Somerset Rebels too strong for Peterborough Panthers in rain hit meeting

08:02 31 August 2014

Action from Somerset Rebels v Rye House

Action from Somerset Rebels v Rye House

Copyright: I Hitchcock

Peterborough Panthers came to the Oak Tree Arena fresh from two superb wins in Tuesday night’s double header, and intent on gaining revenge for last Sunday’s home defeat against the ‘Case’s’ Somerset Rebels, but it was the Rebels who roared out of the traps, and not the Panthers, writes Dave Thompson.

Whilst the Panthers came with a full septet, the Rebels operated Rider Replacement at Number 2, for the injured Brady Kurtz, with Charles Wright moving into the number 3 spot.

The Rebels hit the Panthers with an opening volley of scoring, which had the visitors reeling behind a 21-9 score line by Heat 5, and throwing in their first tactical ride one race later.

After a level break in the opening heat, Nick Morris and Adam Roynon disputed the lead up the turn, with Morris on the outside in a very tight third bend, sweeping past Roynon as the pair appeared to be leaning on each other. Meanwhile Charles Wright was seeing off a challenge from Lasse Bjerre, before going on to close Roynon down, and charge up his inside down the back straight of the final lap, slipping through off the last bend to claim an opening 5-1 for the Rebels.

Another followed immediately when Todd Kurtz got the better of a level break to go into the turn upsides Max Dilger. Kurtz ran up the inside, claiming first place as they entered the second bend. Paul Starke was slowly away, but made up ground on the first lap, and came careering around the outside to guide past the Panthers pair from the first turn of Lap 2, completing the move onto the back straight. The Rebels duo then pulled clear to add a second full house tom the tally.

Heat 3 saw the Panthers break on even terms with the home riders, for the third successive time, but once again it was a Rebel who eventually hit the front, as Pontus Aspgren showed before the turn. Ulrich Østergaard provided the early challenge for Aspgren, but he had no answer to the speedy Swede. Behind the pair, Charles Wright was having his own battle with Richard Hall, and for three and a half laps he held off the Northallerton born racer, until Hall conjured up a run around the outside to snatch third place away off the final turn of the race, and share the points.

Another shared heat followed, and with it the Panthers first win of the night, but it came from a surprising source. Nicki Barrett made a lightning start from the tapes, and was never headed. Both Paul Starke and Olly Allen were close up at the start, but it was Allen who took up the pursuit, however his cause wasn’t helped as he ran wide in the final turns of the lap. The Rebels skipper chased hard, but could never regain enough momentum to close the gap on the young Dane. Czech ace Ales Dryml never got into the hunt.

Over the next six heat the Rebels put the visitors to the sword, as they thundered in a series of unanswered maximum heat wins, which would have been more had it not been for stray red light in the crowd in Heat 11.

Adam Roynon broke on level terms with Charles Wright in Heat 5, but led it out after the first bend. Pontus Aspgren wasn’t too far away, and as the trio hit the third turn, Roynon’s lead disappeared in a flurry of Rebels. Running into the turn, Aspgren had come with a good run wide, at the same time Wright was making his move, and the pair swallowed up Roynon, one either side, as they exited the penultimate bend of the lap. Once at the head of affairs the Rebels took a comfortable victory. Lasses Bjerre was never really in the hunt, and only just beat his team mate off the final turn, to take the minor point.

Heat 6 saw Nick Morris make a blinding start to lead up from Todd Kurtz and Ales Dryml, with the latter wearing the ‘Black and White’ to denote a tactical ride. Kurtz had a brief tussle with Dryml, before Dryml got the upper hand. Dryml then kept Morris up to his work, and likewise Kurtz kept the Panthers man honest. If Dryml thought that he had second place tied up, he was sadly mistaken, as Kurtz closed down the gap, and dive-bombed under the Czech rider of the very last turn of the race to grab all the available pints.

As Kurtz had taken the RR in the previous heat, Garry May changed the reserves again in Heat 7, and Paul Starke came in for Kurtz. The change in the line up gave the Panthers no solace at all, as it was business as usual for the Rebels. Once again the field broke level, giving the visitors every change, but as before it was a Somerset rider picking up the baton, and taking the win. It was that man Olly Allen again, leading up, with Starke and Ulrich Østergaard close up. As Allen pulled clear, Starke was battling with Østergaard, and running into the third bend he let it run outside, charging beyond Dane, to follow Allen to the front, before pulling away.

The Rebels sewed up Heat 8, by introducing Pontus Aspgren as the RR, and swapping the reserves back, with Todd Kurtz replacing Paul Starke. Kurtz made light work of a level break, to lead up. Aspgren was also on the scene, and down the back straight he cruised into the lead. Adam Roynon pressed Kurtz all the way, but came to grief, sliding off his machine as they entered the final lap. Roynon was excluded and the race awarded in favour of the Rebels.

Level break number six followed, with Ales Dryml just leading at the turn. Charles Wright hit the front down the back straight, only for Dryml to come straight back at him, to lead once more. Wright headed wide, and on the first turn of Lap 2 he went sailing by the Panthers man to lead. Aspgren had also found some additional speed, and closed down on Dryml, before producing a carbon copy of Wright’s move, just a lap later, as the Rebels, barring a Peterborough miracle, sewed up the tie.

Heat 10 brought a second tactical ride from the visitors, with Ulrich Østergaard being the wearer of the colours. Todd Kurtz was the RR, and he shot of the line to immediately lead, coming over the top he clamped Østergaard to the kerb. Kurtz move allowed Nick Morris free rein around the wide line, and he grabbed his opportunity with both hands. Once Morris hit the front it was a question of how far would he win as the Rebels posted their eighth full house in ten races, and in doing so, had seen off all the Panthers tactical options.

Whether it was just general eagerness, or a genuine attempt to claw back at least some of the 32-point deficit, but Lasse Bjerre got an absolute flyer in Heat 11, all the same Christina Turnbull had the lights on in a flash, and all four came back to the tapes, complete with a warning for Bjerre. At the second attempt it was Olly Allen who rocketed from the tapes, and quickly pulled out a large gap, from the pursuing Panthers duo of Bjerre and Adam Roynon, with Paul Starke at the rear.

Just when it looked like another win in the book for the skipper, he suddenly slowed, and started to cruise around as the other flashed by him. He was clearly under power, but everyone assumed that he had machine problems, especially when he pulled off the track before he had completed the race. The result was a 1-5 advantage to the Panthers, bringing the lead down to 28-points, but that’s really as good as it got for the visitors. The culprit for Allen slowing and his subsequent retirement? Not a machine problem, but a red light from a camera in the crowd.

Yet again the Panthers had a chance from the start as the field produced another even break. This time it was Max Dilger who hit the front, but it was the Rebels whom provided the heat winner, in the shape of Charles Wright. Paul Starke was not far off the pace in the early stages, and produced a big run around the opening turns, which surprisingly came to nothing, and he soon found himself at the back.

Wright found himself in a battle for second place with Richard Hall, and it was Hall who eventually took second place, with Wright dropping back. Undeterred Wright gave chase, and by the end f the third lap he was back on terms’ with Hall, who he took on the outside as they came off the final bend of the third lap. It was clear to the watching fans that he was carrying a lot of speed and may just go past Dilger on the outside, but as they approached the final lap, he suddenly made a sharp cut back to the inside, totally outfoxing Dilger, who was waiting for the wide run. In the process, Wright’s stunningly good move had ensured a shared heat for the Rebels.

As Wright passed the flag the rain returned, having been away since the end of the Lap 4. It wasn’t heavy rain, just the fine constant drizzle that gets into everything. Heat 13 was won right from the gate, as Olly Allen and Nick Morris jetted from the line to lead all the way. It was Allen at the front with Morris chasing, and with every turn of the wheel Allen pulled further and further away, as did Morris for his part.

What proved to be the final heat of the night, Heat 14, saw Pontus Aspgren pull off an outrageous move in the opening turns to take the win. Ulrich Østergaard had just out trapped Aspgren and as the smooth Swede came with a wide run, Østergaard moved wider to close the gap. Aspgren was determined that he would win the race, and he refused to shut off. There was little room for a wheel, let alone a bike and a rider, but Aspgren produced a spectacular move, literally scraping the fence as he muscled his way through the narrowing gap to lead off the second bend.

Nicki Barrett briefly got the better of Todd Kurtz, with a hard inside move on the third turn, but his time out of last place was a short one, with Kurtz regaining third place in a matter of seconds. Despite Østergaard chasing Aspgren, and Kurtz chasing Østergaard, neither rider could make any impression on the one in front, and the heat was decided 4-2 in the Rebels favour.

With the rain now a constant drizzle, after consulting with the Captains, Christina Turnbull called a halt to the proceedings, and the ‘Case’s’ Somerset Rebels posted another three league points, as they recorded a 59-25 win over a mainly lack lustre Panther side.

The measure of the Rebels dominance was the fact that not only did Nick Morris (11+1) and Pontus Aspgren (14+1) record paid maximums, but the rider replacement rides also recorded what would have been a paid maximum of 9+3. It was a superb all round performance, with every member of the six man team contributing good points. The seventh man, Brady Kurtz, was there and cheering on his team mates to a superb victory. The ‘Rider of the Night’ award, presented by Rebels Press Officer, Ian Belcher, went to Pontus Aspgren. Aspgren was recording his second paid maximum in Rebels colours, at the same time as suffering badly with a heavy cold, and feeling distinctly unwell.

The Rebels now have only three league matches left before the play offs, at home next week they entertain the Berwick bandits, followed by home and away matches against Workington. They are currently still top of the league, but others below have matches in hand.

Somerset Rebels - 59

1. Nick Morris - 3, 3, 3, 2* = 11+1

2. Brady Kurtz – Rider Replacement

3. Charles Wright - 2*, 0, 2*, 3, 3 = 10+2

4. Pontus Aspgren - 3, 3, 3, 2*, 3 = 14+1

5. Olly Allen - 2, 3, R, 3 = 8

6. Todd Kurtz - 3, 2*, 2*, 2*, 1 = 10+3

7. Paul Starke - 2*, 1*, 2*, 1, 0 = 6+3

Peterborough Panthers – 25

1. Lasse Bjerre - 0, 1, 3, 1 = 5

2. Adam Roynon - 1, 0, Flx, 2* = 3+1

3. Richard Hall - 1*, 0, 0, 2 = 3+1

4. Ulrich Ostergaard - 2, 1, 1^, 2 = 6

5. Ales Dryml - 0, 1^, 1, 0 = 2

6. Max Dilger - 0, 0, 0, 1* = 1+1

7. Nicki Barrett - 1, 3, 1, 0 = 5

SCB Referee: Christina Turnbull

Heat Details

Heat 01: Morris, Wright, Roynon, Bjerre (5--1) (5--1) 58.75

Heat 02: Kurtz, Starke, Barrett, Dilger (5--1) (10-2) 57.90

Heat 03: Aspgren, Ostergaard, Hall, Wright (3-3) (13-5) 57.84

Heat 04: Barrett, Allen, Starke, Dryml (3-3) (16-8) 58.81

Heat 05: Aspgren, Wright, Bjerre, Roynon (5--1) (21-9) 58.60

Heat 06: Morris, Kurtz, Dryml (Tactical), Dilger (5--1) (26-10) 58.53

Heat 07: Allen, Starke, Ostergaard, Hall (5--1) (31-11) 58.35

Heat 08: Aspgren, Kurtz, Barrett. Roynon (Flx) (5--1) (36-12) (Awarded)

Heat 09: Wright, Aspgren, Dryml, Dilger (5--1) (41-13) 58.81

Heat 10: Morris, Kurtz, Ostergaard (Tactical), Hall (5--1) (46-14) 59.22

Heat 11: Bjerre, Roynon, Starke, Allen (Ret) (1-5) (47-19) 59.57

Heat 12: Wright, Hall, Dilger, Starke (3-3) (50-22) 60.01

Heat 13: Allen, Morris, Bjerre, Dryml (5--1) (55-23) 59.50

Heat 14: Aspgren, Ostergaard, Kurtz, Barrett (4-2) {59-25) 60.25

Heat 15: DNR - Abandoned – Rain

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