Belle Vue’s hopes of defending their National League crown were dealt a major blow in the wake of their 53-36 defeat at Kent, leaving their top four fate solely in the hands of their rivals.
The Cool Running Colts have now completed all of their scheduled league fixtures of the season having advanced to fourth in the table where they remain on 30 points, level with Birmingham.
It was a challenging night for the reigning champions, being without three of their key riders, but they were far from discouraged despite a tough start and got stuck right into the action.
Ben Woodhull was none the worse for wear after taking a tumble in Heat 3 while there was a slight delay after opposing No.1 Paul Hurry came down in Heat 10 requiring medical attention.
Guest duo Danno Verge and Henry Atkins top scored for the visitors with 9+1 apiece while spearhead Kyle Bickley collected 8 and rising star reserve Paul Bowen added 7+1.
It’s unlikely, says team boss Graham Goodwin, that his side will make the play offs now, stating: “Both Coventry and Eastbourne only need to win one meeting to knock us out of contention.
“But on the whole it’s been an exceptional season and we couldn’t be prouder of this team. We knew it was going to be tough at Kent but the boys certainly did not disgrace themselves.
“Ben had a bit of a knock but rode much better than his score reflects. He had nowhere to go to avoid Taylor Hampshire but, for some reason, was the one excluded; which was debatable.
“It is what it is though. Everybody put in the effort and did the best they could, and we can’t argue with that. It only remains for us to finish with a flourish against Mildenhall on Friday.”
The Rentruck Aces have a cluster of significant meetings ahead, starting with the defence of their KOC title at Somerset on September 12 ahead of the return leg at home on September 19.
They then commence their play off campaign with a visit from King’s Lynn on September 24 before they head to Norfolk for the second leg at the Adrian Flux Arena on October 1.
The Cool Running Colts are also back at home on September 14 against Mildenhall. Tickets for all home fixtures are available at www.bellevueaces.co and at the stadium box office on race night.
RESULT - KENT V BELLE VUE - MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 10
Kent ‘Slyde’ Kings 53: Jack Thomas 15, Anders Rowe 12, Nathan Stoneman 11+1, Alex Spooner 7+1, William O’Keefe 4+1, Paul Hurry 2+1, Taylor Hampshire 2+1
Belle Vue ‘Cool Running’ Colts 36: Henry Atkins 9+1, Danno Verge 9+1, Kyle Bickley 8, Paul Bowen 7+1, Ben Woodhull 3+2, Kean Dicken 0, Jack Smith R/R