Cheetah's Stretch Their Legs - Updated
Wightlink Warriors 26 Cradley 27 Oxford 37
Wightlink Warriors dominance in the first leg of their three team tournament against Cradley Heathens and Oxford Cheetahs couldn’t be repeated in last night’s second leg as the better balanced Cheetahs eased away for a comfortable win on the night and are now well placed to strike when the final leg takes place at Smallbrook on 24 August.
Warriors downfall was, however, entirely understandable as new recruit and solid scorer Alex Spooner was forced out of the event just twelve hours before the off having been summoned to hospital for an urgent medical assessment. It meant that rookie Wightlink Wizard Jamie Evans was called upon to fill Spooner’s position and unsurprisingly he found the pace to be just too hot for a rider of limited experience despite plugging away gamely. Also finding points harder to come by this week was Morgan Williams who was the only rider in the main event to take a fall, fortunately without any serious outcome. That left the speedy Chad Wirtzfeld (pictured) and Danno Verge to score all the home teams points which will now set up an intriguing final leg.
Spooner’s absence left the door open for Oxford, injury ravaged in the first leg, to make great use of their revamped line-up with former Warrior Connor Coles returning to his old stomping ground in blistering fashion. Fourteen hard earned points and the fastest race time of the season (69.9 seconds) were just reward as he received super back up from Ryan Terry-Daley and Charley Powell.
Cradley were again the ‘steady-eddies’ and with just a little more fire power could have been even more involved in a night where a bumper crowd were treated to some ‘heart-in-mouth’ action especially as each team’s top two riders battled hard to make up their handicap in a formula devised specifically for this event.
Aggregate scores after two legs:
Wightlink Warriors 67 Cradley 53 Oxford 60
After the meeting Warriors co-owner Barry Bishop said, “Wow. Another full-on night’s entertainment filled with fun for everyone. A great shame that the Warriors couldn’t repeat their first leg win but we knew we would be up against it without Alex, however we still retain our overall lead as we try and defend the Cliff Peasley Trophy and we’ll be going all out again in leg 3.
I just want to say a massive thanks to everyone who came to watch tonight and also to all the riders in the various parts of our programme. We got through over 30 races with their great co-operation and were finished by 9.00 pm which is brilliant. I thought every part of our show tonight was so slick and I can’t wait to do it all again next Thursday”.
In the support races, diminutive Stasiu Stevens took three wins in the PeeWee class whilst Kye Elliott’s demonstration races came to an abrupt halt we he fell heavily in his second outing. After medical attention he was able to walk back to the pits but will be sure to feel the effects this morning.
A further round of the ‘Upright Challenge’ saw Team Weslake crush Team Jawa with big Nigel Coates always in the action for Team Jawa whilst three ladies races were won convincingly by the Island’s own Steph Whitlock in really impressive style. Racing was rounded off with a demonstration ride by Bruce Cribb on a very scary ice racing speedway machine.
Wightlink Warriors 26 (Chad Wirtzfeld 14, Jamie Evans 0, Danno Verge 12, Morgan Williams 0)
Cradley Heathens 27 (Luke Harris 10, Chris Watts 5+3, Kelsey Dugard 9+1, Chris Widman 3+2)
Oxford Cheetahs 37 (Ryan Terry-Daley 8+3, Charley Powell 12+1, Connor Coles 14, Jamie Sealey 3+1)
Team Weslake 25 (Keith Cornell 8, Graham Wilson 6+1, Graham Knowler 6+1, Mark Anderson 5+3)
Team Jawa 11 (Nigel Coates 8, David Hollingsbee 1, Martin Tappenden 2, Keith Hill 0)