Report: Colin Simmons
Newport Cycle Speedway clawed their way back to victory against Horspath in the opening match of the South and South Wales Division league season, in an action-packed and closely fought contest at Oxford.
After a shaky start racing in near freezing conditions, the team dug deep to ramp up a total 90 points - enough to just put their nose ahead and snatch the win by a whisker from Oxford-based rivals, who scored 89.
Oxford had the better of the early races, settling into an early lead which they stretched to six points by the interval.
Newport struck back straight away with the impressive pairing of Aaron Hughes and Jack Harrold scoring a first and second place to bring the Welsh team to within a point.
Things looked decidedly against Newport when the next three heats were drawn head to head.
This meant victory rested on the last decisive heat, a situation Newport had hoped to avoid with the outside gates and Oxford’s former British Champion, Mark Boaler, in the race.
The final race was re-run twice before Newport rider and Team Manager Nicky Evans stole a march from the gate on Mark Boaler, who took some time to make some distance from Neil Power.
Using Boaler’s delay to his advantage, Evans saw the opportunity to cling onto the leader position and win the race.
Celebrations were had as his Welsh team mates ran out to give him the celebrity bumps, with the scores finishing Horspath 89 to Newport 90.
Nicky Evans 17 + 1
Mark Carmichael 14 + 2
Aaron Hughes 11 + 5
Chris Davies 14
Kieran Jones 11 + 1
Neil Power 10
Jack Harrold 9
Ryan Evans 4 .
The next match for Newport Cycle Speedway takes place this coming Easter Sunday (31 March) when they take on Swindon at Newport’s International Sports Village, starting at 2pm.