Wednesday April 25, 2018
The “BP Mitchell” Rockets achieved the result they wanted in a dramatic come-from-behind 48-42 victory over Wolverhampton at Rye House on Monday night.

Guest – and Rye asset – Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen (14+1) and Krzysztof Kasprzak (12+2), in particular, laid the groundwork for a dramatic fightback from 19-11 down – without the assistance of a Tactical Substitution – to claim a first victory of the new season in what was effectively the Rockets’ home opener.

After earlier heavy away defeats at Wolverhampton and Belle Vue, the Rockets desperately needed to bounce back here, but prospects of a third straight reverse loomed large when Kyle Howarth and Jacob Thorssell opened with a 5-1 over Chris Harris and Aaron Summers and the Midlanders dominated the early proceedings, adding two further 4-2s and allowing a single Rockets victory – via NBJ – in the first five races.

Harris started the comeback by taking Heat 6, with Summers pursuing 2017 Aussie Champion Sam Masters for second spot for the duration as the Hertfordshire side bagged its first heat advantage in a 4-2, and better was to follow four laps later as NBJ and captain Scott Nicholls – who re-took Rory Schlein on the second lap – maxed out to cut the deficit to 20-22.

The Wolves responded with a 4-2 in Heat 8 – with Summers the middle man between the undefeated Howarth and Ashley Morris – before Kasprzak and Summers headed home Masters for the 5-1 that levelled the score at 27-27.

The next two races were drawn, but KK and NBJ then combined to blast a third Rye House maximum, with Heeps and Morris the victims, to put the home side in front.

It looked as though the Wolves would level things up in the penultimate race, as Schlein and Morris worked hard to keep Kasprzak behind them. The Warsaw Grand Prix Wildcard clearly had other ideas, however, working his way past Morris on the third lap and nearly catching Schlein as well. The resulting 4-2 still set up a last heat decider, at 43-41, at which point the Pole re-emerged alongside Nicholls to clinch a Rockets victory by blasting home one last 5-1 over Thorssell and Schlein in what was an emotional finale.

Talking afterwards, paid 15 hero Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen, who was standing in for broken finger victim Stuart Robson for the second time in three days, admitted that “After Monday (paid 3 at Belle Vue), I really didn’t know what my expectations were for tonight! I know this track; I LIKE this track. But, again, I’ve been out for nine months (with injury) and only just come back. But, yes, I’m quite satisfied!

“I wish Robbo (Stuart Robson) well on his recovery, but every Premiership booking I can get in the meantime is important. I am riding Speedway because I like it, and I want to be out there as much as possible in order to improve myself and get experience at as many tracks as possible.”

Team mate Aaron Summers, meanwhile, reflected on the Rockets’ comeback. “Yes, it was a bit of a slow start from us as we worked on set-ups. You know, we’ve not done many laps around here yet, but we are slowly getting there. As you saw, we came stronger and stronger as the match wore on, which is really good.”

Summers and NBJ are already regular team mates at SGB Championship side Berwick, and the Australian commented on the way the lanky Dane helped swing the match. “He was flying from the start, and those points make a big difference for you down at reserve as well.”

He also underplayed another solid personal performance. “I haven’t had that much track time around here, which doesn’t help, and I’ve been a bit up-and-down, working with a few different set-ups and trying to identify what works, and what doesn’t. But I’ll get there, and come on stronger and stronger, which will be good.”

“BP Mitchell” Rockets:
Nicolaj Busk Jakobsen (guest) 14+1 (7 rides), Krzysztof Kasprzak 12+1 (6), Scott Nicholls 9+3 (5), Aaron Summers 7+1 (5), Chris Harris 6+2 (4), Max Clegg 0 (3), Edward Kennett R/R.

Jacob Thorssell 10 (5 rides), Rory Schlein 10 (5), Kyle Howarth 8+1 (4), Sam Masters 6 (4), Ashley Morris 4+1 (5), Cameron Heeps 2 (4), Nathan Greaves 2 (3).

Match Points: Rye House 3 Wolves 1

Rye House Team Manager also updated the injury situation on both Edward Kennett (knee) and Stuart Robson (broken finger). Firstly, on Kennett: “Eddie’s twisted his knee quite badly; that’s what the swelling is about. But there’s nothing broken; he is just waiting for the swelling to go down in order to have an MRI scan, which is scheduled for next Monday. He won’t be able to do Leicester away for us (that night), but then we’ve got a week’s grace anyway before the Bank Holiday meeting here against Somerset. He should be back for that one.

“Robbo’s injury is a bit more of a worry. We have to wait until he comes back with some more information, but he currently reckons he will be out for three to four weeks, although it might conceivably be earlier. There’s not much you can do – you obviously can’t plate it or anything like that – so it’s got to be a natural healing process. He’s going to go into an oxygen chamber as well to help that process.”