Words: Hayley Bromley
Images: Ian Charles
Belle Vue collected a consolation point from their trip to Swindon on Thursday after a strong finish at the Abbey Stadium forced the Carpets 4 Less Robins to go on the defensive to ensure a home win.
The Rentruck Aces bounced back from an 8-point deficit to bring the scores to within 2 points with two heats to go, but the pressure was on after the hosts bagged a 5-1 in the penultimate race.
Danish international Kenneth Bjerre delivered the goods in Heat 15 to secure the vital league point, scoring 10+1 with World Cup stars Steve Worrall and Craig Cook contributing 8+1 and 8 respectively.
Team boss, Mark Lemon, said: “It was a bit of a mixed bag for us. We couldn’t find the rhythm we’re so used to having on the road, but even so the boys did a tremendous job to grab a league point.
“David Bellego was outstanding for the Robins but the difference, it has to be said, was at reserve for them. On our part, we really should have capitalised more on the absence Jason Doyle at No.1.
“Collectively, we rode very well but it just proves that we will have to be on guard tomorrow. We know we can beat Swindon at home so we need everyone to raise their game to accomplish that.”
With the return fixture just 24 hours later, Kenneth Bjerre has high expectations of his side as they look to further boost their position at the top of the Premiership table with a maximum points haul.
Reigning champions Wolverhampton moved to within breathing distance of the Rentruck Aces after demolishing Rye House on Monday as the battle for top spot enters the business end of the year.
But the stakes are even higher for the visiting Robins, who currently sit on the cusp of the top four with plenty of work still ahead of them to ensure their place among this year’s Play Off contenders.
Bjerre said: “I just have a feeling that Swindon will present a much stiffer challenge than the last time they came to Manchester; They’ve made changes in the interim that send a strong message.
“For me, the key member of their side is Adam Ellis. He was the U-21 reserve for Team GB in the World Cup and on Friday he lines up alongside another big hitter, Zach Wajtknecht, at reserve.
“We shouldn’t expect anything less than a much more powerful team this time around and we must raise our game to match theirs if we are to maintain any kind of cushion over Wolverhampton.”
There’s a real top-of-the-table tussle brewing when the Belle Vue Aces next kick on in Manchester against the reigning champions Wolverhampton, led by their legendary No.1 Fredrik Lindgren.
Tickets for this mouthwatering clash are just £10 for adults, as part of a special promotion from BT Sport, and are available now via the website, www.bellevueaces.co.