ISLE OF WIGHT 'Warriors' vs BELLE VUE 'Colts'
National League : 12/04/2018
Shale starved speedway fans were served up a feast of action and controversy as the Isle of Wight ‘Wightlink’ Warriors launched their season with a victory over the Belle Vue Colts at The Andrew Younie Smallbrook Stadium.
In a meeting that contained almost every incident imaginable, ring rusty Warriors were immediately on the back foot as first new boy Danno Verge and then Chris Widman incurred penalties for starting offences. This allowed the Colts to build a four point advantage but it didn’t take long for the home side to record 4-2 heat victories and by heat eight the match was tied at 24 all.
In fact the Warriors were on their way to four 4-2 heat advantages in the space of five heats as they built a four point lead of their own by the interval. The last of those came when Colts Kyle Bickley took a crashing fall in heat 10 which stunned the good sized crowd in to silence, however, much to everyone’s relief the young man from Cumbria was able to get back to his feet and return to the pits unaided.
Looking ahead to the final five races it was clear that Belle Vue had lined up their big hitters for the crucial closing races and with Danny Ayres as spectacular as ever and Georgie Wood always in the thick of the action, the visitors harboured hopes of an away victory but it was not to be.
Heat 11 gave Ayres his third race win with partner Ben Woodhull in third and the Warriors lead was cut to two points. Bickley won heat 12 showing no ill effects from his crash with Scott Campos and Adam Portwood filling the minor places, then drama aplenty in heat 13 with Ayres passing Warriors Ben Hopwood just as Wood pulled out with a motor problem. Warriors Ben Morley then broke a primary chain with a lap and a quarter to go and had to run over a lap pushing his bike to pick up the vital single point. He made it to the chequered flag with fifteen seconds to go roared home by fans and teammates alike.
This pulsating meeting now took another twist when in heat 14, Warriors Chris Widman got slightly out of shape and collided with Colts Woodhull. The race was stopped and somewhat controversially the visitor was disqualified for causing the stoppage of the heat. The race result was awarded as a 3-3 and so to the final heat with Morley and Hopwood against Ayres and Bickley.
From the gate both Warriors showed first with Ayres in red hot pursuit. A good pass moved him by Hopwood and to just metres behind Morley but then disaster struck the visiting number one who tried an outside surge to pass Morley but ran out of space exiting turn four and crashed to the track. Again the referee had to stop the heat and after a moments deliberation disqualified Ayres and awarded the race 5-1 to the Warriors.
So ended a quite remarkable night of speedway in which fortunes ebbed and flowed and the rub of the green landed Warriors Way.
After the meeting Ben Morley was quick to praise an all round team effort and went on to say “It was a great way to start my season with the Isle of Wight. I had one or two machinery niggles but have started to sort them out – one thing for sure, I don’t want to have to push the bike home for over a lap on a track this size again!“
Warriors: Ben Morley 12+1, Danno Verge 6+1, Scott Campos 7+1, Chris Widman 5, Ben Hopwood 11+1, Jamie Sealey 1+1, Adam Portwood 6+3.
Colts: Danny Ayres 12, Paul Bowen 0, Kyle Bickley 8+1, Joe Lawlor 9+1, Georgie Wood 7, Kean Dicken 0, Ben Woodhull 6.
Report by ROB DYER