League leaders Belle Vue Aces and third placed Wolverhampton Wolves have booked their place in this year’s Elite League Final.
Belle Vue, who have led the table for much of the season, emphatically beat the Lakeside Hammers 63-28 on Wednesday night, whilst Wolves booked their place with a 55-35 victory over the Poole Pirates, the winners of the past three seasons.
For the Aces, it’s been a monumental year. After losing out in the final last season, a summer move to their new stadium, The National Speedway Stadium, has urged them on to a return in the final, but they’ll be hoping to go one better than last time.
Team manager Mark Lemon said: “It was a splendid effort by the boys against Lakeside. It’s been a joy to work with them this season and to watch them succeed. I’m of course very proud of them.
“We’ve still got a big hurdle to overcome in the Grand Final next week. This is our second consecutive final which in itself is a major achievement because qualification is no easy task.
“We’ve worked hard all year for this but the way that the boys work together is tremendous. We could’ve easily eased up against Lakeside because they aren’t known for travelling well.
“We pushed on regardless and you can’t ask for more than that. Craig getting a max and Scott dropping only a point was very impressive. As far as I’m concerned, everything’s going to plan.
“We know what happened last year. We’ve learned from that and I think we’ve grown stronger as a club. There’s a tough assignment on the horizon however so the boys have got to keep things up.
“The way we’ve been performing on track suggests to me that this team certainly has what it takes to win the Elite League title. It’s not a foregone conclusion however because two teams go to war.”
Craig Cook recorded a paid 15, whilst skipper Scott Nicholls aided with a paid 14 on the night, with Matej Zagar (9+1), Steve Worrall (8+2), Richie Worrall (7+2) and Joe Jacobs (7+2) all aiding in a terrific team performance.
As for Wolves, they faced a Poole side chasing a fourth successive title, and the hosts had to overcome a twelve point deficit heading into their clash at Monmore Green.
But a stunning team performance saw the Monmore men set up a Grand Final tie with the Belle Vue Aces.
Team manager Peter Adams said: “From rider one to seven, from heat one to fifteen, the team were terrific.
“We always believed that as long as nothing untoward happened, that we’d got the quality in the team to pull it back.
“We now face what will be two great occasions against Belle Vue and we’ve got the belief that we can go on and take it to them.”
Skipper Freddie Lindgren returned to spectacular form as he wrapped up a paid maximum on the biggest night of the season to date for the Wolves.
World champion Tai Woffinden’s class shone through again as he dropped just one point to the opposition, while Sam Masters and guest Chris Harris picked up a race win a-piece on their way to seven points.
Kyle Howarth picked up two crucial victories, including one in heat 12 as he defeated the in-form reserve duo of Kyle Newman and Adam Ellis at a vital stage of the meeting.
Peter Karlsson and Max Clegg both chipped in with important contributions as the Parrys International Wolves sealed a place in the Grand Final for the first time since 2009.
Wolves will host Belle Vue in the first leg at Monmore Green on Monday, October 3, with the return at the National Speedway Stadium in Manchester on Wednesday, October 5
Belle Vue Aces 63:
Craig Cook 14+1, Scott Nicholls 12+2, Matej Zagar 9+1, Steve Worrall 8+2, Richie Worrall 7+2, Joe Jacobs 7+2, Patrick Hougaard 6+1
Lakeside Hammers 28:
Robert Lambert 8, Kim Nilsson 5, Lewis Bridger 5, Richard Lawson 4, Robert Branford 4, Edward Kennett 2, Ben Morley 0
Belle Vue Win 112-69 On Aggregate
Wolverhampton Wolves 55:
Tai Woffinden 13+1, Freddie Lindgren 12+3, Sam Masters 7+2, Chris Harris 7+1, Kyle Howarth 7, Peter Karlsson 5+2, Max Clegg 4.
Poole Pirates 35:
Kyle Newman 14+1, Adam Ellis 9+2, Chris Holder 8+1, Rohan Tungate 3, Krzysztof Buczkowski 1, Brady Kurtz 0, Antonio Lindback R/R.
Wolverhampton win 94-86 on aggregate.