Monday August 13, 2018
LEICESTER ripped up the form-book with a sensational display to demolish play-off chasing Belle Vue 58-32 at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena on Monday.

The Watling JCB Lions gave the performance of their season even having been reduced to six riders prior to the start of the meeting, to inflict huge damage on the Aces’ top four hopes.

Danish star Nikolaj B Jakobsen proved a brilliant guest with five race wins in six starts, but this was a true team effort which left the Manchester side reeling.

Lions were underdogs going into the match and suffered a blow when Charles Wright was taken ill at the stadium and was unable to take his place.

But skipper Hans Andersen and former British Champion Scott Nicholls both turned back the clock with some vintage rides, and youngster Connor Mountain underlined the battling spirit in the team with a great effort to snatch third place from Dimitri Berge on the line in Heat 14.

Andersen and Nicholls dropped just one point apiece, with Ricky Wells and Stuart Robson both also being paid for double figures as the Aces’ challenge subsided.

The visitors found themselves six points down early on with Andersen and Wells teaming up for a Heat 1 5-1 over Craig Cook and Steve Worrall.

But it was the events of Heats 4 to 6 which really put the match beyond the visitors as they suffered a succession of problems.

Max Fricke and Mark Riss gated on a 5-1 in Heat 4 only for Fricke to spin and fall on turn two; and then in the next race, Cook was chasing Jakobsen hard only to suffer mechanical trouble on the last lap.

That race also saw the Aces using their tactical substitute ride with Dan Bewley nominated, but Cook’s stoppage actually meant the Lions extended their lead – and things got worse for the visitors when Fricke demolished the tapes in Heat 6, Wells and Andersen waltzing to a 5-1 in the re-run.

Leicester led by ten points after Heat 10, and any chance of an Aces fightback was wiped out in the next race when Cook fell heavily on turn four when chasing Nicholls.

Cook did not take his final ride, and each of Heats 11 to 13 resulted in 5-1s to the Lions, with the third providing a superb race as Andersen made it around the outside to lead whilst Nicholls reeled in and overhauled first Fricke and then Riss for second place.

Mountain’s late move on Berge protected a 3-3 in Heat 14 before Nicholls and Wells wrapped things up in style with maximum points over Bewley and Rohan Tungate in the last.

Lions captain Andersen said: “It was a bit a concern when Charles was pulled out of the meeting, and we hope he’s okay.

“But I knew we would win today. I’d seen how Nikolaj rides here when he came with Rye House, he is really good here and he’s been one of the best away riders.

“It’s a lot easier when you’re winning, but everyone in the team rode really well and if someone is having a good meeting the next one also wants to go out and prove himself.

“Everyone was winning races and you saw it all the way down to Connor, who is learning and was on the pace, and it’s nice to see someone young getting better and better.”

Lions have no further meetings this week but head to the National Speedway Stadium for the return fixture against the Aces next Monday (August 20).

LEICESTER 58: Nicolaj Busk Jakobsen 15, Scott Nicholls 12+2, Ricky Wells 10+3, Hans Andersen 10+1, Stuart Robson 8+2, Connor Mountain 3+2, Charles Wright r/r.
BELLE VUE 32: Dan Bewley 8+1, Rohan Tungate 8, Mark Riss 7, Max Fricke 3, Steve Worrall 3, Dimitri Berge 2+1, Craig Cook 1.

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