The Belle Vue Aces launched themselves into the 2017 Knock Out Cup Grand Final following a dramatic last-heat decider against Swindon in which they pulled back a hefty 11-point deficit.
The Carpets 4 Less Robins were the favourites going into the evening after such a convincing performance in the first leg, and even without top gun Jason Doyle they started off strongly.
But their first-heat 5-1 was to be their one and only maximum heat advantage as the Rentruck Aces gradually chipped away at the aggregate scores to close the gap to just 3 after Heat 9.
Disaster struck in the subsequent race when Steve Worrall shed a primary chain on the run to the line, gifting the visitors a 4-2 to extend their lead to 5, but which was once again whittled down.
One point was the margin to beat as Craig Cook and Kenneth Bjerre rolled up to the tapes in Heat 15 and they emphatically claimed a 5-1 that secured the win on the night and on aggregate.
Captain Cook said: “It wasn’t ideal taking it to a last-heat decider but the boys put in a solid effort to pull back the deficit and we’ve managed to sneak through, which of course was our main goal.
“Swindon caused a bit of an upset early doors. They made quite a strong start which hit us hard in the early stages but we weren’t about to let our heads drop after just one heat.
“The track was again a bit wet after some rain earlier in the day but after the first few heats it started coming to us, we were confident and we were able to finish as strongly as they started.
“It bodes well for our play off semi-final next week. We know we’re a strong team on the road and we know we’re capable of winning over two legs. We’re pumped up and ready for anything.”
Words: Hayley Bromley
Images: Ian Charles