Friday May 10, 2019
The 'Cases' Rebels have left themselves plenty to do if they are to make progress in the SGB Championship KOC competition in their Anniversary season after suffering a 53-36 defeat at Redcar (Friday).

Whilst the visitors began positively with a 5-1 through Rory Schlein and Todd Kurtz their fortunes soon changed as they conceded the next two heats by the reverse score to trail by four. Captain Chris Harris stemmed the tide with a fine win over a robust ride from Charles Wright but the reprise from heat losses was temporary, the home side winning the next three heats by 4-2 margins, although there were gallant efforts from Schlein, Henry Atkins and Nico Covatti in amongst them.

Todd Kurtz produced an excellent third to first move in heat eight to ensure the Rebels didn't slip any further behind than the 10 points they were facing and then the crowd were treated to some quality racing by Harris in heat nine. 'Bomber' was lining up a pass down the back straight on the hugely impressive Jordan Stewart until Ben Barker stole the limelight by moving into second but, unperturbed, the Rebels' skipper dug deep and using a combination of outside then inside lines he not only slipped back into the position he had held but executed it perfectly to go by Stewart too to share the ninth.

Nico Covatti was fast away in heat 10 but Michael Palm-Toft, having earlier in the meeting stormed by Harris , repeated his exploits to set up another home side 4-2 as Tom Bacon was unchallenged by a struggling Valentin Grobauer.

Whilst Wright got clear of Schlein in heat 11, close contact between Kurtz and Nathan Greaves causing Greaves to slow up, allowed the Rebels to square another heat but being 12 points adrift the margin was already looking tough.

Drama of the highest order followed in heat 13 as Michael Palm-Toft went extremely wide in his pursuit of leader Schlein and hitting the fence he slid across the track and onto the in-field, around the start/finish area. Simultaneously Harris had also found trouble and lost control, so with two riders down, the red lights on a re-run was decreed with just Schlein and Wright eligible. The match-race went Schlein's way, although Wright was forever on his tail.

The Rebels saved another point when Henry Atkins managed to pass the slowing Greaves at the end of heat 14 after Stewart had swept by Covatti.

There was no surprise therefore when Stewart was nominated along with Wright for heat 15, neither were there any shockwaves when Garry May revealed Schlein and Harris as his workforce for the concluding race. For much of it the Bears looked likely to weigh in with another maximum but a Harris special came to the fore and managed to split his two opponents. Just how valuable that might prove will be revealed on Wednesday when the two sides meet for the second leg at the Oaktree.

M.Palm-Toft 1,3,3,FD=7
T.Bacon 0,1,1',1=3+1
B.Barker 3,1,1',3=8+1
J.Stewart 2',3,2,3,1=11+1
C.Wright 2,3,3,2,3=13
N.Greaves 3,1,0,0=4
J.Smith 2',1',2,2'=7+3

R.Schlein 2',2,2,3,0=9+1
T.Kurtz 3,0,3,1'=7+1
V.Grobauer 0,0,0,1=1
N.Covatti 1,2,2,2=7
C.Harris 3,2,3,FD,2=10
H.Atkins 1,0,0,0,1'=2+1
A.Rowe 0,0,0

Ht 1: T.Kurtz, R.Schlein, M.Palm-Toft, T.Bacon 1-5 1-5 |54.8]
Ht 2: N.Greaves, J.Smith, H.Atkins, A.Rowe 5-1 6-6 [55.9]
Ht 3: B.Barker, J.Stewart, N.Covatti, V.Grobauer 5-1 11-7 [55.5]
Ht 4: C.Harris, C.Wright, J.Smith, A.Rowe 3-3 14-10 [54.5]
Ht 5: J.Stewart, R.Schlein, B.Barker, T.Kurtz 4-2 18-12 [55.6]
Ht 6: M.Palm-Toft, C.Harris, T.Bacon, H.Atkins 4-2 22-14 [54.3]
Ht 7: C.Wright, N.Covatti, N.Greaves, V.Grobauer 4-2 26-16 [54.9]
Ht 8: T.Kurtz, J.Smith, T.Bacon, A.Rowe 3-3 29-19 [55.9]
Ht 9: C.Harris, J.Stewart, B.Barker, H.Atkins 3-3 32-22 [55.4]
Ht 10: M.Palm-Toft, N.Covatti, T.Bacon, V.Grobauer 4-2 36-24 [55.1]
Ht 11: C.Wright, R.Schlein, T.Kurtz, N.Greaves 3-3 39-27 [54.4]
Ht 12: B.Barker, J.Smith, V.Grobauer, H.Atkins 5-1 44-28 [56.2]
Ht 13: R.Schlein, C.Wright, C.Harris (Fell d/q), M.Palm-Toft (Fell d/q) 2-3 46-31 [55.8]
Ht 14: J.Stewart, N.Covatti, H.Atkins, N.Greaves 3-3 49-34 [55.8]
Ht 15: C.Wright, C.Harris, J.Stewart, R.Schlein 4-2 53-36 [55.3]
Gates: SOMERSET won toss and chose gates 1&3 | REDCAR took gates 2&4 in heat 15
Referee Craig Ackroyd
Rider of the Night: C.Harris

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