Returning Belle Vue Ace Craig Cook says he’s already impressed with the new-look management structure at the Mancunian club and has voiced his excitement towards the upcoming season.
Following one of the most tumultuous winters to grip British Speedway, the 29-year old became one of the team’s first confirmed signings at the recent Fans’ Forum along with Steve Worrall.
Prepping himself for his seventh season in their iconic colours, Cook had been getting to grips with his machinery at Scunthorpe before heading off to King’s Lynn and the Team GB Training Day.
Of his recent session in Lincolnshire, the Cumbrian Ace stated: “I jumped on the bike and within the first couple of laps I just felt very comfortable, more comfortable than I’ve ever felt to be honest!
“It’s been nearly four months since I last rode. We tested a few things and made some changes but only little things like seat position etc. Things to make the ride smoother and more comfortable.
“I was surprised at how relaxed I felt after having not ridden for so long. I was happy with that practice. It’s a good start so now it’s just a case of easing back into the daily grind, as they say.”
The off-season has been far from typical for all concerned at the National Speedway Stadium but with their first fixture looming, Cook has declared his confidence in both his team and his bosses.
He said: “It’s been a very stressful winter for everyone at Belle Vue. It was a bit of a shock to learn the old business had been liquidated but I think a fresh start is what this club really needed.
“At first I think it’ll be a bit strange racing under new management but from what I’ve seen so far, they’ve blown my mind as to their professionalism and the way in which they conduct themselves.
“There’s a lot to do but they’ve already covered so much ground. The stadium needs a good team to operate it and I honestly believe under their leadership it will be run as efficiently as possible.”
On the latest additions to the Aces, Cook continued: “I’m good friends with Dan. He’s a level-headed guy and he had a great season last year. He’s eager to learn and take things on board.
“I watched him doing motocross for years and he’s a very smooth and calculated rider. There’s no questioning his talent and with the right guidance, he could be world champion in years to come.
“Jack is someone I’m not very familiar with as a rider but if Mark Lemon has chosen him for the team then you know there’s a very good reason. From what I’ve heard, he seems a great prospect.
“His dad Andy [Smith] used to ride for this club and I’m sure his knowledge will help keep him on track. He’s got everything going for him so I see no reason why he won’t do a good job for us.”
Words: Hayley Bromley
Images: Hayley Bromley