Friday June 19, 2015
Whilst the 'Cases' Somerset Rebels match against the Workington Comets produced some excellent racing in the latter portion of the meeting, it never reached the stratospheric heights of the previous home match against Rye House.

However the crowd were treated to an early visit of Santa, in fact several Santa’s, and the unusual sight of four dapper gentlemen, dressed in tweeds and plus fours, racing on Honda 90 style step-through mopeds.

The visiting Santa’s were members of the motorcycle group, ‘Santa’s on a Bike’, who are one of the Somerset Rebels adopted charities. “Santa’s on a bike has been in existence for over ten years, since its foundation and remains based in Somerset, explained Founder Paul Wren.“Our aim has always been to raise money and gifts for children’s charities with a Motorcycle ride on the first Saturday in December, dressed in Santa uniforms, and with their bikes decorated.

Support for the ride grew slowly but surely and we have been working with the Children’s Hospice South West at Charlton Farm, near Bristol for seven years.”

“This year we are planning our first summer event on the 21 June to Little Bridge House. This is being led by Darren Williams, It will take the same format as the Bristol ride with start points all over the southwest all meeting up before riding as one large group to the Hospice.” Friday’s visit was a precursor to the new ride, and members of Paul’s group took a collection in the arena. They also carried the riders of both teams on the pre-meeting parade.

Further details of Santa-on-a-Bike can be found on or their Facebook page Alternatively, for anyone who would like to donate can do so via their donation page;

The four dapper gentlemen go by the dubious name of ‘Shitpeds’. Why I hear you ask, well simple really, as organiser Jason Wilton explained, they ride, well frankly speaking, ‘rubbish’ mopeds, although some have clearly had care and attention lavished on them. Jason’s group travel the country and even further afield, supporting and making people aware of men’s Cancer charities, such as Testicular and Prostate cancer to name but two. The race itself was won by Jason, riding a ‘very suspect’ newly purpose built machine of the 90cc type - I don’t think so Jason – which was suspiciously quicker than the rest of his opponents. Good job the scrutineer hadn’t taken a closer look, eh Jason. Jason said it was a fun event, and the guys loved it, and we would really like to do it again sometime.

The main order of the day got underway, with a full seven rider side for the Rebels, with Lee Payne replacing the injured Benji Compton, whilst on the opposite side of the pits, the Comets operated Rider Replacement for late withdrawal Rene Bach, and both reserve berths were occupied with guests, Matt Williamson and Dan Greenwood, the riders taking those spots.

Heat 1 saw Brady Kurtz fly from the outside gate to come right over the top of Ricky Wells, clamping him to the inside line and stopping his immediate progress. Once at the front, Kurtz pulled clear, leaving Wells to comfortably fend off Leigh Lanham and stop the home side opening with a 5-1.

Heat 2 saw the early ruining contested by Paul Starke and Matt Williamson, with Starke getting the upper hand of the second bend. After a poor start, Lee Payne did his chances no good, when he made a hash of the third turn, almost visiting the air fence. Starke was never troubled after the opening turns, and the heat was shared.

Richie Worrall bolted from the inside gate, to lead down the back straight from Matthew Wethers and Charles Wright. Whilst Wethers was closing on Worrall, so Wright was also reducing the gap to the Australian. Wright steadily closed in, and by Lap 3 he was within striking distance, but could not work an opening. Wright closed again, and Wethers gave him the chance he had been waiting for. The Comets man found some grip, and the front end lifted. It wasn’t much, but enough to unsettle Wethers sufficiently to allow Wright to charge through the inside and grab a full house for the Rebels.

A shared heat followed, with Josh Grajczonek taking the honours with a swoop around the outside of Matt Williamson off the second turn. Kyle Howarth repeated the dose on his partner off the final turn of the lap, but by now the race was set in stone.

Kenneth Hansen has the dubious distinction of dropping directly from ‘Number one’, straight to reserve, following the issue of his first real, average this season, his previous being assessed. After an anonymous opening race, he blasted from the traps, taking up the running with a wide run on Charles Wright, to lead every inch of the way from the second bend in Heat 5, winning in an extremely rapid 56.66 sec, just a scant half a second off Leigh Adams eight year old track record. He pulled well clear leaving Wright battling with Ricky Wells for second place, a battle which was won by the Stockport racer. Hansen went straight back to anonymity following this race.

Brady Kurtz jetted from the line to clamp Kyle Howarth in the first turn, leaving his way clear to put Leigh Lanham into second place. Lanham’s tenure in second was a brief one, with Howarth storming down the back straight to claim the place for himself. The resulting 4-2 put the Rebels 6-points to the good, at 21-15.

Josh Grajczonek added a second win to his tally in Heat 7; as he ran a tight inside line through the turn, passing the whole field in the process, and going on to take an effortless victory. Wells took second; with Wethers third, despite trying to throw it away, more than once in the race.

Ricky Wells was quickly back on the track, taking his programmed place in Heat 8. Trapping quickly he made the best of his way home, and even looked to be part of a maximum advantage, with Matt Williamson matching his early speed, only to overhauled by firstly Paul Starke, and then Leigh Lanham, as the Rebels drew the heat.

The match took a radical turn in Heat 9, which marked the end of the early, somewhat, albeit quick, processional racing, and the Oak Tree Arena circuit regained its normal persona. Whilst Richie Worrall led out of the first turn, and pulled clear, the major action took place behind him. Charles Wright and Kyle Howarth knocked spots of each other, First one and then the other passing his opponent. Wright cut back inside Howarth on bend three, only to see Howarth regain the place a bend later, as Wright messed up the turn. Undeterred Wright was back up the inside of his fellow northerner as they opened Lap 2. Quick as a flash, Howarth retook second place on the next turn, but Wright wasn’t done. Coming with a powerful outside run, Wright stormed back to second, securing a 5-1 in the process, as he charged around the outside of the final turns of the lap. It was breathless stuff, and all in the opening two laps, putting the Rebels 10-points to the good.

Brady Kurtz fell out of the gate in Heat 10, and was stone last at the turn. Up front Kyle Howarth had made a swift return to the track, taking both the Rider Replacement ride, and a tactical to boot, and was making the best of his way home. Kurtz quickly passed Matthew Wethers down the back straight, setting off in pursuit of first his team mate, Leigh Lanham and then the fast disappearing Howarth. Lanham made it easy for Kurtz on the second lap, but Howarth was a different proposition. He was well clear, showing no signs of stopping. Kurtz was flying, and inch-by-inch he gradually reeled Howarth in, but with a lap to go he was still a long way back, but by the time they reached the final two turns, Kurtz was upsides, but with the better outside run, Howarth just stole home, by the skin of his teeth, with the double points bringing the Comets deficit down to 7-points.

Josh Grajczonek hit the front in Heat 11 from the tapes, with Ricky Wells and Kenneth Hansen filling the places. Paul Starke made a storming pass on the pair down the back straight. Wells was on him like a flea on a dog, but Starke held him off. For four laps the Aukland born Wells harried Starke, but the dogged Rebels man would not give way, and took the 5-1 advantage with Grajczonek.

From this point onwards the Rebels hammered the final nails into the Comets coffin, blazing in three more maximum advantages, and a 4-2. The first of those maximums came in the very next heat, this time Charles Wright got the better of a very crowded first turn, which saw Paul Starke shuffled to the back. Starke made short work of Dan Greenwood, and now had Matthew Wethers in his sights. For three and a half laps Starke poked and probed at Wethers, but could find no opening, then on the final lap, he moved wide, winding the throttle on he flew down the back straight, and powered around the outside of the final turns, catching Wethers with every turn of the wheels. Starke kept coming and coming down the home straight, getting up in the shadows of the winning post.

Brady Kurtz hit the front from the tape rise in Heat 13, with Kyle Howarth giving chase. Josh Grajczonek came next, and was all over Howarth. Trying inside and out, Grajczonek looked destined to miss out, but as they hit the penultimate bend, he suddenly and swiftly switched his attack inside Howarth, with a sweetly time cut back, which carried him to second place, accompanied by a huge roar from the home supporters.

The Comets secured an early lead in Heat 14, as Matthew Wethers hit the front from the off. Richie Worrall was next up, and came with a wet sail down the back straight, moving smoothly to the lead as they exited the third bend. Now Paul Starke renewed his rivalry with Wethers, pressing him for all four laps. As he ranked up the pressure, Wethers soaked it all up, and rode superbly to see off Starke’s challenge and restrict the Rebels to a 4-2.

The nominated heat saw Brady Kurtz come to the line, with Charles Wright by his side. The Comets placed Ricky Wells and Kyle Howarth in the fray. As the tapes rose, Kurtz was away and gone, with both Comets filling the places. Down the back straight it looked as though the Comets pairing had snuffed out Wright’s challenge, but Wright had other ideas. He and the air fence have never been strangers, and they got reacquainted on this occasion, as Wright struck out for the dirt, and came careering around the widest of lines to blow away both Comets in one fell swoop, with his run tight up against the fence. It was a breathtaking move that drew gasps from the crowd. The gasps quickly turned to cheers as Wright put distance between himself and his pursuers, going on to complete another maximum advantage for the Rebels. This final flurry of scoring took the Rebels from 7-points in front to a stunning 59-34 victory.

For the Rebels, top score went to the fabulous Brady Kurtz, dropping just one point to an opponent, with 14pts, Charles Wright also dropped only one to an opponent, with 11+3, Josh Grajczonek took a paid maximum of 11+1, whilst Paul Starke produced another fine performance with 10+2 and Richie Worrall ended his night with three race wins. The Comets top man, Kyle Howarth, hit 13pts, with only Ricky Wells getting close on 9pts. Starke’s performance earned him the ‘Rider of the Night’ award, presented by Paula Hullett, of Children’s Hospice South West.

The action at the Oak Tree Arena now moves from League matches to national competition for the Rebels, as they contest the Premier League Best Pairs Championship on 3rd July, the eve of the Cardiff Grand Prix. With no Somerset meeting next week, the Exeter Falcons return to the track for a full 15 heat match, against a side from the current National League Champions, Cradley Heathens, on 26th June.

Somerset Rebels - 59
1. Brady Kurtz 3, 3, 2, 3, 3 = 14
2. Leigh Lanham 1, 1, 1*, 1* = 4+2
3. Charles Wright 2*, 2, 2*, 3, 2* = 11+3
4. Richie Worrall 3, 0, 3, 3 = 9
5. Josh Grajczonek 3, 3, 3, 2* = 11+1
6. Paul Starke 3, 2, 2*, 2*, 1 = 10+2
7. Lee Payne (G) 0, 0, 0 = 0

Workington Comets – 34
1. Kenneth Hansen 0, 3, 0, R = 3
2. Ricky Wells 2, 1, 2, 3, 1, 0 = 9
3. Rider Replacement
4. Matthew Wethers 1, 1*, 0, 1, 2 = 5+1
5. Kyle Howarth 2, 2, 1, 6^, 1, 1 = 13
6. Dan Greenwood (G) 1*, 0, 0, 0, 0 =1+1
7. Matt Williamson (G) 2, 1*, 0, 0 = 3+1

Heat Details
Heat 01: Kurtz, Wells, Lanham, Hansen (4-2) (4-2) 56.81
Heat 02: Starke, Williamson, Greenwood, Payne (3-3) (7-5) 57.75
Heat 03: Worrall, Wright, Wethers, Greenwood (5-1) (12-6) 57.19
Heat 04: Grajczonek, Howarth, Williamson, Payne (3-3) (15-9) 57.37
Heat 05: Hansen, Wright, Wells, Worrall (2-4) (17-13) 56.66
Heat 06: Kurtz, Howarth, Lanham, Greenwood (4-2) (21-15) 57.12
Heat 07: Grajczonek, Wells, Wethers, Payne (3-3) (24-18) 57.68
Heat 08: Wells, Starke, Lanham, Williamson (3-3) (27-21) 58.29
Heat 09: Worrall, Wright, Howarth, Greenwood (5-1) (32-22) 58.00
Heat 10: Howarth, Kurtz, Lanham, Wethers 3-6 (35-28) 57.81
Heat 11: Grajczonek, Starke, Wells, Hansen (5-1) (40-29) 58.37
Heat 12: Wright, Starke, Wethers, Greenwood (5-1) (45-30) 58.50
Heat 13: Kurtz, Grajczonek, Howarth, Hansen (R) (5-1) (50-31) 58.12
Heat 14: Worrall, Wethers, Starke, Williamson (4-2) (54-33) 59.13
Heat 15: Kurtz, Wright, Howarth, Wells (5-1) (59-34) 58.75

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