Belle Vue paid a fitting tribute to club legend Ivan Mauger with a stupendous 47-43 performance against league favourites Poole that saw the Rentruck Aces walk away with three points.
The New Zealand national anthem enveloped the National Speedway Stadium as riders marched onto the track ahead of Heat 1, with fans and riders observing a minute’s silence in his memory.
The home team made a very strong start with the returning Craig Cook and home debutant Paul Starke giving Belle Vue the upper hand that escalated into a 10-point lead after four races.
But Poole were far from ruled out and called on their feistiness to retaliate with a 5-1 of their own in Heat 5, and a succession of shared heats to maintain a seemingly immovable deadlock.
They reeled in their hosts to within 2 points with three heats to go, but for an inspirational ride from Max Fricke and Craig Cook in Heat 13 to swing the meeting back in Belle Vue’s favour.
The No.1 was satisfied with the result all around, and while he had hoped to prevent a consolation point going to the Pirates, he was more than happy to take the three points for the Rentruck Aces.
Cook said: “We really hit the ground running which is exactly what we wanted, but when you’re against a team like Poole you know it’s not going to be long before they really wind it on.
“They pushed us very hard on Monday and to be honest, we didn’t expect anything less. They’re favourites for the league and have some very talented riders who are capable of big things.
“It got a bit nip and tuck towards the end but we got the job done and brought home maximum points. It just shows what we’re capable of, even with some of our strongest guys missing.
“We just need a bit more consistency in the fixtures to get everyone settled into their racing again, and once Steve [Worrall] and Damian [Dróżdż] are back with us we’ll be stronger than ever.”
The Rentruck Aces head to King’s Lynn this Wednesday, April 18 to continue their Premiership campaign against the Stars before the Belle Vue Colts return home against Buxton on April 20.
Words: Hayley Bromley,Images: Ian Charles
Tickets for the National League home fixture are now on sale at www.bellevueaces.co and at the stadium box office on race night.