Brilliant Rockets deny Bears’ necessities with comfortable victory
Rye House 55 Redcar 41
The new-look Silver Ski Rockets supplied the first evidence that their team changes may coincide with a new dawn for the side with a comfortable 14 point victory over play-off chasing Redcar – one that also lifted them off the foot of the table.
The solo highlight of the meeting was Luke Bowen’s four ride maximum. It was the third full house of the Bowen 747’s career at this level, and his first since 2008, and came just a fortnight after the equally big day of his Testimonial meeting. It was an emotional occasion for another reason, however, as he said afterwards. “I’m dedicating my maximum to my nan, who passed away last week. I really wanted it for her, and that’s why I didn’t want to ride in Heat 15 because if I had dropped a point there it wouldn’t have been the same level of tribute.
“It has been an awful period for my family during her illness, and I’ve also had to deal with the pressure of my Testimonial meeting, but hopefully you’ll start to see a real Bowen about-turn now.
“There was a good team spirit tonight, and the boys really knuckled down to the job.
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“The track was perfect too, and I think it helped that we started a little later than usual (7.30 vs 7pm) because it retained the moisture better.”
Bowen’s stunning performance – capped off by a riveting third-to-first display in Heat 8 when he caught Hugh Skidmore for the victory right on the line – wasn’t the only thing to enthuse about, though. Edward Kennett came within a bike length of matching the Harlow Flyer’s unbeaten tag, dropping his only points when finishing right behind the Bears’ main man, Richard Lawson, in an enthralling Heat 15.
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Elsewhere, Anders Mellgren continued to shake off his race rust, collecting the first race win of his second stint with the Rockets in Heat 4 and going on to provide a solid 7+1. Totally new boy Oliver Greenwood enjoyed a paid 8 total on his home debut, although promoter Len Silver emphasised afterwards that “It wasn’t just the points that young Olly scored that impressed me; it was the way he put himself about on the track.” Silver was referring in particular to Greenwood’s powerful drive inside Skidmore in Heat 11, one that also opened the door for following Mellgren to slip inside the Aussie on the next bend.
Steve Boxall also epitomised the newly-found fighting spirit of the side by rebounding with 5 points after two pointless rides – that despite suffering with groin and ankle injuries. All seven Rockets provided at least one paid race win in what was an all-round team effort.
The Bears, in contrast, suffered from both inconsistency and a long tail at reserve. Pole Rafal Konopka suffered no less than seven falls in as many rides as he struggled to adapt to the tight confines of the Hoddesdon circuit, while Jan Graversen was never the same after a heavy tumble following Boxall’s forceful endeavours in Heat 3.
Redcar’s rider of the night was probably Carl Wilkinson, who opened with two strong victories – and bagged the fastest time of the match (56.2 secs) in Heat 3 – before being fazed by his “elbows at dawn” alongside Bowen at the start line of Heat 10. Wilkinson was left trailing by both the Testimonial star and Kennett when the tapes did rise, and then fell on the second lap, before returning to the start line after the race to verbally share his perspective with the start marshal.
Rye House: Edward Kennett 13+1(5 rides), Luke Bowen 10+2 (4 rides, maximum), Jason Garrity 8+1 (5), Anders Mellgren 7+1 (4), Oliver Greenwood 6+2 (4), Jason Bunyan 6+1 (4), Steve Boxall 5 (4)
Redcar: Richard Lawson 14+1 (5 rides, inc 6 as a TR) , Hugh Skidmore 12 (6 rides, inc 6 as a TR), Carl Wilkinson 7 (4), Aaron Summers 4 (4), Jan Graversen 3 (4), Rafal Konopka 1 (7), Mark Lemon R/R
Premier League points: Rye House 3 Redcar 0
A reminder to all supporters that there is NO action at Rye House this Saturday; the Silver Ski Rockets’ next home match is against League Champions Somerset on Saturday, August 9th (7pm start).