Elite League Grand Final: Wolverhampton Wolves overcome Belle Vue to win title

By Gary SmeeBBC Sport
Freddie Lindgren
Wolves' Freddie Lindgren won 11 points in four heats

Wolverhampton Wolves fought off a valiant Belle Vue Aces comeback to win the Elite League for the first time since 2009 in the Grand Final.

Wolves lost Wednesday's second leg 50-42 in Manchester, but their 18-point victory in leg one at Monmore Green on Monday ensured they clinched the title.

Freddie Lindgren starred for Wolves, winning three leg-two heats.

"Belle Vue came out really strong and fighting, they rattled us, but we had the most quality," Lindgren said.

"We were the best team and we won it. It feels awesome. It's been a really good year for the whole club, everyone has been fighting all season."

Belle Vue fought the visitors all the way, but speedway world champion Tai Woffinden sealed the title with victory in heat 14.

Woffinden, 26, who rejoined Wolves in August, was also in the victorious team seven years ago with Lindgren and Peter Karlsson - the 46-year-old Swede claiming his fourth title with Wolves.

Karlsson confirmed after it would be his last appearance for the West Midlands club.

Peter Adams, Wolverhampton team manager, said his team deserved credit for overcoming the top two sides in the regular season's league table.

"Credit to Belle Vue they made a real fight of this, but the league table doesn't lie," he added.

"After 28 matches Belle Vue and Poole were clearly the best two teams in the league. But for us to knock both of them out in getting our hands on the title again is great credit to us."

Wolves riders Kyle Howarth, Peter Karlsson, Sam Masters celebrated getting to Wolves' first final since 2009
Kyle Howarth, Peter Karlsson and Sam Masters played a key part in getting Wolves to the final

Wolverhampton's semi-final win over Poole, when they came from 12 points down in the first leg, was the largest first-leg deficit successfully overturned in a two-legged Elite League match.

They then thumped Belle Vue in the Grand Final first leg 54-36 on Monday.

"Eighteen points at the Wolves den was just a mountain too big to climb," said Belle Vue team manager Mark Lemon. "The best team won over the two legs, but we came second again. It's disappointing

"You can top the table, be minor champions, but that means nothing. You've got to do it on these two nights."

For the record...

Wolves have now triumphed on three of their four appearances in the Elite League final, in its 20-year history, having won in 2002 and 2009, as well as being runners-up in 2004.

Belle Vue, who have been national champions 10 times, going back to their first in 1933, have now lost all three of their Elite League finals, having also been beaten in 2005 and 2015.

Wolves have been the champion team in British speedway, under its various names, five times in their history.

  • British League 1991
  • Premier League 1996
  • Elite League 2002, 2009, 2016

Wolves team manager Peter Adams has extended his already record haul of top-flight titles to nine.

  • Coventry: British League 1978, 1979
  • Cradley Heath: British League 1981, 1983
  • Wolverhampton: British League 1991; Premier League 1996; Elite League 2002, 2009, 2016