Express & Star

Proud Wednesfield Aces deliver a world-class show

[gallery] Pride was the overriding emotion at Wednesfield Aces today as the club reflected on a job well done.


The Aces welcomed cycle speedway's elite to their Ashmore Park home on Sunday as they staged a hugely successful world championships.

Riders from as far afield as Australia and Poland hit the track in the search for glory and while three individual champions were decided in the women's, juniors' and senior categories, the Aces were the real winners.

A crowd of around 1,500 lapped up the thrills and spills on a day where two local riders came close to glory.

Birmingham Monarchs rider Chris Timms was disqualified in a race-off for the senior title with Poland's Bartek Grabowski while Aces' Brandon Whetton also had to settle for the runner-up spot in the junior event.

Whetton had looked set to strike gold, but an exclusion in his last race for touching the tapes meant the title went to Australian Shane Bentley.

Vicky Brown of Sheffield took the honours in the women's event.

Despite the Midlands near-misses, Aces president Paul Bodley was thrilled with how the event went.

"It was an absolutely wonderful day," he said.

"It was the biggest challenge the club has ever faced.

"But with the help of some wonderful volunteers from our club, I think we staged one of the top meetings anyone could stage.

"It was really successful and everyone at the club is really proud.

"I started the club in 1962 and apart from my wedding and the birth of my children, it's the proudest day of my life.

"We just hope now this raises the profile of the club and we attract some new members.

"The only sad part for us on the day was that Brandon finished second. He was by far and away the best junior rider on view.

"He had got 15 points going into his last heat but sadly he touched the tapes and that meant an automatic exclusion. A win or second would have secured him the title.

"He was devastated, but I think he has picked himself up and he is a good competitor.

"Brandon had already beaten the Australian lad who won – he had beaten everybody, he was that good.

"It was disappointing but he is young and very, very good and he will win many titles in the future.

"That would have put the cap on a great day for the club. "It would have also have been fabulous if Chris Timms could have won the senior event.

"Chris rides for Birmingham but he is the brother-in-law of our first team captain Chris Jewkes."

Aces had three riders – Jewkes, Ben Mould and Paul Heard – in a senior event that ended in controversial fashion with referee Mike Hack disqualifying Timms in the race-off.

After spending hours helping to ensure things ran smoothly on the day, Aces chairman/secretary Dave Jewkes was quick to praise the standard of racing across all three categories.

"The best riders in the world were here and there was plenty of tough, high-quality racing," he said.

"It was a shame for Chris in the run-off. He was winning. It was very close all the way round and on the top bend and the Polish lad seemed to clip Chris' back wheel but the referee felt Chris obstructed the other rider and excluded him.

"The fair thing would have been to have a re-run so that the title was decided by a race. But the ref's decision is final and you have to accept it."

Jewkes is also hopeful that the Aces will feel the benefits of staging such a prestigious event.

"It was a brilliant day, everything ran smoothly and the turnout was fantastic," added Jewkes.

"The crowd was six deep all round the fence. In the end we had two temporary stands instead of one and there were probably 1,500 people watching.

"Staging events such as this raises the club's profile.

"People who had never watched the sport before came along and they were really impressed. I am sure we will pick a few more fans up on the back of this and hopefully some more big meetings.

"Each year we apply around December time for the various events, British, European and World championships. I think there is a chance we could get some prestigious events again in the future."

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