Tigers show their teeth
MILDENHALL 54 SOMERSET 41 Premier Trophy, Sunday Mildenhall win aggregate bonus point 97-91 IT took an hour to get going but when it did the West Row paying public saw another thrilling contest as the Fen Tigers came from behind to beat Premier Trophy
Premier Trophy, Sunday
Mildenhall win aggregate bonus point 97-91
IT took an hour to get going but when it did the West Row paying public saw another thrilling contest as the Fen Tigers came from behind to beat Premier Trophy leaders Somerset and took it to yet another final heat decider to clinch the bonus point.
Somerset's super Swede Magnus Zetterstrom stormed out of the starts to win the first heat in a time of 52.19 seconds, one of the quickest times around West Row this season.
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The first four heats were all shared, Shaun Tacey locked on the fourth turn of heat three and was clattered into by team-mate Jason King who could do little to avoid him, leaving the captain walking back to the pits with a limp.
In the re-run, King was behind the Rebels pair out of the tapes but soon passed Paul Fry and revelled in the grippy conditions as he swooped around Stephan Katt to win the race. Heat four's action was even better as Daniel King was clearly loving conditions as he blasted around the boards from the back, past two and then made a stunning outside pass on Glenn Cunningham on the line to win a thrilling race.
The Rebels took the lead in heat five with Zetterstrom again winning with a 4-2, ahead of Jason King as Tacey struggled at the back, and the prospect of pulling back the seven-point deficit from the reverse fixture for the bonus point was looking bleak.
But the Fen Tigers immediately hit back with a maximum 5-1 and again in thrilling fashion. With Jason Lyons comfortable in front, James Brundle led an excellent three-lap tussle with Cunningham before taking a wide second turn which gave the Rebel the advantage going into the final two turns. But Brundle quickly switched lines and dived for the inside on the line and sneaked second in a photo-finish.
Brundle admitted afterwards that he was one of the riders who wasn't keen for the meeting to begin, but along with both King brothers and Jon Armstrong, said that the track was in its best condition this season and the rain had given the surface a wide grip line that was making it conducive to passing.
And the entertainment continued in barn-storming fashion. Daniel King stormed from the tapes but team-mate Armstrong was left at the back after a hard first turn. The mighty midget soon served up his trademark style from the back, after sizing his opponents up for two laps he then rode the boards to blast past former British finalist Fry and then hold the line as he cut underneath Katt to clinch a second successive maximum to go 24-18 in front.
Glenn Phillips fought a couple of laps duel with Brundle before taking the win in heat eight, with Barry Burchatt in third and claiming his only point of the day ahead of Ben Barker.
Armstrong replaced an out-of-sorts Tacey in heat nine and it worked a treat as he teamed up with Jason King to keep out a battling effort from Cunningham for another 5-1, which was swiftly followed by another thanks to Lyons and Brundle, and Mildenhall now led 37-23.
A couple of tactical moves from the away side soon cut that lead. Zetterstrom won heat 11 as he rode for double points and grabbed a resulting 7-2 advantage, and Katt finished second on his tactical ride in the next race and the 5-3 heat score left the Rebels trailing 42-35, but all square on aggregate.
Zetterstrom won his fourth successive ride in heat 13 and Armstrong and Jason King pulled off a 4-2 in the penultimate heat that clinched the win and put them two points ahead on aggregate.
Lyons and Daniel King made sure of that crucial extra point by seeing off the Rebels pair from the start and inflicting the only defeat on Zetterstrom all afternoon as they grabbed the fifth 5-1 of the meeting.
Mildenhall are now firmly in a three-horse race for the two Premier Trophy semi-finals places with local rivals Rye House and King's Lynn. They were due to travel to the Norfolk Arena to face Lynn last night (April 26) with the return at West Row on Sunday, leaving the trip to Isle of Wight on May 2 as their final group fixture.