Belle Vue Colts
Team Manager: Steve Williams & Graham Goodwin
|1. Sam McGurk||1*||3||1||1||6||1|
|2. Jack Parkinson-Blackburn||2||0||3||R||5||0|
|3. Harry McGurk||1*||3||1||2||1||8||1|
|4. Paul Bowen||2||1||3||2*||8||1|
|5. Jack Smith||3||3||2||3||3||14||0|
|6. Connor Coles||3||0||1*||3||7||1|
|7. Ben Woodhull||1||0||2*||0||3||1|
Team Manager: Alan Budzynski
|1. Kyle Bickley||3||2||3||2||2||12||0|
|2. Gregor Millar||0||0||0||R||0||0|
|3. Danny Phillips||3||1*||3||3||0||10||1|
|4. George Rothery||0||2||2*||R||4||1|
|5. Tom Woolley||2||2||0||0||4||0|
|6. Archie Freeman||0||2||1*||2||1||6||1|
|7. Lewis Millar||0||1*||1||1||3||1|
The Stellar Devils played their full part in an entertaining fixture at the National Speedway Stadium on Friday night before going down 51-39 to the Belle Vue Colts.
With Nathan Greaves on duty for Edinburgh, Kyle Bickley came in to guest and showed how well he rides the NSS track.
Devils' manager Alan Budzynski said "Once again I thought we were very close to getting something from the match, just four points down with three races left, but it slipped away as it has done once or twice. Kyle Bickley was a great substitute for Nathan, really on the pace and riding the boards. Danny Phillips too has certainly come on and was leading the charge. These two have ridden there many times.
"Tom and the youngsters struggled a bit with their setups but were on the pace, considering that track is so different from anywhere else they have ridden.
"There were a number of little things which went wrong – George Rothery lost a chain, Gregor had a puncture, and George touched the tapes in heat 14. But it's all learning, that's what they tell me the National Development League is about!"
Explaining the first heat 2-minute exclusion for Gregor Millar he added "The 2-minute warning is not as visible at Belle Vue as it is at some places and we were not aware of it. Gregor came back with a loose wheel or something and we ran out of time."
Danny Phillips took three race wins during the evening and Kyle Bickley had a couple within his dozen-point performance.
The racing improved as the night went on and several of the heats qualified for a "Race of the Season" label on the live updates. Devils were 8 down when Archie Freeman and Tom Woolley gated in heat 9, a great heat with Colts' Paul Bowen coming through for victory.
In the following race Phillips and Rothery took a 5-1, and Phillips was at it again in a thrilling heat 12 which was a Devils 4-2. Just four points in it at that stage!
There was time for a couple of great heats between Jack Smith and Kyle Bickley as the Colts took the major points in the closing stages.
While the What the Fork Monarchs take to the track at Armadale a mere 227 miles down the road (according to google maps anyway) the Stellar Devils will be back on track as they take to the shale at the National Speedway Stadium to take on the Belle Vue Colts in National Development League action.
It has been a truncated spell for the Devils with matches few and far between and with only Archie Freeman and Nathan Greaves (although he of course will be in attendance at Armadale) riding regularly elsewhere the rest of the team are desperate for the laps and looking to impress.
The Colts are no easy mark though as shown by their home record with only one blip so far this being a defeat to Kent. The Colts have a solid outfit with a good mix of youth and experience with plenty of Championship laps in the form of Jack Parkinson-Blackburn, Jack Smith and Connor Coles at the top end of the team.
Ben Woodhull and Paul Bowen also have plenty of nous round the NSS, Bowen in particular a fans favourite due to his effervescent character and anyone who saw the highlights video he put together of his performance at Armadale earlier in the season knows how much he brings to the pits as well as the track.
The stars of the season so far for the Colts have no doubt been the McGurk brothers, Sam and Harry. Starting the season at reserve both have catapulted themselves to the top 2 of the averages for the Colts more than doubling their averages along the way and both look to have a big future in the sport.
For the Devils as mentioned Nathan Greaves misses out with former Colts man Kyle Bickley stepping in, elsewhere the team is as per usual with Danny Phillips and Tom Woolley both citing the Manchester arena as a former home track so will be looking to score well.
George Rothery will look to get rid of any ring rust early and the wide-open bends of the NSS should suit him down to the ground while the Millar brothers will look to build on probably their best meeting of the season at Mildenhall the other week while Archie Freeman looks to get back among the points after a tough few weeks with Newcastle in the Championship.
The Devils currently sit second bottom of the pile but with less than half of their league fixtures raced so far there is still time for this situation to improve and their was frustration in the camp that no points were gleaned from that visit to Mildenhall anything gained tonight would be a good way to get over this disappointment and no doubt Alan Budzynski and his men will head south looking to make this happen.
Live updates will be available on the Devils website for those not in attendance.