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You don’t automatically associate the quiet Somerset countryside with speed and adrenalin, with its idyllic Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and tranquil walking routes. But did you know that the 2009 Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button was born and brought up just down the road from Cheddar Woods Resort & Spa in Frome?
In fact engines and thrill seeking are far more widespread in this area than you would imagine, with the exhilarating Somerset Speedway also within easy driving reach for anyone staying at our 5 star Somerset holiday resort, running alongside the M5 motorway near Highbridge.
The Somerset Speedway, also known as the Oaktree Arena, is a 300 metre oval circuit which was constructed by Australian rider Glyn Taylor back in 2000. It has become a base for the Somerset Rebels team who compete in the Premier League series which is the second tier of Speedway behind the Elite League.
There are 13 teams who are competing in this category including the Somerset Rebels who were promoted to this category back in 2002, having won junior categories including the Conference League KO Cup and Conference League Trophy.
The Somerset Rebels have consistently been competing for top honours in the Premier League since, with 13 trophies to their name including the outright Premier League Championship trophy in 2013.
There are four new riders in the team for 2016, including two Australian riders 20 year old Jake Allen, who is having his first season in the UK and 26 year old Rohan Tungate, who has been brought in from the Ipswich team for whom he has competed over the past four years.
Another new recruit to the team is New Zealander Bradley Wilson-Dean, who is highly regarded in the sport having previously been crowned the NZ U21 Champion on two occasions.
The team is staying in touch with its local roots with 18 year old Zach Wajtknecht who comes from Saltford, Bristol. He isn’t just there due to his connection to the local area, with a string of successes on his record being a three time World Longtrack champion having won the 125cc Youth Gold Trophy in 2012, and 2013 as well as being the 250cc Youth Gold Champion in 2014.
Three of the teams riders who won the Premier League KO Coup in 2015 will be retained for the coming season. They are Australian Josh Grajczonek who will captain the team, along with British pairing Paul Starke and Charles Wright who was the named Somerset’s most exciting rider of 2015 by fans. Much is expected of the Somerset Rebels and their new line-up in 2016.
Regardless of whether you are a petrol head or not, we highly recommend a visit to the Somerset Speedway if you are staying at Cheddar Woods Resort & Spa. There are two upcoming home fixtures being hosted at the speedway in May where you can see these remarkable daredevils in action. The first is a Premier League KO Cup Match against Workington on the 6th May. There is also a Premier League Match being hosted at the speedway on the 13th May against the Glasgow team.
These remarkable riders with their nerves of steel really have to be seen to be believed, with tickets available from £15 for adults and just £4 for young adults (between the ages of 12 and 18). Children under the age of 11 are admitted free of charge, making it a great and affordable evening out for the whole family.