With several local weather forecasts indicating rain was likely during the afternoon, the Warriors management delayed track watering in the hope that mother nature would contribute to the task, however when it became apparent that the forecasts were going to be considerably awry, late efforts to get sufficient moisture into the surface were, regrettably, too little too late.
The resultant dusty conditions made visibility and passing very difficult and in fairness to the visitors they did adapt well to the circuit.
Tracking 4 ex-Warriors, who combined to score 41 of their 48 point total, the Plymouth Gladiators had the star men on the night with Nathan Stoneman racking up a maximum 15 points, Ben Wilson suffering just 1 defeat and Scott Campos backing up with 12 well taken points. Of the former Warriors only Jamie Bursill was down on points – understandable as he needed a hospital visit to assess wrist problems after a fourth race fall.
The Warrior just could not get going and stop the succession of race wins by the visitors. Their quick gating was proving hard to overcome and on the night Warrior’s big guns were unusually subdued, however, the continued progress of Danno Verge, Chad Wirtzfeld and Connor King was pleasing and bodes well as the season unfolds.
Isle of Wight Warriors 42 | 48 Plymouth
Wightlink Warriors: Georgie Wood 9, Chris Widman 1+1, Ryan Terry-Daley 4, Danno Verge 8, Ben Morley 8, Connor King 4+2 and Chad Wirtzfeld 8+3.
Plymouth: Ben Wilson 12+1, Richard Andrews (R/R), Scott Campos 12, Adam Extance 5+2, Nathan Stoneman 15, Adam Sheppard 2+1 and Jamie Bursill 2.
Unfortunately, the Warriors malaise reached the Wizards as well as they succumbed to the visiting Falcons.
Both sides featured riders who had been very busy in the Warrior match and the physical and mechanical fatigue was evident. That said, the Falcons’ Saul Bulley with 11 points laid the foundation for the visitors victory as they kicked their campaign off on a high note winning a last race decider.
Isle of Wight Wizards 16 | 20 Exeter
Wightlink Wizards: Chad Wirtzfeld 6, Jamie Sealey 2, Ben Ilsley 0 and Chris Watts 8.
Exeter: Max Pankhurst 5+2, James Chattin 3, Saul Bulley 11 and Adam Sheppard 1.
Warriors co-promoter Barry Bishop found it hard to hard hide his emotions and disappointment when he said:
“Well that has been one of the most frustrating days we have had here in the last four seasons. All the weather forecasts said rain and we had totally the opposite. At lunchtime we considered calling it off because of the forecast but it stayed dry and we were rushed into getting some moisture down. Sadly it was too little too late and I am still hugely upset that we could not deliver a track that was fair to both spectators and riders.
“I spoke to the crowd both at the start and end of the meeting and repeat my apology. We were in a no win situation.
“To add to our woes, neither the Warriors or Wizards could really get going with the Gladiators and Falcons taking deserved wins, however in adversity we have a chance to learn and last night, both on and off track, we found out things that we need to address that will make us better and stronger going forward”.