Having suffered a 47-42 defeat at the home of the Mildenhall Fen Tigers on Sunday, the Wightlink Islanders were determined to gain revenge when the two sides clashed in the return National Trophy match at Smallbrook on Tuesday night.
The Islanders gained more than ample revenge by thumping the visitors by 58 points to 34 despite 21 year-old No.2 Danny Stoneman being withdrawn from the meeting by the paramedics after he suffered a shoulder injury in a heat 8 crash.
That ultimately led to the Wightlink Islanders victory celebrations being somewhat muted and them dedicating their latest win to their stricken team mate who, as well as picking up his injuries in that horrendous high speed crash encountered problems galore on a night he’ll personally want to forget in a hurry.
Those problems began in his second ride of the match in heat 6 when whilst holding third place on the second lap of four he suddenly veered onto the centre green jumping off his bike in dramatic fashion and the reason for that soon became obvious as his bike burst into flames.
The startline marshals quickly doused those flames by utilising their fire extinguisher but not before Danny’s bike suffered extensive damage that no doubt will prove expensive to repair.
However the young Devonian made light of that by simply warming up his second bike to take his programmed place in heat 8 but disaster struck him yet again as he took swift avoiding action on the crown of the first two bends after team mate Brandon Freemantle and Mildenhall’s Nathan Stoneman (no relation of Danny’s) tangled in front of him, and that avoiding action saw Danny career into the safety fence at high speed.
The club’s medical crew raced to his aid and it soon became clear that he was not going to get to his feet and ‘walk away’ from the incident as speedway riders ofter do and after lengthy attention from the paramedics, he was put on a stretcher, placed into the ambulance and taken to the medical room to receive further treatment and consequently there was quite a delay to proceedings at that stage.
Also forced to withdraw from the meeting at that stage was Mildenhall’s experienced campaigner Jon Armstrong who later revealed that he’d aggravated a long-standing cruciate knee ligament problem in his opening ride of the match.
Meanwhile Danny, despite being in considerable pain as a result of his injuries, opted not to go to hospital on the island, preferring to make light of the discomfort he was quite obviously in, and return to the mainland on the 10pm ferry to go straight from Portsmouth to his local hospital in Exeter for X-rays and further tests on his damaged shoulder on his way home.
His enforced withdrawal from the match only served to strengthen the Wightlink Islanders determination to win the match and win it they did in some style providing 12 of the 15 race winners in the process, Adam Eliis leading the way winning each of his five races and skipper Ben Hopwood winning four out of five of his as they and their team mates simply tore their opponents apart.
Speaking afterwards Wightlink Islanders team manager Kevin Shepherd said: “We held an impromptu team meeting in the pits whilst Danny was being seen to by the medics and the six team members still standing vowed to go onto win the match by as big a margin as possible and dedicate their victory to their stricken team mate.
“We can only hope that the x-rays of his injuries at his local hospital will show that his injuries are not as serious as first feared and we’ll be anxiously awaiting news from him on that front as soon as possible.
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