BELLE Vue have their work cut out in the Sports Insure Premiership Play Offs at the National Speedway Stadium this coming Monday after a difficult night at Foxhall saw them go down 54-36 to Ipswich.
Buoyed by their KOC victory over Sheffield, the TruMix Witches were quick to get to work on the reigning league champions and established a 10-point lead over the ATPI Aces after five heats.
Belle Vue, meanwhile, struggled to get to grips with track conditions after late evening showers caused problems for the visitors and hampered their efforts at damage control.
A race advantage in Heat 8 from Jaimon Lidsey and Connor Bailey kept the scores at 29-19 in favour of the home team, but Ipswich were just getting started on home shale.
By Heat 13, the home team had sealed the win on the night and further extended their lead to 18 points with two to go, while the ATPI Aces did their best to mitigate the damage.
Two successive shared races to finish things off means the Witches travel to Manchester in control of the semi-final so far, but Belle Vue are far from throwing in the towel.
A difficult night for Bailey and for the returning Norick Blodorn saw them struggle to get out of the start, while Dan Bewley underperformed also found the going unusually tough.
But it was an impressive display from Lidsey, Tom Brennan and Brady Kurtz, the latter of whom top scored for the ATPI Aces with 10 points and was the only rider to beat Emil Sayfutdinov.
Brennan, who scored 8+1 from six rides, said: “Disappointed I don’t think quite covers it. We really want to retain our title in 2023 and we’ve worked really, really hard to get to this point.
“Thursday, unfortunately, didn’t go as planned, there’s no two ways about it. Ipswich were very good on their home track and showed us why they deserve to be here in the Play Offs.
“If you look at the last time we came here in the league, it was a totally different story and I think we perhaps came here with a similar situation in mind.
“But the rain that came down just before tapes up maybe did factor into our performance, and we’re going to have to work extra hard in the home leg on Monday to turn things around.
“We had a dreadful night, nobody needs to tell us that and we’re not taking this defeat lightly. We still believe we can do it; this is something we really want and we’ll be going all out to win.”
The ATPI Aces return home to the National Speedway Stadium on Monday, September 25 for the deciding leg of their Play Off Semi-Final ahead of the grand final in October.
Meeting tickets, race day programmes and hospitality are available at bellevue-speedway.com/events. South car parking is sold out, but St. Peter’s School will be available on the day.
RESULT – IPSWICH V BELLE VUE – THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 21 @ 7:30PM [POSF L1]
Ipswich ‘TruMix’ Withces 54: Emil Sayfutdinov 14, Chris Harris 10+3, Danny King 10+1, Keynan Rew 9+2, Erik Riss 6+1, Danyon Hume 3, Jack Smith 2
Belle Vue ‘ATPI’ Aces 36: Brady Kurtz 10, Tom Brennan 8+1, Jaimon Lidsey 8, Dan Bewley 5, Norick Blodorn 3, Connor Bailey 2, Charles Wright r/r
Image: Ian Charles