Rebels speedway duo are Premier League Pairs Champions!
Highbridge-based speedway side Somerset Rebels won Friday nights
Premier League Pairs Championship, their duo of Josh Grajczonek
and Rohan Tungate defeating Edinburgh in the final in front of
a packed Oaktree Arena.
year saw the 10th successive staging of this prestigious event
at Highbridge's Oaktree Arena track, but home track advantage
has counted for little in the past with Somerset only winning
the title once, in 2013, over the course of the previous 9 stagings,
though they have suffered the heart-break of finishing runner
up on no less than 4 different occasions, including in each of
the past two years.
a somewhat nervy opening ride, which saw Grajczonek and Tungate
playing second fiddle to Newcastles Matej Kus, the pair
really got into their stride and were undefeated in their remaining
3 outings, to leave Somerset clear at the top of their group on
26 points out of a possible 28 and book their place in the semi-finals,
Kus heat win over the Somerset duo was, quite remarkably,
the only points Grajczonek and Tungate were to drop all night.
battle for second place in the group went down to the wire, with
Glasgow, many peoples favourites for the title itself, just
pipping Workington by a single point to join Somerset in the sudden
death semi-finals, Workington left ruing a tapes exclusion
and subsequent 15 metre handicap for Ricky Wells in the opening
heat when up again Glasgow.
B saw Edinburgh emerge as group winners with 23 points, Ryans
Fishers swoop to win the Monarchs opening heat, this after
his team-mate Sam Masters had been excluded after a second bend
fall, setting the 2014 Pairs Champions on their way.
was the case with the first group, the battle for second place
in Group B wasnt decided until the final heat, with Sheffield
eventually booking their place with 21 points, just ahead of Plymouth
who finished on 20 points, Steel City duo of Simon Stead and Kyle
Howarth making sure of their place in the last four by defeating
Plymouth when the two sides met in the final race of the group
first of the sudden death semi-finals paired Somerset
against Sheffield, and for the first half of the race it looked
as if Somersets hopes of a place in the final were to be
denied as although Rohan Tungate hit the front for the Rebels,
Josh Grajczonek found himself at the back.
Grajczonek never gave up on his task and although the Sheffield
duo tried to team-ride to keep the Somerset skipper at the back,
Grajczonek made a move which had to be seen to be believed as
he passed between Stead and Howarth and into 2nd place to take
the Rebels into the Grand Final.
second semi-final was an all Scottish affair as Glasgow faced
Edinburgh for the right to join Somerset in the Final.
the majority of the race it was Glasgow who held sway with Aaron
Summers taking the lead with team-mate Richard Lawson holding
the all-important 3rd place, but on the final lap, Edinburghs
Sam Masters cleverly slowed things down from his 2nd place position,
in doing so, he effectively trapped Lawson on the
kerb of the final turn, which allowed Masters team-mate,
Ryan Fisher to come around the outside of Lawson for 3rd place
to send Edinburgh into the Final against Somerset.
what had gone beforehand, the previous 22 heats of action being
of the highest quality, the Final itself was somewhat of an anti-climax
as far as the racing was concerned, as Tungate and Grajczonek
flew out of the tapes to quickly establish a decisive lead to
dominate proceedings to which Edinburghs Masters and Fisher
had no answer, and to the cheers and ovations of the Somerset
fans, the pair took the chequered flag to give the Cases
Somerset Rebels the Pairs Championship title for just the 2nd
time in their relatively short history
May, Somerset Team Manager, said afterwards: "Josh and Rohan
were just superb tonight, as they have been all season. I think
they were probably a bit nervous in their opening ride, but once
they got that out of the way, they were almost untouchable."
when Josh was at the back in the semi-final against Sheffield,
I just knew that he would find a way past, which he did with an
absolutely stunning move."
the Final itself, once they hit the front as soon as the tapes
went up, they were not going to be denied, but even so, it was
with a mixture of jubilation and relief when the chequered flag
fell at the end of the 4 laps and we could start celebrating their
Grajczonek said: "It was good to win the Pairs Championship
again for Somerset, having won it in 2013 with Doyley [Jason Doyle].
I really wanted to make up for losing out in last years
Final, and although we didnt really go into the meeting
with a game-plan, Rohan and I rode well as a pair, and I am just
so pleased to have won tonight for everyone associated with the
club, but most of all for the Hancock family who put everything
into this club."
Tungate added: "This has been a perfect night for me and
Josh and the support was amazing. I've been at the club two minutes
and everyone has been great with me from the off, and the win
tonight is for everyone connected with the Rebels, its just
so great to see the smiles we have put on so many peoples
a really proud moment for me to help the club win a trophy after
they decided to sign me over the winter."
Friday night's action at the Highbridge track, courtesy of Colin