It was disappointment for the Isle of Wight ‘Wightlink’ Warriors speedway team on Thursday (August 30).
The Warriors were unable to contain the all round power of the Eastbourne Eagles who took a comfortable fourteen point win on the night.
Warriors on track determination met with little luck as a mechanical issue, starting infringement, falls, and a refereeing non-decision all added to another “what might have been” night.
Warriors big guns Alfie Bowtell and Ben Morley both opened their evenings work with convincing race wins but each rider’s third outing went sour.
First, Bowtell’s machine lost power as he was leading heat ten and then in the next race Morley fouled the tapes and had to take a 15 metre handicap.
His strong efforts from the penalty line soon had him on the tail of the Eagles opening pair; Jason Edwards and Tom Brennan, but the Warrior just couldn’t find a path to pass his opponents.
Bowtell, whose eventful night included clocking the fastest time by a Warrior this year in heat one, then suffered a heavy fall in heat 15 as he tried a huge “round the boards” attack on Edwards, whilst team mate Shaun Tedham also took two falls on the night, again as a result of determined efforts to pass opponents.
Chris Widman was perhaps the most frustrated Warrior – still seeking full fitness following his wrist injury.
But he looked to be in good shape in heat 14 only for Eagles Charley Powell to get into trouble and unintentionally block Widman’s line and after Tedham’s fall had forced a restart, it was almost a case of déjà-vu with Powell’s ‘wobble’ again forcing the Warrior wide allowing Eagles’ Charlie Brooks through. Just “racing incidents” in the eyes of the official with no sanction necessary.
Eagles arrived with Georgie Wood reporting fit after a big crash last weekend and he showed no ill effects as he went from last to first in an impressive heat three outing.
Eagles were missing former Warrior Mark Baseby but had sufficient strength in depth to negate his absence with new boy Ethan Spiller on his first visit to the Island.
Spiller caught the eye in proving what a shrewd signing he has been with the end of season playoffs looming.
Warriors’ co-promoter Barry Bishop reflected on a disappointing result, but a great night’s entertainment.
He said: “A really good night of speedway and family fun. Some falls, retirements and tape problems didn’t help us, but the boys gave it everything for an enthusiastic crowd.
“Well done to the Eagles who were just a bit better than us on the night. We must now prepare for our trip to Buxton on Sunday (September 2) and we will continue our planning for the Wightlink September Showdown that will close our season at The Andrew Younie next Thursday (September 6).”
Isle of Wight 38 Eastbourne 52
Warriors : Alfie Bowtell 8+1, Danno Verge 4, Scott Campos 9, Chris Widman 2+1, Ben Morley 13, Jamie Sealey 0, Shaun Tedham 2.
Eagles: Tom Brennan 10+1, Jason Edwards 8+1, Rider Replacement for Mark Baseby, Charley Powell 10+1, Georgie Wood 10, Ethan Spiller 8+3, Charlie Brooks 6+2.