Monday, July 15, 2024
ChargersOxford Speedway

REACTION: “It’s awesome to score a maximum for my hometown club around here – it’s where I watched speedway as a kid.”

OXFORDSHIRE born-and-bred Jason Garrad scored his first maximum, as Real Mini Company Oxford Chargers powered by SD Timmo Car Sales completed the double over Edinburgh Monarchs Academy with a 51-36 victory in a WSRA National League clash at Oxford Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

36-year-old Garrad, who lives in Waterstock, signed for Chargers mid-2023 as a replacement for the injured Kelsey Dugard. His previous spell had come at Kent in 2014 and he then spent nine years out of speedway, while he concentrated on family and business.

Chargers conceded a 5-1 in Heat 1, after skipper Luke Killeen reared and fell while clear at the front. But it was the only time that Monarchs Academy took a heat advantage all afternoon.

Oxford took the lead with 5-1 from Jody Scott and Ashton Vale in Heat 4, while three 4-2s between Heat 5 and 9 extended their lead to eight points.

Killeen dealt with an aggressive challenge from Edinburgh’s Dayle Wood to win Heat 10, and it was Scott and Killeen who clinched the meeting with a 5-1 in Heat 13. Scott led, while Killeen moved under both Max Perry and Connor Coles at the end of the first lap in a fabulous piece of speedway. Killeen then showed maturity beyond his teenage years to team-ride with Scott and shut out Perry.

Garrad had previously defeated Perry (twice) in Heat 3 and Heat 9 and Coles in Heat 5. In Heat 14, he was twice leading the race when it was stopped. In the third attempt, he forced a route under Wood on the opening lap. Wood then fell in pursuit on the second lap resulting in an unusual 3-0 scoreline, as Garrad completed his full house.

Scott also won his opening four rides, and was only denied a maximum by Coles, who won Heat 15. 15-year-old Ashton Vale, making his home debut for Cheetahs, was also only one ride away from a paid maximum, before dropping a point to Wood in Heat 12.

As well as Garrad, another local lad in Chargers’ line-up against was Wayne Hutt. Hutt is the assistant track curator at Sandy Lane, and was used as an unattached rider in place of the injured Alex Spooner at No 2. Hutt has previously competed in second halves at Oxford, mostly back in 2006 and 2007, but this was his league debut.

The biggest cheers of the day were reserved for the 40-year-old, who is well-known figure at the stadium. Hutt picked up a point in Heat 1, after Killeen’s exclusion. Even more impressively, he raced side-by-side alongside Mark Parker for half a lap at the midway point of Heat 6, and was close to stealing third place in Heat 8, after Kyran Lyden went wide on the final bend.

Jason Garrad said: “I’m really happy to score a maximum in my first home meeting of the season. I should have scored more at Edinburgh on Friday, but I fell and was excluded after a good start in my third ride up there.

“I beat Max Perry and Connor Coles in my first three rides today, and my final outing [in Heat 14] should have been the easiest on paper. But it wasn’t because Dayle (Wood) was flying out of the gate – he beat me out of the start twice in the three attempts to hold that race. I showed my cards a bit in the second start where I got away and went around the outside. In the third attempt, he moved across to stop that happening, so I cut back to the inside and it got pretty close but I got through. It was nice to have to race and make some moves to complete my maximum.

“It’s awesome to score a maximum for my hometown club around here – it’s where I watched speedway as a kid. I knew I could do it and now I’ve proved it.

“I didn’t come back last year to stop at National League level – if I could get up into the Championship that would be nice, to get as far as the Premiership would be a dream. At 36, I’m a bit older than most, but I believe the opportunities are still there and it is possible to ride speedway until your forties. I’m pushing forward and working hard at it the whole time.

“We’ve again got a good side this year with the Chargers. Luke and Jody are stepping up to the plate at the top end of the team. They’re only young, but already have that bit of experience under their belts. I’ve fast-tracked my way through a little bit, and Jacob is riding steadily alongside me. Ashton is already showing a lot of promise from reserve and Senna just needs more laps around here and he’ll be good. The team was awesome today and did well.”

Real Mini Company Oxford Chargers powered by SD Timmo Car Sales 51: Luke Killeen 10+1, Wayne Hutt 1, Jacob Clouting 4, Jason Garrad 12 (full maximum), Jody Scott 13+1, Senna Summers 2, Ashton Vale 9+2.

Edinburgh Monarchs Academy 36: Connor Coles 10, Mason Watson 6+3, Sam McGurk R/R, Dayle Wood 6+1, Max Perry 8, Mark Parker 1+1, Kyran Lyden 5+1.