Speedway: Scunthorpe 40 Somerset 50
PUBLISHED: 09:00 18 May 2019
The 'Cases' Somerset Rebels responded perfectly to Garry May's wake-up call as they launched their SGB Championship league assault with a maximum four points against Scunthorpe on Friday night.
From the moment reserves Anders Rowe and Henry Atkins provided a heat two 5-1, the Rebels continued to hold the lead throughout a meeting that had good racing sprinkled with liberal amounts of controversy.
Having built up a 10-point lead with a heat to go, the Rebels might well have squandered one league point as Josh Auty and Jason Garrity made the better starts in heat 15.
But the determination of Somerset's top two, Rory Schlein and Chris Harris, came to the fore as they picked off Garrity to secure a 50-40 victory.
That was only one of five heats in which Somerset failed to produce a race winner, with the Rebels gaining six heat advantages and only conceding three.
One of those defeats was most unfortunate as Todd Kurtz was stalking Danny Ayres and went in search of a wide overtake but ran out of track room on the final turn.
Earlier in the meeting the home fans were incensed when Joe Lawlor was ruled out of the re-run of heat two after falling under a challenge from Henry Atkins round the first turn, this incident having followed confusion in the opening heat when Danny Ayres pulled up mistaking the flashing yellow light that had been inadvertently left on, for a red stop light.
They were further incensed when the referee declared Harris the winner of heat nine when it looked as though Jason Garrity might just have snatched it on the line.
But then in heat 13 Harris, who had occupied all positions apart from the lead which had always been held by Schlein, was denied second place in a very close finish with Auty, a verdict that went some way towards levelling out the controversy.
Schlein showed considerable patience in heat 11 as he steadfastly reeled in Scunthorpe's guest Kyle Howarth who was deputising for injured ex-Rebel Jake Allen.
With Kurtz finishing third it opened the door for the Scorpions to try their hand at a tactical move and in came Auty who duly took the win, but the damage was mitigated as Valentin Grobauer stood firm under pressure from Garrity, restricting the home side to a 4-2 only.
With the Rebels in control for the rest of the meeting the four points were welcomed by May who said: "I can't ask for any more. The lads knew what I wanted from them and they responded. We rode well and made things difficult for them [Scunthorpe].
"It was really encouraging to see Anders and Valentin get amongst the points this evening and hopefully that might give them the boost they need. This is a good start to the league and hopefully a foundation on which we can build a strong challenge for the league."
Scunthorpe: J.Auty 15 (3,2,2,3,2,3), J.Garrity 8 (2,3,2,1,0), K.Howarth 6 (2,2,2,0), D.Ayres 5+2 (R,1',3,1'), S.Nielsen 3+2 (1',1,1',R), R.Kinsley 2 (1,0,0,1), J.Lawlor 1 (FD,0,1).
Somerset: R.Schlein 12 (2,2,3,3,2), C.Harris 11+1 (3,3,3,1,1'), A.Rowe 8+1 (3,1,2,2'), V.Grobauer 8 (0,3,3,2), N.Covatti 7 (3,1,0,3), H.Atkins 2+1 (2',0,0,0), T.Kurtz 2+1 (1',0,F,1).