Expect the unexpected was very much the theme of Belle Vue’s 48-42 victory over Leicester in Manchester on Friday, who presented the Rentruck Aces with an exceptionally tough challenge.
Again, inclement weather threatened to intervene at the National Speedway Stadium and the track staff certainly had their work cut out for them to ensure the behemoth circuit was made race-ready.
Their efforts paid off with stupendous results, for the action was not only close but also fast and furious. The Lions in particular were desperate not to leave the North West empty handed.
Team manager Mark Lemon admits he was surprised by the level of competition their opponents dished out, but emphasised his boys were not caught napping by their unexpected strength.
He said: “As I’ve said before, you must expect the unexpected in the Elite League and Leicester turned up tonight with the unexpected in tow. They threw everything at us, even the kitchen sink!
“But it was our gritty determination that brought us across the line in the end. Obviously track conditions played their part in proceedings following those spells of late afternoon rain we had.
“We have to give full credit to the track staff for getting the meeting on and producing a very good race track that the boys could not only knuckle down with but also race on without holding back.
“I’ll admit I thought things were looking doubtful at 7:30pm but again the design of the track is what helped save our meeting, and we can now be quite confident when faced with inclement weather.”
It was not all plain sailing for the Rentruck Aces once Leicester had acquired a taste for their track, for some more than others as mechanical gremlins caused endless headaches at the team’s core.
Lemon continued: “A couple of the boys had mechanical dramas which was frustrating but as a unit we pulled together and maintained a solid performance which in the end got us the three points.”
“Both Max and Scott changed bikes during the course of the meeting. We’re not quite sure what happened to Max to be honest, whether it was an ignition or a carburettor problem. We don’t know.
“His bike has been quite literally in pieces in his pit bay but that happens sometimes. What I was most impressed with was how everybody responded to help fill the gaps where we were struggling.
“Meetings like this are proof of how demanding this track is not only on the equipment but also on the rider. That in turn demands all of the boys to step up their efforts in order to secure the win.
“It’s going to be a while now before we are racing back at home as a team, obviously with the World Cup break, but we’ve still got Swindon and Coventry away next week to contend with.
“I wouldn’t say they were meetings we must win but we do need to ensure we continue to pick up those vital points on the road to cement our intentions and further emphasise our push for the top.”
RESULT – FRIDAY JULY 15TH
Belle Vue ‘Rentruck’ Aces 48
Matej Zagar 13+1, Craig Cook 10+3, Steve Worrall 10, Richie Worrall 6, Max Fricke 4, Scott Nicholls 3+1, Joe Jacobs 2+1
Leicester ‘Paul Chapman & Sons’ Lions 42
Michael Palm Toft 13+1, Patrick Hougaard 10, Josh Auty 6+2, Szymon Wozniak 6+1, Hugh Skidmore 4, Nicolai Klindt 3, Paul Starke R/R
Elite League Points: Belle Vue 3 Leicester 1
Words: Hayley Bromley
Image: Ian Charles