LEICESTER moved four points clear at the top of the WSRA National Development League with a convincing 53-37 win over Belle Vue on Sunday afternoon.

The Lion Cubs made it four wins out of four in 2024, taking match and aggregate points following their victory at the National Speedway Stadium back on Good Friday.

It was another solid all-round display led by skipper Joe Thompson, whilst Tom Spencer celebrated the birth of his baby daughter with a double figure haul, and the all-action Vinnie Foord was also paid for double figures.

The Colts didn’t enjoy the best of fortunes, with two riders crashing out of the meeting. Matt Marson suffered a knock to the head after a tangle with Max James in Heat 7 when the Lion Cubs rider tried to pass on the inside but clipped his rival’s rear wheel, bringing both riders down.

Luke Muff was also withdrawn after an attempted move on Sonny Springer in Heat 12 again saw both riders on the deck, the Colts rider suffering a wrist injury in his spill.

Reserve Jack Shimelt pulled out with a knee injury after two rides, although he didn’t actually come to grief, whilst skipper Freddy Hodder walked away from a spectacular Heat 15 crash when he lost control trying to move inside Thompson.

There was much interest in the clashes between Thompson and Colts No.1 Sam Hagon, and Thompson pulled off a neat inside pass on his opposite number to win Heat 1.

Hagon then gave an impressive fast-gating display to win his remaining four outings as he prepares for his Watling JCB Lions debut later this month.

The Lion Cubs collected three 5-1s in the meeting, first from reserve duo Springer and Luke Crang in Heat 2, whilst Thompson and Foord secured maximum points in Heat 10 as the home side took control after the James/Marson crash had seen the gap reduced to six points.

Spencer and Springer got the better of a hard working Harry McGurk in Heat 12 and Arran Butcher, after early mechanical trouble, slipped inside McGurk on the last lap to win Heat 14.

Lion Cubs manager Dave Howard said: “It was a very eventful meeting, but that’s four matches now and four wins, and it was a great performance by all the guys.

“We also have the extra point as well from beating Belle Vue home and away, and these will be very important as the season goes on.

“Belle Vue did pull it back a bit, but we pulled away again and all in all it’s a great start to the season for us.”

The Lion Cubs are back in action next Sunday (May 19, 3pm) when they race at home to the combined Sheffield/Scunthorpe team.

LEICESTER 53: Joe Thompson 13, Tom Spencer 10, Vinnie Foord 8+2, Luke Crang 7+2, Sonny Springer 6+2, Arran Butcher 5+2, Max James 4.
BELLE VUE 37: Sam Hagon 14, Harry McGurk 9, Freddy Hodder 8, Matt Marson 3, Chad Wirtzfeld 2+1, Luke Muff 1, Jack Shimelt 0.
Leicester win the aggregate point.

Photo credit: STEVE DIXON

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