Saturday May 14, 2022
LEICESTER made the perfect start to their National Development League schedule with an emphatic 59-31 home win over Belle Vue.

No.1 Dan Thompson scored a 15-point maximum and lowered his own NDL track record – ironically achieved against the same opponents last autumn – whilst brother Joe was also paid for the lot from five rides.

New signing Connor Coles weighed in with three race wins in an impressive debut, and the Lion Cubs scored right down the order in a strong all-round display.

Middle-order duo Tom Spencer and Mickie Simpson were both solid as the Cubs limited last places to a minimum, whilst at reserve Vinnie Foord was worth far more than paid-three, and there was an exciting debut from 15-year-old Max Perry.

He provided some of the most exciting racing of the meeting, starting off by passing Archie Freeman to win Heat 2, and his third ride saw him squeeze past Freddy Hodder coming off the fourth bend.

Perry finished with a paid win in Heat 12 after a clash with the Colts’ Nathan Ablitt, who was disqualified after both came down on turn three, and then Perry roared round the outside in the re-run to join Coles for a 5-1.

The visitors were beset by a number of incidents, with No.1 Jack Smith crashing out in Heat 5 when he hit the fence heavily on the exit of turn two when trying to go round Spencer.

Ablitt top-scored despite three falls along the way, and both Harry and Sam McGurk had one race win apiece with the latter showing plenty of improvement during the meeting before unfortunately coming to grief in Heat 15.

Cubs boss Dave Howard said: “It was a really strong performance with Dan and Joe winning all races very easily, and Connor made a great start for us.

“He showed what difference it could make for us with that third heat-leader strength.

“Tom was fighting for every point and carried on his rise from last year, and Mickie as well was really pushing riders, and causing riders to make errors because of how much he was pushing them, so that carried on his good performances from the end of last year, and in that difficult No.2 position as well.

“Vinnie showed how he’s grown his strength from last year, and we’ll see that as the year goes on, and it was a great start from Max, and getting that line round turns three and four got him a win and a paid win.

“It’s a really, really encouraging start, and hopefully it shows we’ll have a solid team this year, because obviously the key is going to be grabbing single points and more away from home.”

LEICESTER 59: Dan Thompson 15, Joe Thompson 13+2, Connor Coles 10+1, Tom Spencer 7+1, Max Perry 6+2, Mickie Simpson 6+1, Vinnie Foord 2+1.
BELLE VUE 31: Nathan Ablitt 9, Sam McGurk 8+1, Harry McGurk 7+2, Archie Freeman 5, Freddy Hodder 2, Jack Smith 0, Jack Parkinson-Blackburn r/r.

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