IT’S exactly one month until the new season begins for the Belle Vue ATPI Aces. So to kick off the build-up to the 95th anniversary year, we are looking at the past and present legends of the most famous speedway club in the world.
Who better to start than the return of our No.1 Dan Bewley. Sun newspaper writer Phil Lanning chatted to the Cumbrian about his comeback to British speedway and, of course, that sensational 2022 season…
“EXPECTATION and pressure is good, you have to earn that.”
Dan Bewley is a different type of speedway rider, he’s a deep thinker and hugely underestimated as a superstar of the sport.
He might look like the Milky Bar Kid boy next door but he oozes professionalism and passion for motorbikes.
Bewley walked into the National Speedway Stadium as a peachy-cheeked 16-year-old in 2016 to make his racing debut with the Colts.
It’s been a rollercoaster few years, including a horror injury, but he returns after a one-year sabbatical to ride in the Swedish league.
He comes back to the UK as a double Grand Prix winner and British Champion but he dismisses any talk of extra pressure.
He told me: “I don’t really care too much what people say about me. Expectation and pressure is good, you have to earn that.
“If people are expecting something good of you, you must have done something beforehand to warrant it.
“Obviously I want to win. But it’s a long season and you just want to enjoy it. I just take everything race-by-race.”
Belle Vue won the league title for the first time in 29 years in late October, beating Sheffield narrowly in the Grand Final.
Cumbrian Bewley, 23, returns to Manchester as the top man and is determined to keep the winning run going.
He said: “Do I feel extra pressure? Not really to be honest. People probably expect me to do a bit more now, score a bit more.
“It’s not something you think about much to be honest. I race that much. The last time I was at Belle Vue I was at No.1 towards the end of the season.
“I showed that it wasn’t a fluke but now I’m probably a better rider now. But at the same time I think, for me, it’s good to see that the league is a bit stronger in the UK.
“I’m looking forward to being back at Belle Vue. The last meeting I did for Belle Vue was the Play-Off Grand Final at Peterborough and we lost.
“We were pretty close to winning the league, that was something I really wanted to do because I knew I wasn’t going to come back in 2022. The league title was my goal.
“It didn’t happen and I want to give it another go. One of the few things I haven’t done in speedway now is win the Premiership. I’ve won the Polish and Swedish leagues and the Championship in the UK. But just not the top league.
“I’ve ridden in the UK for six years since I started and you go to the same tracks. But now that I've had a year away from it, I can look forward to going to other places like Wolves.”
The 28th Peter Craven Memorial, National Speedway Stadium, March 20, 7.30pm.
Image: ©Taylor Lanning