THE Somerset Rebels are now in the home straight in the regular Premier League season with the Berwick Bandits visiting the Oaktree Arena tomorrow night (Friday) for the penultimate home match before the play-offs.
Both sides are already assured of a play-off place.
Berwick currently sit in fourth place in the Premier League table, but are just four points shy of second place and will be looking to take something away from Friday’s meeting.
Somerset go into the match without two of their septet – Brady Kurtz, who is side-lined due to a broken arm sustained in the Rebels’ recent home match against Ipswich, and Pontus Aspgren, who will be competing in the Swedish Championship Final the same night as the Rebels take on the Bandits.
They will operate rider replacement in place of Kurtz while Plymouth’s Rasmus Jensen will be a guest replacement for Aspgren.
Somerset team manager Garry May said: “We would prefer to have Pontus in the team, but he has done extremely well to qualify through to the Swedish Final, and we wish him well for Friday night, but in Rasmus I believe we have booked the best rider who was available to us for the match against Berwick.
“To use another sporting phrase, we are now in that final furlong of the regular season. The maximum three league points are the only objective for Friday night, especially against a team who are also up there looking for a top-two finish in the league table, in order to maintain our place at the top of the Premier League table and put pressure on the chasing pack.”
l REBELS’ mascot, Henry Atkins, was crowned British 250cc Intermediate Grasstrack Champion on Saturday.
The 13-year-old won the title despite being the youngest rider in his class at the British Grasstrack Championship weekend which was staged at the Fenlands Club.
Henry won all four of his qualifying heats and, with all points accrued from the heats being carried through to the final, his second place finish in the Grand Final was sufficient to give the Exeter-born youngster the title.
Henry said: “I still can’t believe it, it is such a great feeling to have won the Championship.
“There are so many people I would like to thank, all connected with Somerset Speedway for the track time they allow me before and after their home matches, Somerset legend Steve Bishop for all his help and advice, all my sponsors – but most of my dad for all his support in preparing my bikes, driving me up and down the country for meetings, and all his encouragement.”
Henry, a previous winner of the British Youth 125cc Speedway Championship, has been the Rebels’ mascot since he was eight years old and will be proudly displaying his Championship Trophy at Somerset’s home meeting against Berwick on Friday.