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• Danny King leads Heat 5 from Connor Mountain (blue), Charles Wright (yellow) and Kyle Howarth

Steve Worrall was unable to build on his Heat 1 win and he dropped further points in Heat 12 after Paul Starke switched inside him for second place, but King’s victory moved him up to eight, and at that stage he was looking good for a place in the Final along with the imperious Bewley.

None of the Heat 13 competitors would ultimately make the top six but it’s certainly a race which Mountain will remember, as he took advantage of a brutal battle between Richie Worrall and Nicholls, who found the door slammed on him down the main straight, whilst Mountain held a great inside line to go through and take the win.

Lawson’s start-line failure in Heat 14 was a huge blow to his hopes whilst Cook edged inside King on the fourth bend to add a second straight victory – and if Lawson was frustrated there, it was even worse for Harris in Heat 15 who had the race in the bag before a belt failure on the final bend took him out of contention in both race and meeting.

Howarth and Brennan inherited the major points in that one, but another former champion who was going no further was Wright, who had only two points from his first three rides but did lead Bewley in Heat 16 only for the meeting leader to turn back heading into lap two and make it through on the inside.

Cook won again in Heat 17 to ensure his continued participation whilst Ellis’ second place over Mountain left him with nine points, with his place in the semi-final confirmed in a wild Heat 18 in which Brennan secured his own spot by going from fourth to second past Flint and Starke into bend three, dropping to the back again, and then going between his two rivals at the start of the third lap, before Starke snatched third from Flint on the line.

If that was eventful, Heat 19 was another belter and this time it was all about Bewley

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 18 – BELLE VUE

who scraped the fence to build speed to round Harris, and then chopped back to the inside to take King, who also lost second place to Harris in a race which secured the other automatic Final place for Cook.

King, Brennan and Ellis were all safely in the semi, and Heat 20 was all about which of three riders could overhaul Mountain into the top six. Lawson made the start but was overhauled by Steve Worrall, before the ever-trying Howarth dedicated himself to the outside and brilliantly got past them both, with Lawson just beating Worrall for second – but he was left one point short of qualification.

King had first pick for the semi but didn’t make it off gate three as Brennan took control from inside him, and initially it looked like Ellis would be making it through as well to join Bewley and Cook in the Final.

But King got himself inside Howarth at the end of lap one and then went round Ellis to take the other available place, with Howarth’s outside efforts this time in vain.

Gate two was always going to be Bewley’s pick for the Final, and after Cook selected gate three the main interest surrounded Brennan’s choice of the outside after initially looking set to take gate one.

But as it turned out, the race was all about second place because Bewley got away well and after a brief challenge from King who made a decent start from the inside, he was never threatened en route to that long-awaited title, whilst the three behind him traded paintwork as they looked for the remaining places on the rostrum.

Brennan again generated speed off turn two to dive into second place, although Cook was still a factor and he briefly shot back through at the end of lap two before Brennan returned the favour and secured the runners-up spot, whilst King was left off the podium after a valiant afternoon’s work in which track-craft had always kept him in contention.

It was a result warmly welcome by the home crowd with the top three all having strong Belle Vue connections, and there was no doubt whatsoever that the right man had won, and moreover that it had been a spectacular afternoon of entertainment.

A Grand Prix in Manchester? Yes, please – and Bewley might just win that as well.

Nigel award D

AN Bewley was also presented with the inaugural Nigel Pearson Award after a SpeedwayGB Twitter poll saw him voted the most entertaining rider on the day. Bewley collected 43 per cent of the vote, with Kyle Howarth also strongly supported as he polled 32 per cent and could easily have won the accolade himself for his performance.

Tom Brennan received 18 per cent and Craig Cook seven per cent, although organisers admitted it was tough to produce a four-man short-list so good was the overall standard of racing with Leon Flint, Connor Mountain and Adam Ellis all close to nomination themselves.

BSP Chairman Rob Godfrey said: “It’s an absolute pleasure and privilege to be able to give Dan that award, or indeed any of the riders.

“Nigel meant so much to everyone, he was the voice of British Speedway, and it’s an award we’re going to make a perpetual one so it comes back every year.

“We want to see that award on this event every single year, because without Nigel Pearson, the voice of speedway, we would be so small as a sport.”

TOM BRENNAN admitted that he hoped his mum and nan were looking down on him and proud after his sensational runner-up spot. As revealed in Speedway Star last week, the Belle Vue and Glasgow kid has battled through family tragedy of losing both his mum and nan to cancer within seven months.

But this wonderfully engaging young man oozes empathy and was eager to thank his new Cummings family for helping through the tough times.

He said: “I definitely dedicate this to my mum and nan. But also to my family and the people closest to me, especially my girlfriend.

“I really hope my mum and nan are looking down on me and they are really proud. I know I definitely am.

“I do also feel this is redemption for what happened in the original British Final. Dan is the right winner but to finish second to him doesn’t feel too bad at all.

“The last year has been so hectic for me and my family. What a feeling this is. Dan totally deserves this win, he was untouchable. Massive congratulations to him.

“I was No. 7 here at Belle Vue just over a year ago and struggling to score two or three points last season.

“For me, it’s amazing to feel this progress. I’ve got such a great family and team behind me every single day.

“Every rider tries to go into every meeting with an open mind. For me, it was to not think about what happened in the previous British Final.

“But I have to thank my mechanic Kyle Cummings, he’s the reason I’m here right now. We are working together trying to make progress together from a young age.

“The Cummings family have been amazing to me. So I hope they understand that this second place is for them.”

RAIG COOK produced his finest performance for some time to grab an impressive third place.

CThe deep-thinking Cumbrian delivered three very clinical wins in succession to storm straight into the final behind Bewley.

It was an incredible display considering he’s only raced in four heats since mid-July.

He revealed: “It felt good today, the last three races before the final were great. As I’ve said before, I’ve only done four races in 10 weeks. Being injured several times is not ideal.

“Behind the scenes, my dad and I have been working hard on the equipment. We’ve got something together which is more manageable to ride, it helps me ride the way I want to.

“It’s not perfect but we’ve made a move in the right direction. I’m really happy with this result. If you’d said to me at the start of the day I’d go straight through to the final, I would have taken that all day long.

“As soon as the first race finished, we made some changes. It just got better and better. I should have made more changes before the final because the dirt wasn’t there. I was happy with the way I was riding, relaxed on the bike, touching the fence down the straights. It’s just nice to enjoy racing.

“It means so much to me just to have some speed in the bike and feel that I’m riding well. I’m happy with that.

“It’s not always about results, it’s about progression. In the grand scheme of things, it’s just one meeting.

“The belief is always there, I know what I’m capable of and how good a rider I am. But when things aren’t working it’s very difficult to have that trust in the bike. You need everything to come together as a whole.

“No matter how good a rider you are, if the bikes aren’t working, you won’t win. This is a major step in the right direction.”

September 24, 2022 speedway star 5

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