Racers Win In The Rain.
It seems fair to say that the Reading Racers are not going to have a smooth running season in 2019. The 2017 Champions got a win on the board in their third match of the season over Weymouth but the contest was curtailed due to heavy rain. With a gloomy forecast from the outset, some didn't expect to even get the match started but the worst of the rain held off until the MSDL fixture was underway.
As 15 year old Racer Sam Norris led the way in heat one he was taken by surprise at how slippery the surface had already become, and with rain falling on his goggles he found a hole in the track and hit the deck on the second lap.
Wildcats number one James Laker seized his second chance in the rerun with a win over Nick Laurence, with Wildcats own 15 year old Sam peters collecting the third place point.
With the rain falling more heavily, William O'keefe took a win in possibly the slowest ever race time at the Abbey Stadium, reflecting the deteriorating state of the surface. Rhys Laker passed James Jessop for second place while Cesca Kirtley-Paine brought up the rear.
There was then some discussion between the riders and management of both teams on whether to continue, but with the Weymouth riders in particular keen to give it a go, it was decided to try to get through two more races, at which point a result could be declared.
Norris and Laurence again made the start and this time made no mistakes, taking a careful 5-1 advantage over Jessop and Kirtley-Paine.
With Racers leading 12-6, it was a tight first bend in heat 4 between O'keefe and James Laker with the away rider coming down and the referee calling all four back for a restart. Laker made the start second time around and although O'keefe chased gamely for a couple of laps, this wasn't a night for heroics and with his partner Rhys Laker safely in third place the race ended shared at 3 apiece.
With the weather looking less troublesome the meeting continued into heat 5 with the score at 15-9 in favour of the Racers. Rhys Laker carefully plotted his way around Peters and Kirtley-Paine in the first bend while his partner Norris headed off for an untroubled win and a 5-1 that put Reading into an unassailable 10 point lead.
The rain then started to fall heavily once again and with some riders already on the track for the final race, the referee decided it was time to send everyone home safely and abandoned the meeting.
With a final score of 20-10 it was mission accomplished not only in getting a result but for the Reading management in getting a win under their belts after a difficult start to the season. While the less experienced Wildcats team refused to be deterred by the rain and won't be disappointed given the difficult circumstances.
Reading next head to Birmingham to face the Milton Keynes Knights on June 5th.
Nick Laurence 4+1, Sam Norris 6, William O'keefe 5, Rhys Laker 5+3.
Weymouth Wildcats James Laker 6, Sam Peters 2, James Jessop 2, Cesca Kirtley-Paine 0.
Heat Details; Ht 1. J. Laker, Laurence, Peters, Norris fx. Ht 2. O'keefe, R. Laker, Jessop, Kirtly-Paine. Ht 3. Norris, Laurence, Jessop, Kirtley-Paine. Ht 4. J. Laker, O'keefe, R. Laker, Peters. Ht 5. Norris, R. Laker, Peters, Kirtley-Paine.
Pics: Sam Norris and Rhys Laker prepare to race. By Andy Griffin.
More pictures to follow.