BELLE VUE ACES 44 – 46 SOMERSET REBELS
Belle Vue saw their unbeaten home record going up in smoke on Bank Holiday Monday, with the visitors in the Somerset Rebels inflicting a 46-44 loss on the Aces in front of a bumper crowd at the National Speedway Stadium.
The Rebels made their first ever visit up to Manchester in their short history, with the teams having never met in any competition before. It saw the Westcountry side hoping to pick up some much need points, with the Somerset outfit bottom of the table early doors in the standings.
It also saw both teams forced into using guest riders in the meeting, as Danish riders Kenneth Bjerre and Patrick Hougaard were away riding in the opening round of the Speedway Euro Championship (SEC) in Torun, Poland. That meant that Lee Payne and Rob Shuttleworth of the Belle Vue Colts both stepped in for either side to see a full line-up.
Australian Rohan Tungate shown his liking for the Manchester track once again in the meeting, with the Rebels number one taking the opening race win ahead of fellow countryman Max Fricke as the Aces man was unable to gain ground on his opposite number.
Jake Allen and Jan Gravensen put the away ahead with an easy 5-1 to their name in the reserves race, as the Rebels led 8-4 early on. Paul Starke then produced a stunning pass to see him round the Aces pairing of Steve Worrall and Justin Sedgmen in heat three, as he turned a 5-1 against into a 3-3 and see a share of the points.
Belle Vue then got out on a 5-1 with Craig Cook and Jack Smith in heat four, but with Josh Grajczonek having far more speed then Smith had, it saw the Belle Vue captain forced to ride off and get the win and score the win for hosts and collect their first heat advantage of the match.
Sedgmen and Worrall then made a good gate with Rohan Tungate right behind them in heat five and that saw the Aussie easily steaming under Steve Worrall to take second place, and saw him having Sedgmen in his sights but wasn’t able to catch him in a 4-2 heat win and make it 15-15 after five races.
Max Fricke and Craig Cook then picked up race wins in heats six and seven, but they were cancelled out with the visitors packing the minor places. Somerset brought in Jake Allen for Rob Shuttleworth as a reserve change and it brought instant dividends with a 5-1 for the Rebels and lead 26-22.
Three shared heats saw the visitors holding a four point lead still in the contest, but Cook and Tungate then had a cracking race with the riders swapping places on every lap, before the Rebels man held his nerve and had the speed on Cook to take the race win.
Charles Wright and Jake Allen then extended the lead for the away side in heat twelve, by way of a 4-2 to Somerset and moved six points clear at 33-39 with three races left to go. Belle Vue desperately needed a big win in heat thirteen to get back in the match and was hoping of repeating their previous heroics against Leicester weeks before.
Sadly though for the Aces, Rohan Tungate wasn’t going to oblige and saw him lead from start to finish with the Belle Vue duo unable to get any speed from the track and have a 3-3 which effectively spelt game over.
Heat fourteen saw Justin Sedgmen and Dan Bewley giving the hosts a glimmer of hope of a gaining a point at least in the final race of the meeting, after they recorded a 4-2 to see the Aces first heat advantage since heat five.
Aces boss Mark Lemon put in Max Fricke and Craig Cook to try and salvage a draw for the home side in the final race, but they knew Tungate was the danger man in the race. Belle Vue then made a great start as they gated on on a 5-1, but with the home riders coming under severe pressure by the Rebel’s man, it saw him finally moving into second place on the final lap to deny the hosts of a draw from the match.
In truth the home side didn’t deserve a point from the meeting, after their opponents battled all match and shown that they were not cannon fodder despite being bottom of the table. Credit to Somerset for a fantastic team performance and this defeat for the Aces will have been a case of needing to refocus.
Belle Vue = 44
1. Max Fricke 2, 3, 3, 1′, 3 = 12+1
2. Lee Payne (G) 1′, 0, 1, 0 = 2+1
3. Steve Worrall 1′, 1, 2, 2 = 6+1
4. Justin Sedgmen 2, 3, 1′, 3 = 9+1
5. Craig Cook 3, 3, 2, 2, 1 = 11
6. Dan Bewley 1, R, 1′, 1 = 3+1
7. Jack Smith 0, 1, 0, 0 = 1
Somerset = 46
1. Rohan Tungate 3, 2, 3, 3, 2 = 13
2. Rob Shuttleworth (G) 0, 0, 0 = 0
3. Charles Wright 0, 2, 2, 3, 0 = 7
4. Paul Starke 3, 1′, 1′, 2 = 7+2
5. Josh Grajczonek 2, 1′, 3, 0 = 6+1
6. Jake Allen 3, 2, 3, 0, 1, 0 = 9
7. Jan Graversen 2′, 0, 2′ = 4+2
Video: Heat 11- Belle Vue v Somerset Clip: Clean Cut Sports/ Speedway GB