SOMERSET Rebels captain Jason Doyle is in line to make his second appearance for Australia in this Thursday’s Speedway World Cup race-off in Prague.
Doyle scored seven points on his Australian debut in the World Cup opener against Poland, Latvia and Russia on Sunday, but the Aussies could only manage 34 points against the Poles’ 48 and will need a second chance to qualify for Saturday’s final.
His international commitments came at a cost for the Cases Rebels, who were forced to do without their No.1 in Sunday’s Premier League Fours at Peterborough.
Doyle was due to race for the Aussies in Poland on Saturday evening before returning to spearhead Somerset’s push, but the World Cup meeting was postponed until Sunday due to bad weather.
Even without Doyle, the Rebels – with reserve Kyle Newman promoted into the main team – were in contention to win the title going into the tense final stages.
After eight heats of semi-final action, Somerset topped their section with 14 points to move through to the four-team final alongside Edinburgh, Berwick and Ipswich.
With just two heats of the final remaining, the Rebels held a slender one-point lead but were overhauled by an Edinburgh side which provided the final two winners in Craig Cook and Claus Vissing.
Somerset had to settle for third with 17 points, one behind runners-up Ipswich. Edinburgh lifted the trophy with 21 points.
Team manager Garry May said: “I am extremely proud of the way the lads rode.
“No one gave us a prayer when Jason Doyle was forced to drop out of our quartet but, as we’ve showed over the past few weeks, when we’ve had our backs up against the wall and in some difficult situations, this is a team that never knows when it is beaten, and they showed those fighting qualities again.
“When Kyle (Newman) won the opening heat of our semi-final it gave us all that extra belief that we could pull it off and, although we went into the last two heats in the final in the lead, it was always going to be a tough ask to hang on in there for the win and we just ran out of steam.
“We might not have won the title, and all credit to Edinburgh for their win, but the boys could not have tried any harder and they can all hold their heads up high for what was a fantastic team effort.”