Published: June 4, 2013
Somerset Rebels win Premier League pairs championship

At the seventh time of asking, the Somerset Rebels, in the shape of Jason Doyle and Josh Grajczonek, have finally won the Premier League Pairs speedway championship on home soil at Highbridge's Oaktree Arena after beating Scunthorpe in a thrilling final.

The two qualifying groups to determine the 4 semi-finalists were of contrasting fortunes with Group A, which included the Rebels, a very tight affair, so much so that going into the final round of races, virtually any two of the five sides could have booked a semi-final berth.

As it was, however, Somerset’s 7-2 race advantage over Berwick in heat 19 saw the home duo top the Group with Scunthorpe joining the Rebels in those semi-finals, the Scorpions edging through over Ipswich on count-back. With both sides locked on 18 points, Scunthorpe’s win over the Witches when the two sides met in heat 3 became the deciding factor.

Group B was far more clear cut as Workington and Edinburgh proved to be the ‘class acts’, though Leicester did have the opportunity to upset the apple cart in the final group race, a 7-2 win to the Lions would have seen them edge out Edinburgh but with the Monarch’s Craig Cook in dominating form, he not losing to an opposition rider all night, any faint hopes Leicester fans might have held of seeing their side in the semi-finals were quickly extinguished.

The first semi-final saw the Somerset pair of Doyle and Grajczonek up against Edinburgh’s Cook and Vissing, and although Cook quickly hit the front for the Monarchs, the Rebels duo ‘packed in’ behind him to keep Vissing at the back, Somerset’s 5-4 race win booking their passage into the final.

By contrast, the second semi-final was one of fluctuating fortunes as first Workington held the upper hand with Rene Back up front and Richard Lawson holding third place, Scunthorpe’s David Howe being the ‘filling’ in that Comets’ sandwich.

But in the blink of an eye that was all to change as Scunthorpe’s Josh Auty made a sublime cut-back on Lawson as the riders hit the 1st turn in the latter stages of the race to suddenly make it ‘advantage Scorpions’ and despite Lawson’s best efforts to get back past Auty, it was to no avail and Scunthorpe duly joined Somerset in the Grand Final.

With Somerset having been here before but just fallen short at the final hurdle, the homes fans were wondering if this would finally be the year that the Premier League Pairs Trophy would be residing at the Oaktree Arena, but as the tapes rose it looked anything but as although Josh Grajczonek hit the front, Jason Doyle found himself stuck at the back behind Howe and Auty.

With Grajczonek playing his part to try and ‘slow up’ the Scunthorpe duo, Doyle made his moves as he first worked his way past one and then the other of the Scorpions and to the rapturous celebrations of the Rebels fans he and Grajczonek crossed the finishing line virtually side-by-side, with Doyle somewhat fittingly just taking the race win, for the Somerset Rebels to be crowned 2013 Premier League Pairs Champions!


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