Saturday April 05, 2014
The Silver Ski Rockets’ League Cup ambitions took a major blow as they slumped to their second defeat in two days against the Plymouth Devils, 48-42. It was also the third successive time that the Devon side had won at Hoddesdon.

Sparked by the dominant Edward Kennett, who squeezed out Ben Barker in a hard-fought first two bends in the opening race, the Rockets actually took an early 14-10 advantage, only to drop a point when American guest Gino Manzares – in for Jason Garrity, who had taken a heavy tumble the previous night at Plymouth – reared and fell on the last bend of Heat 5. There were further signs of what was to come when Sam Simota caught and passed Mathieu Tresarrieu for second place on the last lap of Heat 6 to restrict Rye to a 4-2 and keep the score at 20-16.

With Simota on a roll and Rasmus Jensen enjoying his first visit to Hertfordshire, the Devils now had able backing for No.1 Ben Barker, and added a further prong to their arsenal when Kalle Katajisto captured the first of his two race wins in Heat 8, to bring the score back to 25-23.

It was level four laps later, with Simota heading home Manzares and Ben Reade gaining an unexpected, but fully deserved, third spot over Tresarrieu.

Katajisto struck again in Heat 11, rounding Steve Boxall on the last bend of lap 2, and then producing a similar manoeuvre to sneak past Luke Bowen in exactly the same spot of the next circuit to follow home Barker for the 5-1 that put the Devils ahead at 35-31.

Kennett’s unbeaten home start to the year was finally ended when Barker took the chequered flag in a Heat 13 that was re-run after Kennett had bitten the first bend dust at the first time of asking. A visiting 4-2 there took the points spread up to 42-36, and Katajisto made sure of the Devils’ victory by winning his seventh ride of the night in a Heat 14 that will also be remembered for a brief heated exchange between Bowen and Jensen after the Dane had been excluded for taking out the Harlow Flyer’s left leg in an inside dive that saw Bowen hit the deck.

Kennett won the final race, but the Rockets were denied their only 5-1 as Boxall was picked off for second place, first by Simota and then by Barker.

A clearly disappointed Rye House team manager John Sampford said afterwards, “It was a great night’s racing but a very bad result. Hats off to the Devils; they gave us a lesson tonight, and have a real match winner in Kalle Katajisto, especially while they can keep him down at reserve for extra rides.

“Hopefully we will be back to full strength next Saturday when we have another toughie against Somerset. Jason Bunyan is scheduled to fly back from New Zealand on Thursday, and Jason Garrity should be fit again. He has paid a visit to his local hospital, and we’re hoping that it is only heavy bruising and that nothing is broken. We need him back – and back to what we know he is capable of producing for us.

“Steve Boxall should also have sorted out his engine; he was definitely down on power tonight.

“Those things can tip the balance for us next Saturday.”

Rye House scorers:

Edward Kennett 14 (5 rides), Luke Bowen 11+1 (7), Steve Boxall 7 (6), Mathieu Tresarrieu 5 (5), Gino Manzares (guest) 4+2 (4), Simon Lambert 1 (3), Jason Bunyan R/R

Plymouth scorers:

Kalle Katajisto 13+4 (7 rides), Ben Barker 12+1 (5), Sam Simota 10 (5), Rasmus Jensen 8 (4), Roland Benko 2 (3), Kyle Newman 2 (3), Ben Reade (3)

Match Points: Rye House 0 Plymouth 3

The Rye House Raiders lost their opening Midland Development League fixture in the six heat match that followed the Rockets’ League Cup action. Luke Harris was their only race winner, while Danny Ayres fell while leading Heat 2 and did not reappear, as Milton Keynes ran out easy 28-8 winners.

Rye House scorers:

Luke Harris 5 (3 rides), Rob Watts 2 (3), Joe Exley 1 (2), Danny Ayres 0 (1)

Milton Keynes scorers:

Jeremy Pestell 9 (3 rides), Sam Chapman 7+2 (3), Niall Strudwick 7+1 (3), Alec Wright 5+3 (3)

Rye House v Plymouth (LC)
Rye House v Milton Keynes (MDL)