Under strict Covid-19 regulations, Plymouth Gladiators staged a highly successful first meeting of the ‘season’ on Tuesday evening in front of a sell-out crowd at The Coliseum.
The main event was a three team tournament featuring quartets representing the Gladiators, the Isle of Wight Warriors and the Eastbourne Eagles.
On a superbly prepared track, an exciting meeting culminated in a final heat when any of the three teams could have emerged as victors. However, it was the Eagles who were triumphant with a score of 31 points, narrowly followed by the Warriors with 30 and Plymouth on 28.
For most of the riders, it was their first competitive rides for almost 12 months but the adrenalin was soon flowing as Gladiators’ new signing, Alfie Bowtell raced to a first heat win. Indeed, aside from a tape’s exclusion in heat 4, Bowtell was unbeaten for the Gladiators.
He was ably supported by fans’ favourite, Henry Atkins, whose superb gating skills helped him to 11 points. Warriors’ Ben Morley showed his usual liking for the Plymouth track and was the top scorer on the evening with 13 points whilst the Eastbourne side featured the highly rated Tom Brennan who, on the previous weekend, had been part of the bronze medal winning Great Britain under 21 side in the under 21 World Cup final in Denmark.
The meeting concluded with a race featuring the four top scorers from the evening. Unfortunately for Morley, he had a nasty looking crash coming out of bend 2 and required some medical treatment on the track before hobbling back to the pits.
In the re-run, Atkins’ gating ability again came to the fore as he made a superb start from the outside gate and never looked troubled to gain the win which carried a healthy cash prize. With Bowtell in second place, it rounded off a superb evening of entertainment.
Gladiators’ promoter and team manager, Mattie Bates was delighted with both the quality of racing and the overall success of the event.
‘A great deal of planning has gone into the meeting and I’d like to thank the riders, fellow promoters, our wonderful group of volunteers and not least the fans who provided a great atmosphere tonight and made everyone’s life a bit easier by adhering to the Covid guidelines that we had laid down.
The track was excellent and Mark (Phillips) has put a massive amount of work in to prepare a great racing surface. We saw some great racing out there tonight and bring on the next one!’
Eastbourne Eagles 31; Tom Brennan 10 points, Jason Edwards 10, Jake Knight 9+2 bonus, Connor King 2+1.
Isle of Wight Warriors 30; Ben Morley 13, Connor Coles 11+1, Tom Woolley 4, Chad Wirtzfeld 2
Plymouth Gladiators 28; Alfie Bowtell 12, Henry Atkins 11, Richard Andrews 4+1, Arran Butcher 1, Kris Andrews 0.
Andy Riddle – Plymouth Speedway Press Officer
Image credit: Speedway Chat Show