Saturday, June 15, 2024
CheetahsOxford Speedway

REPORT: Cheetahs kill Scorpions with early sting

A FIRST maximum for the club from Australian star Cameron Heeps helped Monarch Oxford Cheetahs maintain their excellent home form in the Cab Direct Championship with a resounding 55-34 victory over Scunthorpe Scorpions at Oxford Stadium last night (Wednesday).

The result puts Cheetahs in a strong position for the aggregate bonus point when the two sides meet again in North Lincolnshire next Friday (June 14).

Cheetahs stormed into an 23-7 lead after taking three 5-1s and two 4-2s in the opening five races.

19-year-old Luke Killeen took the move from reserve to the difficult No 2 spot in his stride. He won Heat 1, while team-mate Sam Masters burst through the middle of the Scorpions on the opening lap and then protected his young team-mate.

Ashton Boughen (Heat 2) and Scott Nicholls (Heat 4) both won races from behind, while Jacob Hook showed his value as a guest booking for the injured Henry Atkins by joining Nicholls for a 5-1 in Heat 4.

Scorpions hauled back five points in a controversial Heat 8, which saw both Oxford riders excluded. Scunthorpe’s Nathan Ablitt led, when team-mate Kyle Howarth pushed inside both Cheetahs at the start of the second lap.

It wasn’t entirely clear whether there was contact between Howarth and Hook, although Hook was in no doubt and was left with a hole in his race suit.

What wasn’t in any doubt whatsoever is that Killeen took avoiding action as Hook fell in front of him and ended up crashing into the fence. Oxford fans were incensed when Killeen’s exclusion light came on in addition to that of Hook, while Scorpions took an uncontested 5-0 in the re-run.

Cheetahs quickly reasserted their authority with a 5-1 from Jordan Jenkins and Heeps in Heat 9, after a brilliant outside move by Heeps to snatch second place on the line from Jake Allen.

Scorpions provided three successive heat winners between Heats 11 and 13, with Allen holding off a stern challenge from Nicholls in Heat 11.

But Cheetahs finished the meeting with back-to-back 5-1s. Boughen used the kick board to round Connor Mountain in astonishing style in Heat 14, while Heeps passed Luke Harrison for third place. Heeps pressured Mountain in a mistake on the final bend, and came through to join Boughen for a 5-1 and complete his 10+2 paid maximum.

Masters created an early gap for Nicholls in Heat 15 and the two riders with the meeting with a 5-1.

Heeps also received £450 from fans after a collection was arranged by the Supporters’ Club after one of his bikes was wrecked in an opening race crash last week.

Heeps said: “I’m very happy with my maximum. We’ve been working hard at it in a lot of ways.

“I had Mick Smith and Matt Marson as my mechanics tonight and it’s nice for them as it is for me, and thanks also to the other guys who have helped me this season. It’s about having the right people around you.

“I’m enjoying being back in the races. Tonight there was the race where I grabbed the place on the line [Heat 9]. It’s more enjoyable when you’ve involved in races like that, while in the last one, I made sure I was in the right place at the right time.

“It was a great performance from all the boys. When we all click together, we’re a force to be reckoned with. Everything is going in the right direction, we’ll continue trending that way and hopefully at the end of the year, we’re pushing for the No 1 spot.

“Thanks to the Supporters’ Club for the collection tonight. I was stoked about that and it really helps after the damage the bike took last week.”

There are two meetings at Oxford Stadium next week. OXS Oxford Spires host league leaders Ipswich Witches on Thursday (June 13) in the ROWE Motor Oil Premiership, while unbeaten Real Mini Company Oxford Chargers powered by SD Timmo Car Sales entertain Belle Vue Colts on Sunday (June 16). Tickets will be on sale shortly at https://oxfordspeedway.club/tickets/

In the meantime, Cheetahs travel to Edinburgh on Friday, where they will be chasing both another victory and an aggregate bonus point.

Monarch Oxford Cheetahs 55: Sam Masters 12+2, Luke Killeen 4, Jordan Jenkins 8+1, Cameron Heeps 10+2, Scott Nicholls 12+1, Ashton Boughen 6, Jacob Hook 3+1.

Scunthorpe Scorpions 34: Kyle Howarth 9+1, Michael Palm Toft R/R, Simon Lambert 2, Connor Mountain 6+1, Jake Allen 10, Nathan Ablitt 7+1, Luke Harrison 0.

PHOTO: Cam Heeps and Jordan Jenkins congratulate either other after taking a 5-1 after taking a 5-1 over Scunthorpe No 1 Kyle Howarth in Heat 5 (pic: Steve Edmunds)