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Great start for the Devils with a heat 1 5-1 Image Credit: Jack Cupido

Great performance by the Devils and the Track Staff

REPORT Friday 30th September 2022, 11:18pm

by Mike Hunter

The Stellar Devils put the struggles of the season behind them and won a comfortable and deserved victory against Belle Vue Colts, who were chasing a Playoff place but failed to secure the point they needed.

Stand-in team manager Alex Harkess said "The Devils did very well, there really was a bit of fight about them. The track was tricky obviously but it was the same for both teams. All of our side gave something, we got off to a great start and kept it going!"

There has to be high praise also for the Armadale track staff who overcame a day of very bad weather and provided a circuit that was certainly raceable. It seems the more you attacked it the better you did, which prompted home no. 1 Lee Complin to say "I liked it!"

Belle Vue were handicapped by the fact that Nathan Ablitt did not make the meeting, with three of his rides having to be left blank. His partner Jake Mulford was the Colts' star, winning his first four heats in great style, but some of the other visitors did not come up to expectations.

Danny Phillips and Lee Complin were the home top scorers, both excellent, but a big round of applause has to also go to Josh Embleton who gave by far his best performance in scoring 8+3.

He helped the Devils make a storming start as he teamed up with Complin for a first race 5-1 over Jack Smith. Complin team rode enthusiastically with his partner, constantly checking on Smith's position.

There was almost a repeat in heat 2 after what looked like a flyer for Gregor Millar, who won easily. Partner Kyran Lyden was in second spot but came down on the fourth bend of lap one.

Heat 3 was a fine ride by Mulford to pass Phillips for what proved to be his only defeat, then we had mayhem in heat 4. In the first running Woolley fell while leading, then Hodder did likewise and finally Harry McGurk packed up, leaving Kieran Lyden to ride home alone for a 3-0.

By the time Phillips had beaten Smith, and the Complin-Embleton Pair had recorded another 5-1, it was starting to become obvious that an upset was on the cards. Belle Vue did get a race advantage in heat 7, Mulford's second heat backed by Freeman, but that was quickly reversed by Embleton winning heat 8 backed by Lyden in third.

Colts were still 11 points down after heat 10, at which point Jack Smith became the second Colts' race winner and gave them a glimmer of hope. Phillips won heat 12 though and heat 13 proved to be the decider, the race which ensured that Oxford and not Belle Vue would go in to the Playoffs.

Smith gated but Complin came inside him off the second bend, and Smith slid off trying to regain the lead round the outside. A 5-1 took the score to 45-30 and there was no way back.

The last two heats were shared, an excellent heat 15 ending prematurely when Complin fell while duelling with Smith for second behind Danny Phillips. This time Mulford had not gated and had to settle for a gift third.

The Devils have moved off the bottom of the table with this result, but they need to prevent Plymouth taking all the points when they visit the south-west side on Tuesday. That will then leave the visit of Leicester next Friday to race the Devils – and a win for the Armadale team in that one would be an even greater achievement.