Friday August 30, 2019
LEICESTER completed their regular Championship with a terrific 49-40 away win at Scunthorpe – to take maximum points in the race for top spot.

The Watling JCB Lions’ fifth away win of the league campaign was achieved in a tough, bruising Eddie Wright Raceway encounter, and it sees them finish their fixtures on 50 points.

Second-placed Glasgow are on 36 with six meetings still to race – but the significance of Friday’s result is that home wins alone will not now take the Tigers back to the top.

The Scottish side will need at least two points, possibly three, from their trips to Berwick and Redcar – as well as keeping a clean sheet at home - if they are to secure the accolade of league leaders prior to the play-offs, and the potentially vital choice of semi-final opponents.

Former Scunthorpe rider Ryan Douglas was immense for the Lions on his old home track, despite suffering heavy damage in a clash with the Scorpions’ Josh Auty in Heat 9.

The re-run of that race, where Auty was racing as a tactical substitute but was disqualified, saw Douglas drop his only point to Jake Allen, but the tough Australian hit back to win Heats 13 and 15 as the Lions secured all four league points.

Guest Jason Garrity and reserve Joe Lawlor were also in the wars, Garrity battling on to score six despite a heavy first-bend crash with Allen in Heat 1.

Through the carnage, the Lions’ combination of Scott Nicholls and Ellis Perks again picked up major results as they raced to a 5-1 in Heat 3 over Auty to cancel out an early deficit, and then did it again over Ben Barker in Heat 7 to give the Lions a four-point lead.

Ty Proctor’s Heat 8 win with Connor Mountain stealing third spot from Stefan Nielsen opened up the tac. sub possibility for the home side, but Auty’s disqualification limited them to a 3-2.

And the Lions quickly extended their lead with successive 4-2s as Perks superbly overhauled Allen on the last lap of Heat 10, and Garrity passed Barker to win Heat 11.

Another 4-2 headed up by Douglas in Heat 13 made sure of the win, with Nicholls splitting Auty and Simon Lambert in Heat 14 to mean only a Scorpions’ 5-1 in the last race could deprive the Lions of maximum points – and Douglas duly got the job done in an entertaining battle with Allen and Auty, with Perks this time just missing out.

Leicester boss Stewart Dickson said: “It was a very tough meeting, but we’ve done the job and to finish with eight points from our last two away meetings – I can’t ask for any more than that.

“Our scoring was solid through the team, and the middle pairing of Scott and Ellis worked for us again.

“Jason got a really sore one and for other riders that might have been enough for them for the night, but he carried on in true grit fashion even though it wasn’t on his own bike, and Joe (Lawlor) hurt his foot too, but hopefully he will be OK.

“Duggy’s OK after his crash but the bike is not, and it was a brand-new frame with a lot of damage – so even though he top-scored, he’s still pretty low because of what’s happened with the machinery.

“These things happen unfortunately, but we maybe need a generous sponsor to come along and help him out, because he was pretty low.

“We’ve now finished our league programme and we just have to hope the boys come through their Premiership or National League meetings unscathed before we go back into competitive action. Two weeks is going to feel like a long time, because the way we’re racing at the moment you want to continue.

“But to finish the league season with +20 (away points versus home points dropped) is fantastic, and I must also mention another massive travelling support. I couldn’t believe the number of Leicester fans in the stadium.

“What’s happening at Leicester Speedway is obviously new for the fans and they’re enjoying it. We haven’t won anything yet but it’s great to see the supporters travelling in big numbers and with smiles on their faces.”

Lions’ next fixtures are the two-legged Championship Shield Final against Eastbourne, at Arlington on Saturday September 14 with the return at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena on Sunday September 15 (5pm).

SCUNTHORPE 40: Jake Allen 14, Simon Lambert 12+1, Josh Auty 8+1, Ben Barker 3, Stefan Nielsen 2+1, Ryan Kinsley 1 Danny Ayres r/r
LEICESTER 49: Ryan Douglas 14, Ellis Perks 10+2, Scott Nicholls 9, Ty Proctor 6, Jason Garrity 6, Connor Mountain 4, Joe Lawlor 0

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