Colts Confirm Double Return

The Belle Vue Colts have handed both Andy Mellish and Rob Shuttleworth a well-earned return to Manchester for their 2017 campaign, where they will join team mates Dan Bewley and Jack Smith.

The pair featured prominently in the septet that came so close to qualifying for last year's end-of-season Play Offs, and each is highly determined to put in the hours to go one better this season.

Mellish was delighted to take his place in Belle Vue's National League side in 2016 - after spending a period of time with them in the MDL - fulfilling a lifelong dream to represent his boyhood club.

But a nasty crash during the team's home bout with Eastbourne in May temporarily put the 2012 British Grasstrack Champion on the sidelines due to fears concerning hip and shoulder injuries.

He returned to the National Speedway Stadium twelve weeks later after making a full recovery and went on to triumphantly complete the season a firm favourite with the fans and his team mates.

Andy Mellish

Rob Shuttleworth was frequently referred to as the "engine room" of the side during the Colts' 2016 campaign and will no doubt be determined to build on his experiences going into the new year.

The 23-year old has made no secret of his desire to return to the National Speedway Stadium for Belle Vue, while at the same time Workington have also handed him his full Championship debut.

Team manager Graham Goodwin has worked extensively with the two riders for much of their speedway careers and is delighted to see both back in the National League saddle for his side.

He said: "Myself and Steve [Williams] have worked extensively with both Andy and Rob pretty much since they first turned their hand to speedway and we're happy to have them back this year.

"Andy is one of the best riders to work with. He has a deep connection to Belle Vue through his late father, Stuart. He's got great mechanical knowledge and always mucks in with the rest of the lads.

"His starting average did make things a little awkward to begin with but the way our team building has gone meant he fitted in perfectly, and allows two of our younger riders to start at reserve.

"It's interesting just how many people have asked us if Andy would be back this year, but his whole demeanour screams Belle Vue through and through so it's no surprise he's a fans' favourite.

Rob Shuttleworth

"Rob is another who encompasses the vision we hold about a Colts team comprised not only of local riders, but riders who are absolutely serious about wanting to ride for this team and this club.

"We used Rob extensively in the MDL and it's only because at the time we didn't have a National League side that he went to Stoke and then Coventry, otherwise he'd have been first on our list!

"He will take on the third heat leader role this year and we believe he'll be a solid, reliable, all-round performer. His career is really going places and I firmly believe this will be a very big year for him."

The Colts kick off their 2017 fixtures at home on Friday 28th April against Mildenhall.

Photos by Ian Charles & Chris Simcock

Friday 17th March 2017