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2016 Sporting Moments
Tuesday 24th January 2017 @ 14:45 by Mark Phillip

For Belle Vue Aces fans, 2016 proved bittersweet in many respects.

Following months of anticipation and gradual excitement, fans of the famous club were primed for a new season in the £8 million National Speedway Stadium.

Excitement soon turned sour, though, as disaster struck in March when the stadium’s grand opening meeting was abandoned due to complications with the track.

Due to the abandonment, the club was forced to rearrange a series of home fixtures for later in the season.

The opening of the new stadium was meant to herald a new era for the club, but instead gave it headlines for all the wrong reasons.

However, despite obvious problems behind the scenes, manager Mark Lemon assembled a team with belief and desire.

And it was this belief and desire which helped the Aces’ claim 19 victories in 28 meetings, which subsequently created a play-off semi-final date at Lakeside.

Victory in the first leg at Lakeside was followed a week later by another triumph, thus securing the team a place in the final against Wolverhampton.

But what followed was arguably the lowest point of the season, as a weak performance in the first leg gave Wolverhampton an 18 point cushion for the return fixture.

Despite home advantage and victory on the night, Belle Vue were unable to claim an aggregate victory and Wolves were crowned champions.

Once the dust had settled, it didn’t take too long for the suffering Belle Vue fans to be dealt another blow.

In November, the clubs future was thrown into doubt after being kicked out of their stadium and having their licence revoked due to ‘concerns over financial mismanagement’.

However, fans’ concerns were alleviated last week when the club announced that it will be racing this year under new management.

Following a revamp to the league structure, voted through by club bosses in November, Belle Vue will be racing in the Great Britain Premiership this year, along with Coventry, King’s Lynn, Leicester, Poole, Rye House, Somerset, Swindon and last season’s champions, Wolverhampton.

Ultimately, the leagues have been rebranded Speedway Great Britain (SGB) Premiership and SGB Championship – and promotion and relegation has been introduced with the leagues coming closer together.

The winners of the Championship play-offs will race the Premiership’s bottom club to decide who rides in the 2018 SGB Premiership.


Regular readers of the Reporter will have picked up on the many boxing stories we’ve published over the past 12 months.

Professional boxers Charlie Schofield and Matt Mainwaring made the headlines on a number of occasions after going the entire year undefeated!

Mainwaring, who previously played professional football with Stockport County and Hull City, before dropping down to Hyde United and Stalybridge Celtic, decided to swap the pitch for the ring in November 2014.

Former footballer turned professional boxer Matty Mainwaring

The 26-year-old has competed in four fights during that period, winning every bout on points.

Meanwhile, Schofield, 23, is similar in that respect.

Schofield is looking to extend his unbeaten run to nine wins in February

In fact, since turning professional three years ago, the hard-hitter, from Ashton, has won all eight of his fights.

Charlie is hoping to extend his unbeaten run to nine wins on Saturday, february 18 at the Victoria Warehouse in Trafford.

2016 was just as good for hotly-tipped Bobby Faulkner.

The 16-year-old, from Audenshaw, became a 2x National Champion, won two gold medals and was also taken on by the England Talent program.

Bobbie Faulkner had a year to remember both inside and outside the ring

Bobby also left Wright Robinson College with an impressive set of GCSE results, claiming mainly A’s and B’s which subsequently confirmed his place at the AASE Boxing College in Bolton.

Looking ahead to 2017, Bobby’s mother, Jennie, said: “Bobby has really enjoyed his Christmas and is all set for 2017.
“His goal is to get some good fights for England under his belt and to look for sponsorship.”

Those wishing to sponsor Bobby can contact his mother, Jennie, on the following: [email protected]

The Tour of Tameside:

From a personal perspective, one of my highlights of 2016 was the return of the Tour of Tameside for a second consecutive year.

The Tour returned for a second consecutive year in June.

Created in the 1980’s by Dr Ron Hill MBE, the Tour is a fantastic way for people to come together – regardless of age or ability.

Many people are unaware of the beautiful surroundings that Tameside has to offer, yet the Tour, with its scenic routes past the Walkerwood Reservoir and Longdendale Trail, offers this in abundance.

Over 500 people took part in last year’s event, which took place across four days from Thursday 16 until Sunday 19 June.

Tour of Tameside 2016 press launch at Hyde Townhall
Pictured Neville McGraw from Hadfield Ron Hill and Neil Atherton from Middleton they have both run all the past runs and friend Tony Hillier far right

Tour organisers have decided to bring the Tour back for a third consecutive year and, what’s more, they’re offering beginners with the opportunity to take part in a four-way relay event.

Put simply, friends, colleagues or family members can divide one leg by four people to make the race easier.

Whatever your age or ability, the Tour is a great way to spark an interest in keeping fit – you won’t regret it!

Our sports reporter, Mark Philip completed the Hyde 7 Mile run.