BEWLEY WINS NLRC
BRITISH teenage sensation Dan Bewley produced an immaculate 15-point maximum to win the 2017 National League Riders' Championship - then revealed how he was almost forced to miss the meeting.
The 18-year-old only returned from a groin injury earlier this week and after a run of three meetings in three days, the Cumbrian racer admitted it's been quite a demanding comeback.
But the Belle Vue Colts youngster battled on and stunned spectators and competitors alike at Leicester's Beaumont Park Stadium to earn his first Major Individual Honour in just his second season in the sport.
Bewley made life easier for himself by outgating his opponents in his opening three rides and set a new National League track record at Leicester of 62.25 in his second outing.
Heat 14 saw him line-up alongside the only other previously unbeaten rider in Buxton's Matt Williamson as well as Birmingham's Tom Bacon who had only dropped one point at that stage. And despite missing the gate on this occasion, Bewley was still able to maintain his perfect sequence as he pulled off a series of impressive manoeuvres as he went from last to first in the space of a lap and a half.
With Williamson only able to secure second place in his final outing, Bewley knew the same result for him in Heat 19 would be enough to see him crowned Champion.
But when he was squeezed out on the opening bends, it looked like a run-off would be required to decide the winner. But Bewley never gave up and after eventually working his way past Kent's Luke Bowen, he then nipped away at Josh Bailey before cutting back under the Eastbourne man off the final bend to secure the title in fine style.
A delighted Bewley said: "It feels great and it's nice to be able to win this for Belle Vue Colts as well as myself.
"They were one of the clubs along with Edinburgh who gave me my break in speedway and I can't thank them enough along with Craig Cook who recommended me to both of them.
"It was a good meeting and I was really happy with how I rode.
"I had speed, the bikes were working good and I felt fast all meeting.
"Physically I felt quite tired after three meetings in three days after a few weeks off and at one point I didn't know if I'd be able to ride today or not.
"But thankfully I got a good night's sleep in on Saturday after my meeting at Workington and I'm glad I made the decision to battle through it in the end because it was totally worth it!"
Buxton's Matt Williamson claimed second place after a solid afternoon's work while Birmingham's Liam Carr snatched the final rostrum spot courtesy of a third race win in Heat 20.
2017 NATIONAL LEAGUE RIDERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP:
(1st) Dan Bewley 15, (2nd) Matt Williamson 13, (3rd) Liam Carr 12, Tom Bacon 11, Ben Morley 11, Jordan Jenkins 10, Alfie Bowtell 9, Jon Armstrong 8, Josh Bailey 8, Luke Bowen 7, Adam Roynon 4, Ryan Terry-Daley 3, Tom Woolley 3, Luke Harris 3, Chris Widman 2, Conor Dwyer (res) 1, James Cockle 0.
SWINDON and Poole race their SGB Premiership play-off semi-final to a finish at the Abbey Stadium tonight (Monday).
The Robins hold a two point lead from the initial encounter at Wimborne Road a fortnight ago, with the Pirates still in contention thanks to two 5-1s in the last two races.
Swindon bring in Liam Carr to guest for the injured Zach Wajtknecht at reserve, whilst Poole are at full strength for the second leg clash.
Robins boss Alun Rossiter said: “Our season could be done and dusted if we don’t win, so we know what’s at stake and we’re determined to get the job done.
“To be entering your home leg with any sort of lead is a favourable position to be in. It’s only a two-point lead and it could have been more, but we should be able to win at our home track.
“We know Poole will be coming with the pressure off and looking to cause a surprise, but we just need to remain focused and do what we’ve got to do to reach the Final.”
Poole promoter Matt Ford said: “It's obviously a very tough ask knowing we have to win at Swindon to progress, but it is fifteen heats of speedway after all and anything is possible.
“There is no room for error but if we can ride to our potential then there is no reason why we shouldn't be able to make it tough for them.
“Ideally we would have been going there with something to defend but things didn’t go our way in the early phase of the first leg.
“I guess if we look at the positives, then it is the fact that we are only one heat advantage behind them. At one stage things were looking a lot bleaker, but the lads finished strongly to keep us in this tie, and whilst that remains the case then we will be keen to give it our best shot.”
WOLVERHAMPTON host Belle Vue in the first leg of their SGB Premiership play-off semi-final at Monmore Green tonight (Monday).
The Wolves and Aces clash in a repeat of last year’s top-flight Grand Final, with the reigning champions looking to build a lead to take to Manchester on Wednesday.
The hosts name a full-strength line-up whilst Belle Vue include Colts regular Rob Shuttleworth as a guest at reserve for the injured Jack Smith.
Wolves star Jacob Thorssell said: “We’re the current league Champions and we would really love to win the league for a second year on the trot. We’ve worked hard all year round to get to this point but our season starts again here.
“Belle Vue are a strong team and they have done well when they’ve been to Monmore earlier in the season – but we’ve got a great team spirit and we’re ready for them.
“We want to score as many points as we possibly can and getting off to a good start could be important.
“The play-offs last year were special, especially in our home meetings and the atmosphere is always even better than it usually is on nights like these.”
Belle Vue No.1 Kenneth Bjerre said: “We know what Wolverhampton are capable of doing at home. They’re a strong team and aren’t in the top four for nothing, but of course neither are; we’re not making up any numbers.
“Each time we’ve gone there this year, we’ve only come away 8 points short of victory and I’m sure they’re well aware of this and the form we’re currently in. We’re definitely pumped up for this.
“But we’ve got to be realistic. I’m not going to predict any results or declare our preferred margin, either way. We’ve got our game plan, we know what we’ve got to do and we’ll give it 100 per cent.”
SHEFFIELD have pencilled in the home leg of the SGB Championship Grand Final for this Thursday.
The Tigers still have work to do in order to secure their spot in the Final against Ipswich as they head to Glasgow needing to defend a 28-point lead on Tuesday, but they have agreed to host the Witches 48-hours later should they qualify.
Owner Damien Bates explained: “The stadium isn’t available the following week, something which was only confirmed to us on Saturday morning.
“It’s not ideal but we’re not the owners of the stadium, so we have to deal with it and do the best we can to make the first leg a success.
“We did have choice of which leg we wanted first but unfortunately it’s out of our hands, and we’ll be looking to get a big lead for the second leg at Ipswich.
“Having said that, we know we can’t take anything for granted going up to Glasgow. If we don’t beat them then we’ll be against Redcar as originally planned to complete our last league fixture.”
LAKESIDE chief Jon Cook is under no illusions about the size of the task facing the Hammers in their National League play-off semi-final.
Table toppers Belle Vue visit the Arena-Essex Raceway on Friday in the first leg after the Manchester outfit picked the Hammers, leaving Eastbourne and Kent to meet in the other semi-final.
Cook said: “It’s going to be tough and we will need the support of our fans to help us on Friday.
“They haven’t finished top by good fortune, they’ve done it over the course of the season and clearly they feel they will beat us.
“But we will be looking for a useful lead on Friday at the Raceway and we’ll need the fans to play their part. Every Hammers fan needs to come along and get behind us, even those who haven’t been regulars for National League racing.”
MONDAY SEPTEMBER 25:
SGB PREMIERSHIP PLAY-OFF SEMI-FINAL 2nd leg: Swindon v Poole 7.30, 1st leg: Wolverhampton v Belle Vue 7.30
TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 26:
SGB CHAMPIONSHIP PLAY-OFF SEMI-FINAL 2nd leg: Glasgow v Sheffield 7.30
SGB CHAMPIONSHIP: Peterborough v Scunthorpe 7.30
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 27:
SGB PREMIERSHIP PLAY-OFF SEMI-FINAL 2nd leg: Belle Vue v Wolverhampton 7.30
TRAVEL PLUS NATIONAL LEAGUE: Cradley v Eastbourne (at Birmingham) 7.30
Results Sunday September 24, 2017
NATIONAL LEAGUE RIDERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP, Leicester
1 Dan Bewley (Belle Vue) 15
2 Matt Williamson (Buxton) 13
3 Liam Carr (Birmingham) 12