Belle Vue Aces got their 2019 season off to the best possible start as they opened the new Premiership Supporters’ Cup competition with a 48-42 away win at Peterborough on Monday night.
Skipper Max Fricke and Danish star Kenneth Bjerre both went through the card unbeaten, whilst there was a superb British debut for young Australian newcomer Jaimon Lidsey who weighed in with an impressive 7+1.
The Aces were given a boost just 48-hours before the meeting when teenage starlet Dan Bewley was given the all-clear by doctors to resume racing seven months after a horror crash at Workington left him with a leg broken in 5 places, as well as a broken arm and broken wrist.
Not surprisingly, the Cumbrian youngster picked up just a single point, having only sat back on a bike last week.
Meanwhile there was an eve-of-season blow for Peterborough when their planned signing of ex-Belle Vue rider Craig Cook fell through at the last minute. Cook was expected to take the Peterborough No.1 jacket, but a disagreement on contract terms saw him replaced by Aaron Summers.
Belle Vue got off to a flying start as Fricke smashed the 9-year-old East of England Showground track record in heat 1, and the reserve duo of Lidsey and Dimitri Bergé hammered home a 5-1 win to put the Aces 6 points up after two races.
The scores remained tight with Fricke and Bjerre piling up the race wins for the Aces. Lidsey teamed up with Steve Worrall for a 5-1 win in heat 8, only for the home side to hit back with a maximum in the next.
Belle Vue retained a 6-point lead going into the final two nominated races, where a unique feature of the new Supporters’ Cup competition allows fans to select the riders for the penultimate race via a Twitter vote, with the team managers able to select the final race from those not chosen for heat 14.
The fans opted for Lidsey and Worrall, who went down to a 5-1 defeat, allowing Peterborough to close the gap to just 2 points.
But that left the unbeaten Fricke and Bjerre available to team manager Mark Lemon for the final race, and the pair duly obliged by romping to victory to give the Aces a 48-42 win.
Aces scorers: Kenneth Bjerre 15, Max Fricke 14+1, Jaimon Lidsey 7+1, Dimitri Berge 6, Steve Worrall 5+1, Dan Bewley 1+1, Ricky Wells 0.
The two teams meet again tomorrow ( Thursday) at Belle Vue’s National Stadium (7.30pm) when Aces’ fans get to see their 2019 team in action on home shale for the first time. The Aces will be looking for another 3 points to strengthen their position in the Cup group, which also includes Wolverhampton.