MATCH REPORT: Kesgrave pull off famous victory

League champions, Ipswich Whirlwinds made the short trip across Ipswich to take on Kesgrave in this South East Division One encounter. The away side were slightly under strength with several key riders missing but still could call upon the likes of Jacobs, Roberts and the Bacon brothers, while Kesgrave had the likes of Brown, Pyke and Johnson, as well as being well supported by some up and improving youngsters.

The Whirlwinds were dealt a blow even before the match got underway, when young Reece Johnson who was in line for his debut, had to withdrawn due to illness and with the teams sheets already handed in, the Ipswich team had to reshuffle his replacement in the shape of young Ben Clarke.

The match was evenly poised with the lead changing hands on several occasions, with the outcome not decided until to the very last heat. The match started with two shared heats, heat three saw the visitors strike first, when Harrison Bacon and Lewis Roberts manufactured a 7-3 heat advantage, only for the home team to hit back straight away with an maximum themselves through Brown and Johnson.

Heats five and six were shared. Heat seven gave Kesgrave a massive boost when Jacobs was excluded for being the cause of the stoppage after she failed to remount her bike and the heat was awarded 7-2 to the home side putting them five points to the good. Heat eight was shared with Pierce Bacon picking up his third race win of the afternoon and in heat nine the Whirlwinds secured a 6-4 to go in to the break three down, 46-43.

The second half started brilliantly for the home team, when Kesgrave’s strongest pairing, Brown and Pyke earned a 7-3 over father and son Phil and Ben Clarke, who would be in for a tough afternoon with Reece Johnson unable to compete, but the Whirlwinds had two strong pairings themselves and were always confident that they could turn it around.

Heat ten saw the home team take a seven point lead, the champions were not phased by this and hit back with maximums in the next two heats, to move in front by a point. Man of the match Harrison Bacon showed some electric starts, leaving older and more experience riders behind and with support from his older brother Pierce, acting as cover the belief started to grow more and more. In fact the Whirlwinds extended their lead to five points in heat fourteen with the Bacon boys securing another 7-3.

But once again the match threw in another twist with Kesgrave hitting back right away in fifteen 7-3, to move back within a point. The turning point of the match came in heat sixteen, with Harrison and Pierce in control of the heat from Brown and Pyke, there was a coming together when it appeared that Brown caught Piecre Bacon rear wheel thus
causing him to come down coming out of bend two. The Ipswich manager waited for the referee to exclude Brown and was left in utter disbelief when the referee deemed Bacon to be the cause of the stoppage and awarded a 5-4 in favour to the home team, so instead of being five points up it meant that the scores were now level.

With heat seventeen always going to be difficult for the Whirlwinds pairing, their worse fears were realised as Kesgrave powered their way to a 7-3, meaning save an exclusion in the last heat, they couldn’t be beaten. With Jacobs struggling with her injury they were up against it and Kesgrave rode a sensible shared heat to take a famous victory and a well deserved win over the league champions by 91 points to 87.

The match was well refereed by Jamie Goldsmith in only his second South East Division One fixture and full credit to him for stepping in and offering his services in an entertaining match. For both teams they can still take positives from this, Kesgrave will now have the confidence to go into the rest of the season with renewed belief that they can compete with the so called bigger guns in the league. For the Whirlwinds, they know they cant afford anymore slip ups but will be encouraged by the performances of their younger squad members who stepped up to the plate and showed they can compete in this division and know that on another day they may have come away with the spoils.

Kesgrave Panthers 91
Ray Pyke 18+2, Gary Brown 17+3, James Johnson 15+2, Richie Foot 10,Jay Berry 9+2,
Lewis Brinkhoff 9, Matt Oakley 7+1, Rob Harris 6+2.

Ipswich Whirlwinds 87
Harrison Bacon 21+1,Lewis Roberts 21, Piecre Bacon 18+2, Phil Clarke 11,
Lauren Jacobs 9+2, Ben Clarke 7, Reece Johnson DNR.

Referee – Jamie Goldsmith (Suffolk)