Monday August 31, 2009
AS THE Elite League builds to a crescendo, to a man Swindon produced a scintillating performance to defeat Poole on a superbly prepared Blunsdon raceway and retain their lead at the head of the standings.

Played out before the Sky Sports’ cameras in front of a bumper and atmospheric attendance, skipper Leigh Adams showcased all the attributes that have made him the club’s all-time leading scorer – not least in heat one when he scorched to a new track record – on his way to top-scoring with 13 points.

Leigh Adams (C) 3 3 2 2 3 - - 13
Ryan Fisher 1 1 3 0 - - - 5
Simon Stead 3 3 1* 3 0 - - 10 (1)
Travis McGowan 2* 1 2 2 - - - 7 (1)
Matej Zagar 3 3 3 0 - - - 9
Paul Hurry 1 2* 1 1* - - - 5 (2)
Morten Risager 3 1 1 1 - - - 6
Team manager: Alun Rossiter

Hans Andersen 2 4 2 1 2 - - 11
Joe Screen 0 0 0 - - - - 0
Leon Madsen 0 D 3 2 - - - 5
Bjarne Pedersen (C) 1 1 1 3 - - - 6
Chris Holder 2 2 6 3 1* - - 14 (1)
Paul Fry 0 0 0 0 - - - 0
Steve Boxall 2 R 2 0 0 - - 4
Team manager: Neil Middleditch
Referee: Phil Griffin

Ht 1: Adams, Andersen, Fisher, Screen, 63.86 (TRACK RECORD) (4-2)
Ht 2: Risager, Boxall, Hurry, Fry, 65.93 (8-4)
Ht 3: Stead, McGowan, Pedersen, Madsen, 65.40 (13-5)
Ht 4: Zagar, Holder, Risager, Boxall (ret), 66.43 (17-7)
Ht 5: Stead, Andersen (TR), McGowan, Screen, 66.24 (21-11)
Ht 6: Adams, Holder, Fisher, Fry, 65.48 (25-13)
Ht 7: (Awarded) Zagar, Hurry, Pedersen, Madsen (f, disq), No Time (30-14)
Ht 8: Fisher, Boxall, Risager, Screen, 68.17 (34-16)
Ht 9: Holder (TR), McGowan, Stead, Fry, 65.83 (37-22)
Ht 10: Madsen, Adams, Pedersen, Fisher, 67.37 (39-26)
Ht 11: Zagar, Andersen, Hurry, Boxall, 66.83 (43-28)
Ht 12: Stead, Madsen, Risager, Fry, 67.11 (47-30)
Ht 13: Holder, Adams, Andersen, Zagar, 66.27 (49-34)
Ht 14: Pedersen, McGowan, Hurry, Boxall, 68.33 (52-37)
Ht 15: (Nominated; Re-Run) Adams (r), Andersen (g), Holder (y), Stead (b), 67.58 (55-40)

Programme changes:
Ht 5: TR Andersen (Double points); Ht 9: TR Holder (Double points); Ht 11: Boxall replaced Screen.

NOTE: Under the league scoring system introduced for 2009, Swindon gained 3 points and Poole received 0.

IN FRONT of the Sky Sports’ cameras and a bumper Abbey Stadium attendance, Swindon eased to a comprehensive 15-point victory against a Poole side whose advances were countered by an in-form Robins’ septet throughout.

Swindon led from the outset and nurtured a 10-point lead after the opening four races. Tactical rides from Poole in heats five and nine did little to halt the momentum of the home side, as Alun Rossiter’s side eventually constructed a comfortable margin of victory.

The Robins’ score-chart was headed by a well-acquired 13-point haul from Leigh Adams, whilst a lively-looking Simon Stead notched a paid 11-point haul. However, it was Swindon’s all-round strength-in-depth that was most encouraging, though, as solid contributions from the whole squad provided the foundation for success.

Captain Adams romped to victory in the opener and, in the process, sensationally clocked a new track record of 63.86 seconds. The awesome Adams repelled a lap one, back straight challenge from Hans Andersen to shave over a third-of-a-second off his previous Abbey Stadium record. Further back, Ryan Fisher launched a spirited attack on Andersen in the middle sector, but it was the tenacious Dane who eventually prevailed. The resultant 4-2 handed Swindon an early 2-point advantage.

A crackerjack heat two quickly ensued, as new boy Morten Risager registered a tapes-to-flag success. Meanwhile, Paul Hurry indulged in a terrific battle with Poole reserve Steve Boxall and the two British riders fought hard throughout. Despite Hurry’s typically dogged efforts it was Boxall who clung on to second spot as Swindon moved 4 points to the good.

The Robins notched their first 5-1 of the evening in a heat three and had the Blunsdon faithful roaring in appreciation. Despite a slow getaway, Simon Stead executed a brave first bend swoop to obtain the lead and raced away from the chasing pack. Meanwhile, Travis McGowan, trailing in fourth spot on bend three of lap one, mustered a clever cut back on turn four to power past the Poole duo of Leon Madsen and Bjarne Pedersen on the home straight. The one-two finish propelled Swindon into an 8-point lead.

More absorbing racing followed in heat four, as Swindon’s Matej Zagar and Risager rode clever first corners to assume the lead. Poole’s talented Australian Chris Holder chased hard throughout and nipped past Risager as the riders entered the final lap. Swindon’s subsequent fourth heat advantage on the bounce shuffled their advantage to 10 points.

The Pirates’ Andersen was nominated for a tactical ride in race five, but the Dane’s charge was thwarted by solid rides from the Swindon pairing of Stead and McGowan. The Robins’ duo led from the tapes, with Stead adopting the high line whilst McGowan rode lower. Andersen charged underneath McGowan in the latter stages, but couldn’t catch the spectacular Stead out front.

Adams’ dominance continued in race six as the Australian cruised to an easy win from Holder. Behind, Fisher’s third place extended Swindon’s advantage to 12 points.

A prematurely curtailed heat seven saw Swindon notch a 5-1 race advantage. Out front Zagar was untroubled throughout, whilst further back Robins’ reserve Hurry tussled ferociously with Madsen. In a ding-dong encounter, Hurry shrewdly passed Madsen on turn one of lap three and adopted the inside line. Madsen subsequently fell from his machine, causing the race to be stopped and awarded, the Dane deemed to be the primary cause of the early conclusion.

Fisher and Risager collected another Swindon 4-2 in race eight, as the Dane further endeared himself to the Abbey Stadium crowd with a battling ride that almost saw him grab a second place finish.

Holder was nominated for Poole’s second tactical ride of the night in heat nine and the Australian youngster certainly disappoint as he registered a comfortable victory.

Another super speedway race followed in heat ten, as Adams recovered from a slow start to forge a route through the field. Adams first passed Bjarne Pedersen in the middle stages and then chased down Madsen in a thrilling finale to the race. However, it was the Poole rider who just held on by the smallest of margins as the riders blurred across to the line.

Zagar stormed to a comfortable race eleven win, after the Slovenian had fended off the attentions of Andersen in the early stages. Meanwhile, Hurry was once again in the thick of the action and grabbed third spot after seeing of the challenge of Boxall.

Stead’s fine form continued in heat twelve and, combined with Risager’s third spot, Swindon notched another 4-2 race result.

A highly-anticipated heat thirteen produced another adrenaline-laced encounter. Poole’s Holder hit the front immediately, with Adams chasing hard throughout. Behind, Andersen and Zagar indulged in a fascinating duel that raged into the final stages. However, Holder and Andersen held firm to provide Poole with a 4-2 race advantage.

More memorable action ensued in heat fourteen, as McGowan and Pedersen traded blows throughout. Pedersen did eventually grab victory by the smallest of margins, though, to ensure a point-share.

A fitting finale saw Adams conjure a wonderful lap one, bend two cutback to roar underneath the Poole pairing and collect victory. It concluded a great night of work, not just for Adams but the table-topping Robins’ septet.

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