Friday June 23, 2017
The BMR Rockets gave as good as they got at Belle Vue on Friday night, pushing their hosts all the way before ultimately succumbing to three very late 5-1s that took the score from 37-35 to a flattering 52-38.

It hid a hard-fought display from the Rockets, and one achieved without either Ricky Wells or Edward Kennett. The American was double-booked with a prior SGB Championship commitment, and Ben Barker came in as guest cover to deliver a win and 6 points. Kennett, meanwhile, was absent due to an FIM World Longtrack round in the Czech Republic, and with regulations only permitting guest cover on the day of the meeting, the Rockets’ only recourse was a 4 point Championship rider.

2012 Rye House man James Sarjeant filled that spot, and although he only scored once it came when he followed home Rob Branford in Heat 8, after Steve Worrall had packed up, for the 5-1 that brought the Hertfordshire side level at 24-24.

With Scott Nicholls winning the next track encounter, and Ellis Perks tucked in for third behind Max Fricke, the Rockets then nudged in front at 28-26.

The Manchester side re-took the advantage when Troy Batchelor – in as a guest for Danish GP Wildcard Kenneth Bjerre – blasted from the gate to capture Heat 10, and Steve Worrall fended off every attempt from Barker to steal second place, as the score shifted to 31-29 in the Aces’ favour.

Chris Harris bagged his second race win of the night by driving under newly crowned British Champion Craig Cook in a stunning move on the third lap of the next stanza, while Barker and Perks forced a share of the spoils in Heat 12 to move the progressive to 37-35.

There the Rockets’ dream ended, but only after three fast and furious races to close out the meeting. Harris featured heavily in an epic Heat 13, being squeezed out by eventual winner Batchelor on the third bend and then just missing out in his personal re-match with Cook that saw the two adversaries pass and re-pass throughout.

Another Belle Vue 5-1 followed in Heat 14, which was won by Dan Bewley and featured a near repeat of Heat 13’s drama, this time with Stuart Robson just missing out after an epic battle with Rohan Tungate.

One last 5-1 followed in the nominated race as Batchelor completed his maximum to give the give the final score-line a rather lopsided look, but the battle behind it was clearly something else.

The victory took the Aces to the top of the SGB Premiership table, while the Rockets remain in fifth place – but with just over half of their fixtures still to go.

Rye House Team Manager Peter Schroeck felt afterwards that, “I have to say that it was an awesome meeting, and the racing was absolutely top drawer. The final score just doesn’t reflect just how good the match was.

“I can’t fault the boys for effort. Everyone clicked, got stuck in and we really made them sweat.

“It is just frustrating that once again we were in the match for so long without getting anything from it. We really deserved at least a point.

“Now we’ve got to take the positives from tonight, and turn it round. There’s still a long, long way to go in the season, and we’re so close to being there.”

BMR Rockets:
Chris Harris 9, Scott Nicholls 9, Ben Barker (guest) 6, Robert Branford 5+1, Ellis Perks 4+1, Stuart Robson 3, James Sarjeant 2+1

Belle Vue:
Troy Batchelor (guest) 14+1 (maximum), Max Fricke 13, Craig Cook 8+1, Dan Bewley 7+1, Rohan Tungate 5+3, Steve Worrall 4+1, Jack Smith 1

Match Points: Belle Vue 3 Rye House 0