Photo by Ian Charles: Andy Mellish (left) chats with injured Colts skipper Lee Payne Belle Vue ‘Cool Running’ Colts v Kent ‘Slyde’ Kings Travel Plus National League, 5 July 2017

Words: Hayley Bromley

Images: Ian Charles

There’s top-of-the-table action brewing in Manchester this Wednesday when the Belle Vue ‘Cool Running’ Colts get set to welcome the Cradley Heathens to the National Speedway Stadium.

The rivalry between these two historic clubs is legendary and dates back to the days of Hyde Road where, in hosting its final league match, the famous Aces lost to the Dudley Wood-based side.

Now revived as one of the National League’s strongest outfits, and based at Wolverhampton’s Monmore Green Stadium, the Heathens are aiming to gain ground in their powerful title chase.

Both sides will utilise the Rider Replacement facility on the night, with Colts skipper Lee Payne still struggling with injury and Heathens No.4 Luke Harris stated as being “unavailable” to take his place.

Club favourite Andy Mellish said: “This’ll be another big test for us. There are a lot of good riders on both teams, plenty of whom know their way around the National Speedway Stadium. It’ll be intense.

“On a personal level, this season has been brilliant so far. I feel stronger and far more competitive than last year, and it’s so satisfying to know I’m contributing towards the team’s success.

“Cradley, like ourselves, are battling for top spot and they are a very solid side, even without Luke Harris. But they know we’re one of the few National League teams who remain undefeated at home.

“We’re proud of our home record and we want to keep it that way. Unfortunately, Lee Payne is still nursing his shoulder but our lads know the drill and we’ll all chip in with his rides where possible.”

The Cool Running Colts head to Plymouth on Thursday before Premiership action with the Rentruck Aces returns to Manchester on Monday July 24 against the reigning champions Wolverhampton.

Thanks to a special BT Sport promotion, tickets for this table-topping clash are just £10 for Adults and Concessions with Children under 18 free; regardless of location around the stadium.

Tickets for this, and Wednesday’s mouth-watering clash with Cradley are available online now at


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