Gladiators suffer false start with heavy loss at Scorpions

Gladiators suffer false start with heavy loss at Scorpions

Plymouth Gladiators got their 2021 Championship campaign underway

26th May 2021

By Gareth Davies

Plymouth finally began their 2021 Championship season at Scunthorpe on Sunday with the Scorpions easing to a 56-34 win, despite a six-ride maximum from Bjarne Pedersen.

Tapes were due to go up for the Gladiators at the Coliseum last Tuesday, but the season curtain-raiser against Glasgow Tigers was called off 24 hours earlier due to a poor weather forecast.

Attentions then turned to Scunthorpe, with Plymouth due to make the trip to the Eddie Wright Raceway on Friday evening. However, another bleak forecast forced the meeting to be put back almost 48 hours to Sunday afternoon.

On a cold and windy but crucially dry day in Lincolnshire, the start to track action was delayed slightly due to not all of the bumper crowd making their way inside the stadium.

When the green light finally came on for heat one, home duo Josh Auty and Simon Lambert blasted from the tapes to pick up a 5-1 with former world champion Jason Crump left trailing in third.

The powerful home pairing was also present for the best race of the afternoon when in heat six, Pedersen came from third to first to claim his second heat win of an impressive afternoon. After Pedersen made the drop, he was passed by Lambert on lap two and before the riders had started their third lap, Auty had followed his team mate through. However, Pedersen fought back and sliced through the Scorpions duo before the penultimate lap, and he held on for victory.

The heat win preserved Pedersen’s unbeaten record and no rider – home or away – came close to him as he racked up a magnificent full house from six rides. For Crump, Plymouth’s other star signing in what looks like a lop-sided Gladiators team at this stage, he struggled and only claimed eight points from five rides. He was beaten three times by Auty over the course of the meeting, including heat 15, although this performance should in no way define Crump or Plymouth’s season in general.

Last night’s scheduled home meeting for the Gladiators against arguably British speedway’s biggest club, the Poole Pirates, was called off on Monday due to a poor long- term forecast.

In a club statement, Plymouth officials said the knock-out cup tie will be rearranged, although no date can be confirmed at this stage.

It said: “Due to incessant rain over the past few days, and more forecast for (Tuesday) we have had no alternative but to reluctantly cancel the knockout cup fixture between the Plymouth Gladiators and the Poole Pirates.

“We will confirm a rearranged fixture date as soon as possible and will confirm ticketing arrangements at that time. Supporters are asked to retain their match ticket prints and or e-tickets until the rearranged fixture.

“We will confirm refund protocols only once the re-arranged fixture date is confirmed.”

The Gladiators will be hoping that it is third time lucky on home shale when they host Kent Kings in the Championship next Tuesday, June 1.