LED by a first-ever full maximum for Henry Atkins for the club, WSRA Oxford Cheetahs, powered by SD Timmo Car Sales, took a convincing 57-32 victory at Edinburgh’s Armadale Stadium last night (Friday) to move up to third place in the National League table.
It was a superb all-around performance from Chargers. Atkins collected the full 15, while skipper Jordan Jenkins (13+2) was unbeaten in the NL encounter at Armadale for a second successive season.
Ryan Kinsley scored 11 – only dropping a point to Jacob Hook in Heat 4 – while club debutant Kelsey Dugard collected a couple of race wins in his eight-point tally from the No 7 berth.
Jacob Clouting (4+2) joined Jenkins for two 5-1s, while Jody Scott (4+1) – riding a 500c machine for the first time around the tight confines of Armadale – improved by the ride and came through to join Dugard for a 5-1 in Heat 14. Even borrowed unattached rider Mark Parker – in for the injured Luke Killeen – was amongst the points, riding sensibly and scoring 2+1 when other riders failed to complete their races.
Chargers started with a bang in Heat 1, with a win for Jenkins, while Clouting came from behind to join him for a 5-1, including a committed pass of Mickie Simpson on the third turn of the second lap.
Edinburgh pulled back a 4-2 in Heat 2 and the following four races – while eventful – were all shared.
A 4-2 from Atkins and Scott in Heat 7 increased Oxford’s lead to four points, before a bizarre and incident-packed Heat 8. Simpson fell and was excluded, while Clouting fell trying to pass Dayle Wood in the re-run. That left only two riders, and race-leader Wood fell and remounted on the final lap, allowing Dugard to come through to clinch victory in a 3-2 for Chargers.
Edinburgh’s Alex Spooner crashed out of the meeting with an injury in Heat 9, while the Chargers started to really apply the heat, with a couple of 4-2s, followed a 5-1 in Heat 11, after Hook was an early faller, when he lost control behind Jenkins, and Clouting came through to collect his second paid win.
After a shared Heat 12 – in which Atkins was headed from the gate for the only time all night, only to roar around Adam Roynon on the second bend – the final three races saw Chargers finish with a flurry with a trio of 5-1s. Jenkins, team-riding as ever, not only allowed team-mate Kinsley through in Heat 13 but Hook snuck through the gap as well. But Jenkins showed his class and flew back inside Hook on the second lap.
While there had been element of good fortune in his win in Heat 8, Dugard led Heat 14 all the way with a classy ride, while Scott continued to tiger away and was rewarded when he roared under Wood with a lap remaining. Heat 15 saw Atkins fly from the starting gate, while Jenkins quickly moved around Roynon on the second bend, as both Chargers completed their respective maximums.
It was a result that will make the rest of the National League sit up and take notice, especially since the re-branded Monarchs Academy are a much more potent force in 2023. The Edinburgh riders gave their all, perhaps trying too hard at times, and despite the final score-line, this was a competitive and compelling clash where the young riders from both teams gave everything.
Speaking post-meeting, Henry Atkins said: “It’s always enjoyable to score a maximum – especially away from home. That’s always a bonus. I felt really good today. The set-up we had was really good and the bike worked well.
“All the other boys had a good night too. Jordan scored a paid max and Ryan scored heavily, but really it was whole team who performed tonight. It’s a long way to travel up here for all of us, so we wanted to come and do the job and make the long journey worthwhile.
“It’s only the second time I’ve rode at Armadale – the first was with the Oxford Cheetahs a few weeks ago. Riding for Plymouth for a few years helped me learn the small tracks. I feel we cracked the set-up from the get-go today, so I’m looking forward to coming back here with Cheetahs again in the league match later in the season.
“I had a couple of disappointing matches against Poole in the week riding for Cheetahs, although the matches against the reigning champions are always tough. After the Poole meetings, we had the bikes in the workshop yesterday and worked on them and they were popping out of the starts today.
“We are all heading to Berwick tonight to stay over in a hotel. We’ll hang out tonight and have a nice chilled evening, and then we’ll have the whole day to prepare the bikes for Berwick tomorrow, where hopefully we’ll have a good evening again.”
For tonight’s (Saturday) meeting at Berwick, Sam Woods will come in for the injured Killeen, otherwise Chargers are unchanged.
Edinburgh Monarchs Academy 32: Kyle Bickley 4, Mickie Simpson 2+1, Adam Roynon 9, Alex Spooner 2+2, Jacob Hook 6, Dayle Wood 8+1, Bailey Fellows 1.
WSRA Oxford Chargers, powered by SD Timmo Car Sales 57: Jordan Jenkins 13+2, Jacob Clouting 4+2, Henry Atkins 15, Jody Scott 4+1, Ryan Kinsley 11, Mark Parker 2+1, Kelsey Dugard 8.
PHOTO: Maximum man Henry Atkins (pic: STEVE EDMUNDS)