Sunday, May 19, 2024
CheetahsOxford Speedway

REPORT: Dramatic victory for Cheetahs

MONARCH Oxford Cheetahs snatched a 45-44 victory over old rivals Poole Pirates in a humdinger of a BSN Series clash at Oxford Stadium last night (Wednesday), after the evergreen Scott Nicholls provided some magic in the final race.

The result takes Cheetahs to the top of the Southern Group of the BSN Series, although they have now concluded their fixtures in the competition and it will be either Poole or Plymouth who end up on top of the group standings and progressing to the semi-finals.

Cheetahs held an eight-point lead after seven races, only to see Pirates take four successive heat advantages, as the visitors moved 34-31 ahead heading into the interval.

After a shared Heat 12, Nicholls and Sam Masters held a 5-1 in Heat 13, but Richard Lawson powered past Masters on the second lap, as Cheetahs recovered a 4-2 but were still a point down.

Heat 14 was crucial. Teenager Ashton Boughen made the trap and fended off Zach Cook on the inside, and Jordan Jenkins then swept around the outside of Cook. Boughen pulled away, while Jenkins fended off Cook as Cheetahs took a 5-1 and moved three points ahead.

Cheetahs had choice of gate positions in Heat 15, but Tom Brennan and Lawson flew away at the start. However, 45-year-old Nicholls was not to be denied. He built up his speed around the outside, then roared inside Lawson on the third bend of the third lap, to grab the vital second place and clinch a memorable one-point win for Cheetahs, much to the delight of the crowd.

Nicholls top scored for Oxford with a dozen points, while Masters collected nine. Cameron Heeps had a good night, on his way to eight points, including defeating Lawson in Heat 5. Reserves Luke Killeen (6+2) and Boughen (6) were both lively and joined together for a 5-1 in Heat 2.

There was an injury concern for Henry Atkins, who caught his fingers in the back wheel of Killeen’s bike as he took an awkward tumble in Heat 8, a race that had to be re-run three times before it eventually resulted in a 3-2 to Pirates.

16-year-old Ashton Boughen scored six points after winning both Heats 2 and 14. He said: “It was great that we beat Poole tonight. I tried some different things on the bike tonight and it worked. I had plenty of advice from the rest of the team. It’s all learning for me.

“In Heat 14, my main goal was to get out in front and ride my own race. I knew Jordan would be there or thereabouts and we took the 5-1 which was great because it put the team ahead going into the last race. We tried something different in that race and we’ll keep the bike the same for next week.

“We took the win tonight, even though we didn’t all have a good night together. When we’re riding well together, we can beat anyone. It’s still early in the season, while we’ll just keep working together, while for me, I’ll just continue learning.”

Cheetahs are next in action, when their league fixtures commence with a Cab Direct Championship clash with Redcar Bears at Oxford Stadium next Wednesday (May 15). Tickets will go on sale on the website within the next couple of days.

Monarch Oxford Cheetahs 45: Sam Masters 9, Henry Atkins 0, Cameron Heeps 8, Jordan Jenkins 4+2, Scott Nicholls 12, Ashton Boughen 6, Luke Killeen 6+2.

Poole Pirates 44: Richard Lawson 13, Tobias Thomsen 3+2, Tom Brennan 14, Zach Cook 3+1, Ben Cook 5+2, Sam Hagon 6, Max Perry 0.

PHOTO: Last-heat hero Scott Nicholls in action last night (pic: Les Aubrey)