An accident marred the final race of The Vince Mapley Memorial Trophy at the Andrew Younie Smallbrook Stadium on Thursday, the first speedway meeting of the 2017 season.
The Wightlink Warriors’ new number 1 Ben Wilson led the final race until disaster struck as he locked his bike on the final bend. As he fell he was clipped by Stefan Nielsen, who was hot on Wilson’s heels. The other 2 riders in the final, Joe Jacobs and Rob Shuttleworth, were also caught up in the carnage, but it was Wilson who came off worst requiring extensive attention from the medical team before returning to the pits.
The referee had little alternative but to disqualify Wilson as the cause of the incident and as a result the title went to Nielsen, a rider who has yet to secure a team place for this season. Jacobs was placed second and Shuttleworth awarded third.
The flame haired Nielsen had already won his first 5 outings and this included a remarkable first heat when smashed the all time track record in a time of 66.1 seconds on the recently re-profiled circuit. All the finalists showed flashes of excellence as did Warriors skipper James Cockle who was always in the mix. New Warrior Nathan Greaves had a night plagued with mechanical gremlins and falls but recovered well to win his last race.
After the meeting Nielsen said:
“The traffic on the way down to Portsmouth was awful and I was late getting to the track so to save a bit of time I changed on the ferry. To go straight out and lower the track record was so unexpected and to win the Trophy has been fabulous although I do feel for Ben and hope that he’s not badly hurt. I’m still looking for a ride in 2017 and this keeps my name out there”.