• Gene Carter

Racers Clip Falcons' Wings.

Reading Racers avenged their recent defeat to the Exeter Falcons last night when they took the spoils at the Falcons' adopted home track in Plymouth.

With little to choose from with regards to available riders the visiting team drafted in 2 reserves from the NL match, Jamie Bursill -who was in the Racers squad from March 2018 until 2 weeks ago - and Jacob Clouting.

The scoreline was close right up until the end was called early when the curfew dictated no more racing with one to go. But it was the Racers who grabbed a heat 5 advantage to give them a winning 14-16 result.

Exeter no.1 led the first from start to finish with his team mate Kris Andrews taking third between Racers Jamie Bursill and Russell Barnett to put his team into an early lead. Reading returned the favour in the next with stand in Jacob Clouting streaking away ahead of Saul Bulley, William O'keefe and Kai Ward.

Things stayed level in heat 3 as Clouting took a second win, lowering Sheppard's colours, and Andrews warding off O'keefe for a 9-9 scoreline. Ward was excluded from heat 4 after spectacularly flipping his bike over as the tapes rose, thankfully walking away uninjured. This left Bulley to win the rerun ahead of Racers Bursill and Barnett to keep the scores level.

With the dreaded curfew almost upon them, some were surprised that heat 5 even started, and there was misfortune for the Falcons as Andrews' machine failed him before he reached the first bend. At the front Clouting completed his maximum, and although Barnett was passed by Ward, the 4-2 advantage meant the Racers took the match points with a 2 point win on the night.

Reading's Emma Stevens was making her team managing debut and while she was glad that last minute replacement Clouting was available to draft in she was also mindful of the fact that her preferred 4 squad riders, had they been available, would have been just as strong if not stronger.

The result means the Racers sit on 6 league points along with the Falcons and Birmingham, but trail their counterparts on points difference and have raced more matches. Their next test will be at Swindon against Birmingham on July 18th.

Scorers: Exeter; Sheppard 5, Andrews 2+1, Bulley 5, Ward 2.

Reading; Bursill 4, Russell 2+1, O'keefe 1, Clouting 9.

Heat details: Ht 1. Sheppard, Bursill, Andrews, Barnett. Ht 2. Clouting, Bulley, O'keefe, Ward. Ht 3. Clouting, Sheppard, Andrews, O'keefe . Ht 4. Bulley, Bursill, Barnett, Ward fx. Ht 5. Clouting, Ward, Barnett, Andrews ef.

📸 Clouting & Bursill racing against each other last season (by Geoff Young) and Racer for the night Russell Barnett (credit unknown). Report by Gene Carter.

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