ISLE OF WIGHT 'Warriors' vs PLYMOUTH 'Devils'
ISLE OF WIGHT 'Wizards' vs EXETER 'Falcons'
Southern Development League
Warriors Speedway Shock – Hopwood Out, Bowtell In
Isle of Wight ‘Wightlink’ Warriors speedway captain Ben Hopwood has stunned the club management by handing in a shock transfer request and in doing so has opened the door to Essex based Alfie Bowtell to join the Island side.
Manchester based Hopwood approached the Warriors promotion before last week’s meeting against Eastbourne citing a new job that will prevent him travelling to the Island. Reacting to this unexpected turn of events, Warriors co-promoter Barry Bishop said, “Ben’s decision came out of the blue as he was always asking us if his job was safe and he was doing a good job. To be honest, we were disappointed to find out that he had already been in contact with the speedway authorities and at least one other club before approaching any of the management team here.
Of course we understand about his new working arrangements and our geographical position. We wish him all the best and there is no bad feeling between club and rider although we have to be disappointed in the way this matter has been carried out.
Ben had said that he would only ride for the club for a further 14 days or until we found someone. We had to act quickly to secure a replacement and we are thrilled to be able to announce the arrival of Alfie Bowtell at the club on an attractive 6.55 average. Alfie has ridden with Ben Morley at Lakeside for the past two seasons. At 21, he is an improving young talent who has always fitted in well and scored solidly on past visits here. We welcome him to our club and will support his development in any way we can. The move also gives us a little more manoeuvrability within the points limit and we are looking closely at the new opportunities that now exist."
Bowtell comes straight into the Warriors team for tomorrow night’s key fixture against Plymouth with the line up expected to be: Ben Morley, Danno Verge, Scott Campos, Chris Widman, Alfie Bowtell, Nick Laurence and Shaun Tedham.
Plymouth have injury and absence concerns over Bradley Andrews and former Warriors skipper James Cockle respectively with the rest of the side comprising Richard Andrews, Henry Atkins, Macauley Leek, Adam Roynon and Ryan Terry-Daley.
Following the Warriors will be the ‘Wightlink’ Wizards who take on the Exeter Falcons in their first Southern Development League fixture at Smallbrook Stadium. In these six heat matches, the Wizards went down narrowly by four points.
Warriors Grab Last Gasp Win
Isle of Wight 46 Plymouth 44
The Isle of Wight ‘Wightlink’ Warriors ended a run of seven straight defeats with a last race victory over Plymouth Devils who lost their top man Adam Roynon to injury mid-match.
Star of the show for the Warriors was new signing Alfie Bowtell. Brought in to replace want away skipper Ben Hopwood, Bowtell couldn’t have wished for a better debut. Always sharp out of the starts, the Essex based charger showed he was no slouch from the back either with a stunning opening ride inside pass on the Devils Henry Atkins. That was the first of five winning rides on the way to a magnificent 17 point haul.
Pre-match, the Warriors were hit with the news that Scott Campos could not secure time off work and would miss the meeting and given the Devils very impressive recent winning record on the Island things were looking ‘tricky’ to say the least. Once racing got under way, it was nip and tuck with riders on both sides making important contributions but this week lady luck was with the Warriors and against the Devils.
Heat 11 was the turning point with the visitors at that stage two points in front. Bowtell had made another sharp start and Roynon was in hot pursuit when at the start of the second lap Roynon picked up enormous speed, brushed Bowtell’s rear tyre and ploughed into the first bend air fence with alarming force. Bowtell also came down but was quickly up, however the major concern was for the Plymouth rider who, after some time was able to stand and walk to the ambulance clutching his arm. It was later confirmed that the injury was a dislocated shoulder and broken humerus with the cause of the fall being a jammed throttle.
That very unfortunate incident opened the door for a Warrior comeback and with work still to be done it was Bowtell who led the way with three wins in the closing five heats, well supported by Ben Morley and Chris Widman, who saw the Warriors over the line.
Warriors’ co-promoter Barry Bishop was in reflective mood after the meeting, “First and foremost out thoughts and best wishes are with Adam Roynon. He hit the first bend air fence at very high speed and in honesty his injuries could have been more extensive. The incident undeniably turned the match in our favour and I am pleased we were able to step up led by Alfie Bowtell’s marvellous 17 point debut, but it’s not the best way to take the spoils as we know Adam would have played a major role determining the meeting outcome over the closing heats."
Warriors: Ben Morley 11+1, Danno Verge 5+2, Rider Replacement for Scott Campos, Chris Widman 8, Alfie Bowtell 17, Nick Laurence 3, Shaun Tedham 2+1, Chris Watts (No.8) DNR.
Devils: Adam Roynon 6, Ryan Terry-Daley 6+1, Henry Atkins 12, Rider Replacement for Bradley Andrews, Nathan Stoneman 11, Macauley Leek 1+1, Richard Andrews 7+1, Jamie Bursill (No.8) 1+1.
Wizards Slip Up In Home League Opener
Isle of Wight 15 Exeter 21
The Isle of Wight ‘Wightlink’ Wizards speedway team opened their Southern Development League home campaign with a modest defeat against the Exeter Falcons who tracked a more experienced side that included Jamie Bursill who has seen action in the National League – and it showed as he cruised to a three ride maximum.
Still missing the injured pair of captain Jamie Sealey and My First Skid regular Rob Watts, Wizards included two Island based riders (Morgan Williams and James Luckman) and it was soon clear that the Wizards quartet will need time to adapt to the requirements of team racing, however, as in the two away meetings at Eastbourne and Plymouth, there was no lack of commitment and whilst they will be disappointed not to get off to a winning start there will have been a huge amount learned from this meeting.
Wizard Chris Watts, celebrating his birthday, top scored with seven points and produced the ride of the meeting in heat 6 as he closed in on his opponent Max Pankhurst and executed a sweet outside pass in style. Morgan Williams suffered a testing night with a fall and mechanical issues, Ben Ilsley rode steadily and James Luckman again tasted the shale but manfully pressed on to score points.
Despite the reversal, joint team manager Sid Sheldrick was full of praise for his side’s efforts when he said, “obviously that didn’t to plan and a couple of the boys are a bit down, but they shouldn’t be. They are really inexperienced riders, there are techniques we can work on to help them and what’s most important is that they all listen to advice and want to learn. I’m sure we’ll see progression as the season develops."
Wizards: Chris Watts 7, Morgan Williams 0, Ben Ilsley 5+1, James Luckman 3+1.
Falcons: Max Pankhurst 8, Mick Sutton 3, Adam Sheppard 1+1, Jamie Bursill 9.