AFTER the nail-biting fashion in which they plucked the unlikeliest of wins out of the bag at death a week earlier, team boss Jitendra Duffill told his Redcar Bears side he wanted a more straightforward victory this time.
And that’s exactly what he got.
It took a last heat 5-1 from skipper Aaron Summers and No 1 Richard Lawson to ensure they collected all three Premier League points, but the Ecco Finishing Bears looked likely winners all night.
Duffill’s men showed plenty of aggression throughout the meeting and remained calm and composed even in the early stages – a time when they have often wobbled this term – when track conditions were more than a little dicey due to heavy rain earlier in the week and which were punctuated liberally by restarts.
And while it was the two big guns who ultimately secured a maximum points all, there were contributions all through the order and it was satisfying to see veteran Mark Lemon put his machine problems behind him and post an impressive 10-point return.
Duffill, whose side head to Scunthorpe for the return match tonight (Friday), admitted he considered putting Lemon in the nominated riders’ race but chose instead to go with the duo who have come up with the good when it mattered on so many other occasions.
The inexperienced Rafal Konopka was an early victim of the track conditions, picking up drive coming out of the first turn in heat two, wiping out Scunthorpe’s Matt Williamson as he came to grief.
Fortunately both men were unhurt and Jan Graversen’s victory secured a second consecutive drawn heat.
The Bears took a lead they never lost in heat three when Lemon blasted round the boards to hit the front.
He looked as if he was hanging on for dear life at times due to the conditions – which did improve quickly after early track work – and Ashley Birks fell looking for a way past.
Another 4-2 followed before the visitors shaved two points off the gap in heat five after Carl Wilkinson, never one to shirk a challenge, slammed into the air fence as he attempted to go round David Howe.
Lawson was lucky to avoid exclusion in heat six when Ryan Douglas was disqualified for a fall in front of the pits as the Great Britain man went underneath him. It certainly wasn’t intentional but there was contact.
However he seized his second chance with both hands and combined with Konopka for a 4-2, taking the chequered flag in 52.5 seconds – the fastest time at South Tees Motorsports Park since Grand Prix star Chris Harris set the track record of 52.2 seconds in 2009.
Summers won the race of the night, heat seven, as he gritted his teeth and forced his way in front of Douglas, then powered past Birks near the end.
Douglas fell on the final lap as a 2-4 turned into a 4-2 but the visitors hit back with a 5-1 and three drawn heats kept the margin at two points with four races left.
The last of those 3-3s came as Graversen gave a steely performance to battle past Scorpions No 1 Nicolai Klindt whose bike later packed up.
Back-to-form visiting reserve Thomas Jorgensen swept past Graversen to win the penultimate race and set-up a Scorpions 4-2 which, although taking the battle for the bonus point into the last race, assured the Bears of victory.
And after shooting out of the gate in heat 15, there was never any danger of Summers and Lawson being bettered by Howe or Klindt.
BEARS: Richard Lawson 11+2, Aaron Summers 11+1, Mark Lemon 10, Jan Graversen 9+1, Hugh Skidmore 5+1, Carl Wilkinson 2+1, Rafal Konopka 2.
SCORPIONS: Thomas Jorgensen 14+1, David Howe 12, Nicolai Klindt 6, Ashley Birks 3, Ryan Douglas 3, Matt Williamson 2+1, R/R for Josh Auty.