In a very special challenge fixture aimed at assisting the revival of speedway in Oxford, the Isle of Wight’s Wightlink Warriors ran out winners at Smallbrook on Thursday.
The scoreline could have been so much closer had the visitors not suffered 2 unfortunate falls and a lack of punch from their lower order riders.
Roared on by what appeared to be the largest crowd of the season that was bolstered by some magnificent travelling support, the Warriors bright start saw them 10 points to the good by mid meeting. However, they did benefit from a fall by Nathan Stoneman when closing in on the lead of heat 4 and later in heat 10 when Connor Coles flipped off the back of his bike on the last turn whilst a sure-fire race winner. Fortunately, both Stoneman and Coles were unfazed by their look at the Smallbrook shale as they raced on with courage and determination for the Cheetah’s cause.
Joining them at the top of the visitors score card was Danyon Hume who also impressed with 3 consecutive race wins.
On the Warrior side, it was a solid team effort led by the returning Georgie Wood who dropped just 1 point in 5 rides after an engaging battle with Stoneman in heat 6. In fact Wood saved his best until last with a thrilling chase in the last race to catch and pass the same Cheetah for a 2-1 advantage on the night.
Also in the points was Chris Widman who delivered his best return in recent weeks and Connor King whose persistence (that included having to push his bike for the last half lap on heat 8 to gain a point) earned him a place in the top scorers at the end of the meeting.
Warrior’s co-promoter Barry Bishop, known to have Oxford connections, was a very happy man and after the meeting. He said:
“Great stuff tonight. Excellent racing. Lots of family fun. The Cheetahs a little unlucky that the score ended up as it did, but the Warriors clicked tonight and I am so pleased to see Chris Widman looking strong.
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“I just want to say a huge thank you to the Cheetah’s supporters who came over for the meeting and to their Supporters Club for making it happen. Oxford deserves speedway and I hope that those people with influence in that city see what happened here tonight and respond positively to all the hard work that never stops to revive the club. The Warriors will continue to assist in whatever way we can if it brings speedway back to life”.
Isle of Wight 54 | 36 Oxford
Wightlink Warriors: Georgie Wood 14, Chad Wirtzfeld 5+2, Scott Campos 7, Danno Verge 5+2, Ben Morley 8+1, Chris Widman 8+3, Connor King 7+3.
Cheetahs: Danyon Hume 11, Ryan Terry-Daley 4+1, Connor Coles 9+1, Charlie Brooks 1, Nathan Stoneman 8+1, Jamie Sealey 1, Shaun Tedham 2.