LEICESTER are off to a dream start in the WSRA National Development League thanks to a 49-38 win at Belle Vue in an eventful season opener on Good Friday.

The Lion Cubs recovered from the early setback of conceding a 5-0 in the very first race at the National Speedway Stadium to put together a super all-round team performance and notch an away victory at the first time of asking.

Skipper Joe Thompson led the way with four straight wins after failing to finish in Heat 1, and there were contributions right down the order including paid-10 on his debut at reserve from Luke Crang.

Conditions were tough after rain earlier in the day with track work required, and this had an impact upon the early stages.

Both Thompson and Vinnie Foord were disqualified from the opening race, and the first third of the meeting saw plenty of drama with only one of the first five heats actually going the full four-lap distance.

Crang, Tom Spencer and Thompson all collected race wins in that spell, which left the Cubs one point down after taking a couple of 3-2 race advantages when Colts riders also hit trouble.

Chad Wirtzfeld snatched second place from Crang in Heat 6 as the home side extended their lead back to five points, but Tom Spencer and Arran Butcher hit straight back in the next with a 5-1 of their own, before Foord bounced back from two non-finishes to win Heat 8 as the Cubs went ahead for the first time.

Crang and guest Jody Scott – standing in for the unavailable Max James - then combined for a big 5-1 in Heat 9, and although Spencer’s winning run was ended by Ben Trigger in the next, Thompson and Foord collected another maximum over home captain Freddy Hodder in Heat 11.

The Cubs moved closer to victory as Crang took Heat 12 from Matt Marson, and a 4-2 from Thompson and Scott made the away win virtually certain.

Butcher’s second place in Heat 14 secured the result, even though Crang hit mechanical trouble, and a final flourish saw Thompson and Scott race to maximum points in the last race to round off an excellent start to the season.

Manager Dave Howard said: “There were a few incidents in the first few races, but the team overall did a great job.

“We were behind at the start after some of our falls, but then we really got into it, and everybody put a great effort in. It was brilliant to get an 11-point win.

“Joe led the way with four wins after coming off in Heat 1, and Tom had three really good races and then a bit of aching in his arm which affected his last race.

“Luke had a good first meeting for us, and Vinnie lost his chain in his second ride, I think it got caught in his bike which caused him to fall again, but then he had two great rides with a win and a paid win behind Joe.

“Arran was really pushing in all of his races, Jody was a really good guest for us, and although Sonny had a fall in his first race, with the speed he’s got, you can see how he’s going to progress during the season.

“We knew everyone would give everything, but we didn’t know how Belle Vue would do - but to get this away win is fantastic for us.”

The Lion Cubs are next in action in their home opener when they face Edinburgh at the Pidcock Motorcycles Arena, Beaumont Park, a week on Sunday (April 7).

BELLE VUE 38: Ben Trigger 11, Chad Wirtzfeld 8+2, Matt Marson 6, Freddy Hodder 5, Luke Muff 4, Jack Shimelt 3, Harry McGurk 1+1.
LEICESTER 49: Joe Thompson 12, Luke Crang 9+1, Jody Scott 8+1, Tom Spencer 8, Vinnie Foord 5+1, Arran Butcher 5+1, Sonny Springer 2+1.

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May 27, 2024

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