The Belle Vue Aces emphatically secured their place in the 2016 Elite League Grand Final on Wednesday after defeating the Lakeside Hammers 63-28 at the National Speedway Stadium.
Tracking an 8-point lead – which they pulled back with some class at the Arena Essex Raceway – the Rentruck Aces were heavily tipped to be the ones to progress through along with Poole.
But the Pirates’ dreams of a fourth consecutive title were left in tatters after Wolverhampton were able to recover the 12-point deficit they faced to knock the Dorset outfit well out of contention.
Back in Manchester, heat leader Craig Cook secured a flawless 14+1 maximum from five rides while captain Scott Nicholls led by example and followed closely behind with a brilliant 12+2.
The dominance of the home side over the visiting Hammers was clear cut from the early stages as they put away one heat advantage after another, forcing them into tactical territory by Heat 6.
But Kim Nilsson’s efforts were to no avail and the rampant Rentruck Aces continued in their strides towards the final showdown of their season which commences at Monmore Green on Monday.
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.
“We’ve won at Wolves before and we’ve defeated them at home. In all honesty, I’m not worried. The boys are good around both tracks and each week they’re here they improve more and more.
“That doesn’t take any pressure off us though. We’re a professional team going up against another professional team, and the intensity of the Grand Final is already gathering momentum.”
RESULT – WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 28TH
Belle Vue ‘Rentruck’ 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 ’Vortex’ 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.