Rye House: Season Preview

Lifestyle / Thu 9th Feb 2017 at 04:46pm

By Dominic Brock

Rye House 2017 Elite league team – Big changes see The Rockets take to the big league

With speedway in the UK becoming increasingly difficult and with promotions and relegations now being decided on whether you have the financial backing at the club. The Rye House Rockets have been very lucky with their new backers, so much so that they have gained promotion to the Elite League, where some of the best and most experienced riders take to teams and battle to be kings of the shale. The Rockets haven’t been in the Elite league since their resurrection in the early 2000s, but with a mostly new line-up, consisting of some of England and Australia’s most experienced riders, the team look set to make their mark.

Rider Profiles:

Edward Kennett: In 2016 Kennett rode as the Rye House No.1 last season and also as the No.2 for the Elite League side, Lakeside Hammers. He has only ridden at two Speedway GP events in the past, both as a wild card rider at the British GP. He was also in the 2005 Premier League winning team with Rye House, so has a good history with the club. Kennett ended last season with a 7.16 Elite League average and a 9.27 Premier League average showing his real potential and proving how much of an asset he was to both Essex based teams. He will be hoping to lead the club into a new era as they head into the Elite league.

Chris Harris: Bomber Harris, the former British Champion, has ridden with the Coventry team since 2014. He’s been in the Speedway GP for every season since 2007 and still only has the solitary GP win to his name, which he achieved at Cardiff in 2007. Bomber has also been in elite league winning squads before, all with the Coventry team when they won in 2005, 2007 and 2010. In the 2016 season he finished last of the full-time riders in the SGP and as Coventry’s No.3, he finished the season with a 6.58 Elite League Average.

Scott Nicholls: Another former British Champion, Nicholls is the most experienced on the new Rye House team. He has spent three seasons in the Speedway GP (2007, 2008 & 2009) and only had a best finish of second in an individual GP meeting. Consistency is Nicholls’ main trait as although he never won a GP in 2007, where his rival-turn-teammate Chris Harris did, he instead managed to beat him by the end of the 2007 season on overall points. In 2008, he again beat Harris, this time far more convincingly than the previous season. 2009 was his downfall though as he finished last of the full-time SGP riders and lost his nomination for the 2010 season to the future champion Tai Woffinden. Nicholls, much like Harris, has also been in elite league winning squads with the seemingly unbeatable 1998 Ipswich Witches and another two with the Coventry Bees alongside Harris in 2005 and 2007. In his 2016 season he was the No.4 rider for the Belle Vue Aces and achieved a 6.59 Elite League average.

Davey Watt: The vastly experienced Aussie is incoming from two good season with the Poole Pirates and one at the struggling Leicester Lions. Watt’s past experience includes being part of Australia’s Speedway world cup team for five years and being a wild card and injury rider in the 2010 Speedway GP season. Also spent many years at Poole Pirates and was with team when they won their titles in 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2015. As he rode for both Poole and Leicester in last season’s Elite League, he received two averages, which were 5.40 and 6.80.

Robert Branford: Another one of last year’s Rye House line-up. Last year he rode as the team’s No.5 for The Rockets and the Rye House Raiders No.1. This upcoming season will be Branford’s first full season in the Elite League, having not ridden in it before with another club. Hopefully the chemistry and experience he has with Kennett will see him hit the ground running in the top flight, with performances much like he’s renowned for in the Premier league and National League. Last year he ended the season with a 4.60 Premier league Average and a 9.98 National League average.

Stuart Robson: Another one from last year’s Rye House team, riding as the No.2. As the oldest on the team, at the ripe old age of 40, he has also had season in the past year with the Coventry Bees team and the Lakeside Hammers, but has never been in a title winning team with them. The only league winning team Robson has been involved with was Rye House back in 2005 when they won the Premier League. Looking at things, Robson probably won’t be a long term rider as the club settles in to the Elite league; however, he will most definitely help the team with his experience. Last year he ended his season with The Rockets achieving a 7.09 Premier League average.

Ellis Perks: At just aged 19, Ellis Perks is the youngest and the least experienced on the team. Although he only holds the reserve spot, there are high hopes expected of this young man as he has shown some impressive performances throughout his ventures in the National League with the Eastbourne Eagles. Although he was the last rider to be officially confirmed on The Rockets team, Perks has shown great enthusiasm saying “I find it an honour to be part of all the exciting changes going on at Rye House”. His final average achieved in the National League last year was 8.25, which puts him on similar terms with teammate Robert Branford.

Overall the team shows great prospect for the upcoming season. Regarding the team stays fit and uninjured throughout the season; the squad could quite easily make a much bigger splash in the Elite League than most speedway fans will be expecting them to do.

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