Photo by Ian Charles: Cradley's Richard Hall (Yellow/Black) battles with Belle Vue's Rob Shuttleworth (Red) Belle Vue Cool Running Colts v Cradley Motor Point Heathens Travel Plus National League KO Cup, 8 September 2017

Despite the weather causing chaos across the North West, Belle Vue once again defied the odds and forged ahead with their Knock Out Cup quarter-final clash with rivals the Cradley Heathens.

Viciously heavy rain showers delayed the commencement of racing by 30 minutes while the circuit recovered from an eleventh-hour battering, before storm-like conditions struck again in Heat 1.

So concerning were conditions in that race that referee Craig Ackroyd called a halt to proceedings citing the poor visibility as dangerous, though both teams were happy to continue once it cleared.

And it was a case of business as usual for the Cool Running Colts, who dominated the meeting in the same full-throttle fashion as if they were competing in more familiar perfect conditions.

Cumbrian sensation Kyle Bickley top scored for the home side with an impressive 13+2 from five rides, while Jack Smith contributed an almost equal 13+1 haul and Rob Shuttleworth added 10+1.

Despite the questionable conditions, there was never any doubt from either team that the meeting would go ahead and all riders agreed that they would persist in their efforts to finish the night.

Colts reserve Luke Woodhull said: “When the rain was really coming down things didn’t look good but we looked at the track and agreed to go out for Heat 1, which of course got washed out.

“We had a meeting with the referee and everyone was just so determined to get on with it, that as soon as the weather cleared up we went straight out and powered through the rest of the night.

“The track held up really well and as the racing continued it started to dry out, and the boys adapted really well and we managed to pull off quite a hefty win on what started a difficult night.

“I do feel for Cradley. We were expecting a much closer meeting as I’m sure they were, but conditions just caught them out and we had to capitalise on that in preparation for the second leg.

“A 28-point lead is a huge advantage and the Heathens will need to do something special to pull that back. But stranger things have happened so we will certainly be on our guard at Perry Barr.”

Individual competition returns to Manchester next Saturday September 16 when the Premiership Riders’ Individual precedes the first leg of Belle rue’s semi-final clash with Wolverhampton.

Words: Hayley Bromley
Images: Ian Charles

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