|Reading 'Euphony' Racers v Sheffield 'PIRTEK' Tigers||Premier League||14th June|
|Phil Morris ©||7.33||2'||3||3||3||2||13+1|
|Leigh Lanham (g)||10.57||2||3||2||r||7|
|Reading 'Euphony' Racers||5||7||12||14||18||23||26||29||33||36||38||39||42||47||50|
|Sheffield 'PIRTEK' Tigers||1||5||6||10||12||13||16||19||23||26||30||38||41||42||45|
|André Compton ©||9.31||1||2||3||1'||0||7+1|
|Simon Stead (G)||9.69||3||1||4*||2||3||13|
Andrew Appleton sliced past André Compton on the third turn to follow Danny Bird home in heat 1, while heat 2 saw Richard Hall taking the lead down the back straight. Chris Mills fell on the first turn on the third lap causing Ben Wilson to lay down smartly, and Richard did exactly the same in the rerun. Jamie Westacott passed Ben Wilson with ease on the first lap but couldn't catch Richard. Chris Schramm powered past early leader Andrew Moore down the back straight and Phil Morris followed suit on the third turn with Ricky Ashworth a long way out of contention at the back of heat 3. Guest Simon Stead helped reduce the Tigers defecit with a storming first bend to win from Elite League guest Leigh Lanham and Ben Wilson gained some revenge by holding off all challanges from Jamie Westacott in heat 4. Phil Morris proved too much for André in heat 5 although Chris Schramm just couldn't join him.
The tide seemed to turn when Andrew Appleton and Danny Bird took a maximum at Simon Stead's expense, and heat 7 was shared after Leigh Lanham passed Andy Moore on the first turn of lap two. Andrew Appleton preserved his unbeaten run with a comfortable win in heat 8 although James rode a determined second place ahead of Ben Wilson and Chris Mills who managed a full 4 laps for a change. Neil Machin nominated Simon for a tactical ride in heat 9 but the defecit remained at 10 points as Simon followed Phil Morris home, and although Danny Bird won heat 10 comfortably Andrew Appleton's unbeaten run disappeared as he followed Andy and Ricky home in another shared heat.
André Compton headed Leigh Lanham home in heat 11 with James Birkinshaw passing Jamie Westacott out of turn 2 to reduce the defecit to 8 points. Head's were shaking all around the terraces as Ricky Ashworth was nominated for a tactical ride in heat 12 as he hadn't exactly set the shale alight, but we were all proved wrong as he blasted into the lead ahead of team mate Richard Hall. Tiger's fans groans when Chris Mills fell on the fourth turn must have been heard back in South Yorkshire, but fear ye not, Ricky and Richard popped out in the rerun ahead of Chris Schramm to claim the massive 8-1. Danny Bird romped home in heat 13 from Simon and André but Leigh Lanham tailed off at the rear feigning bike problems. Trailing by just one point many were surprised when Neil didn't ask Richard Hall to take Ben's place in heat 14 and a grandstand finish fizzled out as Andy Moore was hemmed in on the white line on the first turn and then had to follow the previously disappointing Chris Mills and his captain home for a Reading 5-1. Simon Stead sent the Tigers fans home smiling by winning heat 15 although André finished last after being passed by Danny Bird on the 4th turn.
The tactical rule was well utilized (for a change) and maintained interest for the fans. All the Reading top five won at least one race although their reserves were struggling. Simon took two race wins with one each for André and Ricky, although Ricky's was a vital one for 6 points. Richard Hall won heat 2 and rode well all evening, as did James who had one of his better away performances. Andy haemorrhaged places too easily and Ben was just too slow from the tapes. Sheffield won 2-1 on the night (both tosses of the coin!) and the bonus point should be a stroll as the Racer's middle order and reserves have shown no previous evidence of form around Owlerton.
Smelly and dusty as ever in the glorious evening sunshine, but one of my most enjoyable visits to Smallmead.
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