RETURNING star Jacob Thorssell scored a brilliant maximum as Wolverhampton opened their Premiership campaign with a 60-30 trouncing of Rye House.
The super Swede romped to a full five ride maximum in his first fixture as the club's No.1 - almost seven months after breaking his back.
He secured for 5-1 maximums with Kyle Howarth, who was also unbeaten from five rides (11+4), whilst skipper Rory Schlein (11) and Sam Masters (10+1) also added double figures.
There were slim pickings for the Rockets who managed just three race wins, Edward Kennett and Scott Nicholls both scoring six.
Thorssell said: “I had a few nerves beforehand because it was my first one of the season in England. But after riding how I did and scoring a maximum, it does feel like a big weight has been lifted off my shoulders.
“Since I was lay in hospital it hasn't been easy and it's been a long way back. But a night like this makes it all worth it and it gives me a lot of confidence going into the rest of the season.
“It was a brilliant team performance tonight as well and that's the most important thing.”
Rye House boss Peter Schroeck said: “You have to give it to them. They out-foxed us big-time today.
“The track was very slick, and we didn’t make the starts, but that’s not an excuse. Scott (Nicholls) and Bomber (Chris Harris) both generally had tough nights, and KK (Krzysztof Kasprzak) too – and when your three heat-leaders are not getting the points, you know you’re going to be in trouble.”
BELLE Vue resisted the comeback efforts of Poole to record a 47-43 win at the National Speedway Stadium.
The Aces raced into an early ten-point lead but saw that whittled back to two with three heats to go, before Max Fricke and Craig Cook secured a vital 5-1 in Heat 13.
Dan Bewley ensured match victory by winning the next, before Peter Kildemand and Josh Grajczonek collected a 5-1 in the last race to hand the Pirates a league point.
That was Fricke’s only defeat of the night as he had previously reeled off four wins (12) whilst flying reserve Bewley added 11+1 with Cook on 10+1. Grajczonek (10+1) and Kildemand (10) scored double-figures for the visitors.
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 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.”
LEICESTER put their injury concerns to one side with a resounding 55-35 win over Somerset at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena.
The Lions stormed into a 19-5 lead after four races as the Rebels suffered a spate of disqualifications and retirements, and the overall outcome was never in doubt.
Hans Andersen dropped just one point from five rides, coming out 2-1 ahead in his battles with World Champion Jason Doyle, and his 14-point haul was supplemented by reserve Kyle Newman on 11+2 and impressive Pole Krystian Pieszczek on 11.
Jack Holder scored 9+3 for the Rebels, who were limited to three race wins including a consolation 5-1 from Jake Allen and Bradley Wilson-Dean in Heat 8.
Leicester boss Simon Stead said: “It’s always a bit difficult when your team is a little unsettled and it’s not the usual one-to-seven, and also with not really having had a proper competitive fixture here either.
“But the boys were fantastic tonight and I can’t ask for any more from them. There was 100 per cent effort from every single one of them.
“Obviously our thanks go to Rob (Lambert) for stepping in and being a great guest, and I’m pleased with all of our riders.”
Rebels manager Garry May said: “Nothing went right for us, whatever could go wrong did go wrong and we were left with far much too do.
“Trying to do anything from the back was a thankless task if you missed the gate and we found ourselves doing far too much of that."
“But we can't do anything about it now, we just need to move on and learn from it and there would be no better way to bounce back than with a good home win on Wednesday.”
WEDNESDAY APRIL 18:
BRITISH UNDER-21 SEMI-FINAL, Birmingham 7.30
PREMIERSHIP: King’s Lynn v Belle Vue 7.30, Poole v Swindon 7.30, Somerset v Leicester 7.30
THURSDAY APRIL 19:
PREMIERSHIP: Swindon v King’s Lynn 7.30
CHAMPIONSHIP SHIELD: Redcar v Newcastle 7.30, Sheffield v Scunthorpe 7.30
NATIONAL TROPHY: Isle of Wight v Plymouth 7pm
FRIDAY APRIL 20:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Lakeside v Redcar 8pm
CHAMPIONSHIP SHIELD: Edinburgh v Glasgow 7.30, Scunthorpe v Sheffield 7.30
NATIONAL LEAGUE KO CUP 1st round 1st leg: Belle Vue v Buxton 7.30
Results Monday April 16, 2018
Belle Vue 47 (Max Fricke 12)
Poole 43 (Josh Grajczonek 10+1)
Premiership points: Belle Vue 3 Poole 1
Leicester 55 (Hans Andersen 14)
Somerset 35 (Jack Holder 9+3)
Premiership points: Leicester 3 Somerset 0
Wolverhampton 60 (Jacob Thorssell 15)
Rye House 30 (Edward Kennett 6/Scott Nicholls 6)