World champion Jason Doyle lifted the prestigious Peter Craven Memorial Trophy on Saturday after a hard-fought final with Belle Vue Aces’ favourite Steve Worrall 2nd and Kenneth Bjerre 3rd.
Worrall came through his opening five rides almost flawlessly, dropping just two points in his fourth while Bjerre found his mojo at the National Speedway Stadium after a disappointing start.
The pair surged through to the grand final as the meeting’s top two scorers, leaving Doyle to battle through a GP-calibre semi-final against Craig Cook, Dan Bewley and Scott Nicholls.
Swindon stalwart Troy Batchelor was also in the running for a shot at the podium but missed out on a place in the semi-final on count-back, having failed to secure a heat win from his five rides.
Doyle joins the likes of speedway legends Ivan Mauger, Chris Morton and Jason Crump as a Peter Craven Memorial winner and couldn’t hide his delight at kicking off his season with a trophy.
He said: “It can be hard going into your first meeting with fresh new machinery and to be honest, I was a little nervous early doors but once I’d blown the cobwebs away I felt really comfortable.
“The track was beautiful and awesome to ride. It never fails to deliver and I’m so happy to have come away with win. It’s an amazing feeling to have my name on such an historic trophy.
“Full credit has to go to Steve, Kenneth and Scott because they didn’t make it easy. Steve in particular knows the fastest way around this track and he certainly proved it tonight.”
Belle Vue Steve Worrall said: “I’m pretty happy with how my night panned out. I’ve found an engine that really does seem to work around this track which is just what I was hoping for.
“This meeting had the most amazing support from the fans and sponsors. I enjoyed my night and though winning would’ve been nice, you can’t take it away from Doyley. He was awesome.”
Kenneth Bjerre added: “I just didn’t have the speed tonight that I would’ve liked but considering I was riding borrowed machinery, my brother’s to be exact, I can’t say I’m too disappointed.
“To have the opportunity to ride here again is amazing. The new rules have meant I couldn’t be part of the team but any chance to be a part of this meeting was one I wasn’t going to refuse.”
Words: Hayley Bromley,beklImages: Ian Charles
Belle Vue return to domestic league racing with National League action on Good Friday March 30 with the Belle Vue colts against the coventry Bees. Tickets on sale at www.bellevueaces.co.