Belle Vue came agonisingly close to overturning a 14-point deficit against the Somerset Rebels, as the Aces won 50-40 on the night at the National Speedway Stadium, but despite the victory, the Rebels took the tie by four points to advance through to their first Premiership Knockout Cup Final.
Following their disappointing loss down at the Oak Tree Arena last week in the first leg, their grip on their knockout cup was loose and hanging by a thread. The Aces opened the meeting up with a 4-2 advantage from Steve Worrall and Max Fricke to which Worrall recorded the second race win in back to back meetings against the Rebels and on both occasions beat the World Champion in Jason Doyle.
Somerset then answered right back a 5-1 from Jake Allen and Aaron Summers, as the reserves opened up a 16-point lead for the Westcountry side in the tie. Stevie Worrall made it two wins in a row when powered to victory alongside Rohan Tungate to register a 5-1 advantage and make it a 12-point lead, before Aaron Summers did well to block the run of Grand Prix rider Craig Cook in Heat four, as Cook was unable to find a way past the Aussie rider in the race.
The visitors then took two advantages in a row, as Jason Doyle and Nico Covatti rode to a 5-1 before Jack Holder and Jake Allen took a 4-2 to extend their lead in the overall tie by 18-points and move the Aces behind the 8-ball, as the Rebels led on the night 28-26.
Heat 10 saw Max Fricke and Dmitri Berge riding to a 5-1 to up the Aces up 31-29 on the night and trail by 12 overall, with slim hopes still of staying alive in the cup. Another heat victory for the home side saw Cook and Berge reducing the deficit to ten points before the interval came around, as they recorded a 4-2 advantage.
Following the interval, it saw a great race between Berge and Bradley Wilson-Dean in Heat 12 that saw both riders passing each other and see the Aces man looking to have done enough to take the race victory, but instead, it saw Wilson-Dean sneaking around on the final bend to pip him on the line for a 4-2 to the visitors.
A couple of weeks ago when the sides met on television – it saw it going viral online and have had many saying it was the race of the season, but this race may have surpassed it, with no less than ten passes in the race and saw Fricke getting past Doyle on the final bend to take the race win and also have Cook following behind with a last-gasp move up the inside to snatch second place for Belle Vue and pick up a huge 5-1.
With maximum points being picked up in Heat 13, it meant that the home side needed two five-ones to win the tie. Unfortunately, despite a battling effort from the home side with Tungate and Berge holding 5-1 for a couple of laps, it saw Berge unable to hold off a fast Richard Lawson and had the Scottish rider splitting the Aces riders and sealing a finals berth for Somerset in the KO Cup Final.
Belle Vue finished the meeting with a 4-2 race advantage, as Cook and Holder had a good tussle out in front with the Aces man just having enough to beat his opponent. With Belle Vue missing out on defending their cup, they now turn their attention to the first leg of their Playoff Semi Final at home to King’s Lynn on Monday night, with the Aces hope to take a lead down to Norfolk the following week.
The curtain came down on the 2018 season for the Belle Vue Colts on Friday night, as they finished on a low note being edged out 47-43 in the second leg of their National League Knockout Cup tie to the runaway leaders in the National League in the Mildenhall Fen Tigers, as for the second time this season the Suffolk side left Manchester with another win this year.
With the Colts facing insurmountable 39-point deficit to make up from the first leg down in West Row, it saw the Fen Tigers opening up the second leg in much of the same way they did in the first leg with a 5-1 through Drew Kemp and Danny Phillips as Ben Woodhull pushed them to the end but couldn’t get by.
Paul Bowen pulled off a brilliant pass in the reserves race to beat Matt Marson as the man dubbed the ‘Pieman’ at the N.S.S, saw the Belle Vue man refusing to come off the outside line and on lap 3 saw him generating the speed and flew by Marson down the back straight to take the win, while Kean Dicken held third from Sam Bebee for a 4-2 to the Colts.
Drew Kemp and Colts Jack Smith raced each other four times in the meeting and saw Kemp taking the first of their four duels in the meeting. In Heat 6 it saw both Mildenhall reserves suffering from bike problems, as firstly, Marson had his bike ceasing up as soon as the bike got out on the track and was excluded under the two minutes rule. Bebee then came in to replace his fellow reserve and saw his bike packing up on the gate just as tapes flew up and luckily for the visitors they had Kemp riding to an easy win.
In Heat 7, it saw the Colts picking up a 5-1 with Smith and Bowen combining to take maximum points. Bowen, then came out in the following race and saw him leading the race until Danny Phillips passed him on turn two of lap 2 and then saw the Colts man trying to blast his way around the outside of Phillips but saw him hitting the deck and gift a 4-2 to the Fen Tigers.
Kemp and Smith battled out front again in Heat 9, as the Mildenhall man made it four wins in a row and the second over Smith in the match. As a result of a drawn heat, it meant that the visitors booked their place in the KO Cup final with nine races gone and saw the most anti-climactic announcement of the meeting, while the scores were level at 27-27 all on the night.
Fen Tigers Jordan Jenkins picked up two race wins in a row after a tough opening lap against Jon Armstrong and Ben Woodhull saw him overcoming both take the victory and in Heat 11, saw a very mature ride to keep Jack Smith behind him with a brilliant ride.
Belle Vue’s number four Joe Lawlor suffered an unfortunate blow in his ride in Heat 12, as a great battle with him and Matt Marson saw Lawlor getting a puncture towards the final lap and saw Marson coming under him to make the pass for victory and see Tom Woolley picking up his only point of the night as the visitors took a 4-2 advantage.
Jon Armstrong who was guesting from Coventry, saw him making a great gate in Heat 13 until Kemp again got the bike hooked up and passed Armstrong to lead. Jack Smith then passed Phillips and Armstrong in one more and saw the Colts captain looking to chase down the Tigers man for the third time and was forced to settle for second place again for three races in a row.
In Heat 14, it saw a great race involving all four riders, as the Tigers duo of Marson and Jenkins both gate ahead of Lawlor before he then split the pair on the first bend and with a 4-2 looking likely, it then saw Paul Bowen coming from nowhere to pass Marson on the opening bend of the final lap to see a shared heat.
In the final race of the night, it saw Jack Smith finally managing to beat the impressive Drew Kemp and avoid a clean sweep of race wins against him. Smith had made the gate initially before the Mildenhall man took the lead on the first bend of lap 2 and then saw Smith forcing him wide on the last bend of the same lap and then had the Belle Vue man holding firm for a win and have Joe Lawlor trying his best to catch Jenkins, but sadly couldn’t generate the speed.
Mildenhall managed to hold on for a victory and see them recording a second 47-43 victory over the Colts this season at the National Speedway Stadium and followed their win earlier at the start of August.
Belle Vue Colts = 43 (68)
1. Jon Armstrong (G) – 0, 2, 1′, 1′ = 4+2
2. Ben Woodhull – 1, 1′, 1′, 2, 2 = 7+2
3. Tom Perry R/R
4. Joe Lawlor – 2, 2, 1′, 2, 2, 0 = 9+1
5. Jack Smith – 2, 3, 2, 2, 2, 3 = 14
6. Paul Bowen – 3, 1′, 2′, 0, 0, 1′ = 7+3
7. Kean Dicken – 1, 1′, X, 0 = 2+1
Friday night saw the defending National League champions in the Belle Vue Colts keeping their hopes alive of making the playoffs after recording a 58-32 win over the Isle of Wight Warriors in their final home meeting of the regular season at the National Speedway Stadium.
The meeting started with a race win for guest rider Danny Ayers, as the Mildenhall man replaced Alfie Bowtell for the Warriors and beat Colts guest rider in Ben Wilson from Buxton and faced a surprising challenge from Ben Woodhull to take the victory.
A 4-2 from Belle Vue reserves Paul Bowen and Kean Dicken saw the host edging ahead in the meeting, and was followed up in the followed race with a 5-1 from Joe Lawlor and Tom Perry, as both Colts found a way passed Scott Campos for maximum points.
It then saw two race advantages for the home side which was sandwiched between a second race win for Danny Ayers, as the hosts led 19-11 with five heats gone.
Belle Vue then extended their lead with back to back 5-1’s in Heats 6 and 7 before the Warriors hit back with their only race advantage of the night in Heat 8.
Firstly, Ben Woodhull pulled a wheelie from tapes and saw him out of the race with Kean Dicken forced to repel the Warriors duo of Danno Verge and Shaun Tedham. Dicken seemed to have everything in order until a gap appeared and allowed Verge to dive up the inside on the final bend of lap 3 and see a 4-2.
Belle Vue then banged in a couple of 4-2 race advantages with Ben Wilson flying around the outside of Scott Campos in Heat 10, while Ayers made it three straight wins as he lowered the colours of Colts captain Jack Smith in Heat 11. In Heat 12 it saw Tom Perry going from third to first, as he blasted his way around the fence to pass teammate Kean Dicken and Scott Campos for a 4-2, to give the home side a twenty-point lead at 46-26.
Heat 13 then saw the two guest riders in Ben Wilson and Danny Ayres swapping places on the opening bends, before Jack Smith came on the outside and clipped Ayres back wheel down the back straight and moved to the front, with the Colts captain having a tiger on his tail in Ayres chasing him down, but saw Smith able to hold him off.
After the race, it saw Ayres making his feelings known to Smith and turning his bike into Smith, with more handbags heading to the pits. Back to the racing, and Joe Lawlor and Paul Bowen made it 55-29 thanks to a fourth 5-1 for the home side in Heat 14 and the night was rounded off with 3-3 after Ayres claimed his fourth race win of the night to finish on 14-points for his troubles.
It sees the victory keeping the champions in the top four for now, with Birmingham, Eastbourne and Coventry all with matches in hand on Belle Vue. The Colts round off their league campaign away this Monday night at Kent Kings and where victory may still not be enough to help them qualify to the end of season playoffs.
Next Friday sees the Colts final home fixture of the 2018 season, for now at least, as they take on the Mildenhall Fen Tigers in the second leg of their Knockout Cup, with the Colts facing a 39-points deficit from their hammering down at West Row last month.
Belle Vue Colts : 58
1. Ben Wilson (G) — 1′, 3, 3, 1 = 8+1
2. Ben Woodhull — 2, 2′, F = 4+1
3. Tom Perry — 2′, 1′, 3, 3, 1′ = 10+3
4. Joe Lawlor — 3, 2, 1, 3 = 9
5. Jack Smith — 3, 3, 2, 3, 2 = 13
6. Paul Bowen — 3, 2′, 1′, 2′ = 8+3
7. Kean Dicken — 1, 1, 2, 1, 1 = 6
The Belle Vue Aces made it four successive seasons in a row that the Manchester side has reached the end of season playoffs, thanks to a 48-42 points win over fellow qualifiers in the Somerset Rebels at the National Speedway Stadium on Wednesday night.
Aces team manager Mark Lemon spoke prior to the meeting about wanting his side to secure victory at home and not have to try and get the points they needed down at Swindon the following evening.
It saw the home side getting off a good start, following a 4-2 race advantage, courtesy of Stevie Worrall holding off the World Champion in Jason Doyle and his teammate Max Fricke taking third.
With all the matches between the Aces and the Rebels this season being highly competitive meetings, it came as no surprise that the sides negated each other early on, as three successive drawn heats saw the hosts lead 13-11.
Heat 5 saw the away side getting out on a 5-1 through Doyle and Bradley Wilson-Dean, but Belle Vue’s Rohan Tungate managed to split the pairing and see a 4-2 instead.
The Aces then responded with two straight 4-2 race victories in Heats 6 and 7, as they opened up a four-point lead. Heat 9 then saw a good race developing between Rohan Tungate and Jack Holder of the Rebels, as the two Aussie riders were tussling for second place and saw Worrall again taking the win. Sadly for the Aces, Tungate suffered a bike problem on lap 3 and brought an end to his race.
Max Fricke rode to his second race win in Heat 10, as the Belle Vue captain forced his way up the inside of Richard Lawson to take the lead and have his Aces teammate in reserve Dmitri Berge grabbing a point back in third for a 4-2.
In the next heat, it saw Berge making a great start from the gate and was joined by Craig Cook who ran wide to the fence and effectively stopped the momentum of his partner and that allowed Doyle and Wilson-Dean to come through into second and third for a 3-3.
Somerset then sent out Jason Doyle again in Heat 12 as a tactical substitute, to which the Australian took the race win thanks to his partner in Jake Allen holding up the Aces pairing of Worrall and Berge to slow the race down until the Rebels man swooped round to lead before Worrall took second and stopped a 5-1 for the away side.
As the riders came to tapes for Heat 13, it saw perhaps the race of the season by many, as Craig Cook battled with both Somerset riders in Jack Holder and Jason Doyle – for which was Doyle third race in a row – and saw the three of them passing and re-passing each for the whole race.
As the riders entered the final bend, it seemed for all the world that the Rebels had done enough to stop Cook and would score a maximum 5-1 for the visiting side, but that was until Belle Vue’s Max Fricke blasted his way around the outside of them all to steal the win by half a bike length and have a shared heat.
The Aces now needed just a 3-3 in the penultimate race to see them booking their place in the postseason playoffs. However, Belle Vue kept their fans in suspense and saw Richard Lawson taking his second win of the night for the Rebels, on way to finishing with ten points for the evening as part of a 4-2 to set up a tense finale at 43-41.
Surely the home side wouldn’t let this opportunity slip now, could they? For the last heat decider, it saw a repeat of all four riders from their classic race of just two races previous and have Swindon fans hoping that the Rebels could do them a favour and beat the Aces and see a shootout for determining the fourth spot the next night.
As the tapes went up, it saw Craig Cook making the gate ahead of Jason Doyle, but the world number one soon passed Cook for the lead and on the final bend of lap 3 saw the Somerset man getting some extra drive and riding into the air fence and falling off on his shoulder.
It was an unfortunate way to bring the meeting to a close, after what had been such a competitive and entertaining nights’ action served up from the N.S.S track once again.
Doyle was able to get up and walk back to the pits under his steam as the Aussie was excluded and saw the referee awarding a 5-1 to the Aces and see them qualifying for the Premiership play-offs.
Shortly after the final race was concluded, it saw the announcement that the Aces would take on the only side that they have failed to beat in the league, both home and away, in the King’s Lynn Stars. On paper, it seems straightforward for the Stars, as they are clear red-hot favourites to take the title.
King’s Lynn’s Robert Lambert became the new British Champion at the National Speedway Stadium on Monday night, after the Stars rider went through the card unbeaten to lift the famous trophy and secure his wildcard spot at this year’s British Grand Prix in Cardiff.
The meeting got off to a bang with the two Dan’s in former British champion Danny King and home track favourite Dan Bewley having a good battle out front – King made a good start as opposed to Bewley, who was left at the back, but he soon cut through the field and was chasing down the back wheel of the Leicester and Ipswich rider but King held on for the opening win.
Robert Lambert who came into the meeting fresh from winning a silver medal with Great Britain at this weekend’s Speedway of Nations final in Poland and it saw Lambert starting with a convincing win and setting the quickest time of the night too, clocking a time of 60.62 in heat two.
Steve Worrall made his return to the shale just six weeks after breaking his leg in a crash for Scunthorpe back in April and was still struggling with his leg during the course of the meeting. Worrall made a good start before Jason Garrity caught him on lap two and would go on to take the victory.
After the track grade, it saw Cookie coming out again, following his disappointing third place in the race before – and he stormed to victory ahead of Richard Lawson. Lambert took his second race win of the night in heat seven- after Steve Worrall once again led, but a lack of fitness hampered his chances and saw both the King’s Lynn man and Rory Schlein coming through for first and second.
Scott Nicholls needed eyes in the back of his head to keep Dan Bewley at bay in heat eight, with the Rye House rider holding on for the win and seeing the home rider just leaving himself with too much to do to get passed. Both Jason Garrity and Danny King picked up their second race wins of the meeting to see them still in contention at the top. Heat eleven saw Richie Worrall being excluded for his chain breaking on the starting gate, which then led to the son of the former three-time winner of this competition in Andy Smith’s son Jack Smith, taking a reserve ride. Sadly for him though, Jack lasted half a lap before being excluded for bringing down Rory Schlein on the back straight and then saw the Wolverhampton man taking the win in the rerun.
Not long after, the announcement of Steve Worrall being forced to withdraw came out and saw the St.Helens racer really struggling on his return with the effects of his leg injury still causing problems. Two wins on the bounce one after another for Rob Lambert saw him remaining unbeaten in his first four rides and qualifying straight through to the grand final with still a race to be ridden.
Craig Cook then kept his qualifying hopes alive in heat fourteen with a win, before the championship really started to heat up with a three-way battle involving Kyle Howarth, Richard Lawson and Chris Harris fighting for the lead. ‘Bomber’ Harris almost stole victory at the death from Howarth, after he blasting his way around the outside and was just short of the finishing line.
A fifth win in a row for Rob Lambert saw him finish on 15 points from his qualifying heats and was to be joined by Craig Cook who finished on 11 points and saw both riders avoiding the semifinal.
In heat twenty, Dan Bewley needed to win his final race if he was to claim a semifinal berth in the meeting, and it didn’t out well, as not for the first time in the meeting – it saw the Aces and Workington rider last out of the traps but soon powered his way into second behind Josh Auty and saw the two riders trading places before the Cumbrian racer held on to take the win and make it through.
The semifinal line-up saw a Belle Vue ”past and present’ theme to it, with seven times British champion in former Aces captain Scott Nicholls, two former Belle Vue Colts riders in Jason Garrity and Kyle Howarth and the current terraces favourite in Dan Bewley. Garrity made a good start and led coming off turn two, but Nicholls came by him into first and led the race until Howarth stormed underneath and shoved his opponents wide off turn three to have all four close together. Nicholls regained the lead before coming under pressure from both Garrity and Bewley – to which both went either side of him on the back straight to pass the former Grand Prix man and book their place in the grand final.
Everything seemed to point to a Robert Lambert victory beforehand, so when the tapes went up it saw a shock start for Dan Bewley who hadn’t gated all night and was leading the maximum man off the opening turns. Lambert then passed him down the back straight to move in front before Bewley came up the inside to retake the lead. Craig Cook then got involved and came up the inside of Lambert too but that wasn’t for long, as the King’s Lynn rider blasted by both Cook and Bewley to take the lead and become the British Champion for 2018.
Victory for the the Great Britain rider sees his stock rise following his Under-21 title victory earlier last month and then was followed up with a silver medal as with GB in the Speedway Of Nations and now can add a British Final triumph to his 2018 season.
Belle Vue moved within two points of leaders Swindon Robins with a 50-40 road win over the Leicester Lions at Beaumont Park Stadium on Saturday night as the Aces took four league points to strengthen their playoff position.
The Aces brought in former rider Scott Nicholls to their side and had the former British Champion top scoring with 14+1 as the ex-Ace stepped in to guest for the Belle Vue captain Craig Cook, who was riding in Russia to qualify for the Grand Prix’s next year as part of the Grand Prix Challenge.
Both sides were missing key riders for the fixture due to a number a reasons and is a real hot topic that really needs to be addressed by the BSPA in the forthcoming winter.
Perhaps with both sides fielding a mix of guests for the clash between two famous names in the sport, that it may have made it a more even contest and that clear by the heat scores throughout.
After a couple of shared races it then saw Belle Vue taking the lead in heat 3 through Steve Worrall and ex-Lions man Paul Starke as the two combined for a 5-1 to put the Aces up 11-7, and that was a lead that they never relinquished in the match.
It saw the meeting being a very tight affair with the sight of seven out of the first eight races all being shared races between the two sides and, have a visiting rider taking the chequered flag in seven of those eight races too.
Heat 5 saw Belle Vue’s Great Dane in Kenneth Bjerre shoved to the back by the Leicester pairing of Kyle Howarth and Kenneth brother Lasse, but the Aces man fought his way back and powered his way under Howarth before pushing his brother and taking victory.
Heat 9 saw a stop to the shared races with a 4-2 for the Manchester side, after Lasse Bjerre was excluded in the race after he fell off and saw in the rerun Scott Nicholls taking the win ahead of Kyle Howarth and have Jack Smith picking up his first point of the match too in the race.
The Lions then responded with a 4-2 from Kim Nilsson and Erik Riss in heat 10 to give the hosts their first heat advantage of the match and reduce the deficit to four points. Belle Vue then returned the favour as they eased to a 5-1 from Kenneth Bjerre and Scott Nicholls to see them lead restoring their lead and increase it with the score 37-29.
In the remaining four races of the match it saw the Aces recording three 4-2 heat advantages against their hosts, with a couple of stunning rides by young sensation Dan Bewley winning two coming from the field.
Heat 12 saw Dan Bewley being held back by Lasse Bjerre and saw the Aces man generating more and more speed to finally come up the inside of the Leicester man to take the win.
Leicester then scored the most surprising 5-1 of the whole meeting in Heat 13 with the Lions duo of Kim Nilsson and Lasse Bjerre getting the better of the previously undefeated tandem in Kenneth Bjerre and Scott Nicholls.
Bewley made sure in the penultimate race of the night that the Aces were guaranteed of victory with a breathtaking ride in heat 14, with the youngster passing both Paul Starke and Kyle Howarth in one swift move off the fourth bend to lead the race and pull away for his third win of the night.
Another great race in Heat 15 saw the Lions gating on a 5-1 only for Nicholls and Bjerre to pass Riss and relegate him to the back, while the Aces gave chase and have both riders passing Lasse Bjerre for a 5-1 – Lasse though wasn’t done and came right back to split the pair up again with Nicholls forcing his way back in front, and on the final bend it saw the two Bjerre’s fighting it out with Lasse Bjerre pinching second off his brother on the run to the line.
Another dominating victory for the Belle Vue Colts saw the Manchester side moving back to the top of the National League standings with a comprehensive 57-33 win at home to the travelling Plymouth Devils as Dan Bewley top scored with 15 points in the match and send the Devon side home empty handed.
The Colts headed into the encounter against the Devils with riders missing from their lineup as Lee Payne was still out through injury and saw Rob Shuttleworth unavailable for the meeting and so Mildenhall rider and local rider Jon Armstrong came in to fill the void and wear the Colts race bib once again, just like he had at the start of his career.
Belle Vue’s two young sensations in Dan Bewley and Kyle Bickley kick-started the home side into gear in the opening race, with the duo easing to a 5-1 and that seemed to be the theme for the rest of the meeting. Jack Smith was forced to earn his first win of the night in Heat 3 coming from the back and had the Colts rider blasting his way around the outside of Benji Compton on lap three to pick up a 4-2 with Jon Armstrong and see the home side lead 13-5.
After a couple of races with Bewley and Smith taking relatively straight forward race wins, it then saw the lead being stretched to eight points and have the Devils riders not really getting to grips well with the big fast track at the National Speedway Stadium.
Heat 6 saw a slightly predictable heat advantage for the Belle Vue side though it wasn’t perhaps in the order that you might have imagined, with Dan Bewley being forced to settle for third behind Adam Roynon and saw the surprise race winner being Kyle Bickley who made a blistering start away from tapes and was gone for dust.
Kyle Bickley and Colts reserve Luke Woodhull then both combined for a maximum 5-1 in Heat 8 and have the home side moving past the 30-points barrier and looked like they may hit double that the way they were riding. Plymouth finally saw them picking up their first race winner in Heat 9 with the Devils Adam Roynon battling with Jack Smith and having Roynon edging his rival down the back straight to take the lead and the chequered flag.
The duo of Bewley and Bickley struck again for the Colts in Heat 10 as the Belle Vue riders left the visiting riders trailing behind and being unable to catch them but saw some very good team riding by the youthful pairing too. Another good passing move by Jack Smith saw the youngster flying by former Belle Vue Ace in Steve Boxall and see the current Aces man taking his third race win of the meeting.
Belle Vue recorded their fourth race maximum in Heat 12 as Jon Armstrong took victory ahead of teammate Luke Woodhull and Plymouth’s Benji Compton, with Woodhull and Compton passing and repassing each other for a lap or two before Paul Bowen slid off the bike and find himself stuck under the air-fence causing a stoppage and seeing the race awarded.
With the home side having already won the match by the time Heat 13 came around with the scoreline showing 47-25 in favour of the Colts. That then saw a brilliant race involving Roynon and Bewley for the whole race and looked like the Colts man had done enough to finally win the battle against the Devils rider on the final bend of the race, but Roynon won the war as he powered to the line and pipped him for the win.
Henry Atkins then surprised Jack Smith in the penultimate race of the meeting as the two riders had a good tussle up front which saw Smith passing Atkins on the fourth bend of the opening lap before Atkins returned the favour on the second bend of lap two and see the Devils third race win of the match.
In Heat 15 the home side finished off the night with a 4-2 courtesy of a Dan Bewley race win and his fourth of the night, while Adam Roynon and Kyle Bickley finished in the minor places and saw the Belle Vue side keeping their title challenge on track.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Despite good performances by Dan Bewley and Jack Smith in the match, Kyle Bickley had arguably one of his best meetings of the season and saw him not only picking up two wins, but it was his team riding and gating that was the most impressive in the match.
Belle Vue Colts = 57
1. Dan Bewley – 3, 3, 1, 3, 2, 3 = 15 2. Kyle Bickley – 2′, 3, 3, 2′, 1′, 1 = 12+3 3. Jon Armstrong (Guest) – 1, R, 3, 1′, 3 = 8+1 4. Jack Smith – 3, 3, 2, 3, 2 = 13 5. R/R for Lee Payne (DB – 3, JA – 3, JS – 3, KB – 1′ = 10+1) 6. Andy Mellish – 3, 0, 0, 1′ = 4+1 7. Luke Woodhull – 1, 0, 2′, 2′ = 5+2
(King’s Lynn/Great Britain) Saturday evening at the Adrian Flux Arena in King’s Lynn saw Event 1 of the 2017 Monster Energy Speedway World Cup being won comfortably by hosts Great Britain, with Captain Craig Cook top scoring with 14 points to lead his side to the final. The captain was given great support throughout the British side with Chris Harris, track specialist Robert Lambert and Cook’s teammate up at Belle Vue in Steve Worrall, all scoring 13 points a piece in the meeting and see Great Britain heading back to the World Cup Final in Poland next Saturday night.
Great Britain made a stunning start to the meeting with all four riders winning out in their first rides. Craig Cook got the party started as he jumped on a error by Troy Batchelor in the opening race and then saw the first drama of the meeting in Heat 2, after Australian Nick Morris clipped the back wheel of the American youngster Gino Manzares down the back straight and sent the Swindon man tumbling off his bike and being excluded from the re-run.
Steve Worrall made it two wins on the bounce for the hosts after the third time of asking, when Worrall was guilty of jumping the gun in the restart, but in the second restart Worrall was superb from the gate and took the race win to open up a four point lead. Chris ‘Bomber’ Harris made a good gate and had enough speed to come around Vaclav Milik from the Czech Republic to take Heat 3 and in Heat 4 saw the battle of the King’s Lynn boys in Rob Lambert and Chris Holder, with the GB man forcing his Stars team mate out wide and securing victory.
In the second set of races it saw Lambert making it two wins from two in Heat 5, after the King’s Lynn rider made a superb gate ahead of Max Fricke of Australia and never looked in any danger what so ever. The same though couldn’t be said of Fricke though, as the Belle Vue man came into the final bend with too much speed and had Gino Manzares of the USA pinching second place to gift Team USA two-points and were proving to be a surprise package in Event one.
Australia then started to mount a comeback of sorts in Heats Six and Seven, with Chris Holder and Troy Batchelor winning the Aussies first two races in the meeting and saw Craig Cook making sure it wasn’t to be three wins in a row for Australia as the British Champion stole a march on his rivals in Heat 8, with the British captain leaving the others for dead. Steve Worrall was suffering with bike problems ahead of his ride in Heat 9 and saw the Belle Vue and Newcastle man forced to ride Chris Harris bike for the first run of the race, before the Czech rider Hynek Stichauer came off on the third bend and saw American Dillion Ruml unable to avoid the fallen rider and ended up crashing and hitting the air fence.
Heat 11 saw the Australian Team Manager Mark Lemon putting the Tactical Joker ride on Chris Holder with the Brits seven-points up, and that saw the the former World Champion coming into replace Nick Morris for the race. Holder took the win and scored six massive points for the Australians in the grand scheme of things to see them cutting the lead cut down to three points on GB in the meeting. Team USA saw them utilising the Tactical Joker in Heat 12 with Gino Manzares being the rider nominated and saw the American doubling his score to two, thanks to a third place finish but it was all about Harris and Batchelor at the front of the race and saw Team GB fending off another challenge from the Australians.
Successful Great British side PIC: SPEEDWAYGP
Great Britain starting to turn the screw a bit then on their rivals with relatively wins coming from Robert Lambert, Chris Harris, while a good ride by Cook saw him remaining unbeaten heading into the final four races of event one. Steve Worrall saw him riding two on the trot and helped book his sides place at the World Cup final in Poland next weekend with an comfortable win in Heat 17. Chris Holder and Troy Batchelor then gave the Aussies some confidence ahead of their race-off meeting in Poland on Friday night, after collecting a couple of race wins.
Czech rider Vaclav Milik provided the shock win of the night, after the former Poole Pirates man and ex-Grand Prix rider saw him denying Craig Cook from going through the card unbeaten to take Heat 20. Cook though was still forced to earn his two points in the race after missing the gate and that saw the Cumbrian rider getting by Nick Morris on the second lap and despite trying to chase the leader, he was forced to settle for second.
Australia will look back to the start of the meeting and know that their slow start cost them and that gave the hosts a good foundation to build on throughout and will look to make amends in the race-off. For the Czechs, they were never in the meeting at all to be fair and they seemed to struggled on the King’s Lynn circuit for power and just being able to match their opponents, especially the Americans and that saw them missing out on a race-off spot. Arguable the side of the meeting were the Americans, with the side mainly being made of youngsters put on a great performance and thoroughly deserved their place in the run-off.
Meanwhile the winners of the first event in this year’s World Cup was Alun Rossiter’s Great Britain side and saw his men providing 13 of the 20 Heats victories in the meeting. Victory also shown that they weren’t a man one-team like many thought prior to World Cup week, with Tai Woffinden being seen as a huge miss from the line-up following his refusal to ride after arguments with the bosses in British Speedway.
Czech Republic = 13
1. Matej Kus – F, 0, 0, 0 = 0 2. Vaclav Milik – R, 1, 0, 2^, 3 = 6 3. Josef Franc – 1, 1, 0, 1, 1 = 4 4. Hynek Stichauer – 1, FX, 1, 1 = 3 5. Eduard Krcmar – 0, 0 = 0
This past Monday night saw Craig Cook finally able to call himself British Champion at the fourth time of asking, after the newly appointed Great Britain captain roared to glory on his home track and lift not only the British Championship at the National Speedway Stadium, but also book his place at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium for the British Grand Prix next month.
For the Belle Vue and Workington rider, it saw his victory as a culmination of hard work and determination over the winter to finally getting his hands on the trophy that has eluded him the past last three years on the trot. After finishing as runner-up to Tai Woffinden twice and then losing in the final at the NSS to the eventual winner last year in Danny King, it felt like the man from Cumbria would never there.
The field for the meeting was a quite a competitive one, as former champions took part in 7-times winner Scott Nicholls, 3-times winner Chris Harris and last year’s winner in Danny King. Another entrant making his debut was a veteran of British Speedway in a sense, through Australian Rory Schlein who was riding on a British licence and qualified through the semi’s to make his British Final bow.
While the experienced heads were in the meeting and looking for glory, it gave way to the next generation of up and coming riders who wanted to showcase their talents too and put themselves in the shop window for future World Cup selection via this prestigious meeting. There was one other tantalising reward to the winner of the meeting, as who ever finished top of the podium would receive the number 16 race jacket for Cardiff, and take part in the British Grand Prix on the 22nd of July.
In the opening heat Ben Barker stormed to victory, as he held off the challenge of the reigning champion in Danny King for the full four laps to pick up three race points, as Barker was a late substitute into the meeting after Lewis Bridger was forced to pull out a couple of days prior through injury. Lewis Rose then won first time out in his debut race in the British final, as the King’s Lynn and Newcastle Diamond man missed out on the action all took place behind. Rye House and Peterborough rider Chris Harris saw him forcing his way through the pack, with the Cornish man coming from the back and into second place and saw him very nearly catching Rose on the final lap.
Heat four saw an interesting line up with home favourite Craig Cook up against former Aces in Rory Schlein, Scott Nicholls and Richie Worrall in their respective opening race. Cook flew away from tapes and was never troubled at all, with the other riders racing for second place and saw Nicholls finishing behind the leader and closely followed by Worrall. In the second round of races, it pitted the Worrall brothers against each other in heat five, with Steve powering around the outside of his brother Richie and leaving his rivals for dead as Richie took second.
‘Cookie’ made it two wins in two after a tough battle with Glasgow and Somerset man Richard Lawson for the race win, after passing Kyle Howarth on lap two and then rode handlebar to handlebar with the dark horse of the meeting in Lawson. In the end Cook just had too much speed for his opponent to claim the win and move onto six points.
Rory Schlein then picked up his maiden win in a British Final, as he roared around the field in Heat 8 after Stuart Robson had made the gate ahead of Harris and Jason Garrity, but Schlein found plenty of room and grip to try the outside and pass them all down the back straight for three points. In the next race it saw the Australian making it two wins on the bounce with a fairly comfortable victory and saw him on six points level with the leaders.
Danny King then came to life in the second half of the meeting, with a stunning pass coming off turn two on the opening lap, as he powered his way pass the former champion in Nicholls and Stuart Robson at the front to take the lead and hold out for a big heat victory. Craig Cook then took his tally to nine-points after his third race win in Heat 11, with the Aces and Comets man making a huge cutback on the second bend to pass all his fellow rivals and was then ruthless on his Belle Vue team mate Steve Worrall, as he forced Steve to shut off on the fourth bend on the opening lap.
That win seem to have effectively guaranteed the Belle Vue man a place in the semi-finals at the very least and saw the three-time runner up looking untouchable around his home circuit. Richie Worrall kept in contention with a race win in Heat 12 after battling with Lewis Rose for the lead for a lap or so, and saw Rose losing out. Then came the shock result in Heat 13, as Rose who had just been beaten by Richie Worrall in the previous race, Rose then put the cat amongst the pigeons and inflicted defeat on Cook with a great ride to win the race.
Danny King refused to give up his British Final crown without a fight, and so saw him fending off fierce competition from Richie Worrall in Heat 14 to pick up his second race win of the night and remain in the top scorers. Rory Schlein made it three wins out of four for the debutante, following his win ahead of Ben Barker who raced Richard Lawson all the way and saw them both swapping positions throughout, before the Cornish man held on to grab second place.
Heat 16 saw Kyle Howarth being excluded after the peak on his helmet caught the tapes and after a previous warning for a false start earlier in the night it saw the Wolves and Sheffield rider being kicked out by the referee and brought in first reserve Jack Smith for his first appearance in a British Final. Jack who is son of former three-times champion of the British Final and another Belle Vue alumni in Andy Smith, saw the youngster on pace with the others in the race and that until the back-straight when the rest of field all passed him by and saw a great race out in front between Steve Worrall and Scott Nicholls.
Worrall held on to beat Nicholls and put him in contention with a possible grand final berth still within reach for the man from St.Helens. Rye House Rockets team mates Scott Nicholls and Chris Harris met in Heat 17, but Richard Lawson wasn’t going to give up easily as he showed his liking for this track once again with a good battle between himself and Nicholls for second place, as with ‘Bomber’ gone it saw Lawson having the speed on his rival to get second place and move into fifth place in the qualifying standings.
Steve Worrall booked his grand final place with a stunning win in Heat 18 over King and Schlein, with the latter two racing each other hard along with Kerr with all three swapping places over four laps. Richie Worrall and Ben Barker then had a good tussle for the lead in the following heat, as for the first three laps of the race it was Worrall leading until Barker charged hard and had the speed to move ahead of Richie and book his semi final place.
In the final qualifying heat it saw Craig Cook showing his passing ability yet again, as he was last of the gate before getting a lot of drive outside of both Lewis Rose and Paul Starke and that saw the Belle Vue and Workington man power his way to the front and make it four wins out of five. With the Belle Vue duo of Cook and Steve Worrall both advancing to the Grand Final, it saw the two remaining place up for grabs and was between a determined Ben Barker, a battling Rory Schlein and two riders that wanted to lift that title once more in Scott Nicholls and Danny King.
The semi final was without doubt the race of the night. Firstly it saw Ben Barker taking the lead on the first bend to which the Redcar Bears man held on to, whilst the remaining riders passed and re passed each other for the duration of the race and finished with Rory Schlein picking up second in the semi final and booked his place in the final along with Barker. It meant that with King finishing outside the top two places that we would have a new British Champion for 2017 and a new name on the trophy too.
With the grand final forthcoming, it was anyone’s to win and saw it anything than straight forward win. As the tapes flew up it saw it a surprise with Steve Worrall making the better gate and saw Ben Barker going wide in to the dirt on the second bend to generate speed and that allowed Craig Cook to roar up the inside of them all and join his Aces team mate at the front. Worrall who had ruthlessly been cut off by Cook in the qualifying heats, saw him almost returning the favour as he was holding onto the lead.
However on the first bend of the second lap it saw Cook diving up the inside of Worrall and taking the lead from his Aces team-mate, as Worrall was not about to give up hopes of winning the title, but he was forced to settle for the runners up spot as Cookie took the British title in front of his home supporters and finally land the big one. The GB star received a standing ovation and the traditional bumps for winning the meeting to complete a fantastic week for the Cumbrian man, as following the appointment as him taking over as captain for the forthcoming World Cup, he followed up his win in Italy at Grand Prix challenge semi-final last Saturday with the British title.
Belle Vue got back to winning ways this past Friday night with a tight win over the battling Swindon Robins 48-42 at the National Speedway Stadium, with the returning Kenneth Bjerre to their line up and saw the Danish rider scoring 13 points on his way to leading the Aces to victory. Meanwhile Swindon’s Grand Prix star Jason Doyle top scored with 14 points for the Robins, with the Wiltshire side claiming a losing bonus point for their efforts.
Things were looking very good after three races gone for the home side, as Belle Vue led 11-7 with a couple of 4-2’s going their way, and also saw Steve Worrall getting the better of Australian Jason Doyle in the opening heat.
Swindon’s Nick Morris and reserve Zach Wajtknecht then combined in heat four for a 5-1 maximum to the Robins, as they saw off the challenge of Aces Jack Smith and Craig Cook, to which Cook struggled all evening with new machinery and looked low on power all night.
The visitors then edged ahead with a 4-2 from Doyle and guest rider Matt Williamson, as the Australia flew away from the tapes and saw Bjerre nowhere to be seen in means of trying to catch him in the race. Max Fricke and Steve Worrall then repaid the compliment back to their guests with a 4-2 in the following race, to square the meeting up at 18-18.
David Bellego and Adam Ellis then restored the Robins two point lead in heat 7, as Ellis made the gate and that was before Craig Cook came into the lead and then saw Bellego swooping by Cook for the lead and see another 4-2 race advantage going the way of Swindon.
Steve Worrall and Dan Bewley then got out on a 5-1 for the Aces in heat 8, but yet again they were unable to seal the deal and had Bellego again managing to force his way through to get by Bewley but not Worrall, as the home boys levelled things up again for a 24-24 scoreline.
Belle Vue then began to make inroads in the match over the next two races, with the Aces gaining maximum points in both. Firstly in heat 9 it saw Kenneth Bjerre and Justin Sedgmen gating and leaving their opponents eating their dust, while in heat 10 Max Fricke took the race win ahead of Worrall, who just beat Bellego heading into the final couple of bends for a 5-1.
The home side had effectively won the match by heat 12, after a 4-2 from Bjerre and Smith saw the son of former Aces man Andy, trying everything to get pass Zach Wajtknecht for second place but was forced to settle for a point.
Swindon then hit back with a 5-1 in heat 13 to give them hopes of claiming a losing bonus point at least from the meeting, and in the the last race of the night it saw Jason Doyle once again showing his class again around the NSS track to give the Robins a deserved point in the scheme of things and have the Aces picking up the win.
Belle Vue Aces = 48
1. Max Fricke – 1,3,3,0 = 7
2. Steve Worrall – 3,1,3,2*,1* = 10+2
3. Kenneth Bjerre – 3,2,3,3,2 = 13
4. Justin Sedgmen – 1,0,2*,1* = 4+2
5. Craig Cook – 1,2,2,1 = 6
6. Dan Bewley – 3,0,1,1*,2 = 7+1
7. Jack Smith – 0,0,(DB-1),1 = 1