PREVIEW: ROCKETS VS SOMERSET
Friday May 04, 2018
The weather forecast for Bank Holiday Monday is warm and sunny, and the “BP Mitchell” Rockets will definitely be aiming to extend that heat to their SGB Premiership showdown with Somerset at Rye House (3pm start).

While admittedly yet to ignite on their travels, the Rockets have already gone full tilt in Hoddesdon, storming back from an eight point deficit to up-end 2017 League runners-up Wolverhampton in their opening home fixture. Monday’s match will see the return to action of track specialist Edward Kennett, while Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen – a paid 15 hero against the Wolves - will shift from guest cover to full engine room component as he takes up a 28 day injury contract for the side- lined Stuart Robson.

Like the Rockets, the Rebels are now in their second year of top flight racing, having finished sixth of eight teams in 2017. Their new season has so far seen them trade results with Leicester and bag an away match point at Belle Vue, as well as build a handy 52-38 lead over Poole this week in a Knock-Out Cup Quarter-Final tie.

Parallel Lakeside Hammer Richard Lawson and Queensland State Champion Jake Allen have returned from last year’s side, as has now-sixth season Rebel Charles Wright. Of the newbies, Jack Holder was the 2016 U-21 World No.4 and placed 4th in January’s Aussie senior series, while Bradley Wilson-Dean blasted paid 17 across two visits with Swindon last year and newcomer Jonas Jeppesen lifted the 2016 Danish U-21 title.

There is no doubt, however, that most eyes will be focused on the Somerset No.1 and captain, who also happens to be the reigning World Champion. A brief Rocket back in 2011, and last with the Rebels in 2013, Jason Doyle took the sport’s biggest prize last October - with a full18 points to spare – after winning the series’ final round in Melbourne. It was a doubly emotional occasion, as the Aussie was denied a possible gold medal in 2016 through injury when leading the series with nine of the eleven rounds completed.

Rye House Team Manager Peter Schroeck recognises the attention that Doyle will bring on Monday. “We are all really looking forward to having the World Champion in town. It’s been a while since we had the defending champ riding regularly in this country, so that alone will make it special.

“To have him visit on a Bank Holiday Monday – which is always an important day for the sport in terms of big crowds – is an added bonus, and should help to make the atmosphere absolutely electric.

“I have no doubt that our boys will be out to get his scalp; they all have something to prove. But, they also know the meeting as a whole is more important.

“It’s another vital match for us. We recognise that it’s been tough so far when we’ve gone on the road, but if we stay together and work on things, I am convinced that the season will turn around for us. It’s still early in the campaign, and we have plenty of time to get into the swing. But we need the right results from our next two home fixtures (against Somerset and Poole) to build our confidence for when we next go away.

“Although we obviously look forward to welcoming Robbo (Stuart Robson) back, we are excited about having Nikolaj on board. He’s spectacular, and he gives everything. And he’s quickly settled in (through his guest appearances), even though it wasn’t necessarily easy for him, what with having seven rides in a night and several two-on-the-trots.

“It will also be great to have Eddie back on Monday. His MRI scan went well, and he’s no longer suffering any ill effects with his knee.

“He’s raring to go, and we all know what he is capable of around Rye House.”

“BP Mitchell” Rockets:
Max Clegg, Chris Harris, Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen, Krzysztof Kasprzak, Edward Kennett, Scott Nicholls (captain), Aaron Summers

Somerset:
Jake Allen, Jason Doyle (captain), Jack Holder, Jonas Jeppesen, Richard Lawson, Bradley Wilson-Dean, Charles Wright

In addition to Monday’s main event, the meeting is also set to feature six Rocketeers races at 125cc and 250cc level.

Admission:

Adults £18, Seniors (over 60s) £16, Registered Disabled £12 (Accompanying Carer £12), Full-Time Students (17-22) £6, Children (aged 12-16) £6, Children (under 12) FREE. Match programme: £2.

Please note that those seeking Student admission must provide a copy of their current student photo ID (issued by the NUS or their university/college) at the turnstiles.

The gates open at 1pm.