Somerset delivered Belle Vue’s toughest Premiership challenge to date at the National Speedway Stadium, pushing the Rentruck Aces into a last-heat decider that ended 47-43 in their favour.
World champion Jason Doyle lived up to expectations for the visitors, leading the Cases Rebels with an inspirational performance that instilled confidence in his side to rise to the challenge.
But the home team made a powerful statement in the opening two heats with a double 5-1 that set the southerners back 8 points and laying the foundations for the fierce competition that followed.
It came down to the formidable duo of Craig Cook and Max Fricke to see this close encounter through to the end after two crucially tied heats maintained their four-point lead with one to go.
Damian Drozdz announced his return to Manchester with a stunning win in his opening ride, before mechanical gremlins brought his night to a halt after both his machines suffered bearing failures.
Dan Bewley meanwhile continued his rich vein of form at home by following up his maximum haul from last week with a brilliant 14+2 from six rides, top scoring once again for the Rentruck Aces.
Cook said: “It was a tremendous boost for us to start so strongly in only the first two heats. We had Somerset right where we wanted them and it really set the tone for the rest of the night.
“But they’re a resilient team who were quite prepared for a fight and they certainly gave us one. They hit us as hard as we hit them. It was such a spectacle of racing between both teams.
“They didn’t make it easy but we knew we were up against some powerful riders and, despite a few mechanical gremlins, we pulled together and got the win which was a massive achievement.”
The Rentruck Aces return to home action on Monday May 7 against Wolverhampton, while the Cool Running Colts take on the Plymouth Devils at home this Wednesday, May 2.
Tickets for these upcoming Premiership and National League home fixtures are now available at www.bellevueaces.co and at the stadium box office on race night.
Words: Hayley Bromley,Images: Ian Charles