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  • Writer's pictureRob Dyer

Preview: Warriors Manager Steve Piper Says 'The Team Can't Relax At All'

Wightlink Warriors speedway team manager Steve Piper is calling for his riders to up their points output on Thursday (28th July) when they tackle leg 2 of the Three Team Tournament against Cradley and Weymouth at Smallbrook - the meeting being sponsored by Chesil Radio who are based in the South Dorset town and who will be broadcasting live heat-by-heat commentary over the internet.

The Warriors are currently 12 points behind Cradley and 9 points adrift of Weymouth following the first leg where points slipped away from the home side towards the end of the meeting leaving Piper to plan a recovery strategy for his charges if they are to stay in contention for The Michael Richardson Trophy.

Piper said, “I can’t fault the boys’ attitude in the first leg, and we were right in the mix two thirds of the way through the meeting, but for some reason we seemed to get caught out over the final heats and both Cradley and Weymouth took full advantage. Planning how to maximise the tactical handicaps is going to be crucial and I have been thinking long and hard about how best to work those races to our advantage. One thing is for sure – we can’t relax at all, and we must still be recording good points right down to heat 15.

Last time Alex (Spooner) and Connor (King) (pictured) didn’t score as well as expected. Alex will miss this week as he is still recovering from the shoulder injury he sustained in that last race fall and we are fortunate that we can call on Arran Butcher from the Wightlink Warlocks to fill the gap. Connor is now much more settled following his move to Kent so I’m confident he’ll be far more competitive. With Ben (Morley) and Danno (Verge) undoubtedly capable of telling scores I’m quietly confident of a much better showing this time”.

The Warriors will need to be at their combative best as the visitors look to strengthen their grip on proceedings. Cradley will also make a change with Tom Spencer under the weather, a replacement is being sought to link up with Island track specialists Alfie Bowtell and Connor Coles with Chris Watts retaining his place in the quartet. Weymouth will be delighted to have Henry Atkins in their ranks alongside George Congreve and Jacob Clouting, however they too are forced into a change as Ben Trigger is out of action with the knee problem sustained at Smallbrook three weeks ago and they bring in the larger-than-life racer Paul Bowen (The Pieman) for his seasonal debut.

Adding to the occasion will be Round 2 of the NORA British Women’s Championship. In the first round Taya Thirtle from Norfolk topped the table with 8 points ahead of Plymouth’s surprise packet Charlotte Brooks on 7 whilst the northern challenger Katie Gordon was third on 6 after mechanical problems cost her a race win and possibly the outright Championship lead. Next in the order came the Island’s two contenders, Steph Whitlock on 5 and Anastasia Sallee on 4 with Roksana Brzeska from Sittingbourne securing 3. Now recovered from injury, Ruth Holder-Smith will join the group for her first set of rides in the competition. The third and final round of the Championship is scheduled for next Tuesday at Smallbrook when the top four scorers on aggregate will compete in a winner-takes-all race-off.

The Warriors management will also be welcoming special guest Jessica Young as well as making sure that families are well catered for with a range of activities. Gates open at 17.15, rider briefing (open to all) 17.45, pre-meeting demonstration races from 18.10, rider parade 18.45 and main event from 19.00. Refreshments available from The Retreat snack bar on site or bar facilities in The Premier Lounge, also on site.


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