REIGNING Premiership Champions Belle Vue had to settle for second best at Leicester after being defeated 52-38 by the Watling JCB Lions on Thursday night [June 15].
But despite the small setback, the ATPI Aces remain five points clear at the top of the league table as they move into the second half of their campaign to retain their crown.
A difficult start to the evening was compounded by former Belle Vue top gun Max Fricke breaking the Leicester track record, besting Emil Sayfutdinov’s recent record by 0.04 seconds.
The Manchester side battled back with a succession of shared heats before the Lions started to stretch their lead, and by Heat 6 the ATPI Aces were faced with a 14-point deficit.
Jaimon Lidsey and Charles Wright delivered a 5-1 in Heat 7 to reduce the gap down to 10, but team boss Mark Lemon resisted playing his tactical substitute until Heat 12.
Unfortunately the move did not pay off as anticipated, and from there it was a matter of damage control for the Belle Vue boys as the points slipped from their grasp.
Club No.1 Dan Bewley top scored for the ATPI Aces with 12 points, while captain Brady Kurtz recorded 6+2, Jaimon Lidsey 6+1 and Norick Blodorn adding 5.
Blodorn said: “It was much more of a challenge for us this time around because, as the weeks have gone on, Leicester have really gotten dialled into their track.
“At the beginning of the season it was pretty new to everyone, after all the changes they made in winter, but they’ve adapted and were super quick on the night and we struggled to match that.
“Looking at conditions beforehand, I think we expected there to be more grip than there actually was and as a result we just weren’t on point.
“We’ve been in some very good form recently and tonight was a bit of a reality check to bring us back down to earth. It just proves we’ve still got a lot of work to do.
“We can afford one blip and this time things just didn’t go to plan for us, but we’re not concerned. We’re still in a very good position at the moment in terms of the play offs.”
The ATPI Aces return to the National Speedway Stadium on Monday, June 19 against the Peterborough Panthers, tapes up at 7:30pm.
Meeting tickets, race day programmes, hospitality and south stand parking are now available to pre-book at bellevue-speedway.com/events.
RESULT – LEICESTER V BELLE VUE – THURSDAY, JUNE 15 @ 7:30PM [P2]
Leicester ‘Watling JCB’ Lions 52: Max Fricke 15, Justin Sedgmen 9+3, Chris Harris 8+1, Richard Lawson 8, Nick Morris 6, Drew Kemp 4+1, Jake Allen 2+1
Belle Vue ‘ATPI’ Aces 38: Dan Bewley 12, Brady Kurtz 6+2, Jaimon Lidsey 6+1, Norick Blodorn 5, Charles Wright 4+2, Tom Brennan 3, Jake Mulford 2+1
Image: Taylor Lanning