Scorpions start cup defence in style

Apr 13th, 2024
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SCUNTHORPE SCORPIONS 61 PLYMOUTH GLADIATORS 29 (Cab Direct Championship Knockout Cup, first round, first leg)

REIGNING holders Ellis Rose Travel Scunthorpe Scorpions have one foot in the quarter-finals of the Cab Direct Championship Knockout Cup, after a massive 61-29 victory over the Plymouth Gladiators in the first leg of their first round clash at the Eddie Wright Raceway last night (Friday).

Both Michael Palm Toft (full) and Jake Allen (paid) scored fine maximums, and both were made to fight for points during the evening.

In Heat 4, Allen won a fascinating contest with Plymouth’s Ben Barker, which saw the two riders passing and re-passing. Meanwhile, Palm Toft was in involved in a race-long battle with Dan Thompson in Heat 3, and then passed Kyle Newman on the final lap to win the race, and the Dane also charged from last to first to win Heat 14.

In addition, Connor Mountain just missed out on a maximum, when he was pipped to the line by Barker in Heat 1, but he then recorded three race victories to score 11 points.

All seven Scorpions collected at least one win or paid win, including a paid win for 16-year-old Luke Harrison in Heat 12, when he defeated the Thompson twins, Dan and Joe, with skipper Simon Lambert team-riding with Harrison in the closing stages of the race to fend off Dan Thompson.

The one concern for Scorpions was Nathan Ablitt, after a nasty tumble in Heat 14. Ablitt – who earlier picked up two wins, while just missing out in an epic battle for third with Dan Thompson in Heat 7 – caught the back of Joe Thompson entering the third bend of the third lap. Both crashed, and it was initially feared that Ablitt may have suffered a broken foot. He has sustained an ankle injury, but the hope is that he has escaped any broken bones.

For Plymouth, they were handicapped when star turn Barker looped it at the starting gate in Heat 6 and landed with a thud. The Cornishman only took one further ride after that.

Danish star Michael Palm Toft, scored a full 15-point-maximum, and bounced from withdrawing from the previous week’s meeting at the EWR, after he too had looped at the tapes. He said: “We want to progress in the Knockout Cup, so the plan was to beat Plymouth at home, and build up a comfortable lead, so we don’t have to overwork it when we go down there. We’re not taking it for granted, there’s still a job for us to do at Plymouth, but it’s a nice position to be in.

“At this stage of the season, every meeting is really valuable. There’s nothing like being at the start with three other riders and racing for four laps. Practice is helpful, but you get in a routine and bad habits riding by yourself and there’s no substitute for racing.

“I had a good chat with my mechanic and we’re keeping it simple and not complicating things. I’m using a very similar set-up to last season and it paid off tonight. There’s a little fine tuning to do, but otherwise everything is good.

“I felt I had speed tonight. The track is more-or-less the same to last season and I know what to do around here and was able to make the moves in a couple of races to get through when I didn’t make the start and needed to pass other riders.

“I wish Nathan (Ablitt) a speedy recovery – I didn’t see the accident because I was in the race. There is a good team spirit. We all talk to each other and help each other out and look out for each other on the track. It’s a good unit and I hope Nathan is back soon.”

SCUNTHORPE 61: Michael Palm Toft 15 (full maximum), Jake Allen 13+2 (paid maximum), Connor Mountain 11, Simon Lambert 7+2, Nathan Ablitt 6, Kyle Howarth 5+3, Luke Harrison 4+1.

PLYMOUTH 29: Kyle Newman 8+1, Dan Thompson 6+2, Joe Thompson 6+1, Ben Barker 5, Alfie Bowtell 3+1, Jacob Hook 1, Nico Covatti r/r.

* ELLIE ROSE TRAVEL Scunthorpe Scorpions are not back in action at the Eddie Wright Raceway until Friday, May 10 at 7.30pm, when they face the Oxford Cheetahs. In the meantime, Scorpions are involved in a number of away meetings, commencing in a BSN Series clash at Redcar next Friday (April 19).

Report by Rob Peasley.
PHOTO: Maximum man Michael Palm Toft battling with Dan Thompson and Kyle Newman in Heat 3 (pic: Ian Rispin).

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