Comets finish as runners-up in Championship Pairs as Sheffield retain their title!
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Team Talk - part 2 - 28th July
Photo by Dave Payne
Sun 28 Jul 2013 by Tony Jackson
Part 2 - Sunday 28th July 2013
Last night's home clash with Plymouth turned out to be tough as I predicted however, despite that, it remains a match that we should have won and indeed we would have won but for three engine failures; the most telling of course being the one suffered by Rene when leading heat 13, which turned a 3-3 into a 5-1 for Plymouth.

For Plymouth to pick up three 5-1's in the last four races was quite simply something that should never happen at home and of course their victory undid all the hard work we put in when we won at their place just 8 days previously! Yet again we simply didn't win enough races – we won seven compared to the Devils eight!

After the disappointment of heat 13 at least a superb ride from Tero and Ashley in heat 14 put us back in the match – despite Tero having problems with his thumb following the first corner crash with Cory Gathercole, which rightfully saw Gathercole excluded.

The resulting 5-1 put us two points clear going into the final race, which meant that we only needed a 3-3 to seal victory.

My plan had been to repeat last week's line-up; with Kyle, who was on a paid maximum, teaming up with Rene once again. However, as I came off the centre green following heat 14 Rene came out to meet me and informed me that he could not do heat 15 as his engine was damaged in his heat 13 breakdown and that his second bike was not set up for those track conditions. That left me with absolutely no choice at all – as Kyle and Richard were now the only two riders at my disposal for the crucial final heat.

The cause of Rene's stoppage in heat 13 was finally identified as a broken rocker arm, which was especially disappointing for Rene as the engine had just been returned from a service that morning and was obviously in its first meeting since then.

Meanwhile, Rusty's fall in heat 5 was as a result of shedding a chain, which caused a lot of damage to his bike, wrecking lots of parts and making it an expensive night for him. Then, another engine failure in his third ride on his second bike when holding second place in heat 9 made it a night to forget for the popular Aussie and it just summed our night up too.

All in all a very disappointing night for everyone concerned with the Comets, but we now need to re-group and there are several issues that need to be addressed on several fronts before next Saturday to get things back on track.

Moving on to other things going on with the Comets: Last Sunday saw Richard emerge as the winner of the ‘Pride of the Midlands' individual meeting at Leicester after defeating Peterborough's Patrick Hougaard in a run-off.

Then, last Thursday, both Richard and Rusty were on opposing sides in the Third Test at Sheffield as Australia emerged as 46-44 winners to make the series 2-1 in favour of Great Britain with two more to play – at Newcastle and Workington, which keeps everything interesting. Richard scored 6 points from four rides for Team GB while Rusty picked up 7+3 from his four rides for Australia.

Needless to say that we are all looking forward to the Team GB v Australia match at Workington on Saturday 17th August and I am sure that it would be a major surprise if Rusty, Richard and Kyle were not involved.

Talking of Kyle; it was great to see that he has been confirmed as the ‘wildcard' for the second round of the World Under-21 Championship Finals at Berwick on Saturday 10th August and I am sure there will be many Comets fans making the journey to support him in that meeting. In addition it will be good experience for Ashley to be involved having been called up as one of the two Track Reserves on the night.

Next Saturday we host Rye House at Derwent Park in a league fixture and also taking place next Saturday is the ‘Sponsored Kids Cycle Ride' around the track in aid of the Safety Fence Fund, which is a terrific event and much appreciated. Various other fund-raising activities are planned over the coming months towards the cost of the fence, which as you know has become a compulsory item for every track staging league speedway next season.

Looking ahead, our away visit to Somerset has now been confirmed as Tuesday 6th August while our home fixture against Edinburgh has been confirmed as Monday 9th September.

Both of these fixtures took some arranging and are being staged ‘off race-day' but in each occasion there was no alternative. Basically they are the only days that each team could track a full side between now and the Premier League cut-off date of September 16th.

This season has seen a new combined ‘international fixture list' introduced to European Speedway where all Elite and Premier League fixtures are logged at the start of the season, along with all Polish, Swedish and Danish fixtures.

What this means is that say, for example, Workington and Lakeside have a fixture on the same day then Richard obviously rides for us rather than his ‘doubling-up' side Lakeside. However, if a Comets fixture was rained-off and was then re-arranged for a date which already had a Lakeside fixture listed on the combined fixture list Richard would have to ride for Lakeside and the Comets would have to get a guest to ride in place of their number one and captain; and for the club that actually owns him! It may seem a little crazy but those are the rules for 2013. Obviously we need to avoid that happening at all costs.

Then, if you throw in all doubling-up riders from Workington, Somerset and Edinburgh you can see how difficult it is to find dates where no doubling-up riders from either team are due to be in action elsewhere. On top of that throw in a few Polish fixtures, Danish fixtures and any international fixtures on the FIM calendar such as World under-21 championships and World Long-track Championships you can soon start crossing off days from the Calendar and you don't have many left to pick from!

Somerset have additional problems regarding the strict conditions of their planning consent, which states when they can and can't race so, starting from those conditions, and avoiding days when their riders Jason Doyle (Birmingham), Nick Morris (Swindon), Josh Grajczonek (Poole) are doubling-up as well as avoiding days when Richard Lawson (Lakeside), Kyle Howarth (Swindon) and Rene Bach (Esbjerg in Denmark) are riding doesn't leave you with many days to pick from. Then add in any existing dates where both Somerset and Workington already had fixtures and you can soon see how we ended up with Tuesday 6th August!

Similarly for the visit of Edinburgh to Derwent Park; you cross out the dates when Edinburgh and Workington already have fixtures, then the days when Richard, Kyle and Rene are riding for the teams listed above. Take out any doubling-up rides for Craig Cook (Belle Vue), any Danish fixtures for Claus Vissing, World Long Track Championship matches for Theo Pijper and any compulsory international fixtures for Joszef Tabaka and you can also see how we ended up with Monday 9th September!

We dare not even think about what we would do if either of those two fixtures (away at Somerset and at home to Edinburgh) were rained off!

Finally, just to confirm that we WILL definitely have a home meeting on Saturday 31st August; this had initially been a reserved date for the Knockout Cup semi-finals. More details of that fixture will be announced very soon.

Until next time,

Tony J
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Last Updated :  Sun 28 Jul 2013, 09:32 UK
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Photography
Dave Payne, Adrian Randall