MATCH REPORT: Exeter in command against Swindon

Exeter Aces powered their way to a convincing 34 point victory over Swindon as they returned to South West and Wales Regional League team racing at Cofton Road last weekend.

Exeter took command in the second heat, with race winner Rob Geach being followed home by Aces’ captain Connor Tucker as the Swindon pair of Yard and Collier trailed behind them.

Former World Champion, Steve Harris, was the only Swindon rider to offer any significant resistance as he won five races, with his first defeat coming at the hands of Connor Tucker in heat 11.

With the Aces in a commanding lead, their riders gained confidence and this was demonstrated by Lauren Hookway, notching two race wins in the second half of the meeting. Hookway, the current European Woman’s Champion, is one of only a handful of female racers currently taking on the men at the senior level of racing.

Aces’ star Aaron Herbert demonstrated his team-riding skills, to assist his team mates on several occasions, whilst the Exeter team effort was supplemented by race wins from Dan Winchester, Andy Collett and young Owen Tidball.

But it was Craig Nethercott who rose to the occasion for Exeter with his best score of the season. He secured three heat wins, including a dramatic last race victory which saw Craig and Rob Geach inflict a maximum heat score over Harris and Hunt.

Swindon are clearly struggling for numbers, with only six riders available, as the unavailability of originally declared 2017 team members, Shaun Rudman and James Bailey, continues to be a problem. The 6-man team option was utilised, requiring riders to be scheduled for 6 race starts to cover the programmed reserve rides.

Steve Harris was, as always, totally committed to the cause as he battled to amass 24 points from his 7 race starts (which included an additional tactical sub ride). Andrew Yard also battled hard on a return to his home town, but there are strong warning signs that the future is looking bleak for Swindon based on this evidence.

Exeter 106
Craig Nethercott 18, Conner Tucker 16+3, Rob Geach 14+2, Owen Tidball 14+2, Dan Winchester 13+2, Lauren Hookway 13+1, Aaron Herbert 12+3, Andy Collett 6.

Swindon 72
Steve Harris 24, Andrew Yard 14+1, Jim Collier 11, Rob Hunt 10+3, Paul Matthews 7, Martin Glover 6.

Report: Dave Murphy