Somerset, Wednesday, September 7
Day three of my speedway mini road trip took me to Oaktree Arena, home of the Somerset Rebels, my first time at the venue at Highbridge, just on the outskirts of Burnham on Sea.
Burnham wasn’t so inspiring on a damp day but the Rebels’ race track is lovely little venue and if I lived closer, I’d make it my regular haunt. Even after a lot of rain, which mean the track cut up quite quickly, there was still plenty of great racing to savour – although persistent black clouds and occasional showers continued to threaten the evening.
Shame speedway like this doesn't attract bigger support. I reckon there was 500 people there - tops, which is a huge shame. Even on the gate the staff were saying they didn't expect many to turn up, given the iffy conditions. And while it did rain on and off, it didn't detract from the entertainment too much - well not from my perspective.
But I'm not a regular speedway fan. I don't support any team in particular and just enjoy the racing. Even when the racing's not great, it's still fascinating watching the riders working the bike, trying grip or recovering when they find to much. There was plenty of that with the conditions tonight and I couldn't help marvel at the lightening reactions of some riders, saving what looked like sure disaster each time their bikes dug in and found gobfufl's of drive.
High spot in racing terms was James Wright’s win in Heat 7. After languishing at the back for two laps he suddenly switched to the outside line and won the race with a brilliant charge that set the tone for the rest of the evening with more riders running up close to the fence for a faster way around the 300 metre oval.
Low spot of the evening was a terrible-looking crash when Matthew Wethers went down in the middle of the final corner and was nailed by his Edinburgh team-mate Kyle Howarth. The whole place fell silent, everyone fearing the worst, but both riders eventually got to their feet and hobbled back to the pits, though Wethers needed attention for some time after.
Rebels won the meeting 57-38 but there was some good speedway throughout the evening which, from personal point of view, made the trip worthwhile.