The Wightlink Warriors ended a run of 7 straight defeats with a last race victory over Plymouth Devils at Smallbrook Stadium last night (Tuesday).
Star of the show for the Warriors was new signing Alfie Bowtell. Brought in to replace former skipper Ben Hopwood, Bowtell couldn’t have wished for a better debut. Always sharp out of the starts, the Essex based charger showed he was no slouch from the back either with a stunning opening ride inside pass on the Devils’ Henry Atkins. That was the first of 5 winning rides on the way to a magnificent 17 point haul.
Pre-match, the Warriors were hit with the news that Scott Campos could not secure time off work and would miss the meeting. Given the Devils’ very impressive recent winning record on the Island things were looking ‘tricky’ to say the least. Once racing got under way, it was nip and tuck with riders on both sides making important contributions but this week lady luck was with the Warriors and against the Devils.
Heat 11 was the turning point with the visitors at that stage 2 points in front. Bowtell had made another sharp start and Roynon was in hot pursuit when at the start of the second lap Roynon picked up enormous speed, brushed Bowtell’s rear tyre and ploughed into the first bend air fence with alarming force. Bowtell also came down but was quickly up, however the major concern was for the Plymouth rider who, after some time was able to stand and walk to the ambulance clutching his arm. It was later confirmed that the injury was a dislocated shoulder and broken humorous with the cause of the fall being a jammed throttle.
That very unfortunate incident opened the door for a Warrior comeback and with work still to be done it was Bowtell who led the way with 3 wins in the closing 5 heats, well supported by Ben Morley and Chris Widman, who saw the Warriors over the line.
Warriors’ co-promoter Barry Bishop was in reflective mood after the meeting:
“First and foremost out thoughts and best wishes are with Adam Roynon. He hit the first bend air fence at very high speed and in honesty his injuries could have been more extensive. The incident undeniably turned the match in our favour and I am pleased we were able to step up led by Alfie Bowtell’s marvellous 17 point debut, but it’s not the best way to take the spoils as we know Adam would have played a major role determining the meeting outcome over the closing heats”.
Isle of Wight 46 | 44 Plymouth
Warriors: Ben Morley 11+1, Danno Verge 5+2, Rider Replacement for Scott Campos, Chris Widman 8, Alfie Bowtell 17, Nick Laurence 3, Shaun Tedham 2+1, Chris Watts (No.8) DNR.
Devils: Adam Roynon 6, Ryan Terry-Daley 6+1, Henry Atkins 12, Rider Replacement for Bradley Andrews, Nathan Stoneman 11, Macauley Leek 1+1, Richard Andrews 7+1, Jamie Bursill (No.8) 1+1.