Menu
Card image cap

LEMON HAILS ACES ATTITUDE

Belle Vue boss Mark Lemon admits it was an “absolute honour” to work with Aces’ class of 2016 as they defied the club’s cash troubles.

19 / 03 / 2017, 10:00

Belle Vue director of speedway Mark Lemon admits it was an “absolute honour” to work with Aces’ class of 2016 as they overcame the club’s cash troubles to fight their way into the Elite League Grand Final.

Lemon admits motivating last year’s team was no easy task as the former Belle Vue promotion fronted by David Gordon and Chris Morton collapsed, leaving riders waiting for their wages, before the club was itself evicted from the National Speedway Stadium for non-payment of rent.

The Aces are back in their stunning new home this year after a consortium led by businessmen Tony Rice, Robin Southwell and CEO Adrian Smith agreed terms with landlords Manchester City Council.

It was just an absolute honour to work with those riders and the respect I have for what they achieved, without everyone knowing what was going on, is tremendous.

Mark Lemon

Lemon is back to front the speedway side of the business and he’ll be hoping for a much smoother 2017. But he was keen to salute Belle Vue’s 2016 stars for coming so close to championship gold, despite Aces’ off-track issues.

He said: “It was frustrating and it was hard to keep the morale going as well as we did. I take my hat off to the riders. They pretty much weren’t getting paid for a number of months – not all of them, but the majority of them.

“We came into the play-offs and to keep the spirits upbeat at that level was an incredible task. But all the boys knuckled down and they did it. They all knew what was going on. Obviously the writing was on the wall, but we got to the play-offs and we had four more matches to go.

“I’m not saying I begged the riders to turn up, but it was a tough time for us all. To achieve what we did under those pressures, I have great respect for those seven riders who kept turning up to the track each week. I was really impressed with their attitudes.

“It was difficult for me to keep motivated, to be quite honest, never mind motivate seven riders. But we had a lot of things going for us. We had a fantastic stadium. We were successful on the track and that generates its own hype and enthusiasm.

“But at the end of the day, they’re pro-riders and they have expensive equipment to run. I wouldn’t like to be in that position ever again, and it’s history now. Unfortunately we didn’t win the trophy, which we dearly wanted to. Who knows what bearing all of that had on it?

“It was just an absolute honour to work with those riders, though, and the respect I have for what they achieved, without everyone knowing what was going on, is tremendous.”

Lemon is delighted to be part of the new Aces management team and insists Rice, Southwell and Smith bring vast business knowledge, experience and enthusiasm to the club.

“They’re great guys,” he said. “They’re quite unassuming and their business acumen just speaks volumes. They’re from another level basically.

“It’s quite surprising that they want to get involved in speedway, but they see it as a great opportunity and a great investment. It’s really good news that they see speedway as a potential winner.

“They’re great gentlemen – quite fun to be around – and I’m very grateful I’ve got the opportunity to work with them. I’m sure I can learn a lot and hopefully feed off their enthusiasm.

“They’re just excited about life, business and have a passion for Manchester. They have chosen Belle Vue as their club, so that’s even better.”

 

Card image cap

MAKING AMERICA GRIN AGAIN

Greg Hancock believes his Hancock Haj Grand Prix team can give USA the strength it needs to make their mark in the Monster Energy SON.

Card image cap

ROSCO: COOK WARMING UP

GB boss Alun Rossiter says SGP star Craig Cook’s weekend exploits earned him a spot in Lions’ Monster Energy FIM Speedway of Nations pair.

Card image cap

TEAMS FOR FIRST-EVER SPEEDWAY OF NATIONS REVEALED

Team line-ups revealed as 15 countries prepare for first-ever Monster Energy FIM Speedway of Nations in June.

Card image cap

IVERSEN SET FOR SHOULDER SURGERY

Danish champion Niels-Kristian Iversen is set to undergo surgery in a bid to overcome a troublesome shoulder injury.

Card image cap

SGP THROWBACK | MAGIC WIN IN PRAGUE

Maciej Janowski ️won five races on his way to third place at the 2015 Czech F️IM Speedway Grand Prix in Prague. Here's one of them ...

Card image cap

KILDEMAND RESTS AFTER CRASH

Danish star Peter Kildemand has been released from hospital after reportedly suffering concussion in a Swedish Elitserien crash.

Card image cap

LINDGREN STARS IN SMEDERNA SUCCESS

Freddie Lindgren raced to 12 paid 14 points as Smederna defied an heroic display by Tai Woffinden to beat visitors Masarna 55-35 on Tuesday.

Card image cap

SGP THROWBACK | WOFFY WINS FIRST SGP IN PRAGUE

Relive the moment Tai Woffinden ended Britain's six-year wait for an SGP winner with this magical moment at the 2013 Czech SGP in Prague.