Monday May 14, 2018
The “BP Mitchell” Rockets won out by a tight score of 48-42 for the third consecutive match at Rye House as they edged past Poole in a see-saw battle that was marred by an injury to Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen.

The Dane was involved in a scary collision with rival Josh Grajczonek in Heat 14 that sent him cartwheeling on the third bend and out of the meeting with concussion. Although Grajczonek was consequently excluded as the primary cause of the stoppage, their coming together was clearly a racing incident and the Aussie was one of the first on the scene as a mark of his personal concern over NBJ’s condition.

The incident came at the tail end of a match that ebbed and flowed, with the Rockets recovering from a Heat 2 5-1 to contribute one of their own via 2017 Pirates Krzysztof Kasprzak and Edward Kennett against Grajczonek and Kacper Woryna in the next race.

With Aaron Summers having bagged the opener, that made it 9-9, and although falling behind again, 13-11, after the next race, they then nipped in front with 4-2s from Heats 6 and 7; the latter looked set to produce a 5-1 only for Woryna to manage a terrific pass of NBJ to follow home winner Scott Nicholls.

The Rockets’ advantage lasted just four laps, as Stefan Nielsen and former Hoddesdon star Linus Sundstrom combined for a 5-1 in Heat 8 – and another maximum in Heat 9 quickly escalated the Pirates’ lead to 30-24.

Match over? Clearly no one had suggested that to Chris Harris and Aaron Summers, who emerged to blast a 5-1 past Woryna and the previously unbeaten Nielsen in Heat 10. Or, for that matter, Nicholls and Busk Jakobsen, who produced an identical score against 2016 Aussie Champion Brady Kurtz and Sundstrom in the very next race to put Rye back in front, at 34-32.

Successive 3-3s followed to take the match into the race where it all went wrong for NBJ. It all ultimately went right for the Hertfordshire side, however, as a final twist to the encounter saw race leader Nielsen – a blink-and-you-missed him Rocket in 2014 – hit mechanical problems on the final lap, enabling both Kennett and Max Clegg to come through for the 5-1 that wrapped things up, at 45-39.

With Nielsen, Woryna and Mateeusz Szczepaniak in particular in battling mode for the visitors, it would have been harsh on Poole for their efforts to have gone unrewarded, and they bagged a consolation match point when Woryna and new arrival Richie Worrall slotted in behind Kasprzak but ahead of an otherwise excellent Nicholls for a 3-3 in the finale.

It still left the Rockets to celebrate their overall success, although the riders’ thoughts were clearly with NBJ, with a subdued Team Manager Peter Schroeck updating the situation on the Dane. “It fortunately doesn’t look as though anything is broken. He banged his head quite hard – he knocked himself out in the fall and can’t remember what happened – but apart from that he seems OK. The medical team have signed him off with concussion, which means that he will be out for a minimum of nine days by protocol. We’ll be looking to get a guest in for Wednesday’s meeting at Poole, and we’ll let the fans know as soon as we’ve found adequate cover for that one.

“Josh (Grajczonek) was very concerned (after the incident). I could see he was getting quite upset about it. He is one of the fairest and nicest guys out there, and it shook him up a little bit, but there was absolutely nothing malicious about it.

“We had a little bit of good luck with Stefan Nielsen’s bike problems in the re-run. Sometimes it works for you, and sometimes against.

“Overall, I am really pleased with the way the boys battled tonight. We got the win we needed, and it was a great match. I quite like the new rules (without the double point Tactical Ride); it keeps it real, it keeps you on your toes and it keeps the score-line the way it should be.

“We’ll dust ourselves off, go down to Poole and hopefully do the business down there. We have a lot of fond memories from our last trip to Dorset (a 60-30 mauling of the Pirates last August), because that result really turned our season around. Hopefully Wednesday will have the same impact, but it’s a new season and a new match. We have to go there and make it all happen again from scratch.”

“BP Mitchell” Rockets:
Krzysztof Kasprzak 11 (5 rides), Scott Nicholls 10+1 (5), Aaron Summers 7+1 (4), Nicolaj Busk Jakobsen 6+1 (4), Edward Kennett 6+1 (4), Chris Harris 6 (4), Max Clegg 2+1 (4).

Stefan Nielsen 8+2 (5 rides), Kacper Woryna 8 (5), Richie Worrall 7+3 (5), Linus Sundstrom 6+2 (4), Brady Kurtz 6 (4), Mateusz Szczepaniek 6 (4), Josh Grajczonek 1 (3).

Match Points: Rye House 3 Poole 1

Wednesday’s teams at Poole:

“BP Mitchell” Rockets:
Max Clegg, Chris Harris, Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen guest details tbc, Krzysztof Kasprzak, Edward Kennett, Scott Nicholls (captain), Aaron Summers

Josh Grajczonek (captain), Brady Kurtz, Stefan Nielsen, Linus Sundstrom, Mateusz Szczepaniak, Richie Worrall, Kacper Woryna