Meeting Report - Kurtz Crowned Craven Champion

BRADY Kurtz added his name to the list of legends to triumph in the Peter Craven Memorial.
18 March 2024 by
Hayley Bromley

BELLE Vue Aces Captain Brady Kurtz added his name to the list of legends to triumph in the Peter Craven Memorial, after speedway season opener at the National Speedway Stadium on March 18. 

It was a meeting befitting the legendary Aces rider, who tragically passed away following a track crash at Edinburgh in 1963 but whose legacy has continued to inspire generations of Aces ever since. 

The event was dubbed by some as a mini Manchester Speedway Grand Prix, with world stars and national treasures lining up to take part in what has become the most prestigious individual event in the UK.

And the National Speedway Stadium was packed with eager supporters keen to get their first methanol fix of the season, after a long winter, and Belle Vue’s Craven Memorial certainly did not disappoint. 

The adrenalin-fuelled racing produced plenty of action, and some surprises came early on with young ATPI Aces racer Norick Blodorn starting incredibly strongly. 

And Belle Vue newcomer Connor Mountain was also quick to prove himself worthy of a spot in the Premiership. 

Celina Liebmann, the first female to compete in the Peter Craven Memorial, was certainly on the pace, despite failing to score, and quickly cemented herself as a firm favourite with the fans. 

But it was the ATPI Aces captain who charged straight through to the six-rider grand final after dropping just one point in his qualifying rides, with Dan Bewley and Max Fricke joining him at the tapes. 

In the five-rider semi-final, Jason Doyle, Ben Cook and Fredrik Lindgren earned their right to challenge for the historic trophy in the final, where drama certainly ensued. 

Then, with the six riders lined up for the Grand Final shoot out, drama quickly ensued with a first corner clash between Lindgren and Doyle.

The latter was forced to pull up before he even completed a lap, robbing him of a potential fifth win after the referee deemed the race able to continue. 

There was no stopping Kurtz after he tasted fresh air, and with the finish line in sight he popped a trademark wheelie across the line and celebrated his first Peter Craven Memorial win. 

He said: “It was almost as if the stars aligned for me! In past years, I’ve been close, I’ve made it into the final or at least onto the podium, but I’ve never been able to get the win.

“This is a very special moment for me. This meeting is probably one of the most high-profile individual events in British Speedway, and definitely one of the most prestigious. 

“It’s surreal to think that my name is on the same trophy that riders like Ivan Mauger and Ole Olsen have won, and it means a lot to me to win, especially here at Belle Vue.” 

Dan Bewley, who took second place, said: “It was a fantastic battle with Brady in the final race. I started well but had a couple of hiccups through the night, but we made some changes and finished strong. 

“I know how it feels to win this meeting and Brady is a deserved winner. It was a busy weekend for myself but it feels good to get back to Belle Vue and start the season on a strong note.” 

Max Fricke, who finished third said: “This was my first proper meeting of the season so it’s nice to see all of the preparation through the winter coming to fruition.

“I did struggle a bit early on and the home boys were a little more dialled in, but riding this place isn’t something you forget in a hurry and we found something that worked and I’m happy with third.” 

The Speedway season in Manchester continues on Good Friday, March 29 when the Cool Running Colts face Leicester in their first NDL league action of the season.

The ATPI Aces, meanwhile, hope to get their league campaign underway when they visit Ipswich on Thursday, March 21 before heading home to Manchester on Easter Monday, April 1. 

Meeting tickets, race day programmes and south stand parking are now available for both home meetings, along with race day hospitality on Easter Monday, at


QUALIFYING SCORES: Brady Kurtz 14, Max Fricke 12, Dan Bewley 12, Ben Cook 11, Norick Blodorn 9, Jason Doyle 9, Niels-Kristian Iversen 9, Fredrik Lindgren 8, Chris Harris 7, Jaimon Lidsey 7, Robert Lambert 7, Maciej Janowski 6, Connor Mountain 5, Connor Bailey 2, Patryk Wojdylo 2, Celina Liebmann 0. 

SEMI-FINAL: Doyle, Lindgren, Cook, Iversen, Blodorn
FINAL: Kurtz, Bewley, Fricke, Lindgren, Cook, Doyle (ret)

Image: ©Ian Charles

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