Wightlink Warriors 41 Cradley 26 Oxford 23
The second of the Wightlink Warriors Summer Spectaculars saw the home side romp home against the visiting Cradley Heathens and Oxford Cheetahs in a meeting that produced plenty of talking points for a sizeable holiday crowd.
Man of the match turned out to be home skipper Danno Verge (pictured) who rode unbeaten in his five outings including an excellent last to first win in heat 8. In an innovative twist, teams used an experimental format that required team managers to nominate a rider from each of the two opposing teams who would have to take a 15 metre starting handicap and Verge’s blast to reel in and pass the Cheetah’s Ryan Terry-Daley was one of the highlights.
Also making up his handicap was new Warrior Alex Spooner as he raced through in heat 7 to join team mate Chad Wirtzfeld at the front after overhauling Cradley’s Scott Campos. It was an impressive debut for Spooner who dropped just one point to opposing riders in a very promising display.
Returning Warrior Wirtzfeld was also right in the points with two race wins whilst the Island’s own Morgan Williams battled hard for his four points and did just what was expected of him in more senior company.
Unluckiest rider of the night has to be Oxford’s Nathan Stoneman. The former Warrior, out of the saddle since October 2019, showed that he had lost none of his all action style and looked well set for race wins in heats 2 and 13 until his machine picked up unwanted drive off bends 4 and 2 respectively. First time he was quickly up on his feet but the second spectacular crash left him badly shaken and heading home with shoulder, chest and ankle pain. Also in the wars was Oxford’s James Laker who took a heavy fall in heat 9 and left the stadium with an ice pack on his right ankle.
Warriors team manager Steve Piper was delighted with his side’s work and said, “That was my first meeting as team manager and what a way to start. It was a real team effort, everyone did their jobs and Danno was a true captain tonight leading the team both on and off track. He set the tone for the meeting and the lads responded brilliantly. It’s a great honour for me to work with these riders and I could not be prouder of them all”.
In the support races, diminutive Stasiu Stevens took four wins in the PeeWee class and was named Junior Rider of the Night. Kye Elliott continued to demonstrate his improvement in the 125 class whilst in the ‘Upright Challenge’ Team GM outpaced Team Weslake with Darren Phillips looking particularly slick for Team GM with three convincing wins in very competitive times.
Wightlink Warriors 41 (Chad Wirtzfeld 11+1, Alex Spooner 11+3, Danno Verge 15, Morgan Williams 4)
Cradley Heathens 26 (Luke Harris 12, Chris Watts 4+3, Scott Campos 8, Patryk Daniszewski 2)
Oxford Cheetahs 23 (Nathan Stoneman 8, James Laker 2, Ryan Terry-Daley 11, Jamie Sealey 2+1)
Team GM 20 (Darren Phillips 9, Steve Cook 4, Alex Chadd 7, Scott Cook 0)
Team Weslake 16 (Keith Cornell 6, Graham Wilson 4, Graham Knowler 4, Mark Anderson 2)
Image courtesy of Ian Groves – Sportography