REACTION: STEEL MAN LAWSON SAVES THE DAY

22/06/22

He might have raced most of heat fifteen without his steel shoe but Richard Lawson rode all four laps with a heart of steel to prevent the Pirates from suffering a third successive defeat. 

Lawson's impressive ride secured a 45-45 draw against the Plymouth Gladiators, the visitors having led from heat three through to heat thirteen, despite losing the services of Michael Palm-Toft in heat seven when he took a horrible looking tumble. 

Palm-Toft had been leading that race when Lawson, having passed Kyle Howarth, attempted to go under the Dane who crashed out spectacularly, sustaining a shoulder injury and earning Lawson a disqualification from the re-start, having been adjudged the cause, although he vehemently denied it

"I haven't actually seen the replay of the incident but after turn three he (Palm-Toft) took a glance and I felt like he had seen me and knew where I was going. And I wasn't going to take him straight to the fence but he ran a bit out wide and mistimed the dirt and he got out of control. I feel like there was no contact but I can't be certain of that but if there was it was while he was out of control, so for me I believe I was wrongly disqualified and I just wish the referee would have taken a look at the replay before he made his decision but he wouldn't and that just really wound me up and I was determined to get my own back in any way I could."

That opportunity presented itself in the re-run of heat fifteen after club skipper Danny King had fallen at the first turn in the initial staging, which meant a Poole victory was looking extremely unlikely as all Plymouth needed was a shared heat to draw the meeting. With Hans Andersen and Howarth nominated for the task,  Lawson was the lone Pirate knowing nothing other than a race win would end Poole's mini-run of defeats. He admitted, "After Danny fell first time he came up to me and said go on Rich do it for me please and I thought right let's do it. Hearing the fans that were right behind me I knew I had to get out there and do it. Then I shed my steel shoe early on and I am one of those riders who likes to use my steel show , some riders out there don't mind leg trailing, but it's not my style. So I just threw myself into it on the last couple of laps on turns three and four, hung in there and got the job done."

Plymouth were always considered to be  a danger side and they proved that, with guest Kyle Howarth on excellent form with a paid seventeen return and Hans Andersen hitting the dozen mark from his six rides, with Palm-Toft unbeaten from his two completed ride. Such was the strength of the top three, the Gladiators provided the first five heat winners, Danny King ending Poole's drought in heat six with a fine win over Andersen, but it was to be another three heats before a Pirate took another race win, Steve Worrall and tactical substitute Lawson combining for a much needed 5-1 in heat nine. Slowly Poole managed to reduce the deficit and when the referee declared the result of one of the closest finishes ever at Wimborne Road as 5-1 in favour of Drew Kemp and Ben Cook, which shocked many watching the livestream as it seemed that only Kemp had managed to pickpocket leader Alfie Bowtell, the meeting went into that last heat decider with the scores all square.

Scorers:
POOLE 45 ,Richard Lawson 11+1 (2,XD,2',3,1,3) ,Drew Kemp 10 (2,2,2,1,3) ,Danny King 10 (2,3,2,3,FD) ,Steve Worrall 7 (0,2,3,2) ,Zach Cook 3+2 (1',1,0,1') ,Ben Cook 3 (1,0,TS,2) ,Nathan Ablitt 1+1 (1',0,RS,0) 
PLYMOUTH 45 ,Kyle Howarth 15+2 (3,2',3,3,3,1') ,Hans Andersen 12 (3,2,1,2,2,2) ,Ben Morley 7 (3,1,RS,1,1,RS,0,1,0) ,Michael Palm-Toft 6 (3,3,FN,NS,NS) ,Alfie Bowtell 5+1 (0,1,3,X0,0,1') ,Harry McGurk 0 (0,RS,0,RS,0,NS)

Match report and heat details here

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