Swindon came up just short in a terrific contest at Belle Vue on Monday as they were defeated 40-50 in a meeting containing some thrilling racing.
The CFS Filtration Robins threw everything at their hosts and were arguably worth at least a league point for their efforts.
But teenage British sensation Dan Bewley scuppered their efforts with a string of remarkable late rides to leave Alun Rossiter’s men frustratingly point-less on the night.
Adam Ellis and skipper Nick Morris gave them the perfect start with a 5-1 in the opening race, but the Aces hit back in Heat 2 and took control with two more advantages.
Tobiasz Musielak stemmed the tide with a hard-fought Heat 4 win, but the Robins were six points down shortly after – and although Rossiter acted quickly to introduce Troy Batchelor as a tactical substitute in Heat 6, they were denied by a fast start from Craig Cook.
Batchelor did secure a 5-1 in Heat 7 along with David Bellego, who blasted superbly around the outside, but the Aces immediately responded with Rohan Tungate passing Ellis on the last lap of the next, to join Damian Drozdz for maximum points.
A race of the season contender followed with Tungate and Musielak switching positions on almost every bend of Heat 9 before the Robins man came out on top, and they then stunned the strong Cook/Max Fricke combination in Heat 10 with a fantastic 5-1 from Batchelor and Bellego.
At that stage it was 31-29 and all to race for, but the Aces gained a fortunate 4-2 in Heat 11 when the Robins almost tangled on turn four with Ellis putting the bike down in avoidance, and Bewley then breezed past first Zach Wajtknecht and then Batchelor to prevent a Swindon advantage in Heat 12.
Morris was an early leader of Heat 13 before Fricke came through, and a dramatic final bend saw Cook dive into second place before Morris responded on the run to the line.
It still put Belle Vue six points up, and a shock 5-1 followed in Heat 14 with reserve Jye Etheridge hitting the front and Tungate getting the better of first Wajtknecht and then Bellego for second place.
Robins needed a 5-1 from Heat 15 for a league point and initially it looked on as both Bellego and Batchelor made good starts – but again it turned into the Bewley show as he used the inside on this occasion to work his way to the front, and leave the visitors just adrift.
Rossiter said: “I thought we could have taken something from the meeting, and the race where Adam came off was a pivotal one.
“I also thought Heat 13 was going to be make-or-break, unfortunately it was break, and then Heat 14 did us even more damage – we didn’t expect to concede a 5-1 there.
“There’s a lot to think about but generally I’m happy with the boys. We’re doing okay so far, we just need a couple of them to chip in with a bit more.”
Robins next head to Somerset, and a meeting with former skipper Jason Doyle, on Wednesday, before hosting a top-of-the-table clash with Wolverhampton at the Abbey on Thursday.
BELLE VUE 50: Rohan Tungate 11+3, Dan Bewley 11+1, Max Fricke 9, Jye Etheridge 7, Damien Drozdz 6+2, Craig Cook 6, Steve Worrall r/r.
SWINDON 40: Troy Batchelor 12+2, David Bellego 8+1, Tobiasz Musielak 7+1, Nick Morris 6+1, Adam Ellis 5, Zach Wajtknecht 2+1, Jack Smith 0.