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Dreaming double P

ROMOTER Debbie Hancock admits she’s still pinching herself after Somerset bagged their first ever top flight trophy.

The Rebels produced two resounding displays inspired by reserve Nico Covatti to get the better of King’s Lynn – arguably the Premiership’s most impressive, and hard done by, side this season.

It was the third time in six years that Somerset have won the Knockout Cup with two triumphs in the old Premier League.

And Hancock admits she’s proud of what her and team manager Garry May have built at The Oaktree Arena – and now she’s dreaming of a double after play-off heartache this year.

“To win your last two meetings of the season and to get a major trophy from those victories was a lovely way to end the year,” she said.

“It’s the perfect kind of consolation after what happened to us in the play-offs, that was a bitter pill to swallow but again it’s a trophy we’re very proud to add to our ever-growing list of achievements.

“We were on the back foot with all the injuries we had but we got by with a little help from our friends in Charles (Wright) and Starkey (Paul Starke) and the other guests like Bomber (ChrisHarris) and Coty (Garcia) played their part too.

“Nico (Covatti) has been a pleasure to work with since he came through the door and it hasn’t always been easy for him, so we were particularly pleased for him to play such a starring role in both legs.

“I also thought it was quite fitting that Doyley (Jason Doyle) won the race that sealed the trophy for us; he did that at Rye House in 2013 and we’ve absolutely loved having him back with the Rebels this year.

“I’m a little bit overwhelmed to be honest because we’re just ‘little old Somerset’ and we’re mixing it with the big boys now and it’s hard for that to sink in.

“I genuinely didn’t think we’d be in this position two years into the top flight but it’s a pleasure and it shows we’re doing something right.

“Moving up to the top flight has worked for us geographically and on track we’re pleased with the progress we’ve made.

“I think there needs to be a few tweaks here and there within the league but we’re more than happy and like I say now we have to keep aiming for more.

“We’ve got a great team on and off track and we all work as one at Somerset.

“So now we have to believe we can go one further – so the double is our ideal aim for next season.”

Report: RYAN GUEST

Jason Doyle’s up for a UK

return in 2019. Picture: COLIN BURNETT

As for his hopes for British speedway’s annual D-day, Doyle stuck to on-track matters.

“The biggest thing is everyone needs to have the same rules in all leagues across Poland, Britain and Sweden,” he added.

“It feels like Britain is the black sheep at the moment. They are trying to make different rules to other leagues, I don’t know whether they can bring it back but that is the main thing as I see it.

“Another thing for me is getting the two minutes locked down. There is a lot of mucking around at the start line with people coming up to the tapes at all sorts of times.

“You’re sat there waiting for another guy longer than normal. In the past couple of meetings I have known riders come in very late while the rest of us are burning out our clutches.

“Maybe they can address these things but overall, the promoters have been around long enough to make up their own minds. Hopefully we can see some good calls that helps to get British speedway on the up.”

Report: ANDY MITCHELL

tates Rebels decision see the top two levels merge into one league.

Somerset is a club used to success with 13 team trophies during a glittering era in the middle division and May insists staying in the SGB Premiership will depend on the ability to compete as much as finance.

“The Premiership is good for us in terms of where we are based, Wolverhampton is just up the road but you have to think about the club – it must survive,” said May.

“Me and Deb (Hancock, promoter) will go for the best option for the club. That is what we have done ever since we started working together.

“At the moment we have riders wanting to come here and be a part of it but we will make no decisions until the AGM.

“It is all down to money. What is the point in earning so much but then paying more than that out? You might as well shut the doors if that’s the case.

“We will not spend beyond what we earn. If sponsors come back on board then who knows?

“It would be hard (to drop back

Knocked out by their success, Debbie Hancock, Garry May and Jason Doyle. Picture: DEREK LEADER

down) but we’re not going to lose our houses over speedway. That’s the bottom line and Debbie and Bill (Hancock, promoter) would say the same.

“If we have to drop back down because they money is right then we will have to, if we stay in the top league then great. Nothing is definite.

“We are not going to jeopardise the future of Somerset by staying in the top league and if we put together a side to stay where we are it must be competitive. If we can’t we will go down, we are not going to be also-rans.”

It comes on the back of the club’s first top-flight trophy – the 2018 Knockout Cup – but even that has not spared May from being riled by internet jibes.

“People on the forums slagging off speedway don’t help us at all,” added May.

“If they knew all of the facts they would realise the pressures we are under. They don’t, they just blast off on the internet.

“It is on all sorts of subjects and I find it so frustrating.”

Report: ANDY MITCHELL

October 27, 2018 speedway star 3

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