The Monarch Oxford Cheetahs earned a crucial bonus point courtesy of a last race maximum when slipping to a 51-39 reverse against defending Cab Direct Championship winners Poole Pirates on Wednesday.
Pirates secured victory with three races remaining when a shared Heat 12 retained the hosts’ 16-point advantage on the night. But owing to Cheetahs’ 14-point win against their Dorset rivals at Sandy Lane earlier this season, the aggregate bonus point remained on offer.
Both teams traded 4-2s in Heat 13 and 14, leaving Cheetahs requiring maximum points in the final race to leave the south coast with a point.
Number one Sam Masters and skipper Scott Nicholls obliged, confirming an 89-91 win on aggregate.
Cheetahs Team Manager Peter Schroeck said there were mixed emotions in his side’s pits bay at the conclusion of the meeting.
“We’re disappointed not to get the win because we know we’re capable,” said Schroeck. “I don’t believe we performed to the best of our ability, but that’s racing – you can’t have it your own way every week.
“We’ll regroup and come back stronger for next week’s trip to Edinburgh. Poole are one of the strongest teams in this division so to scoop the aggregate point and feel like we could’ve kept the scores closer on another night is a real positive.
“That’s only our second defeat in the league this season so we have every reason to remain upbeat and keep pushing with a view to ending the regular season at the top of the table. A massive thank you to all the supporters who made the journey south, your support does not go unnoticed and we were thrilled to see plenty of Cheetahs merchandise on the terraces.”
Speedway returns to Oxford Stadium on Wednesday, August 16, when the WSRA Chargers host Workington Comets in the National League.