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
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
Belle Vue gained a small measure of revenge on their Grand Final opponents from last year’s playoff in the Wolverhampton Wolves, as Danish rider Kenneth Bjerre led the way with a 15 point maximum as the Aces took victory in a 54-38 win over the West Midlands outfit in front of a big crowd at the National Speedway Stadium this past Good Friday.
Early morning showers had hit Manchester hours before the meeting was due to take place and that saw the ‘liquid sunshine’ of Manchester causing the track to be a bit troublesome for the riders early on. A good crowd had swelled the stadium for the encounter between two of British speedway’s heavyweights and considering the miserable conditions overhead, it saw the fans treated to some good racing at the track.
It saw the visitors opening up the meeting with a 5-1 courtesy of local lad Kyle Howarth and Swede Freddie Lindgren, as the fans that had travelled up from the Black Country cheered their opening success on the terraces and in truth that was as good as it got for the reigning League Champions.
Belle Vue hit right back through Dan Bewley and Jack Smith in the reserves race, as the Aces pairing both flew away from the tapes and demonstrated some impressive team riding skills to keep the Wolves riders behind them and fill them both in with the wet dirt causing the away side riders to be no danger at all.
Kenneth Bjerre then started how he meant to go on in the match, with the Denmark International taking the chequered flag ahead of a fast Jacob Thorssell from the Wolves side and had team mate Justin Sedgmen securing third spot for the home side to complete a 4-2 heat advantage for Belle Vue.
The next four races brought a share of the points with successive 3-3’s being raced out between the two, but saw the Aces still holding a slender two-point lead as the meeting hit the half way mark.
After a bit of a delay with some track grading going on and trying to make it a bit easier for the riders and give them more lines to race on than the middle of the track, it saw the immediate heats afterwards giving the Aces a big advantage and came on fire for the rest of the match.
Steve Worrall and Jack Smith started the ball rolling with a 4-2 win in Heat 8 and that was quickly followed up by a superb ride by Aussie Justin Sedgmen in the next race, with the Aces man blocking off the fast paced Sam Masters from the visitors and needed eyes in the back of his head to see where his former Edinburgh teammate was for the whole race. Bjerre meanwhile quietly went about his business and claimed his third heat win of the afternoon to see the home side picking up a 5-1 and extending their lead to 31-23.
Max Fricke and Steve Worrall repeated the feat in Heat 10, with Belle Vue now finding their groove and was finally beginning to put some space between themselves and Wolverhampton side with another 5-1 and have the Wolves boss Peter Adams playing the ‘tactical ride’ in the next race.
With Craig Cook going off gate two where there had been no winner all afternoon, plus with youngster Dan Bewley who had only scored 3 from his opening two rides compared to Lindgren and Howarth, it saw this race seemingly being certain of a good Wolverhampton heat advantage.
However, speedway meetings aren’t raced on paper and with Lindgren going for double points it saw the Swede battling hard with Craig Cook for the whole race and was similar to their last outing against each other in the grand final, when Lindgren on that occasion was ruthless on Cook and nearly took him out and had riders almost coming to blows.
This time though it saw cooler heads and despite the Wolves man going hard again on Cook entering the final lap, it saw the ‘Cookie Monster’ wiser that before and managed to cut back up the inside of the Swede to retake the lead entering the third and fourth bend to win the race and have Bewley getting third place too, which saw a 4-4 shared heat and negated the score.
Heat 12 saw Bjerre then demonstrating his team riding abilities for the team, as he helped young Master Smith around the track for another 5-1 and sealed victory for the Aces with three races still left to run. Freddie Lindgren then popped out of the start in the battle of the big guns in Heat 13, as saw the Swede taking the race win ahead of Cook and Fricke who both realised they were not going to catch the Wolverhampton man and saw a share of the spoils.
Jacob Thorssell then earned his place in the final race of the match with a heat win in the penultimate race of the day, but the final word belonged to Kenneth Bjerre, who blasted his way out of the starting gate and was able to hold off stern challenges by Thorssell and Lindgren in the closing stages to complete his maximum in the meeting.
The victory puts Belle Vue top of the table for now and sees the sides renewing acquaintances at Monmore Green on Tuesday night and will give the Aces a chance to put in a better performance than their last outing there, to which saw the Manchester side effectively blowing their title hopes on that occasion.
For the here and now, Belle Vue are looking a very good side early doors and will have pleased the Team Manager and Director of the club in Mark Lemon and the new owners too and will be hoping that this side will continue on this rich vain of form for the foreseeable future as well.