Rye House rocket past outclassed Stoke

ROCKETS brushed aside Premier League speedway rivals Stoke 61-31 in their big August Bank Holiday Monday battle at Rye House.

It was all too easy for the Silver Ski Rockets, who romped past the 60-point mark for the fourth time this season in their chase for a top four finish – and with it a place in the end-of-season promotion play-offs.

Captain Chris Neath and Swede Linus Sundstrom both went through the card and Stefan Ekberg was beaten only in his sixth and final outing.

Such was the home team’s dominance, the Rockets provided 13 of the 15 race wins, racking up no less than 11 heat advantages in the process.

There was good support to the Hoddesdon team’s big three in the shape of Robbie Kessler and also Kyle Hughes, who warmed up for next weekend’s U-21 World Cup Final with a win and seven paid points.

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Hughes also rode for the Cobras against Isle of Wight in the second half of Monday’s double header.

He top scored in that match with 14 points from five rides and is delighted with his form this season.

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“It’s been a strong season overall. I started on a 3.00 average, and I’m in at just over six now, so it’s been a dream season overall,” said Hughes.

“I’ve moved up into the main body of the team as well, which is what I said was one of my main goals.

“Although I’m back at reserve at the moment, when the averages change again, I should be back into the main body again.

“It looks as though I will finish at No 2 or No 4 in the team, which is really good.”

Knowing he was doubling up this term allowed the Rye House star to prepare for a tough campaign on two fronts.

Hughes said: “When I’d previously had a go at the Premier League, I came in halfway through the season, which didn’t really allow me the proper preparation time to get set up for it, both mechanically and mentally. I knew last winter that I would be both a Premier and National League rider in 2010, so I spent the time psyching myself up and also spending a lot of money on my bikes, and it’s paid off.

“I’ve had four Elite League meetings as well, which is something I would never have dreamed of at the start of the season, so, yes, it’s been a perfect year.”

Completing the Rockets analysis against Stoke on Monday, Paul Starke struggled at the gate, but his tigering efforts were ultimately rewarded with three points.

Looking across to the other side of the pits, injuries and other developments have robbed the Potters of a true No 1 this season, and it certainly showed at Rye House, with only Lee Smart and Lubos Tomicek able to consistently get to grips with things.

Newcomers Frank Facher and Jeremia Thelaus both struggled on their first visit to the circuit – although the German briefly led heat 13 before Sundstrom and Neath both powered past and he fell on the third bend.

Taylor Poole also had a first visit to Rye to forget, although the highly-rated 18-year-old should progress to better things next time around.

The race of the match came as early as heat five, as Smart built clear daylight at the front between himself and Sundstrom.

Never one to accept defeat, however, the super Swede gradually reeled his opponent in lap-by-lap and finally stormed through for victory on the very last bend.

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