Racers Delight In Dorset.
Reading Racers won their third league match in a row with a 12 point win over the Weymouth Wildcats on Thursday night.
The Racers went into the match unchanged from their last 2 as they gave Eli Meadows another run out alongside regulars Nick Laurence, William O'keefe and Rhys Laker.
Weymouth had suffered from a couple of late withdrawals and tracked a weakened team, giving league debuts to Darren Carr and Jamie Evans who joined James Laker and Sam Peters.
Laurence shot out of the gate in heat one, and his partner Rhys Laker also gated well to hold second place around the first bend before being passed coming off the second by namesake James Laker. The Reading rider got level with his rival again next time round but the Wildcats' number one managed to shake him off to secure second place.
Evans' night got off to the worst possible start in heat 2 when he looped the bike at the gate. He was left to clear the track as his team mate Carr trailed home behind O'Keefe and Meadows making the scores 3-9.
O'keefe was untroubled again in the next with James Laker taking second behind him. There was battle at the back though as Meadows chased Peters for the 4 laps but left his challenge too late as he lost out in a dash to the line.
Lawrence tore away for a second win in the next, and Rhys Laker took second for the Racers' second 5-1 of the night ahead of Evans and Carr.
Heat 5 was 2 races in 1 as Rhys Laker gated to lead all the way although Evans gave him a scare when he pulled level on the back straight of the last lap. Laker defended his lead and hung on for the win. Behind them, Meadows was again chasing Peters, this time though taking the initiative and the third place point on the last lap.
With a 12 point lead and the match won, Reading's top two Laurence and O'keefe gated together before the former took the lead out of the second bend. Another heat maximum looked certain until O'Keefe went into bend 3 a little "too hot" and couldn't keep the bike upright, sliding off and leaving his captain to complete his maximum ahead of James Laker and Evans, who had stepped in for Carr.
It was another pleasing night for Racer Laker as he took his first heat win at this level, while Meadows and Peters will have both learned from their scraps. It was a baptism of fire for the Wildcats debutants Carr and Evans, but neither should be despondent with Evans in particular recording a decent score. Laurence and O'keefe both showed once again that they are within a whisker of getting back into the National League. The latter lines up at no.8 for Plymouth on Saturday night when they visit Stoke for a match that will be followed by the Racers' final match of the season against the Carmarthen Dragons, as they bid for a fourth consecutive win and to secure 4th place in the final league table.
Weymouth Wildcats 12; J. Laker 6, S. Peters 1+1, D. Carr 1, J. Evans, 4+1.
Reading Racers; N. Laurence 9, R. Laker 6+1, W. O'Keefe 6, E. Meadows 3+1.
Ht 1. Laurence, J. Laker, R. Laker, Peters. Ht 2. O'keefe, Meadows, Carr, Evans f. Ht 3. O'keefe, J. Laker, Peters, Meadows. Ht 4. Laurence, R. Laker, Evans, Carr. Ht 5. R. Laker, Evans, Meadows, Peters. Ht 6. Laurence, J. Laker, Evans, O'keefe f.
Report by Gene Carter, Pics by Andy Griffin and Emma Stevens.