The Plymouth Westcolour Gladiators earned a well deserved losing bonus point (Away Teams get 1 point if they lose by 6 points of less in Championship League Away Matches) at Redcar last night but left feeling justifiably aggrieved that they could and should have picked up 3 points for an Away win or even 4 points for an Away Win of 6 points or more.
The result bodes extremely well for the League season ahead; as Redcar are highly rated and considered Play Off certainties by many. The improved form of The Westcolour Gladiators Danish stars, Micheal Palm-Toft who scored an excellent 11 points from 5 rides and Hans Andersen who chipped in with 8 points from 4 rides, was a significant step up and they were well supported by Guest Chris Harris who chipped in with 7 points and Dan Gilkes also with 7 points, but both deserved a lot more for their efforts and were the focal point of much of the controversy on the night.
When Gilkes was clipped by Redcar star Eric Riss entering the Pits Turn on the first lap of Heat 4 it looked like a clear case of Riss causing the accident and being excluded. To the consternation of most of the Crowd and to many, based on social media feedback, of those watching on the excellent new BSN (British Speedway Network) Live Stream, it was Gilkes who found himself excluded by Referee Graham Hunter and what could possibly have been a 5-1 heat advantage in the re-run to the Gladiators ended as a 4-2 to The Bears. It was to the great credit of Riss that he publicly acknowledged that he was at fault and should have been excluded, but little comfort in the final analysis.
The controversy did not end there with seemingly everyone in attendance and watching on the Live Stream from BSN thinking that Harris had caught and passed the Bears Lewis Kerr after a titanic 4 lap duel in Heat 5, Mr Hunter gave the result to Kerr much to the annoyance of the Gladiators management and team. A 4-2 heat advantage to the Bears that should clearly have been a 3-3 race result and a 6 point turnaround in 2 heats that ultimately decided the match.
A further debatable decision in Heat 11 , when Riss and Harris unavoidably touched in a tight first turn which had the domino effect of sending Gilkes crashing in to and underneath the Air Fence may have seen the Heat re-run 9 times out of 10, but not in the eyes of the Referee who deemed Harris the cause and another debatable exclusion for The Westcolour Gladiators. Thankfully Gilkes was extricated relatively unscathed after a worrying few minutes trapped under the Air Fence although he was unable to prevent a 5-1 to the home side in the eventual re-run.
The Bears hammered home a 5-1 advantage in Heat 13 to take a 10 point lead and the Gladiators were perhaps a shade unlucky to only share Heat 14 when Palm Toft won the Heat but a clearly battered and bruised Gilkes was passed by both home riders. Not to be outdone though The Gladiators shocked the home followers with a stunning 5-1 in the final Heat to close the deficit to 6 points with Palm Toft and Harris romping home and a slither of justice on the night.
There was an excellent contribution too from Ben Barker with 2 wins in an 8 point return from 4 rides and Henry Atkins 1 point and Alfie Bowtell who was scoreless certainly gave 100% as always and deserved more for their efforts.
The Westcolour Gladiators will now dust themselves down and next race again at Home at The Coliseum against the Leicester Lions on Tuesday 19th April (Tickets available ONLINE from Wednesday 13th April and CASH on the night).
The next action at The Coliseum will be an NDL (National Development League) clash against The Belle Vue Colts next Tuesday 12th April, Tapes Up 7pm and Tickets are available now via the Online store portal here.
Redcar Bears = 48
1. Charles Wright – 3, 2, 3, 3, 1 = 12
2. Adam Roynon – 1, 1′, 1′, 0 = 3+2
3. Lewis Kerr – 0, 3, 0, 2 = 5
4. Kasper Andersen – 2, 1, 2, 2 =7
5. Erik Riss – 3, 3, 3, 3, 0 = 12
6. Jordon Jenkins – 2, 0, 2′, 1′, 1′ = 6+3
7. Jason Edwards – 1′, 1, 2, RS = 4+14
Plymouth Gladiators = 42
1. Chris Harris (G) – 2, 2. Ex, EF, 1, 2′ = 7+1
2. Alfie Bowtell – 0, 0, F, RS = 0
3. Ben Barker – 3, 1′, 1′, 3 = 8+2
4. Michael Palm Toft – 1, 2, 2, 3, 3 = 11
5. Hans Andersen – 2, 3, 3, 0 = 8
6. Dan Gilkes – 3, Fx, RS, 3, RS, 1, TS, 0= 7
7. Henry Atkins – 0, RS, 0, RS, 1, RS = 1
Redcar win toss and take gate 1 & 3
Heat 01: Wright, Harris, Roynon, Bowtell 4-2, 4-2, 53.8 (NTR)
Heat 02:Gilkes, Jenkins, Edwards, Atkins 3-3, 7-5, 54.2
Heat 03: Barker, K.Andersen, Palm Toft, Kerr 2-4, 9-9 54.6
Heat 04:(Re-Run):Riss, H.Andersen, Edwards, Gilkes(Fx) 4-2, 13-11 54.3
Heat 05:Kerr,Harris, K.Andersen, Bowtell 4-2, 17-13, 54.1
Heat 06: H.Andersen, Wight, Roynon, Atlins 3-3, 20-16, 54.5
Heat 07: Riss, Palm Toft, Barker, Jenkins 3-3, 23-19, 54.7
Heat 08: Gilkes, Edwards, Roynon, Bowtell(F) 3-3, 26-22 56.2
Heat 09:H.Andersen, K.Andersen, Atkins, Kerr, 2-4, 28-26, 55.5
Heat 10: Wright, Palm Toft, Barker, Roynon, 3-3, 31-29, 54.0
Heat 11:(Re-run): Riss, Jenkins, Gilkes 5-1, 36-30, 55.9
Heat 12: Barker, Kerr, Jenkins Harris(EF) 3-3, 39-33, 55.5
Heat 13:Wright, Riss, Harris, H.Andersen 5-1, 44-34, 54.8
Heat 14: Palm Toft, K.Andersen, Jenkins, Gilkes 3-3, 47-37 55.5
Heat 15: Palm Toft, Harris , Wright, Riss, 1-5, 48-42, 54.9
Credit Speedway Updates
Image credit: Jon Sproad