Stars must do without for Somerset trophy clash
Paddy DavittKing's Lynn racer Kozza Smith is ready to lead from the front again in tonight's Premier Trophy decider against Somerset at the Norfolk Arena. The holders need a maximum home win to boost their hopes of reaching the semi-finals but Rob Lyon's side must cope without injured duo Tomas Topinka and British Under-21 champion Joe Haines.Paddy Davitt
King's Lynn racer Kozza Smith is ready to lead from the front again in tonight's Premier Trophy decider against Somerset at the Norfolk Arena.
The holders need a maximum home win to boost their hopes of reaching the semi-finals but Rob Lyon's side must cope without injured duo Tomas Topinka and British Under-21 champion Joe Haines. Elite League ace Ty Proctor guests for Topinka, but Smith is in the mood to offer solid second string support to both Proctor and Kevin Doolan after a season's best paid 11 haul against Sheffield.
"It was good to get back amongst the points," he said. "I just managed to make some starts and that is really a big part of it.
"Somerset is an important meeting but Ty did really well as a guest here last season and scored a lot of points in the Ash Jones meeting, so he obviously likes the track. We had a good guest in Schrammy (Chris Schramm) last week and we managed to pull together.
"Rob had a word before the meeting but he didn't really need to say anything to us. We knew what we had to do and with most of the guys having a ride for Joe it wasn't too bad.
"It was a pretty crazy two to three days after what happened to Tom and then the first I heard I was listening to the radio and it said Joe was out as well - that he'd broken his collarbone. I was like, 'this is unreal,' so I rang him up but he is still hoping to come back in a few weeks."
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Somerset have been forced into another change on the eve of their Norfolk Arena visit with experienced American racer Brent Werner taking a break from riding. Steve Boxall quit recently but Somerset have drafted in ex-Rebel Jordan Frampton who notched a match-winning paid 15 in Rye House's Premier Trophy success over his former club. Frampton also picked up a paid 10 return in the Rockets' 11 point defeat at Lynn earlier this month. Somerset will operate the rider replacement facility for Werner but team boss Steve Bishop insists Werner goes with his blessing.
"We were grateful for Brent coming into the team at such short notice when he replaced Jay (Herne)," said Bishop. "But I think the fact he had not really ridden for some 10 months or so prior to joining Somerset showed, and knowing Brent as I do, he probably felt he wasn't doing himself or the team justice."
Parade 7.30pm; first race 7.45pm. Admission: Adults �13, concessions �10, juniors (aged 12 to 15) �5 and free entry for children aged 11 and under.
Stars: 1 Tyrone Proctor, 2 r/r, 3 Kozza Smith, 4 Linus Eklof, 5 Kevin Doolan, 6 Darren Mallett, 7 Casper Wortmann. Rebels: 1 Shane Parker, 2 Cory Gathercole, 3 Sam Masters, 4 r/r, 5 Jordan Frampton, 6 Ritchie Hawkins, 7 Tommy Allen.
Kozza's popular exclusive online column will return to edp24.co.uk this week.