The opening race before the rain came Image Credit: Jack Cupido

Devils just beat the Royals and the weather

NEWS Friday 17th September 2021, 10:52pm

by Mike Hunter

In the end it was an enjoyable night at Armadale tonight, with a home win and some excellent racing, but along the way there were concerns over the weather, the bike problems being suffered by the Stellar Devils – and also a very lively visiting performance by the Kent Royals!

Danny Phillips was one of three riders to score 15 points, which included victories over the top two Royals Connor Coles and Alex Spooner in successive heats. He said "It was a shame that the weather affected the track early on. I know George had bike problems, without that it could have been a bit easier! I had started well, then dropped a couple of points before I sorted myself out and made a bike change."

By heat 3 the stadium was completely overcast with doom-laden black clouds, and the rain had started, which looked highly ominous but remarkably passed over and left us alone.

The Royals are strong contenders for the National Development League title and although they were missing three of their top riders, they made a real match of it with star man Alex Spooner matching the 15 point returns of both Tom Woolley and Danny Phillips.

Part of the problem for the Armadale side centred on George Rothery's bike. George was up front with his partner in heat 3 when he spluttered and slowed, finishing at the back, and there were two 2-minute exclusions to follow in heats 5 and 6 as he battled to get going. Another retirement in heat 9 looked like the final straw in a disastrous night, but thanks to a loan of a spare machine of the Millar brothers George came up trumps in heat 14 with a vital race win. It was revealed that Rothery had had ignition problems followed by a blown engine.

There was also a problem for Tom Woolley who was in outstanding form throughout, but also failed to beat the two minutes when he hit a problem prior to the start of heat 9. He went off 15 metres and produced a great ride to storm past Vinnie Foord early on, and get close at the finish to top Royal Alex Spooner.

The Millars were in the thick of things all night. Gregor was part of an opening heat 5-1 over Coles which in the end proved to be crucial, and he confirmed his recent improvement. Lewis was gating well but displayed a tendency to lose position.

Guests Coles and Terry-Daley scored solidly for the visitors and the young reserve Foord was very spirited. His has a reputation for falling but stayed upright until his last race when an over-enthusiastic effort took him into the fence, but with no damage done.

The scores were remarkably close throughout with 4 points the biggest gap between the teams. With a 4-point lead going in to the last race and Woolley and Phillips out for the Devils, it seemed a possibility that Royals would not get a point, but Spooner made a great start and led the home men all the way. The Royals certainly deserved their point.