PUMAS 2001 Season Review
2001 SEASON REVIEW
Pumasí second season at Conference League level was a very productive one and very pleasing for the fans, promotion and riders themselves. This year saw the continued development of this young bunch of riders and also saw the Pumas finish in a very good 5th place, an improvement on 2000ís 9th place. The main highlights of 2001 aswell as the continued progress of the riders, were Chris Schramm securing a reserve place at Premier League Reading and The Pumas securing their first ever bonus point at Rye House.
2001 saw no fewer than 7 riders who had ridden in the previous campaign again wearing the Pumas race jacket. The riders in question were Ian Barney, Jason King, Chris Schramm, Adam Pryer, James Horton, David Nix and Tim Henson. The only newcomer was exciting Arena-Essex asset Mark Thompson. Riders departing from the 2000 line-up were Gordon Meakins and Mark Blackwell.
The first fixture of Pumasí 2001 season was the 3TT fixture at home against local rivals Boston Barracuda Braves and Mildenhall Fen Tigers. This fixture saw a much improved Pumas side run out 47-32-29 winners. The next fixture saw the Pumas first league fixture of the season away at Newport. The Pumas went down 41-49 but the margin could have been shorter if Adam Pryer was not forced to pull out of the meeting after only 1 ride after he sustained a broken foot which would rule him out of the Pumas side until the end of June. The 22nd of April saw the Pumas lose at home to a very strong Sheffield team 35-55, the meeting also saw the return to the Pumas side of Tim Henson who was a late replacement after Ian Barney had to pull out due to illness. This month also saw the early progress notably of reserves Jason King and James Horton.
This month saw no home Pumas action but saw three away meetings, the first of which was an away league match at Mildenhall. The Pumas went down 41-48 and again were forced to use Rider-Replacement for the injured Pryer. On the 16th Mildenhall hosted the 2nd leg of the 3TT which saw the home team run out winners by 50 points to Pumas 27 and Bostonís 30. The last fixture of May saw an away challenge meeting at Rye House. Pumas were forced to use R/R for the absent Chris Schramm and used Guest Peter Boast for Adam Pryer. The under strength Pumas team lost 31-57.
The first meeting of June saw the Pumas pick up there first Conference League points of the season at home to Rye House. The Pumas ran out 49-40 winners against the Rockets. The 13th of April saw the the 3rd and final leg of the 3TT against local rivals Boston and Mildenhall. The Pumas finished in second place to a very strong home Boston side who scored 50 points. Mildenhall won the overall competition, which saw each team win their home leg. Boston again provided the opposition for the Pumas for the next meeting but this time was in the Conference League, The Pumas found a very strong visiting Boston side too hard to handle and it was the away team who ran out 40-53 winners. The meeting also saw the return from injury of Adam Pryer.
Mildenhall were the first opponents for The Pumas in July in the CL Knock-Out Cup 1st round, 1st leg. A very determined Pumas ran out narrow 46-44 winners and had top men Ian Barney, Chris Schramm and Jason King to thank after all 3 scored double figures. The Pumas found that a 2 point lead was not enough to take to Mildenhall in the second leg when the Fen Tigers ran out 36-54 winners. Rye House provided the track where The Pumas would pick up there first ever bonus point. Despite going down 43-47 the Pumas took the bonus and this result provided the stepping stone for The Pumas to go on and win 2 more bonus points later on in the season. Inspired by the away performance at Rye House The Pumas, without Ian Barney ran out convincing winners at home to Somerset, they were lead by Jason King who scored a massive 19 points from 7 rides.
This month saw the debut of Jason Kingís younger brother Daniel King. Danielís debut and Pumas first meeting of August was a 33-57 loss away at Somerset. The only other meeting in August also saw The Pumas go down again 33-57 this time away at Boston, The Pumas had Chris Schramm who scored 15 of the Pumas 33 points.
The start of September, like August saw the introduction of a new young rider to the Pumas side in the shape of Danny Norton. The first meeting of September saw Dannyís debut and The Pumas ran out convincing 51-38 winners at home to Newport. The meeting also saw the 2nd bonus point victory for the Pumas. The end of September saw 2 meeting against Buxton. The away leg on the 16th saw The Pumas beaten by the Hitmen 42-48. The home leg of the Buxton fixtures was much more fruitful for the Pumas who ran out 54-35 winners. The Pumas were inspired by top performances from Ian Barney and Jason King and a battling display from James Horton who scored a career best 7+2.
The final month of the Speedway season saw the best performance by an away team at Sheffield, when the Pumas went very close to recording a shock defeat on the champions but narrowly going down 42-47. The final meeting of the season saw a very strong Pumas side record a record victory after thrasing an under-strength Mildenhall team 60-27.
(The 2001 Pumas)