RESULT: PIRATES 43 v ACES 47
Belle Vue Aces showed their title-seeking potential as they took this meeting to the Volvo Cars Poole Pirates and succumbed third placed Poole to their second home defeat of the season.
Armed with the British champion and the runner-up - Craig Cook and Steve Worrall - together with world U21 champion Max Fricke, the Aces demonstrated just why they are currently topping the SGB Premiership as they never gave the Pirates the privilege of holding the lead at any point in the meeting.
Riding without the services of Grzegorz Zengota who was suffering from a burned arm sustained in Poland on Sunday, the Pirates had a far-from-fit Nicolai Klindt returning from injury and finished with skipper Hans Andersen taking a post-meeting visit to Poole hospital for checks on a neck injury he sustained in a heat 4 crash.
That was just after the Aces had broken the early deadlock as former Pirate Rohan Tungate began his night with a victory despite being pushed hard by Jack Holder. A third Australian, Max Fricke managed to hold on for third place despite getting into trouble early on which perhaps a fitter Klindt could have exploited.
Andersen's crash came when he failed to negotiate the first turn and took Craig Cook with him into the fence. Cook who has just been warned for moving at the start picked up a comfortable victory in the re-start as James Shanes did as much as could be expected of him by beating Jack Smith.
The visitors eased into a 6-point lead through a follow-up 5-1 from Bjerre and Worrall, an advantage that Cook easily defended in heat 6.
Skipper Andersen undermined the effects of that earlier fall with a passing victory in heat 7 but Starke couldn't get by his former Somerset team-mate Tungate to help Poole's cause. Holder and Shanes though did give the Pirates fans something to cheer with a 4-2 from heat 8, Shanes holding off Worrall for a lap and a half and refused to allow the British number 2 an easy ride. British champion Cook made it three from three in heat 9 and with Klindt ineffective again, Dan Bewley's point re-established the Aces' 8 point lead.
The Pirates staged a big revival with Kurtz, improving on his previous two third places winning the all-Australian heat 10 and had Jack Holder backing him up as Poole halved the deficit. A brilliant ride from Paul Starke charging from third to first enabled Poole to square the meeting as Andersen had previously won the Battle of the Danes, outmanouvering Bjerre. But hopes of Poole being able to turn the tables on their opponents were effectively extinguished when Fricke and Bewley struck back with a 5-1 of their own, Starke, doing two on the trot, being frustrated by Bewley defending second place well.
Kurtz took the honours again in heat 13 but Andersen's early efforts served for nothing as he was headed home by Cook and Bjerre. Tungate assured the Aces would be heading home with the lions' share of the league points, holding on resolutely as Starke produced a determined chase that just faltered as the flag approached.
It left Poole requiring a 5-1 just to gain a draw, a result the two sides had achieved when they last met in Manchester. Kurtz was edged out by Fricke in the battle for third turn supremacy, resulting in Fricke's disqualification and making it a two-against-one last heat decider. But the one was the fast trapping Cook and the British champion cruised to victory, neither Kurtz nor Holder able to make any significant impact.
B. Kurtz 1',1',3,3,2=10+2
J. Holder 2,2,2,3,2',1'=12+2
N. Klindt 0,0,0,1'=1+1
H. Andersen FD,3,2,2',0=7+1
P. Starke 2,1,0,3,1,2=9
J. Shanes 1',2,1,0=4+1
Belle Vue 47
K. Bjerre 3,3,1,1'=8+1
S. Worrall 0,2',2,0=4+1
M. Fricke 1,2,1,3=7
R. Tungate 3,1',0,3=7+1
C. Cook 3,3,3,2,3=14
D. Bewley 3,0,1,2',0=6+1
J. Smith 0,1,0=1
Ht 1 K. Bjerre J. Holder B. Kurtz S. Worrall 3-3 (3-3) (58.97)
Ht 2 D. Bewley P. Starke J. Shanes J. Smith 3-3 (6-6) (59.72)
Ht 3 R. Tungate J. Holder M. Fricke N. Klindt 2-4 (8-10) (61)
Ht 4 C. Cook J. Shanes J. Smith H. Andersen (Fell d/q) 2-4 (10-14) (59.72)
Ht 5 K. Bjerre S. Worrall P. Starke N. Klindt 1-5 (11-19) (60.16)
Ht 6 C. Cook J. Holder B. Kurtz D. Bewley 3-3 (14-22) (60.4)
Ht 7 H. Andersen M. Fricke R. Tungate P. Starke 3-3 (17-25) (61.09)
Ht 8 J. Holder S. Worrall J. Shanes J. Smith 4-2 (21-27) (61.5)
Ht 9 C. Cook H. Andersen D. Bewley N. Klindt 2-4 (23-31) (60.72)
Ht 10 B. Kurtz J. Holder M. Fricke R. Tungate 5-1 (28-32) (61.28)
Ht 11 P. Starke H. Andersen K. Bjerre S. Worrall 5-1 (33-33) (60.94)
Ht 12 M. Fricke D. Bewley P. Starke J. Shanes 1-5 (34-38) (60.56)
Ht 13 B. Kurtz C. Cook K. Bjerre H. Andersen 3-3 (37-41) (59.91)
Ht 14 R. Tungate P. Starke N. Klindt D. Bewley 3-3 (40-44) (61.47)
Ht 15 C. Cook B. Kurtz J. Holder M. Fricke(D/Q) 3-3 (43-47) (59.97)
Gates: Poole won toss and chose gates 1&3 in heat 1. Belle Vue took gates 2&4 in heat 15
Poole 0 league points Belle Vue 3 league points
Rider of the Night: Jack Holder
video courtesy of RE-RUN PRODUCTIONS (licensed by GSI/BSPA agreement)
Final Standings (champions to be determined via play-offs)