LEICESTER No.1 Max Fricke raced to a sensational 15-point maximum as the buoyant Watling JCB Lions toppled Sports Insure Premiership leaders Belle Vue 52-38 on Thursday.

Fricke put on one of the best-ever displays seen at the Pidcock Motorcycles Arena, Beaumont Park, as he reeled off five wins out of five against his former club, including lowering the track record previously held by Emil Sayfutdinov to 58.75 in Heat 1.

And he rounded the night off with a truly stunning Heat 15 effort to get the better of the Aces’ top pair of Dan Bewley and Brady Kurtz.

Fricke wasn’t the only home rider to go unbeaten either as fellow countryman Justin Sedgmen reaffirmed his status as one of the signings of the season with a 9+3 paid maximum from four rides.

Fast-stating Sedgmen combined with Fricke for 5-1s in all three of their outings together, taking the scalps of Bewley and Kurtz along the way, and he also won Heat 8 as the Lions fended off a mini-revival from the Aces.

As in recent home matches, the Lions got off to a flying start with 5-1s in Heats 1 and 4, whilst German start Norick Blodorn was the only Belle Vue winner in the first six races.

Blodorn defeated new Lions reserve Drew Kemp in Heat 2 but Kemp’s next outing saw him hold Kurtz at bay on the opening lap before the Aces captain made a mistake, and Kemp duly combined with Nick Morris for another 5-1.

When Fricke and Sedgmen took a 5-1 over Kurtz in Heat 6 the scoreline was up to 25-11, before Jaimon Lidsey and Charles Wright brought the visitors back into play with a 5-1 of their own over Morris in Heat 7.

The next two races were shared but the Lions gained breathing space again with the Fricke/Sedgmen combination coming up with the goods in Heat 10, whilst Morris split Bewley and Tom Brennan in the next.

With the gap at 12 points the Aces brought Bewley into Heat 12 for a tactical substitute, and Kemp suffered an extremely harsh disqualification after going down on the first bend having clearly received contact from Lidsey.

The double frustration for the Lions was that Richard Lawson had out-gated Lidsey and Bewley – but he did so again in the re-run and then held a perfect line to fend off Bewley throughout the race.

Fricke didn’t make the start in Heat 13 but he was quick to force his way to the front, getting the better of Kurtz and Bewley before half a lap was completed for a win which confirmed the Lions’ victory on the night.

Belle Vue’s evening was summed up when Wright was disqualified from Heat 14 for wiping out Jake Allen on turn two, and in the re-run skipper Chris Harris came from the back to get the better of the lively Blodorn.

Fricke, though, saved the best for last with a remarkable Heat 15 effort in which his maximum looked to be going up in smoke as he trailed the Aces duo – but after passing Kurtz on lap two, he then set about Bewley and on the next lap moved inside the British Champion before going clear for a brilliant race win.

Lions boss Stewart Dickson said: “All the credit goes to the riders. 52-38 never flattered us, and to beat a team of Belle Vue’s calibre by 14 points is very, very pleasing.

“And I still think there’s more to come from this team. Jake had a difficult night with engines and I think Drew will settle in once he gets more meetings and we’ll have a really good reserve pairing.

“Justin has gone about his business on a 4.44 average, and that’s looking very good business for us, and as for Max I don’t know if you’ll ever see a better Heat 15 than that anywhere in Britain. It was a fantastic performance from him all night.”

Next up for the Watling JCB Lions is a busy week on the road as they visit King’s Lynn on Monday and then Sheffield next Thursday (June 22).

LEICESTER 52: Max Fricke 15, Justin Sedgmen 9+3, Chris Harris 8+1, Richard Lawson 8, Nick Morris 6, Drew Kemp 4+1, Jake Allen 2+1.
BELLE VUE 38: Dan Bewley 12, Brady Kurtz 6+2, Jaimon Lidsey 6+1, Norick Blodorn 5, Charles Wright 4+2, Tom Brennan 3, Jake Mulford 2+1.

Photo credit: PHIL McGLYNN

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