Wolverhampton’s Freddie Lindgren retained his title as King of the Premiership after triumphing on Saturday night in the Premiership Riders’ Individual at Manchester’s National Speedway Stadium.
All eight top flight clubs were represented by duo of riders with the home favourites Belle Vue fielding Craig Cook and Max Fricke, who is just one week into his return from a broken neck.
The pair did the club proud, bagging 13 and 9 points respectively to make it through to the grand final with Fricke taking a detour via the semi-final to secure his spot in the battle for honours.
And as fate would have it, just 48 hours ahead of their play off semi-final on September 18 it was a Belle Vue-Wolves final with Cook, Fricke, Lindgren and Thorssell all in the hunt for the gold.
It was Lindgren who emerged victorious after a gritty battle with both Cook and Fricke, the latter of whom scooped up the silver medal while the Rentruck Aces skipper settled for the bronze.
Lindgren said: “It was a great final for myself. Track conditions were a little tricky early on but on the whole I was pleased with my performance, and especially in the final to get the win.
“I wasn’t over confident going into it because speedway is all about mental strength as well as physical strength. I really wanted this and I’m delighted I achieved what I set out to achieve.
“It bodes well for Monday when we’re back here for the play offs. It’s a fair race track with lots of great racing lines and we’re really looking forward to meeting Belle Vue in the semi-final.”
Silver medalist Max Fricke, who continues to impress as he recovers from injury, said: “Only two or three weeks ago I was still in a neck brace so it feels great to be back on a bike again.
“I’m still building my strength back up after so long out but certainly this last week has been a real confidence-booster, and I’ve gradually fallen back into my usual routine of keeping busy.
“I can’t be disappointed with second on the night. Sure, I was really after first as was Cookie but it was a great final between us and the Wolverhampton boys and Freddie was a deserved winner.”
Rentruck Aces skipper Craig Cook, who claimed a hard-earned bronze medal on the night, added: “I was testing a new engine which I haven’t used before and it had plenty of power.
“But I was still struggling from the gates bit so it wasn’t my finest night’s work, but I’ve seen some really encouraging signs from tonight which I’m hoping to take with me into Monday night.
“I know what direction to go in now. Of course I’m gutted not to have got top spot but it’s been an education if nothing else, and I’ll be back stronger and smarter for the experience in 48 hours.”
Words Hayley Bromley, Images Ian Charles
The play offs finally arrive in Manchester on September 18 when Belle Vue face Wolverhampton in the first leg of their play off semi-final. Tickets available online at www.bellevueaces.co<http://www.bellevueaces.co>.