‘So close to complete perfection’ – co-promoter Bishop delighted as speedway returns to the Isle of Wight
He scorched to five impressive wins in front of an appreciative crowd at the Smallbrook Stadium in Ryde last night, writes ROB DYER.
The return of track sport to the Island was headlined by the first of three rounds of the Island Masters series - a grasstrack meeting on shale – and the 12 riders didn’t disappoint a very healthy crowd as they battled hard to reach the winner-takes-all Grand Final.
On a night of 27 races, the Masters event also included a gripping six-heat development meeting between the Wightlink Wizards and Weymouth Wildcats and a further six heats giving the youngsters track time in front of a crowd.
Whilst former Reading and Oxford speedway star Appleton produced lightning starts to earn his wins, he did have stern competition from Danish rider Jacob Buckhave and the two served up a terrific race in the Grand Final.
Also impressing were Tony Atkin and Rob Fortune whilst Wightlink Warrior Chad Wirtzfeld found plenty of speed to win the B Final.
As for the Wizards, their battle to tame the Wildcats went to the final bend of the final heat.
For all the world it looked as if the home team were about to secure the 5-1 result that would have seen them take a win.
However, with Jamie Sealey well clear at the front, Wroxall-based Morgan Williams appeared to tire on the final two corners and slid to the ground - allowing two relieved Wildcats riders through for a drawn heat that clinched the meeting 19-17 in favour of the visitors.
The PeeWee and 125 cc riders opened the evening with Kye Elliott from St Helens scoring an impressive seven points to take the ’Les and Lesley (Midland Fans)’ Junior Rider Of The Night award.
Warriors’ co-owner Barry Bishop wore a big smile after the meeting.
‘Wow! What a night - 30 races, bags of action both on and off track, super crowd, magic finals,’ he enthused.
‘The night had almost everything Martin and I could have wanted and we were so close to complete perfection until Morgan’s slip in the Wizards meeting.
‘I’ve got to say we have worked so hard for this night. We’ve had many battles and we have achieved what we set out do.
‘That is to provide affordable family entertainment in a safe and pleasant environment.
‘I can’t for next Thursday when we can do it all again with the Wightlink Warriors.’
Island Masters – Round 1
C Final – Eric Pike, Dean Cutler, David Hollingsbee, Barry Coates.
B Final – Chad Wirtzfeld, Charley Powell, Mitch Godden, Nigel Coates.
A Final – Andrew Appleton, Jacob Buckhave, Tony Atkin, Rob Fortune.
Wightlink Wizards 17 (Jamie Sealey 8, Jamie Evans 6+1, Morgan Williams 3, Eli Meadows 0), Weymouth Wildcats 19 (Bailey Fellows 7+1, James Laker 5, Max Pankhurst 4+1, Sam Peters 3)