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Somerset break Glasgow's run of wins.
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Old 22 Jul 2006, 04:19 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Post Somerset break Glasgow's run of wins.

The Glasgow Tigers arrived at the Oak Tree Arena on the back of seven straight wins, including an away win at Workington, and culminating in a home victory over the highly fancied Sheffield. So despite their previously unsuccessful forays to Somerset, they appeared to a much stiffer proposition this time round, and brought a 10-point lead to defend for the bonus point.

The weather was very hot, but the track was in excellent condition despite the heat, and the fine weather had brought out a good crowd in anticipations of a great nights racing. They weren't disappointed, as Magnus Zetterstrom, and Glenn Phillips got the home side of to a fine start with a maximum in the opening heat. Zorro made a great gate to lead from the start, with Phillips making a superb opening turn up the inside to follow through, and shake off the attentions of Danny Bird. From then on it was one way traffic for the Rebels.

That seemed to be the signal for the Rebels to go into overdrive, as they took four of the next five heats building up a 16-point lead in the process. The reserves continued the good work in Heat 2, when Simon Walker was quickly away from the Tigers' Robert Ksiezak. Ben Barker challenged the young Aussie at the end of the first lap, but had to be content with third. Heat 3 saw the only win in this stage of the match for the Tigers, when Kauko Nieminen drove around the outside of the fast starting Emil Kramer exiting the second bend. Stephan Katt had made a tardy start, but blasted round Lee Dicken on the third bend of Lap 2.

Glenn Cunningham is not renowned for his starting, but when he does even the best are in danger of taking a beating. Flying out of the gate in Heat 4, Cunningham lead from the start, chased by Shane Parker. Parker never got in a blow, and had to contend with the close attentions of Ben Barker for two laps before he could establish his clear second place. Emil Kramer is quietly getting to grips with his new home track, and his fast gating style is bringing it's rewards. Heat 5 saw him fly from Gate 4 to lead from David McAllen with Stephan Katt, no slouch from the gate himself, in third. Katt wound it on down the back straight, going round McAllen to join Kramer at the front. Danny Bird was left floundering, and it took him two laps to pass his partner, but the Rebels were long gone for a 5-1. With this win Kramer recorded the fastest time of the night with 58.13.

Another followed immediately, with Zorro and Glen Phillips taking their second off the reel. Not only did they repeat their Heat one success, but it came in an almost identical manner, with Zetterstrom making a flying start, and Phillips shooting up the inside of the opening two turns to account for Shane Parker. Robert Ksiezak, fell and remounted at the beginning of the second lap, when in last place.

Heat 7 saw the Tigers make their first in-roads into the Rebels lead. Kauko Nieminen took a tactical ride, but was another who found Glenn Cunningham wearing his gating boots, and with the same outcome. Once in front there was no catching Cunningham, and all the action took place behind him. Simon Walker had also made a great start, and was throwing down a challenge between the two Tigers coming off the second turn. Nieminen, and Dicken unceremoniously shut the door on him, and he was left with no alternative but to shut the throttle off. He wasn't done however, and set about Dicken for the next four laps. He tried every line on the track, inside and out, but the 27 year old Yorkshireman, conqueror of Walker in last years Somerset Junior Individual Open used his knowledge of the track to hold off "Physco". The Tigers took the heat advantage 3-5.

Glen Phillips has not had a brilliant time in Heat 8 of late, but he put that behind him, and proved that he's not just a "White Liner" in the process. Since his arrival at the Oak Tree Arena, Phillips has started to explore the wider open spaces of the track, and he put that newly gained knowledge to good effect as he was lead away from the gate by the Tigers pair of McAllen and Ksiezak. Phillips headed straight for the dirt, and powered round the boards of the opening turns, squeezing through the narrowest of gaps on the back straight. From there on he pulled away to win easily keeping the gap at 14-points at 32-18.

The Rebels re-established the 16-point lead in the next, as Emil Kramer once again made a great start. It wasn't so easy this time though as he was past down the back straight by Shane Parker. Kramer wasn't prepared to let it go, and he took his chance on the second bend of Lap 2, as he ran wide around Parker to regain the lead. One bend later Stephan Katt drove past James Cockle, and set sail after Parker, chasing him down all the way. Although he was close at the line he could never quite get on terms.

The Rebels looked as though they would increase the lead further in the next. Kauko Nieminen looked to have got the better of Magnus Zetterstrom at the gate, but the Rebels skipper had other ideas. Driving hard around the second bend he took up the running onto the back straight. Meanwhile Glen Phillips was busy trying to fend off Lee Dicken. Again the Tigers Number 3 was using his favourite outside line, tight against the boards. His persistence finally paid off as he found a run around Phillips on the third bend of Lap 3, to take a share of the points.

With heats running out Alan Dick had no option but to send out the "Black and White", this time on the helmet of Danny Bird. It appeared that the move had paid off as Bird led from the tapes, after Glenn Cunningham had made one of his more usual starts. Regulars at the Oak Tree will know that Cunningham is just as effective from the back, and they didn't have long to wait, in fact as long as it took to reach the second turn. Cunningham made a great cut back to steal up the inside of Bird. Bird put up a fight down the back straight, and was slightly in front as they approached the third bend, but Cunningham had moved outside, and powered around the fence as Bird tried to shut the door. He had too much speed for the Surrey based rider, and shot through a fast closing gap to regain the lead. Behind them, David McAllen had his work cut out holding off a hard charging Simon Walker. The Tigers had once again taken a 3-5 advantage with a tactical ride, but as before had only reduced the lead by 2-points at 42-28.

Lee Dicken put some of his more illustrious colleagues to shame by taking Heat 12, and provided the Tigers with only their second winner of the night, making a quick start alongside Stephan Katt. Using his favoured outside line, he took up the running off the second bend, but Katt battled back, and dived up the inside of the third turn, and ran out to the fence. Dicken kept the power on round the boards, and then cut back inside as Katt ran wide, powering back into the lead on the home straight. Behind them, Ben Barker got the better of Robert Ksiezak on the third bend.

Heat 13 provide fans with the ride of the night from Glenn Cunningham. A level break saw Magnus Zetterstrom pull to the front, with the other three close up. Shane Parker suffered a sick engine running into the second bend, hampering Cunningham slightly as he slowed dramatically. With Zorro pulling away, Cunningham set off after Danny Bird in second spot. For four laps he was all over Bird, who at times rode some pretty hard lines to deny Cunningham space. Cunningham used wide lines, and cut backs to work a position on Bird, and running down the back straight for the last time he switched to the outside after cutting back up the inside of Bird off the second turn. He powered round the final two turns tight up against the fence, and drew along side Bird on the final turn, and despite Bird's efforts to shut the door on him he squeezed through to win the drag to the line. Stunning stuff that had the crowd on their feet.

Kauko Nieminen topped of a great nights work with another win in Heat 14, but not before a great battle on the opening lap with Simon Walker. The two were fast away from the gate, and it was Walker who drew first blood down the back straight. Nieminen is battler though, and brimming with confidence after representing his country in the SWC qualifier earlier in the week, he found a great run on the outside of Walker to pull back to the front off the last bend. Emil Kramer recovering from a rare bad start moved past Walker at the end of Lap 2, but by this time Nieminen was away and gone.

The Rebels finished off the night the way they had started, with a 5-1. The unbeaten Magnus Zetterstrom and Emil Kramer represented the home side, whilst the Tigers rewarded Nieminen and Lee Dicken for a terrific nights work. As the tapes rose, it was the Rebels who got the best of the start, and led off the opening turn. From then on they gave a great display of team riding to shut out the Tigers pair. Zorro unselfishly gave up a full maximum to ride shot gun for his fellow countryman Kramer, as they topped off a fantastic night for the home side.

The Somerset "Mike Manning Audio" Rebels had completed a 22-point win, and taken the bonus point in a match that many though would have been a close run affair. It was a superb all round performance in which every one of the septet contributed. Magnus Zetterstrom top scored with a five ride paid maximum of 14+1, Glenn Cunningham also had a four ride paid maximum of 11+1, with Emil Kramer returning 13-points from five rides. The choice of rider of the night must have been a difficult choice, but the sponsors "Water Mark Bathrooms" gave their award to Glenn Cunningham following his stunning display of all round racing, topped off by his fantastic pass on Danny Bird. A thoroughly well deserved award. The Rebels now go on the road with their Northern tour, of Edinburgh, Berwick and Newcastle, hoping to bring home at least two bonus points, and hopefully at least one away win.

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