Eastbourne Seagulls, powered by Save Thurrock Hammers Speedway, put in a battling performance tonight (July 23) at Belle Vue Colts.
They eventually went down 46-43, having taken the match to a last-heat decider.
Nathan Ablitt again had a good night, coming back from injury he scored 16+2 from seven rides.
Here is how Kevin Ling saw the meeting unfold at the National Speedway Stadium.
Heat 1: Great race from Jake Knight who withstands an early challenge from Jack Smith to lead from the second bend to the flag. Connor King leads Harry McGurk momentarily but the Colts rider passed him down the back straight. A 3-3 looked bolted on but Harry suffered an alarming spill down the back straight last time round – Connor did well to miss him and the 4-2 goes the Seagulls way. Harry quickly up seemingly okay and gets lift back to the pits from Jack; 2-4, 62.63
Heat 2: Colts led 5-1 from the start but Nathan Ablitt romped outside of Ben Woodhull out of bend two – Nathan then put pressure on Sam McGurk and a cracking race ensued. Nathan passed Sam on inside as riders entered third lap but as they hit the first bend Sam parted company with his machine and race is stopped. With Vinnie Foord having pulled onto the centregreen just before the red lights were ignited, referee Craig Ackroyd awards the race as a 3-2 to seagulls – Ablitt taking the win from Woodhull; 2-3 5-6 no time
Heat 3: Joe Alcock makes a good start but Paul Bowen and Jack Parkinson-Blackburn (JPB) glide round his outside on bends one and two. Danno Verge heads into third and puts pressure on the Colts duo but it would never be enough – Bowen takes the win from JPB with Verge following in third; 5-1; 9-8; 63.28
Heat 4: Seagulls hit back in style – fantastic effort from both Nathan and Richard Andrews who hit the first bend in front and lead all the way for the 5-1 with Connor Coles and Ben Woodhull giving fruitless chase; 1-5, 10-13, 62.84
Heat 5: Alas poor Jake ,who’s machine lets him down just as the tapes rise. JPB takes a controlled win but Connor never gave up the chase on Bowen – not quite enough to prevent the Colts 5-1 but he was closing all the way to the line – 15-14, 63.94
Heat 6: Smith takes the win but Richard keeps him honest throughout – Harry finishes some way back in third with Vinnie again pulling out of the running; 4-2, 19-16, 62.25
Heat 7: From the gate: Coles from Verge, Woodhull in third with Alcock bringing up the rear. Colts starting to take control of meeting (says Kevin hoping to jinx the home team)
Heat 8: Great race – Nathan blasts from the start to lead from Harry with Woodhull in third from Connor. Connor swiftly moves into third place inside first lap – Nathan looks classy but Harry comes through on the inside entering final lap – Nathan counters around outside down back straight to take a stylish win; 2-4, 25-22, 64.56
Heat 9: Bowen made the gate but Richard blasted round the outside in superb style to leave both Bowen and JPB trailing by some distance – Vinnie suffered a fall mid way down back straight but is soon up and seemingly okay; 3-3, 28-25, 63.0
Heat 10: Colts gate for the 5-1 – Nathan cuts from outside gate to inside and plan looks to have paid off – Smith and Harry McGurk hold on to their lead however in spite of the best endeavours of the chasing Ablitt and Verge; 5-1, 33-26, 63.00
Heat 11: Jake gates to fend off the ever chasing Coles with Woodhull in third from Connor. King closes on Woodhull with every turn on the wheel but just as he looks to have his measure, two bends from home, disaster strikes and he parts company with his machine burying himself into the air fence. Anxious moments follow as he remains down for a time but now up and walking to the pits; 3-3, 36-29, 63.56
Heat 12: Nathan again a superb win this time from JPB with Woodhull in third. Try though he might, Alcock couldn’t land a blow; 3-3, 39-32, 64.53
Heat 13: Jake gates and looked to be on course for the win with Smith chasing hard, ith Coles third and Richard threatening. That was the way it was for two and a bit laps but Smith rounded Jake down back straight of lap three – on that same straight however Richard flew past Coles for third and with it secured the 3-3, 42-35, 63.77
Heat 14: Verge makes the start from Bowen with Nathan in third. Nathan swoops around and that’s how it stays – a brilliant 5-1 for the seagulls to take it to a last heat decider; 1-5, 43-40, 64.34
Heat 15: Harry McGurk (red), Jack Smith (blue), Jake knight (white), Nathan Ablitt (yellow). Colts take 1 and 3.
Jake makes the start and takes the leads Smith with Nathan holding third place. Just when it seemed that Nathan might join him, Smith burst between the pair to take the win and the match – Jake takes second and Nathan third with McGurk chasing shadows; 3-3, 46-43, 63.34. Seagulls gave it their all and if only Jake’s bike hadn’t let him down earlier it might have been different – a league point at Belle Vue well done and thank you lads. Tonight you rode your hearts out.
Belle Vue Colts: Jack Smith 14(5), Harry McGurk 5+1(5), Jack Parkinson-Blackburn 8+2(4), Paul Bowen 8+1(4), Connor Coles 6(4), Sam McGurk 0(1) Ben Wooodhull 5+2(7)
Eastbourne Seagulls: Jake Knight 10(5), Connor King 3(4), Joe Alcock 0(3), Danno Verge 6(4), Richard Andrews 8+2(4), Vinnie Joe Food 0(3), Nathan Ablitt 16+2(7)
Image credit Hayley Bromley