I enter the stadium in a very optimistic frame of mind, the sun is shining, the Siberian winds have subsided and the temperature is a pleasing 8 degrees! Still not warm enough to shed my many thermal layers, but at least I should be leaving later capable of some feeling in my fingers and toes!
This is a tough meeting without a doubt. Like ourselves Swindon haven’t lost a match so far this season, but someone’s unbeaten record is going to fall tonight, (unless we have a draw) and I hope it’s not ours!
On with the meeting…
Brummies off gates 2 & 4 for heat 1.
Into bend 1 Nick Morris, Jason Doyle, Hans Andersen, Chris Harris; but a fast moving Jason Doyle passed Nick Morris with ease out of the 2nd bend and as they sped down the back straight Chris Harris had closed the gap between him and Andersen and then gained 3rd place out of the 3rd bend of lap 1. As the race progressed Andersen seemed to be slowing up and coasted slowly down the home straight before pulling up with engine failure.
Doyle, Morris, Harris (Andersen e/f)
The Brummie duo sped out of the tapes like rockets, with Martin Smolinski in 1st place, Nico Covatti in 2nd, Ashley Birks 3rd and Kacper Gomolski in last place. Kacper Gomolski pushed hard down the back straight of lap 1 but didn’t have enough momentum to pass Covatti. The race continued without any changes until Kacper Gomolski fell on the 2nd bend of the last lap, the referee quickly turned on the red lights to halt the match but with a comfortable lead over the lone Swindon rider the ensuing 5-1 was never in doubt.
Smolinski, Covatti, Birks (Kacper Gomolski fell)
Result 5-1 (9-3)
Into bend 1 the fast gate of Peter Kilermand saw him in 1st place, followed by Josh Auty, Edward Kennett and Danny King. Just a few wheel turns later out of bend 2 Kennett came past Josh like he was standing still, and that was it! The poor gates from the Brummies meant they never got into contention and the Robins roared to their 1st 5-1.
Kilermand, Kennett, Auty, King
Result 1-5 (10-8)
After a very close tussle for places on bends 1 and 2 Kacper Gomolski eventually took the lead down the back straight, Ben Barker in 2, Troy Batchelor 3 and Nico Covatti 4. Ben covered most of the track for 2 laps trying hard to pass Gomolski but regretfully never really looked likely to achieve it. The race finished without any changes in positions and the Robins draw level.
Gomolski, Barker, Batchelor, Covatti
Result 2-4 (12-12)
From the tapes, Danny King, Hans Andersen, Nick Morris, Josh Auty. But once again it’s a Robin’s rider with his wheels in line first as Andersen passes Danny out of the 2nd bend. Josh wiped out the Robins advantage by passing Nick Morris on bend 3 of lap 1.
No further changes in the next 3 laps and by the time they crossed the finishing line Andersen had opened up an impressive lead. A shared heat.
Andersen, King, Auty, Morris
Result 3-3 (15-15)
Troy Batchelor moving at the tapes, race stopped all 4 back.
A perfect start from Batchelor this time as he leads into the 1st bend, followed by Chris Harris, Ashley Birks and Jason Doyle. Jason raced down the back straight to pass Ashley Birks but neither Brummie got anywhere near Troy Batchelor and by the end of a fairly uneventful race the field was well strung out for another shared heat.
Batchelor, Harris, Doyle, Morris
Result 3-3 (18-18)
Superb gates from the Robins as Edward Kennett and Peter Kilermand lead from the tapes with Ben Barker and Martin Smolinski trailing in their wake! Martin passed a very lack-lustre Ben Barker on the second lap and chased hard after the Robins pairing, but… chasing is one thing, catching up another! Kennett and Kilermand turned on the style to take their 2nd 5-1 of the night and edged into a 4-point lead.
Kennett, Kilermand, Smolinski, Barker
Result 1-5 (19-23)
Reserve change as Martin Smolinski replaces Nico Covatti.
Jason Doyle was first out of the gate but by the time they exited the 1st bend he was in 3rd place, Kacper Gomolski in 1st, Martin Smolinski in 2nd and Nick Morris at the back. But as they speed down the back straight Martin and Jason perform a brilliant double pass as they simultaneously over-haul Kacper Gomolski to take up a 5-1 race position! As the race progresses Martin and Jason traded places. On the 2nd bend of lap 3 Nick Morris got out of shape somewhat and fell, he was quickly up on his feet and the race concluded with a fantastic win for the Brummie pair to bring the scores level again.
Smolinski, Doyle, Gomolski (Morris fell)
Result 5-1 (24-24)
Josh Auty first out the gate and into the lead at bend 1, followed by Troy Batchelor, Danny King and Ashley Birks. But the lead was short-lived as Troy Batchelor passes Josh on the back straight of the 1st lap. Josh pushed really hard to try to regain the lead but all to no avail. The 3rd shared heat and the match still even.
Batchelor, Auty, King, Birks
Result 3-3 (27-27)
Jason Doyle first out the gate and in 1st place out of bend 2 lap 1, Edward Kennett in 2nd Chris Harris in 3rd and Peter Kilermand in last place, but not for long… Kilermand blasts from last to 2nd passing Edward Kennett and Chris Harris in one swoop! 1 bend later and Chris Harris relegates Kennett into last place. In the meantime a very stylish Jason Doyle secures his 3rd race win of the night! The Brummies scoring a 4-2 edge back into a 2-point lead.
Doyle, Kilermand, Harris, Kennett
Result 4-2 (31-29)
Once again the Robins pair make superb gates as Hans Andersen and Nick Morris take up positions 1 and 2 out of bend 2, followed by Ben Barker and Martin Smolinski in 3 and 4. But both Brummies are racing hard and on bend 2 of the 2nd lap Ben edges past Morris, and one lap later on the same bend Smolinski too passes Morris. A hard fought race for another shared heat and the slender 2-point lead continues.
Andersen, Barker, Smolinski, Morris
Result 3-3 (34-32)
Reserve change Kacper Gomolski replaces Ashley Birks.
The Robins classy gating continues as once again lead the race out of the 2nd bend with Peter Kilermand and Kacper Gomolski, Danny King and Nico Covatti are virtual bystanders as the trail in 3rd and 4th place. Danny King raced hard behind Gomolski but never got close enough to become a threat and the race ended as it started with maximum points to the Robins and reversing the 2 point advantage in their favour.
Result 1-5 (35-37)
You could have thrown a pocket-handkerchief over all 4 riders as they raced into bends 1 and 2 of the 1st lap. But as the positions unfold down the back straight Chris Harris has the lead, followed by Hans Andersen, Ben Barker and Troy Batchelor. Not for the first time tonight Ben seems to be down on power and is passed easily by Batchelor on bend 3 of the 1st lap. A lap later Batchelor swaps places with Andersen, but the result is still the same, another shared heat.
Harris, Batchelor, Andersen, Barker
Result 3-3 (38-40)
It’s Groundhog Day! An absolute repeat of the heat 12 start, Kacper Gomolski and Edward Kennett in 1 and 2, Josh Auty and Martin Smolinski in 3 and 4 into the second bend of lap 1. But although the race starts were exactly the same the race content and finish were thrillingly different. On bends 3 and 4 of lap 2 Martin Smolinski appeared to be on a ‘kamikaze mission’ as he dived between the Robins pair to momentarily take up 2nd place, but unfortunately his exit out of bend 4 saw him going wider and wider around the bend and uncontrollably dropping back behind Edward Kennett. But the outcome of this episode meant Josh Auty took advantage of the situation and sneaked into 2nd place. Martin eventually got back onto even keel and slipped back past Edward Kennett on the home straight and then on bend 2 of the 3rd lap moving past Auty to take up 2nd place.
The race of the night, but unfortunately still only a 3-3 and the Robins hang onto their 2 point lead into the last race.
Gomolski, Smolinski, Auty, Kennett
Result 3-3 (41-43)
Jason Doyle, Chris Harris, Troy Batchelor, Peter Kilermand
The Robins elect to take gates 1 &3
From the tapes, Peter Kilermand, Chris Harris, Jason Doyle, Troy Batchelor into 1st bend. Troy Batchelor sweeps hard and fast around the outside of everyone to lead the race down the back straight. Chris Harris not prepared to lie down and let the Robins take maximum points out of the race works hard behind Troy Batchelor and eventually passes him out of bend 2 of the 2nd lap.
The race concluded without any further changes. Unfortunately nothing but maximum points to the Brummies was going to be good enough, and with Jason Doyle scoring his first duck of the night the writing was well and truly on the wall, a further 2 point advantage to the Robins and a meeting win by 4 points.
Kilermand, Harris, Batchelor, Doyle
Result 2-4 (43-47)
Well I have to say I’m disappointed that we turned out the losers in such a close and hard-fought meeting. As the evening progressed I truly thought that we could, and should have won. But having said that I am well pleased at the spirit and determination from the Brummie team in achieving such a close result over the present Elite League champions. But regretfully at the end of the day a loss is a loss and I can only ponder over the ‘if onlys’! Although we fought for every point, the bottom line is… if only we had gated better the positions into the all-important 1st and 2nd bends would have been better and just a couple more wins would have turned it around.
But… no sour grapes… Swindon are a class act and they deserved the win. And… being the optimist that I am, I think it bodes well that we kept them on their toes right to the end.
Jason Doyle was nominated Rider of the Night, quite deservedly so, and in front of his old team too!