The Wightlink Wizards’ season opened with the away fixture against the Reading Racers at Swindon on Bank Holiday Monday, with a successful outcome for the Wizards winning 20-16 on the night.
The Reading side were forced in to a team change after being informed that Jamie Bursill was unable to partake in the meeting due to damaged machinery. The Racers brought in Exeter’s Adam Sheppard, but before the start of the meeting the meeting referee told the Reading management that Nick Laurence did not have a licence and therefore could not ride.
The Wizards initially found it tough going and were hit by a Reading 5-1. Heat 2 was a drawn heat with the star of the show Chad Wirtzfeld leading the way and clocking up some very fast times on the new Blunsdon circuit. This left the Wizards 8-4 down going into heat 3.
Heat 3 saw the same pairing – Skipper Ben Ilsley and Chad Wirtzfeld – take a 4-2 heat advantage with Chad taking another tapes to flag victory, leaving the Wizards 2 behind at 10-8. Heat 4 saw the advantage swing back to the Wizards with a 5-1 which came as a result of race leader Adam Sheppard suffering a mechanical failure which left the Wizards leading 13-11.
Heat 5 brought another 4-2 heat advantage with the unbeaten Chad racking up his 3rd win and Chris Watts getting a 3rd, leaving the Wizards 17-13 up with just 1 heat to go.
The final heat saw a rider switch for the Wizards, changing Ben for Chad. This was questioned by the Reading management as being outside of the rules however the referee agreed the change could be made and Chad subsequently completed a 4 ride maximum, Jamie fell resulting in a shared heat, final score Reading 16 Wizards 20.
Wightlink Wizards Team Manager Kev Shepherd said:
“This is a great way for the Wightlink Wizards to start their season and with all riders scoring points it was a great team effort.
“We know that every meeting for the Wizards will be a challenge but riders learn every time they ride and this is what it is about for us as a club. They know eachother well from coming through the Island’s School My First Skid and team spirit is superb in the camp at the moment. We look forward to building on this early success.”
Individual Wizard’s scores: Jamie Sealey 2, Chris Watts 5, Ben Ilsley 1 and Chad Wirtzfeld 12.