providing every race winner so far, but with Connor Bailey at the rear, the Bears were still two down in the early stages. Erik Riss opened his night with a tapes to flag win in heat 4, but with Luke Harrison being passed by both Scorpions, the Bears still trailed.
King made it 2 wins from 2 in heat 5 as he passed Jake Allen on lap 3 for another impressive win, but with Hume being passed by Simon Lambert for 3rd, Redcar could not find a remedy for their last places despite the “visitors providing 4 of the 5 race winners. Scunthorpe flexed their muscles in heat 6 as Douglas won comfortably whilst Connor Mountain passed Riss in the early stages with the Scunthorpe man then going up the inside of Edwards on the final lap to stretch their lead to 6.
However, Redcar hit back in heat 7 after a super race! Flint passed both Scorpions (Ablitt & Kemp) on bend 4 of lap 1 whilst Bailey produced heroics to pass Ablitt for 2nd on the run to the line to bring the Bears right back into contention. Mountain repeated his heat 6 move on Edwards as he passed the Bears asset on the final lap to record his first win of the night in heat 8, but with Kemp last, Redcar remained in touch at 25-23.
Scunthorpe’s 6 point lead was re-established in heat 9 as the engine room pairing of Lambert and Allen dominated proceedings to give Scunthorpe the all important momentum. Douglas took his tally to 8 points with another win in heat 10, and with Mountain defeating Bailey for 3rd, Scunthorpe’s lead was now 8 points.
After Michael Palm-Toft won a shared heat 11, heat 12 saw one of the strangest speedway races you are ever likely to see! The first running of the race saw Kemp excluded after a fall on lap 2. The re-run saw Lambert drive up the inside of Bailey on bend 3 of the final lap for the win but, unbelievably, both men continued racing for another 2 laps for no apparent reason until Bailey fell with nobody able to understand what they had just witnessed!
With the Scorpions in the ascendency, they pulled further clear as Douglas and Palm-Toft took a maximum 5-1 in heat 13 to extend the hosts lead to 12. The penultimate race saw Allen win whilst Ablitt rode well to hold off a hard charging Flint for 3rd to further extend Scunthorpe’s lead.
Heat 15 saw Scunthorpe have the all-important choice of gates with the hosts choosing gates 2 and 4 with 4 providing the majority of the race winners throughout the meeting. After Douglas took the early lead, Palm-Toft passed both Bears (King & Flint) on the backstraight of lap 1 to give Scunthorpe an 18 point advantage heading into the decisive 2nd leg on Friday at the ECCO Arena.
Scunthorpe = 54
1. Ryan Douglas = 14
2. Connor Mountain = 7+2
3. Simon Lambert = 8+2
4. Jake Allen = 9+1
5. Michael Palm Toft = 9+2
6. Nathan Ablitt = 3
7. Drew Kemp = 4+1
Redcar = 36
1. Danny King = 9+1
2. Danyon Hume = 3+1
3. Connor Bailey = 4+1
4. Leon Flint (G) = 8
5. Erik Riss = 4
6. Jason Edwards = 8+1
7. Luke Harrison = 0