Fricke Completes New-Look Aces

The Belle Vue Aces have completed their 2017 Premiership septet with the addition of Australian star Max Fricke, who returns to Manchester for his third consecutive campaign with the club.

He joins his fellow countryman Justin Sedgmen, Danish star Kenneth Bjerre and the British quartet of Steve Worrall, Dan Bewley, Jack Smith and Craig Cook in Mark Lemon's new-look side.

Though still very young in years, the 20-year old from Mansfield, Victoria, already boasts quite the professional portfolio which includes, amongst others, four Aussie U-21 titles between 2013-2017.

But his most high-profile international achievement came in 2016 when he was crowned the FIM World Under-21 Champion in Gdańsk, Poland, 6 points clear of silver medalist Krystian Pieszczek.

As well as being the current Aussie U-21 title holder, Fricke continues to impress amongst senior competition and placed 5th overall in this year's four-round Australian National Championships.

On his return to the National Speedway Stadium, he said: "I wasn't sure if I'd be racing in Britain at all to begin with, so when I got the call from Belle Vue I was more than happy to sign a new deal.

"It was a tough season last year. The early postponements in England were what caused me to miss a lot of the UK fixtures towards the end of the year. It was nobody's fault, but not ideal.

"This year I don't believe I will have too many clashes in Europe as I'm not riding in Denmark, only Poland and Sweden, so I'm really looking forward to spending more time in Manchester."

Max Fricke

Fricke will make his first competitive appearance at Belle Vue's state-of-the-art home venue on April 1st, along with new team mates Bjerre and Sedgmen, in the 2017 Peter Craven Memorial.

It marks the beginning of a fresh start for the world-famous club, who take on the Poole Pirates just six days later at the National Speedway Stadium for Leg 2 of their tasty Knock Out Cup clash.

Fricke added: "There's been a lot of changes at Belle Vue these last few months. The new owners are keen to push on and make the club great again so it'll be a new challenge for all concerned.

"As well as the new management, there's a few new faces in the team as well. We've got a great bunch of lads riding for us this year so hopefully, all being well, we're in for a good season."

With his top flight team now complete, and his National League side soon to follow, Director of Speedway Mark Lemon is turning his attention to the club's highly anticipated season opener.

He said: "We've expended a lot of energy towards getting ourselves settled in, getting the new business operational and getting the Aces and Colts teams established. It's been an exciting time.

"At the same time, it has included many long days of hard work. There just aren't enough hours at the moment. There's a lot to do and we're doing the best we can but it's coming together nicely.

"I'm particularly happy with the Aces team. We've got a couple of inexperienced guys at reserve who have huge potential and a top five who can absorb the pressure to allow them to develop."

Photo: Chris Simcock

Wednesday 15th March 2017