Brilliant performance by Scorpions’ pair ends in controversy
HENDERSON INSURANCE Scunthorpe Scorpions’ pair of Josh Auty and Lewis Kerr were denied a chance of taking victory in the SGB Championship Pairs at Sheffield yesterday (Sunday) in controversial circumstances, after a very debatable exclusion for Auty in their semi-final.
Scorpions topped their qualifying group, despite conceding a 7-2 to Peterborough in their first outing, after Chris Harris passed Kerr early on join Ulrich Ostergaard for a maximum in Heat 5.
Heat 9 saw Auty and Kerr hit back with a 7-2 of their own, over Workington.
Ipswich had been reduced to one rider, following an injury to Rory Schlein in Heat 7. Nevertheless, Danny King had dropped just one point to the opposition in his first three outings, until he met the Scorpions in Heat 15. Kerr gated, while a determined Auty relieved King of second place, as Scorpions took a second successive maximum.
Peterborough kept up the pressure with a 7-2 over Workington in Heat 17, and Scorpions needed a 6-3 or a 7-2 against Glasgow in Heat 19 to progress.
Kerr made a great trap from the inside, and then Auty stormed around everyone on the second turn in determined style. It was Auty who streaked clear, but Kerr fended off the previously unbeaten Richard Lawson, as Scorpions took their third successive maximum score.
Scorpions, as the winners of Group A, were pitted against Group B runners-up Sheffield in the semi-finals.
All looked good, as Kerr and Auty held a 6-3 down the back straight, with Tigers’ Lasse Bjerre a long way back in fourth, after getting into trouble around the opening turns. But referee Stuart Wilson rather belatedly stopped the race, giving Auty a warning for moving at the start.
As is often the case, the re-run was a completely different kettle of fish. A much better start from Kyle Howarth, combined with a burst of speed from Bjerre on the second bend left Tigers in front. Auty set off in pursuit and appeared to have the outside run on Bjerre on third bend of the second lap, when Bjerre moved across the track to block him. Auty was left with no room and crashed into the air fence.
Scorpions’ fans were expecting Bjerre’s exclusion to flick on, but instead Auty’s blue exclusion light came on. With the 4-3-2-0 scoring system, Scorpions’ hopes were pretty much over there and then, while Bjerre passed Kerr on the second lap of the second re-run to join Howarth for a 7-2.
Sheffield eventually won the meeting, defeating Redcar in the final, in an excellent race marred by a nasty last-bend pile up, which left Bears’ Charles Wright requiring a trip to hospital.
Scorpions’ team manager Dave Peet said: “Lewis and Josh put in a fine performance, and deserved to top the group.
“Our first ride against Peterborough didn’t go as planned, but gates 1 and 3 were working much better, and I thought things could go our way and they did.
“Once Lewis and Josh got dialled in, it didn’t seem to matter which gates they were off.
“Danny King was really flying, despite being left on his own, and it took a determined effort to defeat him.
“That left us needing 6 or 7 points against Glasgow, and we ended up taking a maximum off them.
“As for the events of the semi-final, Josh was harshly excluded, but it should have never got that far. We’d made a good getaway, with Lasse Bjerre totally out of contention, when the referee decided to stop the race. Josh was warned for moving, but I didn’t see any more movement in that race than any other one, and yet it was the only race stopped for that reason.
“In the re-run, the boot was on the other foot, with Josh chasing them. When it came to the incident, Josh doesn’t fall off all by his own. He was given absolutely no room whatsoever by Lasse Bjerre. In those situations, I feel it should be the rider who causes the other rider to fall who should be excluded, rather than the fallen rider. Of course, once you’ve got a rider excluded under this format, that’s pretty much it.
“I also saw a photo of the end of the second semi-final and Glasgow actually took second and third positions in that race.
“It ended up being a Sheffield v Redcar final, when it should have been Scunthorpe v Glasgow, and we’d already taken one 7-2 over Glasgow.
“But the decisions are what they are and we have to accept them. The lads certainly put on a show for our supporters, and who knows what could have been had things gone our way.”
SCUNTHORPE 23: Lewis Kerr 12, Josh Auty 11.
GLASGOW 21: Richard Lawson 14, Aaron Summers 7.
PETERBOROUGH 21: Ulrich Ostergaard 13, Chris Harris 8.
IPSWICH 16: Danny King 12, Rory Schlein 4.
WORKINGTON 9: Ty Proctor 6, Mason Campton 3.
REDCAR 25: Charles Wright 13, Ben Barker 12.
SHEFFIELD 21: Lasse Bjerre 14, Kyle Howarth 7.
EDINBURGH 20: Sam Masters 12, Ricky Wells 8.
NEWCASTLE 13: Stuart Robson 8, Ludvig Lindgren 5.
BERWICK 11: David Howe 7, Kevin Doolan 4.
Semi-Final 1: (Re-run twice) Bjerre, Howarth, Kerr, Auty (fell, excluded), 63.56. Sheffield beat Scunthorpe 7-2.
Semi-Final 2: Wright, Lawson, Barker, Summers, 63.96. Redcar beat Glasgow 6-3.
Final: Barker, Bjerre, Howarth, Wright (fell, excluded), awarded – no time. Sheffield beat Redcar 5-4.