MATCH REPORT: South West and Wales defeat the champions
The South West and Wales team achieved a sensational 6-point victory over the reigning Supertrax Battle of Britain champions, South East and East, at Exeter in a hard fought and controversial Elite Men’s Test Match at Exeter.
The biggest talking point was a controversial heat 19 which saw both Ben Mould and Dan Knights excluded when they were lapped by Josh Brooke, but only after Knights had kept the Welsh rider on his shoulder for arguably the slowest three laps in the history of senior racing at Cofton Road.
But Cycle Speedway racing was undoubtedly the winner on a great afternoon of racing which entertained those around the immaculate Exeter race track.
It started badly for the home team, as the South East and East took a 7-2 heat win after Zac Payne received an exclusion from referee Dave Dart, for excessively slowing the race and causing Ashley Hill to fall.
Fraser Garnett and Connor Tucker reduced the arears with a heat win over Ashely Hill and Ben Harvey, but the scores remained tight for much of the first half SW&W team manager Dave Murphy raised a few eyebrows with his inclusion of local veteran rider Rob Geach, but his decision seemed justified as the Aces rider stormed from last to second in successive rides.
It was Geach who combined with Will Jeffrey to clinch a well-earned maximum score in heat 9 and this sent the SSW into a two-point lead at the interval.
Early in the second half the South East hit back with maximum points, from Josh Brooke and Ashley Hill, and the scores were level after 13 heats. Another local rider, Connor Tucker notched the second of his two race wins, supported by Wil Bristowe’s hard earned third place, which pushed the SSW into the lead.
During the latter stages the SSW showed great team spirit and steadily increased their lead before the controversial heat 18 saw just four points separating the teams. Although Brooke stormed to his fifth win of the afternoon, in heat 19, it was Payne and Jeffrey who ensured that the points were shared.
This set up Mould and Carmichael to clinch victory as they took a 6-4 heat win in the final race. Ipswich brothers Ashley and Matt Hill gave classy performances for the South East, before Matt suffered a nasty shoulder injury after clashing with Wil Bristowe in heat 17. Everyone at Exeter is wishing Matt a speedy recovery.
Ben Mould 18 (6 rides), Fraser Garnett 16 (5 rides), Will Jeffrey 14+1 (6 rides), Mark Carmichael 14 (6 rides), Zac Payne 12+3 (6 rides), Connor Tucker 11 (4 rides), Wil Bristowe 8+1 (4 rides) and Rob Geach 7+1 (3 rides).
SOUTH EAST AND EAST 94
Josh Brooke 23 (6 rides), Matt Hill 15 (5 rides), Ashley Hill 13+3 (6 rides), Richard Fellgett 12 (6 rides), Lewis Osborne 11+1 (5 rides), Ben Harvey 7+1 (3 rides), Dan Knight 7 (6 rides) and Lewis Brinkhoff 4+1 (3 rides).
Junior Test Match report to follow.
Photos by John Wildman