The ‘Cases’ Somerset Rebels hopes of a fourth successive win over high-flying Belle Vue eventually fell by the wayside, the Rebels just failing to gain a consolation away point which would have been a timely boost to their outside hopes of a place in the title-deciding play-offs.
The opening three heats saw Belle Vue open up a 6-point lead, but Somerset steadied the ship, and in far from ideal conditions with heavy drizzle falling throughout the first two-thirds of the match, the next 4 heats were all to see a share of the spoils to leave Belle Vue still holding their 6-point advantage as the match reached its half-way stage of affairs.
After 2 point-less rides, Somerset’s Cameron Heeps turned things around to take the win in heat 8, and with Lewis Kerr collecting the point for 3rd place, Somerset closed the gap on the Aces to 4 points, but Belle Vue responded with a maximum 5-1 in heat 9 to double their lead, and a further 4-2 to the Mancunian side a heat later saw them stretch that lead out to 10 points.
Heeps took his second win of the night in heat 11 ahead of Belle Vue’s British Champion, Craig Cook, while Grajczonek’s third place was enough for Somerset to claw back 2 points on the Aces and trim their lead back to 8 points.
Heat 13, however, was to prove to be Somerset’s undoing as Belle Vue hit home their second maximum heat win of the night, but with still a league point to play for, the Rebels hit back with Patrick Hougaard and Lewis Kerr racing away to a 5-1 heat win in the penultimate race, leaving Somerset requiring a heat advantage in the final heat if they were to leave Manchester with a league point to their name.
But although Charles Wright raced away to take the heat win for the Rebels, the Belle Vue duo of Steve Worrall and Craig Cook team-rode to keep Cameron Heeps pegged back in 4th place to leave Somerset to head home with nothing to show by way of league points.
“The weather meant that track conditions and rider visibility was far from ideal,” said Somerset team manager Garry May, “but credit must go to the riders from both teams for the way they were prepared to give it a go.”
“Of course, it is disappointing to be heading home with nothing to show by way of any league points, especially after having fought back to get ourselves in with a shout of something going into heat 15, but that’s speedway, and we will just have to re-group ahead of our next match at Rye House on Wednesday.”
BELLE VUE 49: Craig Cook 14+2, Steve Worrall 14, Kenneth Bjerre 9, Rohan Tungate 6+2, Dan Bewley 5+1, Jack Smith 1, Max Fricke R/R
SOMERSET 41: Charles Wright 11, Josh Grajczonek 7, Cameron Heeps 6, Richard Lawson 5+1, Lewis Kerr 5+1, Patrick Hougaard 4+1, Nike Lunna 3+1