Gladiators pull off stunning win over The Scorpions

The Plymouth Westcolour Gladiators scored a stunning 48-42 win at Scunthorpe last night in a fantastic team performance spoilt only by a nasty injury to our in form reserve Dan Gilkes.

The Eddie Wright Raceway, home of the Scunthorpe Scorpions is very much one of the strongest home fortresses in the Championship where very few visiting Teams leave with any points, so the achievement is both a welcome and major shock in these embryonic days in the early part of the season.

The Gladiators took the lead they were never to relinquish in Heat 2 with a 4-2 from the in-form Gilkes and Guest Reserve Nathan Ablitt who replaced the unavailable Henry Atkins. They extended the lead in a rerun Heat 4 when Hans Andersen slowed near the finishing line to allow Gilkes the win and at that point were 15-9 ahead. 

This allowed the Scorpions to bring in a Tactical Substitute ride for their top rider Ryan Douglas to join their other main Heat Leader Jake Allen. The tactical move though was thwarted when the Gladiators pairing of Richard Lawson and Alfie Bowtell made lightning starts and although not ultimately scoring a point, Bowtell did a fantastic job for the team in holding up the Scorpions long enough to allow Lawson to take an excellent race win.

The Scorpions did hit back with a 5-1 in the following heat to reduce the margin to 2 points but a win and third place in Heat 7 from the returning Michael Palm-Toft and Ben Barker restored the margin to 4 points. The next 2 heats were shared 3-3 and following a Track Grading interval the Westcolour Gladiators restored their 6 point lead with a 4-2 Heat win in the 10th race again from the in-form Palm-Toft and Ben Barker. Heats 11 and 12 were again shared before Douglas and Allen finally combined to best effect for the Home side to score a 5-1 in Heat 13 to set up a grandstand finale with the scores evenly poised at 40-38 to the Westcolour Gladiators.

Calamity then struck in Heat 14 when after aggressive first bend bunching Dan Gilkes who was left with no room on the outside, was catapulted into the Air Fence. It was a shocking impact and the Emergency Ambulance and Paramedics were quickly on the scene and their hard work is to be both applauded and much appreciated by all concerned. After a lengthy delay to extricate and stabilise Dan he was transferred to the Ambulance and off the Track. A short delay ensued whilst a replacement County Ambulance was called for to back up the Track Paramedic vehicle and after a lengthy delay racing recommenced.

With obvious concerns about their stricken Team Mate the Westcolour Gladiators drew Heat 14 with Palm-Toft and Nathan Ablitt finishing behind race winner Jake Allen and that set up a pivotal Heat 15 when many would have predicted that Allen and Douglas would repeat their Heat 13 triumph to win the match against the deserving Westcolour Gladiators. However, the team-spirit and determination of the Gladiators to win the Fixture was rewarded in magnificent style when Michael Palm-Toft and Ben Barker rode like men possessed to catch and pass Allen on the 3rd lap to win the Heat 5-1 with the previously impressive Douglas making up the numbers at the back. A stunning win for the Westcolour Gladiators.

Unfortunately the news from Dan’s dad this morning is not good. Dan has 5 broken ribs, a broken and displaced humorous bone and a collapsed lung. All at The Gladiators send our best wishes to Dan for a speedy recovery.

The Westcolour Gladiators are next in action on Tuesday Night in a not to be missed Match v Poole Pirates and will have Cornish and West Country legend Chris Harris deputising for the injured Edward Kennett at no 1, Jason Edwards a 2021 Gladiator will replace the absent Henry Atkins at No 7 and we await further news on Dan’s replacement before confirming the full team.

With the title favourites the Poole Pirates in opposition and likely to bring a large support and the Westcolour Gladiators being led by West Country legend Chris Harris a formed Trelawny and Somerset and indeed Poole rider, a big crowd is anticipated and we would ask you all to support the battered and bruised but highly motivated Westcolour Gladiators who deserve every bit of support after their fantastic form over the past few weeks.

You can truly be the 8th man with your noise and enthusiasm so bring a friend and let’s roar the boys to victory.

Match Tickets can be purchased in advance ONLINE via the Club website here and we’ll have a full Match preview and hopefully better news of Dan on the Club website.

A reminder that you can pay by Cash / Card on the night and Tapes Up on Tuesday at 7.00pm and Gates Open at 5.30pm.

Scores & Heat Results

Scunthorpe = 42

1. Ryan Douglas 2, 1′, 3, 2, 2′ = 10+2

2. Simon Lambert 1′, 2′, 1′, 0 = 4+3

3. Jordan Palin 0, 0, 1′ = 1+1

4. Jake Allen 3, 2, 3, 3, 1 = 12

5. Tero Aarnio 0, 2, 3, 3, 0 = 8

6. Ryan Kinsley 0, 0, 0 = 0

7. Zaine Kennedy 2, 1, 2, 2, 0 = 7

Plymouth = 48

1. Richard Lawson (G) 3, 3, 2, R = 8

2. Alfie Bowtell 0, 0, 0 = 0

3. Ben Barker 1′, 1, 1, 3, 2′ = 8+2

4. Michael Palm Toft 2, 3, 3, 2, 3 = 13

5. Hans Andersen 2′, 1, 2, 1 = 6+1

6. Nathan Ablitt (G) 1, 0, 1′, 1′ = 3+2

7. Dan Gilkes 3, 3, 3, 1′, 0 = 10+1

Heat Results

Heat 01: Lawson, Douglas, Lambert, Bowtell 3-3 57.96

Heat 02: Re-run Gilkes, Kennedy, Ablitt, Kinsley 2-4 5-7 58.74

Heat 03: Allen, Palm Toft, Barker, Palin 3-3 8-10 57.75

Heat 04: Re-runx2 Gilkes, Andersen, Kennedy, Aarnio 1-5 9-15 58.54

Heat 05: Lawson, Allen, Douglas, Bowtell 3-3 12-18 58.13

Heat 06: Douglas, Lambert, Andersen, Ablitt 5-1 17-19 58.20

Heat 07: Palm Toft, Aarnio, Barker, Kinsley 2-4 19-23 58.12

Heat 08: Gilkes, Kennedy, Lambert, Bowtell 3-3 22-26 58.71

Heat 09: Allen, Andersen, Ablitt, Palin 3-3 25-29 58.57

Heat 10: Palm Toft, Douglas, Barker, Lambert 2-4 27-33 57.61

Heat 11: Aarnio, Lawson, Gilkes, Kinsley 3-3 30-36 58.00

Heat 12: Barker, Kennedy, Palin, Gilkes 3-3 33-39 59.29

Heat 13: Aarnio, Douglas, Andersen, Lawson ret 5-1 38-40 58.02

Heat 14: Allen, Palm Toft, Ablitt, Kennedy 3-3 41-43 58.63

Heat 15: Palm Toft, Barker, Aarnio, Allen 1-5 42-48 58.44

Courtesy of Speedway Updates

Image Credit: Jon Sproad