Speedway: ACES trump the Pirates & Robins to cement top spot

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Belle Vue Aces   48-45  Poole Pirates 


Belle Vue sealed top spot in the battle of the big boys on Monday night, with a victory over the Poole Pirates at the National Speedway Stadium and possibly strike an early psychological blow to their rival as the Aces claimed a 48-45 win to cement their place at the top of the Elite League regular season.

In a week that would determine whether or not the Aces finished top of the pile for the league season, it saw the Poole Pirates rolling into town first for a shootout with the home side to see who would finish higher and get the decision on who they want to face in the upcoming play-offs. The home side got off to a flyer when Matej Zagar and Steve Worrall opened up the meeting with a 4-2 for the Aces, and that was followed up on in the reserves race, with a stunning rode by Joe Jacobs that seen him swooping around the outside of the Pirates duo for a share of the points.

Belle Vue then recorded a couple of 4-2 heat advantages in their favour, before the Worrall brothers of Steve and Richie then nailed home a maximum 5-1 for the home side to lead by ten points after five races with the score 20-10. Poole team manager Neil Middleditch then nominated their Australian GP star for double points in the next heat, as Chris Holder got up the inside of Patrick Hougaard who was guesting for the Aces in place of Max Fricke who had away with his Swedish side in their playoffs. Those three points clawed back through Holder’s six points looked like it be a recovery job for the Pirates as they were back in the match.

The Manchester side then seemed set for a 5-1, when Craig Cook and Matej Zagar got out ahead of the Poole riders entering the final lap, but Zagar somehow managed to clip the fence and saw the Slovenian losing his dirt deflector in the process and ultimately handing Rohan Tungate a way through into second position and see a 4-2 instead of full point and was a missed opportunity for the Aces.

Two shared races saw Poole finally having two riders picking up race wins, with Bjarne Pedersen and Brady Kurtz getting three points each in their respective rider totals. Heat 10 then saw a great race develop between Cook and Pedersen as they passed and re-passed each other for three laps, before Cook managed to the get the better of the Dane and then saw Hougaard passing his countryman for third place. Neither side were giving an inch and when Steve Worrall had unenviable task of trying to defend from Tungate and Krzysztof Buczkowski, both of who had the speed and needed the St Helens rider to race a and half to to eventually claim victory, while Zagar was nowhere to be seen.

Heat 12 saw Jacobs at his stunning best once more with the Ipswich-born rider getting the drive coming around the Pirates yet again and see the Aces reserve picking up another three points. Poole looked set for a 5-1 in Heat 14 when Aussie pair Rohan Tungate and Brady Kurtz got out ahead of the Aces, that was until  Kurtz bike packed up on the opening lap and saw a shared heat which meant that the Belle Vue couldn’t lose and therefore confirmed them as topping the table.

The visiting side had the last word on the match, as they rounded the evening off with a 5-1 advantage from Holder and Tungate, to see the scoreline flattering the Dorset side in a way and lost by just three points when the home side just seemed to lose their way at times in the meeting, but it would be no surprise if the sides meet up again in a repeat of last year’s final.

Belle Vue Aces = 48

1. Matej Zagar 3, 1, 0, R = 4
2. Steve Worrall 1, 3, 1*, 3, 0 = 8+1
3. Patrick Hougaard (G) 1, 2, 1*, 2 = 6+1
4. Scott Nicholls 3, 1*, 2, 1* = 7+1
5. Craig Cook 3, 3, 2, 2, 1 = 11
6. Richie Worrall 0, 1, 2*, 2, 0 = 5+1
7. Joe Jacobs 3, T, 1*, 3 = 7+1

Poole Pirates = 45

1. Chris Holder 2, 6^, 3, 3, 2* = 16+1
2. Adam Ellis 0, 0, 0 = 0
3. Rohan Tungate (G) 2, 2, 2, 3, 3 = 12
4. Brady Kurtz 2, 0, 3, R = 5
5. Krzysztof Buczkowski T, 0, 1*, 1 = 2+1
6. Bjarne Pedersen 1*, 1, 3, 0, 2 = 7+1
7. Kyle Newman 2, 0, 0, 0, 1* = 3+1




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Belle Vue Aces  52 – 40 Swindon Robins


After confirming top spot in the standings with victory over Poole on Monday night, it saw the season coming full circle with the Aces welcoming the Robins back to the National Speedway Stadium for the final league game of the season, and a chance to get some revenge for their opening home defeat back in May to the Robins.

Swindon needed a single point from their remaining two matches to see them qualifying for the end of season play-offs, and they made a great start through Jason Doyle and Justin Sedgman, as the Aussies made the gate and raced out to a comfortable maximum for the Robins in Heat 1. Belle Vue then struck right back in Heat 2 with a 5-1 of their own, as Joe Jacobs and Richie Worrall made the gate this time and saw both Aces riders fly away for an easy heat advantage.

Rohan Tungate was has been a thorn in the side to the Aces on so many occasions this year, saw him once again proving to be a nuisance as the Swindon man made a quick gate along with Nick Morris, but Craig Cook was able to split the pairing and had Max Fricke passing Morris on the lap after for 3-3. Scott Nicholls then turned back the clock with an amazing outside pass on Josh Grajczonek to see him powering his way to the front and join up with  Joe Jacobs, to see he Aces on a 5-1 and move 14-10 ahead.

Justin Sedgman then separated the Worrall brothers in Heat 5, after the Australian rider got by Richie to see a 4-2 advantage and that was returned in kind by Tungate and Grajczonek a couple races later. Heat 9 saw a stunning race by the Worrall brothers again as this time they both blasted their way passed Josh Grajczonek on either side of the ex Belle Vue man to see the brother link up for a big 5-1 for the Aces to lead 31-23.

Cook and Fricke then recorded a second successive 5-1 in a row for the Aces in the Heat 10, but it was far from an easy win for the hosts with Jason Doyle and Justin Sedgman up against them. After Fricke got out in front it saw former Edinburgh Monarchs team-mates in Cook and Sedgman getting too close for comfort and saw Sedgman pushing Cook out so far towards the fence, that it meant that Doyle’s run around the outside was stopped or he would have crashed into the back of the Belle Vue man. Cook just edging second place ahead of his rival in the race, as the GB international came under severe pressure from Doyle right up to the line and had the Cumbria rider securing second place.

Swindon boss Alun Rossiter then saw him putting the double points helmet on Rohan Tungate in Heat 11, and needed a special ride by Matej Zagar to see the Slovenian swoop around Tungate and have the Aces number one being stalked for the entire race, with Nick Morris blocking out Steve Worrall for only the visitors third heat advantage of the meeting. Stefan Nielsen recorded a surprising race win in Heat 12, after a tremendous opening lap that saw him swapping places back and forth with Joe Jacobs, before finally doing enough to keep the lead and take the race win. Belle Vue’s Zagar and Cook both pulled off stunning rides in Heat 13, in which both men passed Nick Morris simultaneously either side of him on the opening lap to see the Aces ending all but the Robins hopes of getting that elusive point they needed with a maximum 5-1.

Swindon ended their night on a high with a 4-2 heat advantage thanks to Rohan Tungate and Justin Sedgeman, with Tungate finishing up on 15 points in the meeting and 27 points for the Australian in two meetings at the NSS this week. Belle Vue will await the outcome of Friday’s clash with the Robins down at Purfleet, as the winner of the Lakeside Hammers and Swindon match will almost certainly prove to be the Aces semi-final opponents in the Play-offs next week. 


Belle Vue Aces = 52

1. Matej Zagar – 1,2,3,3 = 9
2. Steve Worrall – 0,3,2,0 = 5+1
3. Max Fricke – 1
,2,3,3 = 9+1
4. Scott Nicholls – 2,1,3,0 = 6+2
5. Craig Cook – 2,0,2,2,2 = 8+2
6. Richie Worrall – 2,1,3,1,0 = 7+2
7. Joe Jacobs – 3,3,0,2 = 8

Swindon Robins = 40

1. Jason Doyle – 3,3,1,R = 7
2. Justin Sedgmen – 2,2,2,0,1 = 7+2
3. Rohan Tungate – 3,3,4^,2,3 = 15
4. Josh Grajczonek – 1,1,1,1* = 4+1
5. Nick Morris – 0,R,1,1 = 2+1
6. Charles Wright – 1,0,1
,0,0 = 2+1
7. Stefan Nielsen – 0,R,(CW-0),3 = 3





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