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Comets out of KO Cup amid heat 15 controversy at Newcastle!
Photo by Dave Payne
Mon 26 Jun 2017 by Comets Press Office
The Comets were eliminated from the KO Cup following an incident-packed second leg at Newcastle that culminated in a controversial heat 15!
On a track that clearly had some serious problems, which saw James Sarjeant suffer a suspected broken thumb in a heat 2 crash and Robert Lambert sustain a similar hand-injury in heat 6, a significant amount of work was undertaken by the Brough Park track staff prior to the re-run of heat 6.

This definitely improved the track surface, although it was still not without its problems, and it certainly was something that the Comets found difficult to adapt to.

However, going into heat 15 the Comets required a 4-2 to progress to the next round of the competition.

With Thomas on gate 2 and Craig on gate 4 they felt that they had every chance until a lot of first turn pushing and shoving saw Thomas knocked to the floor in front of Craig, who ran into him and the fence.

And that's where the fun started, as team manager Tony Jackson explained:

"Craig clearly took a big knock to his left hand while Thomas, who was already riding with an injured knee, took another big hit to that area.

"Craig's bike was wrecked - bent and with snapped handlebars, while Thomas's machine certainly looked as if it had seen better days.

"Once everyone had returned to the pits they set about trying to straighten out Thomas's machine while getting Craig's second bike ready while both riders were clearly struggling somewhat following their falls but still keen to appear for the re-run.

"Thomas's mechanic was in the process of trying to straighten out his seat bracket with a hammer when unbelievably the two minute warning sounded! While Craig's spare machine had not even been started.

"I ran to the pits phone to request that the two-minute siren be cancelled as we were nowhere near ready - only to be told by the referee that a Newcastle Official had told him previously that after a couple of minutes we would be ready for the re-run!

"Nobody had approached us to ask how far we were from being ready to race as if they had then they would have seen that we clearly weren't!

"Thomas somehow managed to get out on track to just beat the two-minute time allowance while Craig had no chance. We went back to speak to the referee where we got no joy whatsoever and he would not even speak to Craig, who by that time was excluded for a second time from heat 15, this time from the 15-metre handicap option!"

Comets club owner Laura Morgan was equally incensed by the events of heat 15: "To go out of the cup in such circumstances was ridiculous. We feel thoroughly stitched up but, if they want it that bad they can have it!

"All we wanted was to be able to send our two riders out on the track for the re-run but circumstances prevented that. At times like this you wonder why you even bother!"
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Last Updated :  Mon 26 Jun 2017, 02:39 UK
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Dave Payne, Adrian Randall