Belle Vue Aces left with work to do to make the final
Tuesday 26th September 2017 @ 12:23 by Lee Wild
News Sports

Belle Vue’s hopes of reaching their third Premiership Grand Final in three years were left very much in the balance heading into yesterday’s (Wednesday) play-off semi-final second leg at home to Wolverhampton.

The Aces went down 51-38 in the first leg at Wolverhampton’s Monmore Green stadium in a match littered with falls, to leave themselves with a tough task if they are to progress through to the play-off final to meet Swindon, who came through the other semi-final 97-82 on aggregate after a 51-38 win home over Poole.

Belle Vue had started brightly to restrict the Wolves to a 17-13 lead after five heats, but a number of falls on a tricky third and fourth bend proved to be their undoing.

Photo by Ian Charles:

Skipper Craig Cook came down in heat 6, whilst chasing Freddie Lindgren and Kyle Howarth, to hand Wolves a maximum win.

The Aces looked set to hit back in the next as Max Fricke and Rohan Tungate took the lead, only for Tungate to become a victim of the difficult top bend.

A win for Steve Worrall in heat 8 narrowed the gap back to 27-21, as this time it was Wolves’ turn to provide a third bend faller in Mark Riss, but the turning point came in the next two heats.

Another fall for Cook gave Wolves an easy 5-1 win over Belle Vue’s stand-in reserve Rob Shuttleworth, and Wolves took a second successive maximum heat win in heat 10 when Tungate was again a faller.

At 37-23 the match seemed to be slipping away from the Aces, but man-of-the-match Worrall and Kenneth Bjerre teamed up for a 5-1 win in the next, and Max Fricke and Dan Bewley pulled back another two points in heat 12 to again close the gap to just 8 points.

A huge crash in the penultimate heat with Wolves Jacob Thorssell and Tungate saw the Aces’ man excluded from the re-run with Thorssell also unable to take his place through injury.

Belle Vue went into the final heat trailing by just 9 points, but maximum man Lindgren came through from behind to join Rory Schlein in a 5-1 win as Worrall came down on the top bend which had been the Aces bogey all night.

Photo by Ian Charles:

A 13-point defeat left the Aces with it all to do in yesterday’s second leg, but that was the only disappointment in an otherwise hectic and successful weekend for Belle Vue.

The weekend opened with Belle Vue booking themselves a place in the Knockout Cup final in a thrilling match with Swindon at the National Speedway Stadium.

Pulling back an 11-point first leg deficit against the team who had topped the league standings always looked a tall order, and things looked worse when Swindon opened with a first heat 5-1 win.

But slowly and surely the Aces ate into the visitors lead to go into the final heat trailing by just one point on aggregate.

And it was No.1 Kenneth Bjerre and skipper Craig Cook who brought the house down as they stormed home to take a 5-1 win which saw Belle Vue 52-38 victors on the night and through to the KO Cup Final 91-88 on aggregate.

Action switched to the National League on Saturday for a second successive night of racing at the National Stadium as the Belle Vue Colts took on Eastbourne in their final league match of the NL season.

It was the visiting Eagles who went into the match as league leaders, but it was Belle Vue who finished the night on top after a 57-33 win which saw them move above Eastbourne to head the National League standings going into the championship play-offs.

Finishing top of the league standings gives Belle Vue the option to choose their play-off opponents for the semi-finals, and the Colts’ bosses moved quickly to select Lakeside, which leaves Eastbourne to face Kent in the other play-off semi-final.

Photo by Ian Charles: Dan Bewley in action

Belle Vue Colts No.1 Dan Bewley proved himself to be the National League’s number 1 rider at Leicester on Sunday as he won the National League Riders’ Championship with a 15-point maximum in a faultless display.

The meeting brings together the top rider from each National League club, and it was the tiny Belle Vue man who stood head and shoulders above the rest after a stunning display.

The 18-year-old rising star won his first three rides from the gate to head into the interval as joint leader alongside Buxton’s Bury-based ex-Colt Matt Williamson.

The pair met in heat 14 as Bewley missed the gate to find himself in last place heading up the back straight for the first time.

But Bewley brilliantly worked his way through the field picking off his opponents to take the win.

The Colts youngster went into his final ride needing only a second place to take the title, but he again missed the gate to find himself at the back.

However the all-action rider again burst through to find himself in second place going into the final lap, but not one to settle for second, he made one final charge to pass Josh Bailey off the final corner to take the title with an unbeaten score.

Buxton’s Matt Williamson took second place, with Berwick based Liam Carr with rides for Birmingham completing the rostrum.

The Belle Vue Colts start their National League play-off bid tomorrow night (Friday) away at Lakeside where they will be looking to keep the scores close ahead of the second leg at the National Stadium next Friday.

They then travel on to Mildenhall this Sunday for the first leg of the National League Knockout Cup semi-final.

by Graham Goodwin