LEICESTER ran riot with a 59-30 win at Berwick on Saturday to move four points clear at the top of the National Development League table.

It was a special night for 15-year-old Ashton Boughen who recorded his first maximum for the Lion Cubs with 13+2 from five rides, whilst captain Joe Thompson made a successful return from injury with a four ride 12-point maximum.

Guest Lee Complin was also unbeaten from four outings as he stood in for Dan Thompson to good effect on one of his specialist tracks, whilst Tom Spencer put in a brilliant display on his own comeback with a best-yet score of paid-12 at reserve.

Elsewhere, Max James delivered a solid nine-point haul, whilst Max Perry and Vinnie Foord saw their scoring reduced due to incidents – but that didn’t prevent a massive Lion Cubs win.

Perry sat out his final ride as a precaution after a big crash on the first bend with Mason Watson in Heat 12 but thankfully appears to have escaped any serious injury concerns.

The opening race was a big statement as Boughen and Complin recorded a 5-1 over a strong-looking Berwick combination of Connor Coles and Greg Blair, and that was the start of a nightmare evening for Blair who suffered two crashes.

Former Lion Cubs rider Jamie Halder was the home side’s only winner in the first six races, by which time Joe Thompson had overcome Steve Boxall in Heat 4 and the Complin/Boughen pairing collected another 5-1 in the next.

Both Blair and Foord were disqualified from Heat 6, which ended in a Lion Cubs 3-2, and the lead was up to 15 points when Boughen and Spencer carded another maximum in Heat 8 against Kieran Douglas and Watson.

Coles, another ex-Leicester rider, stemmed the tide with a win over James and Perry in Heat 10, but Boughen and Complin took a 5-1 over Boxall in Heat 11 to extend the margin to 21 points.

Heat 12 was shared after Perry’s crash with Watson, with Spencer coming in to win the re-run, before Complin and Thompson took the Lion Cubs over the 50-point mark in Heat 13.

There was still no let-up in Heat 14 as James and Spencer took the dominant visitors’ seventh maximum before Boughen completed his five-ride full score in Heat 15 with James a retirement on that occasion as he suffered from arm-pump late in the meeting.

Manager Dave Howard said: “It was a fantastic performance which gives us all three points with the aggregate point as well, and it puts us in a good position for the rest of the season.

“Ashton was absolutely amazing, pulling away into the distance to get his paid maximum, and Lee was a fantastic guest with a paid maximum.

“It was great for Joe to come back with a full maximum after his broken collarbone, and Tom Spencer got his best-ever score for us which was incredible considering that at the end of every race he was struggling to hang on because of his arm.

“Max James would have been in double figures apart from having really bad arm-pump in Heat 15, whilst Max Perry and Vinnie gave everything although they didn’t have their best night, but the most important thing was that Max felt okay at the end of the night after his crash.

“The riders have done a fantastic job and put us in a great position as we stand at the moment, and now we just need to finish the job to get in that top two.

“We’re in a really positive place and it’s great to have Joe and Tom back, and hopefully Dan’s shoulder will improve over the next few days so he is able to take his place in his European Under-19 Final next week.”

Next up for the Lion Cubs is a big showdown with fellow play-off contenders Oxford at the Pidcock Motorcycles Arena, Beaumont Park on August 26.

That match is the second half of a double header which also features the Sports Insurance Premiership clash between the Watling JCB Lions and Sheffield. Normal Premiership prices will apply for that meeting with no increase for the double header.

BERWICK 30: Connor Coles 6, Danny Phillips 6, Steve Boxall 6, Jamie Halder 5+2, Mason Watson 5+1, Greg Blair 1, Kieran Douglas 1.
LEICESTER 59: Ashton Boughen 13+2, Joe Thompson 12, Lee Complin 10+2, Tom Spencer 10+2, Max James 9, Max Perry 3+3, Vinnie Foord 2.
Leicester win the aggregate point.

Photo credit: NIA MARTIN

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Leicester Cubs V Scunthorpe Stags / Sheffield Prowlers
May 19, 2024

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