IT’S a big night in prospect for reigning Premiership Champions Belle Vue as they prepare for the second leg of their Knockout Cup encounter with Wolverhampton on Thursday, May 18.
The ATPI Aces were left reeling in the wake of their first leg 46-20 defeat at Monmore Green, and now face the momentous task of recovering a 26-point deficit.
The team who wins on aggregate will go on to face Sheffield in the semi-finals, with a repeat of last year’s league grand final potentially on the cards should Belle Vue advance.
Both teams will be short a couple of riders on the night as a result of the European U23 Team Championships, with both Tom Brennan and Norick Blodorn missing for the ATPI Aces.
Their rides will be covered by Rider Replacement and guest Keynan Rew respectively, with Kyle Bickley covering for Leon Flint for the Wolves and Justin Sedgmen stepping in for the injured Luke Becker.
Belle Vue boss Mark Lemon said: “It’s a case of third time lucky for us in our attempts to stage this fixture, but thankfully the forecast is looking great for Thursday.
“The delay has heightened the tension and the anticipation for this meeting. It was early April when we went to Monmore Green and we have been very eager ever since to set the record straight.
“This will be the biggest challenge the team has faced so far this season and it is unfortunate that we will be missing both Tom and Norick to international duties.
“But Wolverhampton are in the same boat somewhat and I feel both sides are even going into this, and with the way we have been performing at home I am satisfied we can get the job done.
“We’re not approaching this meeting as a formality. Mathematically, we can still progress into the semi-finals and as long as that remains the case we will battle to make that a reality.”
The ATPI Aces return to action in Manchester next Thursday, May 18 for their rearranged Knockout Cup quarter final against Wolverhampton, where the visitors lead 46-20 on aggregate.
Meeting tickets, race day programmes, south stand parking and hospitality are available to pre-book online at bellevue-speedway.com.
BELLE VUE V WOLVERHAMPTON – THURSDAY, MAY 18 @ 7:30PM [PKOC L2]
Belle Vue ‘ATPI’ Aces : Dan Bewley 8.46, Tom Brennan R/R, Jaimon Lidsey 7.23, Charles Wright 6.92, Brady Kurtz (C) 8.11, Keynan Rew (G) 5.50, Jake Mulford RS; TM: Mark Lemon
Wolverhampton ‘Parrys International’ Wolves : Sam Masters (C) 8.21, Steve Worrall 6.62, Justin Sedgmen (G) 7.11, Ryan Douglas 6.49, Rory Schlein 7.20, Zach Cook 4.00, Kyle Bickley (G) RS; TM: Peter Adams
Image: Ian Charles