Wednesday October 05, 2016
WOLVERHAMPTON are the 2016 Elite League Champions after coming out on top in a tense Grand Final battle with Belle Vue.

The Parrys International Wolves took an 18-point advantage from their home leg to the National Speedway Stadium in Manchester and produced an impressive second half display to beat the Aces 96-86 on aggregate.

The Monmore men were keen to settle any existing nerves early on and appeared to do so straight away courtesy of a 4-2 from Swedish duo Freddie Lindgren and Peter Karlsson.

But it was Belle Vue, who topped the regular league standings, who bit back instantly with successive 5-1's in heats two and three.

The hosts eat away at Wolverhampton's overall lead and a 5-1 to the Aces in heat seven saw the gap reduced to just eight on aggregate.

With Peter Adams' side ten down on the night, that opened up the opportunity to use a tactical ride for double points.

Karlsson pulled off a breathtaking move around the outside of Belle Vue captain Scott Nicholls in the eighth before Tai Woffinden was handed the black and white helmet colour in the ninth.

After missing the start, Woffinden had to battle hard to fend of Steve Worrall but couldn't quite catch twin brother Richie Worrall as the heat was shared 4-4.

Reserve duo Kyle Howarth and Max Clegg didn't have the easiest nights and scored just one point between them in their opening six rides.

But it was arguably their rides in heat 12 that swayed the momentum back in Wolverhampton's favour.

The Aces strongly fancied another 5-1, but Howarth, on borrowed machinery, made the gate to split the pairing of Joe Jacobs and Richie Worrall.

Meanwhile Clegg battled away at the back and switched lines on the final two bends to cut back up the inside and snatch a vital third place on the run to the line.

Lindgren dropped his only point of the night in heat 13 after a spectacular battle with Matej Zagar and Craig Cook before Woffinden, who was brought back into the side in August, sealed the title in heat 14.

A delighted team boss Peter Adams said: "This is thoroughly merited and the team deserve this success.

"Belle Vue and Poole may have been the slightly better teams over the course of the season, but it's who's better over four meetings at the end which counts most.

"I've said for many years now, building confidence and getting results is just part of it from March to September - it's what you do in October that really matters and we've come up trumps once again.

"Every single rider has played their part along the way and we mustn't forget the points that Joonas Kylmakorpi and Mikkel Bech scored to get us to this point.

"This is another great night for the club and I'm delighted for everyone involved."

It was an emotional night all round, particularly for Peter Karlsson who confirmed the 2016 Elite League Grand Final second leg fixture was his last in Wolverhampton colours as he wrapped up a fourth league Championship with the club.

The Parrys International Wolves will display the Elite League trophy at the Recycled Aggregates Olympique at Monmore Green on Tuesday (October 11, 7.30) where a bumper crowd is expected.

BELLE VUE 50: Matej Zagar 10+1, Max Fricke 9, Joe Jacobs 9+3, Craig Cook 8+1, Richie Worrall 7, Steve Worrall 4, Scott Nicholls 3+1.

WOLVERHAMPTON 42: Freddie Lindgen 14, Tai Woffinden 11, Peter Karlsson 8, Sam Masters 3+1, Kyle Howarth 3, Jacob Thorssell 2, Max Clegg 1+1.

WOLVERHAMPTON win 96-86 on aggregate and are crowned Elite League Champions for the first time since 2009.


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