Swindon 50 Eastbourne 43
The Robins take all 3 points on final heat decider
A scintillating last gasp, heat fifteen passing manoeuvre from Simon Stead secured Swindon 3 vital Elite League points against a resolute Eastbourne side.
Leading by 5 points going into the concluding race, Swindon required a heat advantage in order to gain a maximum haul of league points.
However, Eastbourne’s fast-starting Pole Tomasz Jedrzejak conjured a super-quick getaway and held a comfortable lead in the early stages. As the race unfolded, Stead gathered momentum and rode with lashings of bravery as he charged underneath Jedrzejak as the two riders roared across the line for the final time.
With Leigh Adams successfully fending off the advances of Matej Zagar, Stead’s heat win handed Swindon a 4-2 advantage and shuffled their overall margin of victory to 7 points. It was an incredible conclusion to the meeting, which saw the Blunsdon terraces erupt with euphoria.
Swindon were without Swedish hot-shot Thomas H. Jonasson as the youngster was still feeling the after-effect of his collision with Ipswich’s Robert Miskowiak at Blunsdon last week.
Meanwhile, Eastbourne were forced to operate the rider replacement facility for Cameron Woodward who was ruled out due to injury, whilst Kyle Hughes was drafted in for the ill Simon Gustafsson.
A points-share in the opener got proceedings underway, as Adams romped to a comfortable tapes-to-flag victory. Further back, Cory Gathercole indulged in a terrific scrap with the Eagles’ pairing, but was ultimately unable to forge a route past.
A re-run heat two saw Swindon register a comfortable 5-1 advantage, as Morten Risager and Justin Sedgmen combined. In the initial staging of the encounter, Eastbourne’s Lukas Dryml fell whilst holding the lead and was duly disqualified from the re-staging by meeting referee Stuart Wilson
Eastbourne tracked just a solitary rider in the ensuing race, as the Robins notched their second successive 5-1 advantage via the wheels of Grzegorz Zengota and Mads Korneliussen.
Stead and Sedgmen combined for a well-worked race four advantage; the latter duelling fantastically with Eastbourne’s Joonas Kylmakorpi in the early stages although the Australian had to eventually settle for a third-placed finish.
A crackerjack race five followed, as Eastbourne nominated Slovenian thrill-merchant Zagar for a tactical ride. The former GP ace notched a 6-point race win, whilst Korneliussen battled tenaciously to emphatically pass Jedrzejak in the latter stages.
A terrific first bend from Adams in the sixth saw the Australian gain the ascendancy and retain it thereafter. Fellow Milduran Gathercole was involved in an engaging scrap with Dryml, but the Robins’ reserve fell on the third lap when attempting a spectacular bend one blast.
Jedrzejak registered an impressive victory in race seven, as the progressive totals moved to 25-20 in Swindon’s favour.
An awarded heat eight saw Eastbourne register a 5-1, as Trevor Geer and Dean Barker’s side narrowed the Robins’ advantage to a solitary point. Regrettably, Gathercole’s third lap, second bend fall brought a premature close to the race.
Zengota and Korneliussen took Swindon into a 3-point lead courtesy of a 4-2 in race nine, before an Adams heat win secured a share of the points in the tenth.
A superb ride from Stead saw the popular Brit outpace the Eagles’ duo of Zagar and Jedrzejak in heat eleven.
The impressive Zengota notched an untroubled victory in heat twelve and showed great speed. Meanwhile, Sedgmen was involved in a race-long scrap with visiting reserve Dryml. It was the Eastbourne rider who eventually prevailed after forging a third lap, back straight pass of the tenacious youngster from Down Under.
A memorable heat thirteen coaxed the legendary Blunsdon roar from the Abbey Stadium faithful. The Eagles’ pairing conjured quick-fire getaways and led for the most part, with Zagar taking the chequered flag from the hard-charging Stead, who brilliantly edged out Kylmakorpi in the latter stages.
The penultimate encounter of the evening also proved hugely entertaining, with Korneliussen successfully blasting past Dryml on the fourth bend in the middle sector. The Dane’s jaw-dropping move was arguably one of the best seen at Blunsdon in 2010 and secured Swindon a crucial 4-2 race advantage.
A blockbuster heat fifteen concluded proceedings in fine style. Simon Stead’s aforementioned heroic riding will live long in the memory of Robins’ supporters and the popular Brit certainly received a rapturous post-match cheer from the Blunsdon faithful
“It’s pleasing to collect all 3 points on offer, even if we did have a couple of riders not on the pace tonight," said Swindon team-manager Ronnie Russell.
"Eastbourne pushed us hard, but the boys dug deep and produced the result we’d targeted”
“There were two races tonight that must have been worth the entry fee alone. Mads Korneliussen passing Lukas Dryml was incredible, simply because it didn’t seem as if there was room to do it, but somehow Mads roared around him.”
“Simon Stead’s move in race fifteen was equally stunning and concluded the meeting on a real high.”
“There was a good crowd tonight and hopefully those in attendance were pleased with the quality of speedway they’ve witnessed.”
“Now we’re 1-point behind the team in fourth place and we’ve got one meeting in-hand.”
“The belief is in the squad that we can make the play-offs, we’ll carry that spirit into our two tough looking meetings at Wolverhampton and Peterborough next week.”
Leigh Adams (C) 3 3 3 0 1 - - 10
Cory Gathercole 0 F D - - - - 0
Grzegorz Zengota 3 0 3 3 - - - 9
Mads Korneliussen 2* 2 1 3 - - - 8 (1)
Simon Stead 3 2 3 2 3 - - 13
Morten Risager 2* 1* 0 0 - - - 3 (2)
Justin Sedgmen 3 1 1 1 1 - - 7
Team manager: Ronnie Russell
Matej Žagar (C) 2 6 1* 3 0 - - 12 (1)
Tomasz Jêdrzejak 1* 1 3 3 2 2 - 12 (1)
Ricky Kling 1 0 2 0 - - - 3
Cameron Woodward R/R
Joonas Kylmäkorpi 2 2 2 1 - - - 7
Kyle Hughes 1 0 0 - - - - 1
Lukáš Dryml D 1* 2* 1* 2 2 - 8 (3)
Team managers: Trevor Geer and Dean Barker
Referee: Stuart Wilson
photos by Ian Lewis
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