UK NEWS - 24 April, 2014
Story by BSPA Press Office
BELLE Vue snatched a dramatic 45-45 Elite League draw at Wolverhampton thanks to a last-heat 5-1 from Matej Zagar and Scott Nicholls.
The Aces duo got the better of World Champion Tai Woffinden and Piotr Pawlicki at the end of an eventful Monmore Green contest which saw the visitors claw back from eight points down with six races remaining.
Michael Palm Toft picked up two crucial race wins for Belle Vue whilst Wolves were left to rue a series of points dropped due to crashes.
Aces boss Jason Attwood said: “Monmore Green is a difficult place to visit and I'm delighted with the result. If you'd asked me at the beginning of the evening, taking at least a point was probably the minimum we were looking for.
“I had a chat with the boys on the track walk and we knew we needed to be picking up points from our away meetings as we've been doing at home, and we've done exactly that."
Wolves manager Peter Adams added: “It's the second home meeting in a row we've lost out on a point in the final race, so we are obviously disappointed.
“We wanted to hit them hard early on to get some sort of a lead and we did that, but it was never quite enough and when some of their riders settled down and found the right setups it got a lot more difficult for us.”
BIRMINGHAM promoter Alan Phillips has confirmed he is looking at options to make changes at Perry Barr.
Phillips is calling on his side to prove they are better than recent results when reigning Elite League champions Poole visit the Second City on Wednesday in a repeat of last season’s Grand Final.
Phillips said: “All the riders are up for the challenge, and what a challenge it is. They know results haven’t been good enough of late and we have to put it right.
“I’ve spent all the Easter weekend trying to give us options to bolster the team, but it’s not something that can happen overnight. For now I would like to see our team pull off a win against Poole and show to me just how desperate they are to make things right for Birmingham.”
Poole will make a late decision on the fitness of Kyle Newman after his crash at Peterborough last week, with Adam Ellis on stand-by to guest – and boss Neil Middleditch will urge his side to treat the Brummies with respect.
Middleditch said: “If there is one thing I have learnt from all my years in speedway is that the hardest club to ride against is one that has been struggling.
“While the results have gone against Birmingham this season we will be facing 15 heats of speedway on Wednesday and anything can happen over those 60 laps. Without a doubt they have riders more than capable of picking up points and if they all click together then anything can happen.”
Meanwhile King’s Lynn can take over at the top of the table if they take maximum points against Wolverhampton at the Norfolk Arena.
The Stars name a full-strength, unchanged side, whilst Wolves call upon Steve Worrall at reserve to guest for the injured Joe Jacobs.
IN- FORM Scott Nicholls has joined the line-up for Thursday’s British semi-final at Sheffield.
The seven-times champion has switched from next week’s Rye House event, with the top seven riders in the meeting guaranteed a place in the Final at Wolverhampton in June.
Leigh Lanham makes the reverse move and will now race at Hoddesdon on April 30.
Nicholls said: “I’m desperate to win another British title, but I have to do a job at Sheffield first. I’m looking forward to the meeting, it’s a fast track and hopefully my current form can continue.”
OVER 30 future speedway hopefuls attended a successful British Youth Training day at Leicester on Tuesday.
The enthusiastic youngsters were able to complete more than six hours of practice in front of GB Youth bosses Phil Morris and Neil Vatcher, with Leicester and Sheffield star Simon Stead on hand to offer assistance.
Vatcher said: “We have been saying for a number of years now that there is talent coming through the system, but we all have to be patient as it will not happen overnight.
“The proof of the talent was shown only last week at the British Under-21 Final where the top two, Josh Bates and Adam Ellis, who are both only 18 were riding in the British Youth Championship only two years ago - and both are now on the verge of competing at World Junior Level when they compete in the World Under-21 Semi Finals next month at Leicester and Straslund Germany respectively.”
WARD FIT FOR THE FINAL?
SGP NEWS - 23 April, 2014
Story by FIM Speedway Grand Prix
The Aussie international knows he faces a stern test at the ZKS Polonia Stadium on Saturday, but he is determined to pass it as he bids to put his World Championship campaign back on track after leaving Auckland with only five points.
He said: “It’s another step up to the Grand Prix and everyone is pretty much fully fit. I’m still not 100 percent, but as we saw, I still rode okay.
“I’m looking to go to Bydgoszcz and try and make the final. I’ll see what happens from there. New Zealand wasn’t the way I wanted to start and I’m still feeling sore after a pretty big crash, but it was okay yesterday and I didn’t feel too bad.”
Asked if he expected such a big score on his return, Ward admitted: “Probably not.
"I had a meeting with the management before the meeting. Emil was out, so it was pretty key I came in and tried to throw my bit in.
“Wroclaw are still a strong team and have some good riders, but we had a good meeting. It all went to plan. If Emil was riding, I probably wouldn’t have been. I’d have had that extra week off.
“But I was riding the bike and it was fine. I had no problems and it turned out to be pretty good.
“I had a bit of a grip problem. When I practised during the day at Torun, I felt I couldn’t grab the throttle as hard as I’d want to. But as I did more laps, I got immune to the feeling and it just felt pretty normal.
“I was a little bit sore afterwards with the thumb. But it’s pretty sweet today and it wasn’t that big a deal.
“I want to thank Slawek Kryjom from Torun. He’s always a big help and has been this week with organising stuff and getting me back.”
SPEEDWAY AT GILLMAN THIS FRIDAY
GENERAL NEWS - 23 April, 2014
Story by Gillman Media
Speedway fans have an unexpected chance to see some action at Adelaide’s Gillman Speedway this season, with an additional meeting taking place this Friday night, 25 April.
The season had officially closed last month, but the Speedway Riders’ Association had no hesitation in hastily scheduling a meeting for Anzac night to raise funds for badly injured Kiwi Sidecar passenger Philippa Burns.
Burns, who has been a regular at Gillman in recent seasons either as passenger or pit crew for her husband Andrew Buchanan, was air-lifted to hospital with multiple injuries after a fall in the qualifying meeting for the Australian Championship at Kurri Kurri in New South Wales on 29 March. She is expected to make a full recovery but is still hospitalised in Australia and not yet able to return home to New Zealand.
Friday night’s meeting will feature Solos and Sidecars, with this season’s leading riders – Robert Branford, Arlo Bugeja and Robert Medson – heading the list of Solo nominations, along with Mildura riders Jack Fallon and Chris Ferguson.
A full field of Sidecars will contest the regular format of 20 heats, a last chance semi-final and a final. Leading contenders are former Australian Champions Mark Mitchell and Tom Golding, current and multiple Victorian Champions, Warren Monson and Matt Morgan, Daniel Puddy and Luke Puddy, who almost pulled off the upset of the season when they went close to winning the Grand Slam Grand Final at the last meeting, and popular Riverland brother and sister Arron and Teagan Hartwig, who rode in their first Australian Championship at the end of March.
There will also be several events for Classic Sidecars, plus Junior Solos and Sidecars on the infield track when the main track is being watered or graded.
Free entry to all current and past service personnel, proof of service is required.
Everything you need to know:
Meeting Date: Friday night, 25 April 2014.
Venue: Gillman Speedway Stadium, 65 Wilkins Road, Gillman – near the Port Adelaide area.
Gates open: at 5 pm.
Racing starts: at 7.30 pm.
Riders/Passengers (Alphabetical order):
Sidecars: Tim Bichard / Dale Knights, Rick Curran / Chris Prewett (Vic), Chris Dess / Emily Seymour (NT/Vic), Shane Evans / Kane Turner, David Gannon / Darryl Whetstone (NZ/ENG), Byren Gates / Michael O’Loughlin (Vic), Jason Hardy / Adam Pascoe, Arron Hartwig / Teagan Hartwig, Kym Menadue / Greg Menadue, Mark Mitchell / Tom Golding, Warren Monson / Matt Morgan (Vic/SA), Daniel Puddy / Luke Puddy, Shane Rudloff / Damien Egan, Aaron Silvy / TBA, Rick Stephens / TBA (NSW), Jayson Trewin / Jack French (Vic), Mal Greig / Scott Banyer (reserve), Brian Silvy / Josh Knott (reserve)
Format: 16 riders x 20 heats plus a last chance semi-final and a final. The 4th to 7th highest scorers go into the semi-final; and the winner of the semi-final and the highest three scorers from the 20 heats go into the final.
Solos: Arlo Bugeja, Robert Branford, Jack Fallon, Chris Ferguson, Seth Hickey, Robert Medson, Jake Mitchell, Luke Mitchell, Garry Fischer
Classic Sidecars: Geoff Baran/Ken Cherrington (Norton), Clinton Crabb/Matt Morgan (Kawasaki z1000), Dean Hobbs/Andy Westover (Suzuki GS1000), Steve Lewis/Rob Brown (Suzuki GT750), Mick Tucker/Jack Tucker (Suzuki T500)
Juniors (infield track, races during grades/watering of senior track):
125cc Junior Solos: Lachlan Barbary (Mildura), William Coombes, Mitchell Grech, Liam May, Brayden McGuinness, Nicholas Possingham, Blake Ridley, Layne Riordan (Mildura)
250cc Junior Sidecars: Tom Adams/Katelyn Silvy, Jackson Barbaby/Josh Malik (Mildura), Eli Bock/Ben Khan (Broken Hill), Talysha Dawson/Chealah Dawson (Mildura), Jayden Hardy/Belinda Silvy, Scott Topping/Andrew Erzay (WA)
Admission Prices: Adults $20, Pension and Student Concession $15 (*), Children Under 16 free. Parking free. Programme $5.
(*) Concession is limited to Centrelink Pensioner Concession Card and Student Concession card holders only.
Parking and entrance:
Patrons can enter via two gates, the main entrance which is at the western end, and the competitors’ gate which is at the eastern end near the pits. The back gate will only be open until 8pm. There are parking areas near both gates.
Weather Forecast: Maximum 23, minimum 11. Partly cloudy.
Souvenirs: There is a well-stocked souvenir shop including the latest Blackchrome manufactured shirts and jackets. Eftpos available only in the souvenir shop.
Food and drink: Full bar and catering available. Food includes hot chips, pies, pasties, sausage rolls, Chico Rolls, dim sims, hot dogs, sandwiches, doughnuts, coffee, cold drinks, sweets. Please note a condition of our liquor licence is no byo alcohol or glass can be brought into the venue (security will check at the gate). Also note no pets, other than guide dogs, are allowed into the venue.
Seating: There are large grassed viewing mounds and the western end is fully terraced, but there is no grandstand seating, so bring deck chairs or blankets if you do not want to sit on the grass.
VIP Area: The V.I.P. area is available to anyone who would like to treat their business colleagues, family or friends to the best view of motorcycle speedway action in Australia. Any number from one up to fifty spectators can enjoy the elevated view overlooking the track, either from inside the temperature controlled room, on the timber decks, or the enclosed lawn area, for a very reasonable price per person. A fully stocked bar and a variety of food to suit all budgets is available and you can book the whole room or part thereof. Ring Gillman Speedway Manager David Parker on 0403 364 658 or e-mail email@example.com for more details.
The best way to get to Gillman Speedway is off Hanson Road. If you are coming from the eastern and southern suburbs, get on to Hanson road off Torrens Road or Grand Junction Road, travel north on Hanson road over the train line then take the first road on the left, which is Wilkins road.
From the northern suburbs, travel down the new Port Adelaide expressway and take the Hanson Road exit. Once on Hanson Road, take the first exit on your right, this is Wilkins road.
From the western suburbs, Wilkins Road is the continuation of Bedford Street, north of Eastern Parade.
For interstate visitors flying into Adelaide and getting a hire car, Gillman is about 30 minutes’ drive from the airport. The easiest and most direct way, if not going to your accommodation first is: On leaving the airport, turn left onto Sir Donald Bradman Drive. Continue along Sir Donald Bradman Drive until you reach the end of the airports grounds and turn right onto Tapleys Hill Road. Just keep going on Tapleys Hill Road until you can’t go any further. That’s Port Road. Turn left onto Port Road. You can only turn left, you can’t go straight ahead or turn right, so pretty easy to this point. Continue down Port Road for about 1 km to the first intersection which is Grand Junction road and turn right. You only go 700 metres along Grand Junction Road over a bridge over a railway line. Stay in the left lane because at the bottom of the bridge you turn left into Gray Terrace. Go to the end of Gray Terrace and turn right (you can’t go straight ahead) onto Bedford Street. Just keep going on that Road until you get to the speedway. About 2 kms. The whole trip is about 20kms, and half-an-hour depending on traffic lights. Once you are on Tapleys Hill Road you can’t really go wrong. You only have to make three or four turns and most of those are simple.
There is plenty of accommodation in Adelaide and suburbs, within 20-30 minutes of the Speedway, ranging from five star hotels to caravan parks and backpacker hostels. The Pavlos Motel on Main North Road, Pooraka offers a discount to speedway fans but you must ring the motel direct and ask for the Gillman Speedway discount. Full details are on the Gillman website under the information/accommodation tab.
Contact for this meeting: Speedway Manager, David Parker 0403 364 658
UK NEWS - 23 April, 2014
Story by BSPA Press Office
COVENTRY maintained the early leadership of the National League with a dramatic comeback to get the better of champions Cradley at Brandon.
The Heathens led 22-14 after six races but the Storm hit back, and after the visitors saw both Max Clegg and Danny Phillips disqualified from Heat 14, home men Oliver Greenwood and Stefan Nielsen secured a last-race 4-2 for a 46-43 victory.
Coventry co-boss Blayne Scroggins said: “It’s been a fantastic weekend, we’ve taken points off the two favourites in the league and to battle back from eight points down was brilliant.
“Olly is coming on in leaps and bounds, both in the National and Premier Leagues, and that was a great Heat 15.”
Cradley manager Will Pottinger said: “Of course it's extremely disappointing to lose after being eight points up at one stage. A few things went against us machinery wise and with decisions; it was just one of those nights really.
“At least we came away with a point which is better than nothing and the minimum requirement from away meetings.”
Meanwhile Kent opened their home season with a 52-39 win over King’s Lynn in the Easter Trophy at Central Park. Ben Morley top-scored for the hosts on 12+1 with skipper Simon Lambert adding 10+1.
WOLVERHAMPTON and Belle Vue complete the Elite League’s Easter programme with a clash at Monmore Green in the return of their Good Friday fixture.
The Aces made it two successive home wins in inflicting Wolves’ first defeat of the season four days ago, and are now seeking their first away points.
Wolves will be without reserve Joe Jacobs, who is ruled out due to concussion after a crash at Peterborough last Friday, with locally-based Tom Perry stepping in.
Boss Peter Adams said: “I fully expect this to be a tremendous meeting with lots of good racing. It's important for us to get back to winning ways and we will be looking for a response from the team after missing out on Friday.”
Aces boss Jason Attwood said: “It'll be a totally different kettle of fish on when we're away at Monmore Green; like ourselves, Wolves have an undefeated home record so far and I'm sure they'll be up for our visit. But I think we've got a team this year that are more than capable of rising to the challenge.”
SHEFFIELD co-promoter Damian Bates is relishing the prospect of Thursday’s British semi-final at Owlerton.
Three-time national champion Chris Harris is amongst the competitors in the event with home stars Simon Stead, Leigh Lanham, Adam Roynon and Andre Compton also looking to progress to the Final at Wolverhampton in June.
Bates said: “Naturally I will be hoping for success from our riders but obviously it’s tough when you look at the standard of the field.
“There will be a lot of people saying Chris Harris will be tough to beat because he’s a Grand Prix rider, but I’m sure he will be pushed to the limit by some of the guys out there.”
PETERBOROUGH promoter Trevor Swales believes the feel-good factor is back at the Showground this season.
The Panthers, who made the switch from Elite to Premier League over the winter, have made a strong start and are well-placed to qualify from the Southern section of the League Cup.
Swales said: “The situation in the group has changed very quickly and we are now in a great position. We enjoyed a terrific day on Good Friday with home and away wins over what I believe to be a very good Ipswich team.
“We have to remember the job is not yet done, but I feel we are capable of getting results at Plymouth and Rye House. I sense there is a buzz about the place again that hasn’t been seen there for a number of years.”
BRITISH SPEEDWAY WEEKLY BULLETIN
UK NEWS - 23 April, 2014
Story by BSPA Press Office
WORLD Champion Tai Woffinden will make a rare appearance on a Premier League track when he competes in the British Semi-Final at Rye House on Wednesday April 30.
Woffinden, who rode for the Rockets before stepping up to the Elite League with Wolverhampton, is one of several top-flight regulars included in the Hoddesdon event as riders chase progression to the British Final at Monmore Green on June 16.
Seven-times national champion Scott Nicholls is also included whilst the home contingent features Steve Boxall, Jason Garrity and Luke Bowen.
Rockets promoter Len Silver said: “I am absolutely over the moon to know that Tai will be coming home to one of his original stamping grounds, and I know that Rye House supporters will turn up in big numbers to cheer him on, together with Steve, Jason and Luke.
“I am delighted with the field, and there will be no change to our standard Premier League level pricing for admission.
“There will, however, be an extra-large combined programme covering both this event and the preceding Saturday’s (April 26) match between the Rockets and Scunthorpe. This will be on sale on the Saturday for £3, and be priced at just £1 on the Wednesday for those unable to come to the Scunthorpe match.”
BRITISH SEMI-FINAL – Rye House: 1. Tai Woffinden, 2. Adam Ellis, 3. Lewis Bridger, 4. Richie Worrall, 5. Steve Boxall, 6. Oliver Allen, 7. Josh Auty, 8. Lewis Blackbird, 9. Richard Lawson, 10. Ritchie Hawkins, 11. Carl Wilkinson, 12. Jason Garrity, 13. Luke Bowen, 14. Ashley Birks, 15. Scott Nicholls, 16. Stefan Nielsen.
The Hoddesdon event follows on from the Sheffield semi-final on Thursday April 24, where the declared line-up was:
BRITISH SEMI-FINAL – Sheffield: 1. Danny King, 2. Edward Kennett, 3. Ashley Morris, 4. Craig Cook, 5. Derek Sneddon, 6. Simon Stead, 7. Leigh Lanham, 8. Lewis Kerr, 9. Kyle Newman, 10. Charles Wright, 11. Chris Harris, 12. Stuart Robson, 13. Kyle Howarth, 14. Adam Roynon, 15. Ben Barker, 16. Andre Compton.
*BRITISH Under-21 Champion Josh Bates is determined to maintain his focus after his stunning success at Monmore Green earlier this month.
Bates, of Sheffield and Mildenhall, emerged on top after an incident-filled meeting, defeating Adam Ellis in what became a two-man Final following disqualifications for Jason Garrity and Stefan Nielsen, who also progress to the World Under-21 qualifiers.
Bates said: “I can’t usually gate to save my life, so to manage to produce three really good starts in the biggest race of my career was really pleasing.
“I went there with the aim of scoring a few points and enjoying the occasion, but it was when I reached the final that I started to tell myself that I could win it.
“It was my night, but it doesn’t mean other things will be on a plate for me. Nothing gets given to you in this sport and the only way to gain success is by putting in the hard work on and off the track.
“Some riders make big statements about what they think they can do, but I’m not going to do that. I have my targets though. I aim to score double-figures wherever I go in the National League and I just want to take it race-by-race in the Premier League.”
ELITE LEAGUE LATEST…
BELLE VUE boss Jason Attwood says there is plenty more to come from his side after a 50-39 Good Friday win over Wolverhampton in front of a bumper crowd at Kirkmanshulme Lane.
Attwood said: “It feels great for us to beat a good Wolves side, not only because they won twice here last year but it's their first defeat this season and it was dealt at the hands of Belle Vue.
“It got a bit scary towards the end when they scored two 5-1s on the trot because we thought we were watching a win slip away before our eyes, so we've still got a lot that can be improved on.”
BIRMINGHAM star Ben Barker admits the club’s riders are under pressure after a poor start to the season culminating in a 30-60 home humiliation at the hands of King’s Lynn on Good Friday.
Barker said: “If things don't improve then changes might have to be made which is a shame because we've got a good bunch of lads here, but we can't carry on losing like we are.
“I'm not even sure my job is safe the way I'm riding at the moment, so I need to buck my ideas up and get back to my normal self.”
COVENTRY boss Gary Havelock reflected on a positive Easter campaign which saw the Bees take six points from local rivals Leicester to gain ground on the Elite League pace-setters – including a 50-40 win in the away fixture against the Lions.
Havelock said: “We raced King’s Lynn on the Friday and Poole away on the Monday and they are the two teams who everybody is tipping for the title. We gave them both a real run for their money and under different circumstances we would have picked up some points there.
“But the four-point win at Leicester puts us level with the play-off spots and that’s what we’re aiming for. We’ve only had two home matches, but we’ve had two four-point away wins and that can dramatically shoot you up the table.”
EASTBOURNE were left to rue dropped points on Good Friday as Lakeside took their upper hand in their Easter derby clashes.
The Eagles lost 41-55 at Purfleet and although they responded with a 48-42 win at Arlington the result ended their 100 per cent home record as they were limited to two points from the meeting.
KING’S LYNN maintained their impressive start to the season with a thumping 60-30 win at Birmingham on Good Friday – their second away win of 2014 so far.
Kenneth Bjerre scored a paid maximum for the Stars with fast-track reserve Lewis Kerr adding an impressive 13+1 as the visitors dominated at Perry Barr to go second in the Elite League table.
LAKESIDE promoter Jon Cook declared himself satisfied with the Hammers’ Good Friday efforts when they gained four points against rivals Eastbourne, including an away point from a narrow 42-48 defeat at Arlington.
Cook said: “It was a very good day, all things considered. We had a great home win and a great crowd at The Raceway, and then achieved an extra point which was well deserved for our efforts on the night.
“Roll on Friday when we return to The Raceway determined to avenge the point we dropped to Swindon last month.”
LEICESTER boss Norrie Allan had no complaints over his side’s home defeat to Coventry on Easter Saturday as the Lions were unable to build on a point gained at Brandon the previous evening.
Allan said: “We began well enough and I had every confidence in the team to compete on equal terms in the latter stages. But to their credit, Coventry stepped up to another level and fully deserved their win.
“We have a week now to regroup and prepare ourselves for the visit of Eastbourne to our stadium on Saturday.”
POOLE boss Neil Middleditch says his team exceeded expectations on Good Friday, with a 56-34 home win over Swindon followed up by a dramatic 47-45 success at Blunsdon to secure six points from the day.
Middleditch told the Daily Echo: “I said to the boys before the meeting in Swindon that I’d be happy with a point and anything better than that would be a bonus, because I knew Swindon would be a tougher nut to crack at Blunsdon.
“To actually win the meeting was more than we could have expected. To come from 10 down to win was some achievement and the boys went out there and did a fantastic job.”
SWINDON have reacted to a double Good Friday defeat at the hands of Poole with the signing of Dakota North to replace Nicolai Klindt.
Robins boss Alun Rossiter said: “I wanted to do something to show everyone, the team, our sponsors and our supporters, that we are not prepared to accept second best. It's harsh on Nicolai but we need something extra and naturally I wish him well and hope he gets fixed up elsewhere in the not too distant future.
“Dakota is a rider I've been interested in before. I tried to sign him when I was at Coventry and again last season I was interested, I've been following his scores in Poland and I'm pleased to welcome him to Swindon.”
WOLVERHAMPTON star Ty Proctor admits a heat-leader role under the new Elite League format is proving a challenge, especially with a lack of racing elsewhere.
Proctor said: “I will be honest and say I am struggling with this heat leader role at the moment. Under the new format it is difficult and losing my Premier League place like I did I'm just not getting the track time I need to try and build some confidence.
“It's just going to take some time but I'm still confident I can get the springboard I need to really get going and get to grips with this role.”
PREMIER LEAGUE LATEST…
BERWICK boss Ian Rae praised his side for their efforts in defeat at Workington, the Bandits chief believing the 38-51 was a harsh outcome for the Border club.
Rae said: “We fought well here and really deserved to get something out of the match, but with engine failures and exclusions hitting us just when we didn't need them it made life tough and we sadly came away with nothing, which was not deserved for the efforts put in.”
EDINBURGH manager Alex Harkess said the margin of victory at Glasgow, where the Monarchs won 58-35 even came as a surprise to him, as the Monarchs extended their unbeaten run at the start of the season to eight matches.
Harkess said: “I didn’t really expect a score like that but we were brilliant. Every scored well and it’s good to see Aaron Fox amongst the points too.”
GLASGOW skipper Theo Pijper admitted the struggles of himself and No.1 Kevin Wolbert were a major factor in the Tigers’ heavy home defeat to rivals Edinburgh on Sunday.
Pijper said: “I don't know what happened. On Friday, me and Kevin were flying and suddenly - I don't know. I struggled in my first ride because I had the wrong sprocket on. I changed a little bit on the bike and I was getting going. But after that, it was already lost.”
IPSWICH boss Chris Louis was left fuming by a home defeat against Peterborough in the Witches Good Friday afternoon fixture – at the start of a weekend which saw his side score no League Cup points from three matches.
Louis said: “That was a very lacklustre and disappointing performance, and for this to happen in front of one of our biggest crowds of the season is inexcusable.”
NEWCASTLE returned to winning ways with a 49-39 success over Scunthorpe in an eventful Brough Park encounter, skipper Stuart Robson leading the way with a 14-point haul from five rides.
Diamonds boss George English said: “This again could have gone either way, but this time our lads started to dig deep just at the right time and with Anton (Rosen) and Ludvig (Lindgren) taking that vital Heat 13 maximum we certainly took a victory we should be proud to take. It got the crowd going too with plenty of incidents to discuss afterwards - all a good speedway match should have.”
PETERBOROUGH promoter Trevor Swales believes the feel-good factor is back at the Showground this season as the Panthers close in on a place in the League Cup semi-finals.
Swales said: “The situation in the group has changed very quickly and we are now in a great position. We enjoyed a terrific day on Good Friday with home and away wins over what I believe to be a very good Ipswich team. I sense there is a buzz about the place again that hasn’t been seen there for a number of years.”
PLYMOUTH promoter Ashley Taylor is calling for a full 15-heat performance from his side as they go into Knockout Cup action against Redcar on Friday.
Taylor said: “You always want to get as good a lead as possible from the home leg of a cup competition. But we need to hit the ground running this week and not find ourselves on the back foot as we did against Somerset last Saturday. We are shooting ourselves in the foot by allowing a visiting team to gain such a lead in the opening heats. That is when you should be making full use of home advantage.”
REDCAR’S League Cup hopes suffered a major setback with double defeat at the hands of Sheffield over the Easter period.
The Bears will attempt to bounce back when hosting Glasgow in the Premier League this week prior to a trip to Plymouth in the Knockout Cup.
RYE HOUSE promoter Len Silver said a paid-eight score from Jason Bunyan was a major positive to come from the Rockets’ 51-39 League Cup win over Ipswich on Easter Sunday.
Silver said: “What was particularly pleasing to me was to see Jason back amongst the points. He is still carrying his rib injury, but he was much more comfortable. We are still not firing on all cylinders yet, so we haven’t shown what we are fully capable of.”
SCUNTHORPE’S run of three successive wins was ended with their ten-point defeat at Newcastle in the League Cup on Sunday, although boss Dave Peet was in no doubt as to where the match turned.
He said: “We were doing well until the first 5-0 against us in Heat 10. It’s not hard to see it would have been very close without the two 5-0s. We matched the Diamonds in the other 13 races.”
SHEFFIELD are celebrating qualification for the League Cup semi-finals after an Easter double over Redcar, taking an impressive 53-37 win in the away fixture on Good Friday after being taken to a last-heat decider at Owlerton.
Tigers boss Joe Screen said: “It was a fantastic performance and I’m so proud of them. They were strong from 1-7 and the spirit is so good in the camp after this week that we’ll take anyone on.”
SOMERSET boss Garry May is demanding a response from his side after a shock collapse at Plymouth in which the Rebels suffered a 52-41 defeat despite having held a ten point lead.
May said: “We should never have let that sort of lead slip, and whilst I accept that Plymouth closed us right down with that 8-1 tactical race win in Heat 8, that should not have been the signal for what happened afterwards.
“Our reserves rode above themselves and couldn't have done any more, but overall this was not a performance that I would expect, nor willing to accept, from a Somerset team, and although we now have only a slim chance of reaching the semi-finals, I expect the riders to go out and restore some pride when we face Rye House at the Oaktree Arena on Friday night.”
WORKINGTON are looking to put an indifferent League Cup campaign behind them when they entertain new boys Peterborough at Derwent Park on Saturday in their opening Premier League fixture of the season.
Comets team manager Tony Jackson said: “Unfortunately we had one of those nights at Berwick last weekend where things went against us and cost us vital points so it now seems likely that the chance to claim the best-placed runner-up position in the League Cup semi-finals has gone.
“However, we must now turn our attention to the Premier League and we are under no illusions as to just how tough our opening fixture against Peterborough will be. The Panthers are strongly fancied by many pundits and they are another big track team, who include former Comet Ulrich Ostergaard in their ranks, so we will have to be firing on all cylinders for sure.
“We are currently monitoring the situation with regard to the fitness of Mason Campton, who picked up a knee injury when brought down at Berwick last weekend. Although he rode through the pain barrier to score his first ever paid maximum for the Comets on Sunday he was in a lot of discomfort.”
HOLDER: PENALTY PRESSURE
SGP NEWS - 22 April, 2014
Story by FIM Speedway Grand Prix
Torun’s galaxy of stars were expected to walk the Ekstraliga, despite being deducted eight points for declining to race in last season’s play-off final, second leg due to an injury crisis.
But following their opening-day 46-44 loss at Gdansk, Holder admits his team have a fight on their hands this season.
He said: “It has been a difficult start to the season in Poland. We had a tough one against Gdansk.
“With the riders we’ve got, there is a lot of expectation to smash every team out there. But it never works that way. It may look good on paper, but you’ve got to put it together on the track. For one reason or another, it didn’t happen that day. The harder we tried, the worse we went.
“I think it was a bit of a kick up the butt maybe. We can’t slip up too many times given that we started the season on minus eight points. We need to make sure nothing like that happens again.
“There may seem like plenty of time to bounce back, but there’s not because of the point deduction we got after last year’s problems with not racing in the Ekstraliga play-off final.
“Now the pressure is on us riders – we’ve got to deliver all the time. It’s tough, but we can still do it. We just have to make sure we get our heads down and go for it.”
WARD MAKES FAB 15 RETURN
SGP NEWS - 22 April, 2014
Story by FIM Speedway Grand Prix
Aussie champ Chris Holder bounced back from hitting the tapes in his opening heat to end his six races on nine paid 11, while Bydgoszcz wild card Adrian Miedzinski shone on 10 paid 12.
In-form Polish international Maciej Janowski led the visitors’ scorechart on 10 points, while world champ Tai Woffinden notched seven paid 10. His SGP rival Troy Batchelor didn’t score from three rides.
Elsewhere, world No.2 Jaroslaw Hampel tallied 12 points as champions Zielona Gora raced to a 50-40 victory at Czestochowa.
World Under-21 champion Patryk Dudek led the scoreboard on 12 paid 14, while Piotr Protasiewicz accrued 10 paid 11 and Swedish champ Andreas Jonsson notched nine paid 10.
Danish racer Peter Kildemand was the Lions’ leading light on 14 from seven races, while Grzegorz Walasek added 11.
In the day’s other meeting, European champion Martin Vaculik starred for Tarnow as they gave Gdansk a 63-27 hiding.
Only a victory for the visitors’ 12-point top gun Leon Madsen in heat 15 saw the Slovak denied a full house. Local hero Janusz Kolodziej recorded 12 paid 13 for the Swallows, while Greg Hancock left with 11 paid 12.
In Sunday’s meeting, a 14 paid 15-point maximum from double Danish champion Niels-Kristian Iversen saw Gorzow grab a 57-33 over Leszno at the Edward Jancarz Stadium.
Polish racer Krzysztof Kasprzak continued his blistering start to 2014 with 13 paid 14 points, while Bartosz Zmarzlik racked up 12 paid 13 and SGP rider Matej Zagar tallied 10 paid 11.
Triple world champion Nicki Pedersen scored 11 for the Bulls, while Kenneth Bjerre managed six.
UK NEWS - 22 April, 2014
Story by BSPA Press Office
GLASGOW skipper Theo Pijper admitted there were no excuses after the Tigers were routed 35-58 at home by fierce rivals Edinburgh.
It was an eighth successive win for the Monarchs at the start of the season but the Ashfield side are still awaiting their first success, although they have only raced two home matches so far – both against Edinburgh!
Pijper said: “I don't think we've had enough track time yet. But that's not an excuse - we need to be on the ball. There's no excuse for anybody. It just needs to happen.
“The boys need to get confident and we need to get heat wins. If you get heat wins, you get pride. We're trying our best and that's all we can do.”
Craig Cook led the way for the Monarchs with a 14-point haul, and boss Alex Harkess said: “I didn’t really expect a score like that but we were brilliant. Every scored well and it’s good to see Aaron Fox amongst the points too.”
Elsewhere in the Border group of the League Cup, Workington’s Mason Campton scored a four-ride paid maximum in the Comets’ 51-38 win over Berwick – for whom boss Ian Rae remained in upbeat mood after his side were hampered by a night of multiple problems for in-form Claus Vissing.
He said: “Five different Bandits won races – an excellent record, and Steen (Jensen) was again breath-taking with his passes and moves, whilst it’s obvious Claus was worth way more than the one point he got – it was overall a positive night despite the loss.”
In the Northern group Newcastle got the better of Scunthorpe 49-39 in an eventful meeting at Brough Park which included two 5-0s to the home side.
Stuart Robson led the way for the Diamonds with 14 points, and boss George English said: “This again could have gone either way, but this time our lads started to dig deep just at the right time and with Anton (Rosen) and Ludvig (Lindgren) taking that vital Heat 13 maximum we certainly took a victory we should be proud to take.”
Scunthorpe manager Dave Peet said: “It’s not hard to see it would have been very close without the two 5-0s. We matched the Diamonds in the other 13 races.”
In the Southern group Rye House completed a miserable Easter for Ipswich with a 51-39 win at Hoddesdon, highlighted by a 14-point haul from reserve Luke Bowen – leaving the Witches pointless from three holiday fixtures.
Rockets promoter Len Silver said: “Up to the Easter weekend, the Witches were undefeated and you don’t get to that position unless you are a very good side. So to beat them so convincingly was tremendous.”
In the National League there was an impressive 48-42 away win for Coventry at Mildenhall, with Oliver Greenwood (12) and Luke Crang (10+1) heading up a solid effort from the Storm.
Co-boss Laurence Rogers said: “We’re absolutely proud of the lads, and for Mick (Horton), Blayne (Scroggins) and I to go back to our old hunting ground and take victory made it a sweet success! We were dominant all the way through, and all in all it was a great team effort.”
The Fen Tigers were without No.1 Joe Jacobs and Brendan Johnson, and chairman Kevin Jolly said: “This was an impressive performance by Coventry, make no mistake they have a very strong top five and as I said to one of their management team, they are as a big a danger to us as Cradley.
“We have to just put this down to a bad day at the office and look to move on, our team is still bedding into the season and I still have total faith in them despite this defeat.”
COVENTRY and Cradley revive a traditional Easter Bank Holiday fixture when they meet at Brandon in the National League on Monday evening (7.30pm).
Both sides go into the meeting at full strength and with confidence high as the Storm won at Mildenhall yesterday whilst the Heathens are unbeaten so far this season.
Coventry co-boss Laurence Rogers said: “The boys are on a high after the win at Mildenhall, and this will be a true cracker. I hope the fans come along and support us.”
Cradley manager Will Pottinger said: “I've said there are tougher tests to come and this is one of them. Coventry are a strong side, they pushed us hard in the home leg of the Travel Plus Trophy and they're strongly tipped to challenge for the title.”
Meanwhile Kent launch the second season of racing at Central Park with the Easter Trophy when they face the King’s Lynn Young Stars (3pm).
The home side name Luke Harris in their No.6 position following the retirement of Dan Blake, whilst the visitors include Marc Owen after injury to Darryl Ritchings.
SWINDON have released Danish rider Nicolai Klindt and replaced him with former Peterborough man Dakota North.
The Australian is set to join the Robins in time for their Elite League home clash with Eastbourne on Thursday – with boss Alun Rossiter admitting he needed to make a quick move after two early-season defeats at Blunsdon.
Rossiter said: “I wanted to do something to show everyone, the team, our sponsors and our supporters, that we are not prepared to accept second best.
“It's harsh on Nicolai but we need something extra and naturally I wish him well and hope he gets fixed up elsewhere in the not too distant future. Dakota is a rider I’ve been interested in before and I’m pleased to welcome him to Swindon.”
AUSSIES IN BRITAIN
UK NEWS - 21 April, 2014
Story by Glenn Russell
The BSPA Conference in November, saw the biggest changes made for quite some time. The Elite League fixture list has been increased from 28 meetings, to 36, so all 10 teams will meet each other home and away twice.
The points limit for team building sees a new format, where it is now calculated on a team’s top 5 riders, which has to fit in at no more than 32 points. The remaining two positions in the team are to be filled by British riders under the age of 21, who will stay in the reserve positions all season. This limit will make it very difficult for any team to have a strong top two based on riders of GP standard and still be competitive. A new Elite League Race Formula has been created, which sees 2 races where only the reserves are involved, and 2 others where at least one reserve from each team is involved, and no heat leaders. This will make the points from reserve just as important as those at the top end. Unfortunately Peterborough’s promotion decided they could no longer afford to run and pulled out of the Elite League, which opened up a place for Leicester who had missed out on promotion in 2013. Peterborough have decided to drop down to Premier League with a new promotion coming on board.
However by far the biggest news over our summer, as previously reported concerns a number of Australian riders who have run into Visa Problems, which will prevent some from competing in Britain in 2014. The highest profile rider affected is Jason Doyle who has double up in 2 Leagues for a few years now, but was forced to leave Premier League Champions Somerset and just ride for his Elite League club Leicester in order to further his career and not be sidelined for 12 months. A number of riders, including Alex Davies and Ryan Douglas are awaiting on visa that will allow them to ride for one club only, while others such as Kozza Smith and Tyson Nelson have elected to stay at home for our winter.
Belle Vue - Solid looking side on paper. Richie Worrall, Scott Nicholls, Craig Cook and, Matej Zagar, being their best known riders. No Australians in their squad.
Birmingham - Another solid looking team, but no Australian riders here for the first time in quite a while. Danny King, Ben Barker and Edward Kennett are the best known riders.
Coventry - Delved into the transfer market fairly early, recalling Chris Harris from Birmingham, and signing former GP rider Hans Andersen, from Swindon. Like the look of their squad which looks to have the best of the new riders at reserve.
Eastbourne - Haven’t changed much from recent years, with Cameron Woodward at the helm of a team with strength in depth. Expect big things from Young Dane Mikkel Michelsen.
King’s Lynn - A strong heat leader trio of Neil Kristian Iversen, Kenneth Bjerre and Rory Schlein left little scope at the bottom end, and with 4 riders averaging between 3 and 4 points, needless to say improvement from them is the key to success.
Lakeside - A pretty similar squad to previous seasons led by Davey Watt and Peter Karlsson, will be there or thereabouts come semi finals time.
Leicester - Jason Doyle leads a fairly good looking squad back into the top sphere of British racing for the first time since 1983. A number of journeymen riders with lots of experience, including Simon Stead hold the key for the Lions, and if they fire they could be one of the teams to beat.
Poole - Were probably in the most difficult position of all deciding who to keep out of Chris Holder and Darcy Ward, to stay inside the new points limit, when Holder made the decision not to compete in Britain in 2014. Darcy Ward, Josh Grajczonek and Macej Janowski all return and they are joined be Premeslaw Pawlicki and newcomer Vaclav Milik. Will put up a spirited defence of their title.
Swindon - Nick Morris, Troy Batchelor, Peter Kildemand form a good spearhead for the Robins who will be around semi final contentions once again.
Wolverhampton - Made the early decision to keep Ty Proctor but wave farewell to long serving Freddie Lindgren who made an early decision not to pursue British racing. Tai Woffinden, Piotr Pawlicki, and Ricky Wells form a solid squad.
Picking a winner in this league is going to prove really difficult, with the new lower points limit and in many cases untried reserves in the crucial number 6 and 7 race jackets. If one of these new reserves can win his two races against the other reserves and pick up 2 or 3 points in his other heats, those points could swing matches his team’s way.
Based on that I think the teams to beat could be Coventry, Poole, Lakeside and Eastbourne, and forced to tip a winner, I think the Coventry Bees might be buzzing come October.
Most teams in the Premier League were sorted well before Xmas. The points limit has been retained at 42.50 for third straight year. With Leicester promoted to Elite League, and Peterborough dropping down, it meant the league stayed at 13 teams.
Berwick - Kevin Doolan and Matthew Wethers return to the border club, who have assembled a good looking squad. Have a big home advantage, but will need to find points away from home.
Edinburgh - Sam Masters returns to Britain after a year out with visa problems, and he joins the league’s number one rider Craig Cook in a strong spearhead. Rapidly improving Max Fricke moves up to third heat leader. But I think Justin Sedgeman returning to Britain after a year out could be their trump card at reserve.
Glasgow - Three Aussies Rusty Harrison, Mark Lemon and Joey Ringwood in a Tigers squad that looks their best since winning the title in 2011.
Ipswich - A solid squad with new number 1 Richie Worrall, and improving Aussies Rohan Tungate and Cameron Heeps, as well as up and coming American Gino Manzarez make the Witches one of the contenders for the title.
Newcastle - Less than a point separates the top 4 riders in a solid looking Diamonds squad that has knocked on the door for a few years now, without getting to the top. No Aussies but certainly one of the teams to beat.
Peterborough - Once they decided to drop down a league the Panthers didn’t mess about and have signed riders with plenty of experience to lead their assault on honors. Ryan Fisher, Lasse Bjerre and Ales Dryml are all good points’ scorers and will be one of the teams to beat.
Plymouth - The points limit forced Alex Davies to leave Somerset and head further west to Plymouth. Still awaiting on his visa. Ben Barker returns after a year at Ipswich.
Redcar - Still one rider short after the late decision by Kozza Smith not to apply for a downgraded visa. Aaron Summers and Hugh Skidmore will provide solid scoring.
Rye House - No Aussies in the Rockets squad after Tyson Nelson ran into visa problems. Edward Kennett will score the points at the top as will Jason Garrity in the middle order. Could struggle away from home.
Scunthorpe - A good solid top 4 led by Anders Mellgren and Josh Auty, but at reserve on a 5 point average, I think Queenslander Ryan Douglas at reserve could be the Stags trump card and develop even further in time.
Sheffield - Simon Stead leads a solid looking squad that sees the return of Taylor Poole after a season on the sidelines.
Somerset - The league champions were forced to radically reshape their title winning squad and only Charles Wright has returned after the points limit and visa problem did not allow them to keep their top three of Jason Doyle, Nick Morris and Josh Grajczonek Big things expected from Brady Kurtz in his first season and the steadying influence of his older brother Toddin the same team could play a role in his development. Will find it difficult to keep their title with basically an entire new squad.
Workington - Mason Campton was the first signing for the Comets after his visa problems of 2013 proved a hurdle. Josh Grajczonek, leads a squad that on paper looks like it will be hard to beat.
Always hard to pick a winner in the Premier League but my top 6 in no particular order are Edinburgh, Ipswich, Newcastle, Peterborough, Scunthorpe and Workington, with the Ipswich Witches after coming up a tad short in 2013 the most likely winners in 2014.
Maximum Scores recorded by Australian riders in British leagues.
In the Elite League, Jason Doyle (Leicester) 15 from 5 rides at home against Coventry. Davey Watt Lakeside 14 paid 15 from 5 rides at home against Birmingham. Cameron Woodward Eastbourne 12 paid 15 from 5 rides a home against Birmingham.
In the Premier League, Aaron Summer (Redcar)10 paid 12 from 4 rides at home against Newcastle. Josh Grajczonek Workington 13 paid 15 from 5 rides at home against Glasgow.
Darcy Ward is out of the saddle until at least the Bydgoszcz Grand Prix, after a heavy fall in the New Zealand Grand Prix in Auckland. Ward was pretty much wiped out by meeting winner Martin Smolinksi in heat 14 and stayed down on the track for a fair while before being transported to hospital with numerous injuries. The major one is a broken thumb which surgeons in New Zealand recommended an operation. Ward however sought a second opinion at the doctor of his home Polish club Torun and is hopeful of being ready for the next GP on April 26. His British club Poole have signed a rider of fair pedigree to fill in for him for the minimum one month, in the shape of 2012 World Champion Chris Holder. Holder doesn’t have his best equipment on site in England where he is still based, but undoubtedly will do his best until Ward is ready to return.
No other Australian riders are injured that I know of at the present moment.
After the mess over the winter break with riders not able to get work permits, Kozza Smith decided to stay at home, and to the best of my knowledge Alex Davies is still awaiting clearance for the lower grade permit that allows a rider to ride for one club only and not undertake guest or individual meeting bookings during the season. Such a permit was recently given to both Jason Doyle and Ryan Douglas. While it would be easy to offer the opinion that the riders are to blame in not securing the proper paperwork before they return to Australia each October, many riders are in the dark as to who they might be riding for the following year, with the points limit forcing riders to change clubs. It is difficult to expect riders to be organised that far in advance under those circumstances. Someone in high places at the BSPA in conjunction with the employment authorities needs to come up with a workable solution. Australian riders have been LOYAL servants to British Speedway over the years, particularly when you compare them to other foreigners who miss meetings in favour of ones in their own country and at short notice.
Cameron Woodward won the first big individual meeting of the season, the Air Fence Fund Bonanza at Sheffield. In an annual meeting designed to help riders who have been seriously injured, Woodward was declared the winner after the meeting was abandoned after riders had completed 3 heats. Woodward was undefeated on 9 at the time, with the next nearest local rider Andre Compton on 6.
Rory Schlein took the bikkies at the Morten Risgaer Testimonial at Ipswich after a ding dong battle with former home rider Scott Nicholls. Schlein was forced to do it the hard way after scoring 10 points from his qualifying heats, and then the battle started with Nicholls getting the better of Schlein in a semi final, before Schlein turned the tables in the final to take top prize. Rohan Tungate who rode to a maximum score in the heats could not repeat his heroics in the final and unfortunately trailed in last.
Troy Batchelor took an impressive second place in the Jonas Kyalmakorpi Testimonial at Eastbourne. This was a good performance on what is not one of his favorite tracks; Batchelor scored 12 points in his qualifying heats before finishing just behind meeting winner Hans Andersen.
Darcy Ward won the Individual section of the Gary Havelock Farewell meeting at Poole, with fellow “Turbo Twin” Chris Holder in third place. Earlier each had led a team saw Ward’s Team (Loram’s Legends) defeat Holder’s (Rickardsson’s Raiders) by 43 points to 41.
The scheduled early season showpiece, the Elite League rider’s championship did not take place after some farcical pre-meeting scenes saw the track deemed unfit for racing. In what was not a good look for the sport, the stadium management and the promotion both blamed each other for the poor state of the track, which led to the abandonment of the meeting. With Sky TV in attendance this was not a good start to the first season of their new 5 year contract. No word as yet on a proposed re-staging date.
UK NEWS - 21 April, 2014
Story by BSPA Press Office
COVENTRY added four points to their Elite League total with a 50-40 win at local rivals Leicester – their second success on their road this season.
The Bees, without two of their regulars, overturned the Lions’ early six-point lead to give the better all-round team display despite home No.1 Jason Doyle scoring a terrific 15-point maximum.
Hans Andersen and Chris Harris were both in double figures for the visitors and received good support from their team-mates, but for the Lions Doyle lacked backing.
Andersen said: “We showed real character to come back from six points down at one stage, and to come back and claim all four points away from home is really good. Leicester are a good team and this is not an easy place to come to.”
Leicester boss Norrie Allan had no complaints, and said: “We began well enough and I had every confidence in the team to compete on equal terms in the latter stages, but to their credit Coventry stepped up to another level and fully deserved their win. We have a week now to regroup and prepare ourselves for the visit of Eastbourne on Saturday.”
In the League Cup Plymouth mounted an astonishing comeback from ten points down at home to defeat Somerset 52-41.
Guest Steve Boxall’s tactical ride win in Heat 8 for an 8-1 with Kalle Katajisto sparked the turnaround as the Devils dominated the second half of the meeting.
Manager Lee Trigger said: “We rallied and rode together as a team to win by 11 points in what was a 21-points turnaround. It was a big team effort and provided some great entertainment for the public.”
Angry Somerset boss Garry May said: “To say that I am not happy with tonight's performance would be an understatement, and I would like to apologise to those fans who made the trip down to support the team for the poor showing in the second half of the match.”
There was also drama at Shielfield Park with Berwick snatching victory over Workington thanks to a last-heat 5-1 from Claus Vissing and Matthew Wethers – with Steen Jensen also playing a major part in the Bandits’ 46-44 win.
Manager Ian Rae said: “We didn’t do too badly considering two of our recent good scorers took a hard bang in two early falls with Liam Carr lucky to feel ok to ride again, whilst David Bellego took a second fall an had to withdraw with a painful shoulder.
“But Steen has certainly developed into the most exciting Bandit of the moment with some stunning passes and a double-figure point score too which was vital.”
RYE House are seeking to rebound from successive home defeats when Ipswich visit Hoddesdon in the League Cup on Easter Sunday afternoon (2pm).
The Rockets put in a creditable performance in a recent loss at Foxhall but the Witches themselves are eager to respond after back-to-back Good Friday defeats against Peterborough.
Rye boss John Sampford said: “There are no easy matches in this League, but we’ve already taken something positive from holding the Witches to ten points around their place. Now it’s up to us to show what we are capable of around ours.”
Scottish rivals Glasgow and Edinburgh meet at Ashfield with the Tigers keen to end the Monarchs’ winning run at the start of the season.
Boss Stewart Dickson said: “We need to get that win as quickly as we can. The target is definitely to win the match on Sunday.”
Elsewhere in the same group, Workington host Berwick in a reverse of Saturday’s fixture at Shielfield Park in which the Bandits snatched a last-gasp 46-44 win.
And Newcastle and Scunthorpe meet in the Northern section, fresh from a close contest at the Eddie Wright Raceway on Friday which the Scorpions edged 49-44.
National League action takes place at West Row with former Mildenhall No.1 Stefan Nielsen returning with new club Coventry, as both sides look for a second win in the competition this season.
SCUNTHORPE have signed Cornishman Sam Chapman on a full contract to join their National League team.
Chapman made an impressive debut for the Stags last weekend with 12 points in their match against Cradley, although he failed to score against Mildenhall on Friday.
Manager Richard Hollingsworth said: “We’re delighted that Sam has now signed for us and become part of the club. He comes from Cornwall. We could all see his potential in the Cradley match, when he nearly defeated Tom Perry in a couple of races.
“He wasn’t able to trap like last week (on Friday), and couldn’t work out what was different with his bike.”
UK NEWS - 20 April, 2014
Story by BSPA Press Office
SHEFFIELD snatched a crucial victory in dramatic circumstances as a last heat decider saw them edge a 46-44 win over Redcar at Owlerton.
The Tigers needed a victory to keep their League Cup hopes alive and took it with a 4-2 from Simon Stead and Leigh Lanham after playing catch-up for most of the meeting.
Manager Joe Screen said: “With the way we started off I thought it might be a long night, so we're really pleased to have been able to snatch the win in Heat 15 like we did.
“Although I'm happy we won it wasn't the greatest performance, and we still have issues as a team that we need to address pretty soon.”
SCUNTHORPE No.1 Anders Mellgren could be back in action earlier than expected – after it was initially thought he would be out for the entire season.
The Swede suffered a fracture in his spine after a crash at Redcar but it has now been screwed and plated and the recovery period could be as short as six weeks.
Scunthorpe promoter Rob Godfrey said: “I don’t think it’s going to stop us making changes, once we get our new averages. Six weeks is a long time to use guests and rider replacement - guest riders are always something of a lottery.
“And that six-week time period may still be slightly optimistic - we don’t know. But it is tremendous news that Anders will be back. There will be a team place for him, once he’s fully fit and ready.”
BUXTON have called on the vastly experienced Tony Atkin to come out of retirement and assist the Hitmen at the start of the season.
Atkin will be in the team for their opening National League match at Cradley on April 29, with the home opener being a challenge match against Stoke on May 4.
Promoter Jayne Moss said: “Tony has a wealth of experience which will be invaluable to the newcomers in the team. Although he retired part way through last season he has kept his hand in racing in grasstrack meetings and practicing and has agreed to start the season for us.
“We heard from a couple of people that he might be interested in doing a few meetings and soon sorted it out with him. It’s no secret that it has been hard work putting a team together with a shortage of heat-leaders around this year.”
ELITE League Champions Poole were double winners on Good Friday with home and away triumphs over Swindon to take six points from their programme.
The Pirates roared to a 56-34 win on home shale before snatching a 47-45 verdict at Blunsdon thanks to a last-lap effort by Przemyslaw Pawlicki – who had been withdrawn from the morning meeting after a crash with team-mate Vaclav Milik– to pass home star Peter Kildemand for a crucial second place.
Meanwhile King’s Lynn inflicted more misery on Birmingham with an emphatic 60-30 away win at Perry Barr.
Danish star Kenneth Bjerre scored a five-ride paid maximum whilst fast-track reserve Lewis Kerr piled up an incredible 13 (paid 14), including four race wins.
Brummies skipper Danny King said: “Obviously we are disappointed - it's never nice to lose at home and it wasn't a good performance. Some of the riders are struggling, we just aren't performing and we need to step up to the plate soon.”
Lakeside and Eastbourne both gained home wins from their day’s efforts, but it was the Hammers who secured the bulk of the points on offer.
A 55-41 win at Purfleet gave them all three points from the first meeting and although the Eagles responded 48-42 at Arlington, the Hammers took a further league point as Lewis Bridger and Peter Karlsson shared Heat 15 behind Bjarne Pedersen.
The Midlands derby between Coventry and Leicester also saw both sides take some reward as the Bees were limited to a 48-42 win thanks to some dogged resistance from the Lions.
Danish duo Patrick Hougaard (thumb) and Kenneth Hansen (back and knee) were both ruled out after an early crash with the Bees’ win sparked by an impressive show by Kyle Howarth (14) – whilst Mads Korneliussen and Jason Doyle grabbed a point for the Lions with a 4-2 in the last race.
Howarth said: “It’s a shame we missed out on getting another point, but it’s a start. Losing Kenneth was a big blow as he’s an eight-point man at home, but that’s speedway and there’s a long season ahead – we’re only at the start.”
Leicester boss Norrie Allan said: “We have been threatening to open our away account in two of the last three fixtures on the road and I was really pleased with how the team applied themselves.”
A midday clash at Kirkmanshulme Lane saw Belle Vue hold on for a 50-39 win over Wolverhampton, who saw both of their tactical rides score zero after falls for Tai Woffinden and Piotr Pawlicki.
The visitors still clawed their way back into contention for a point but Scott Nicholls saw the Aces home to all three with a winning ride in Heat 15.
Manager Jason Attwood said: “It feels great for us to beat a good Wolves side, not only because they won twice here last year but it's their first defeat this season and it was dealt at the hands of Belle Vue.”
EDINBURGH and Sheffield are both through to the League Cup semi-finals after impressive victories on Good Friday.
The Monarchs comfortably overcame Scottish rivals Glasgow 55-38 to set a new club record for wins at the start of the season – seven in all competitions – and they now cannot be caught at the top of the group.
Manager Alex Harkess said: “We weren’t at our best in the early stages but we came good in the end as we often do, and these two late wins by Craig Cook sent the crowd home happy.”
Sheffield are also into the last four thanks to a stunning 53-37 win at former group leaders Redcar, with British Under-21 Champion Josh Bates notching an impressive 13-point haul, including victory in Heat 15.
Co-promoter Damien Bates said: “It was a fantastic performance and I’m so proud of them. They were strong from 1-7 and the spirit is so good in the camp after this week that we’ll take anyone on.”
Elsewhere in the group, Scunthorpe were 49-44 winners over Newcastle with in-form reserve Ryan Douglas winning four races on his way to a 15-point total, whilst Stuart Robson matched that achievement for the Diamonds after a first-ride last place following mechanical trouble.
Scunthorpe manager Dave Peet said: “We are getting it together, although perhaps it is slower than I expected. At least we are now winning meetings – but our home form must improve. We have to be taking three points from the home meetings.”
Newcastle boss George English said: “We could have won this match this and taken three or four points, but even going down by five I have to focus on the fact there were several improved performances that shine a bright light for the future.”
The Southern group appears to have swung in Peterborough’s favour after the Panthers collected a massive seven points from their double-header with Ipswich.
The Showground side won 54-39 at Foxhall on Friday afternoon before adding a 52-40 victory at home, despite the first-ride loss of Joe Jacobs (concussion).
Skipper Ulrich Ostergaard said: “I’m proud of the way the whole team did so well to get us to the top of our group. It is great for the spirit in the camp when all the guys are scoring points and we are on a high after these two results.”
Meanwhile Ipswich boss Chris Louis was frustrated by the Witches’ home display, saying: “That was a very lacklustre and disappointing performance and for this to happen in front of one of our biggest crowds of the season is inexcusable.”
Peterborough go top of the group whilst rivals Somerset dropped a point in a 49-43 home win over Plymouth, for whom Kalle Katajisto piled up 15 (paid 16) at reserve.
Manager Garry May said: “After gaining the upper hand early on, we lost our way a bit mid-meeting and didn't press home our advantage, and when Plymouth started to out-gate us, it just made things all the more difficult for us.”
In the National League Mildenhall got off to a winning start with a 63-29 victory at Scunthorpe, headed by a 13-point total from reserve Connor Mountain.
LEICESTER and Coventry both have injury concerns ahead of Saturday’s Elite League local derby return fixture at the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium.
Lions star Patrick Hougaard crashed out in Heat 3 at Brandon last night, suffering a broken thumb, whilst the avoiding action taken by the Bees’ Kenneth Hansen saw him suffer bruising to his back and knee.
The Bees had already booked one guest for the East Midlands clash, calling up Edinburgh’s Max Fricke to replace the unavailable Kyle Howarth, who top-scored on Friday – whilst Simon Stead returns to the Lions team.
In the League Cup, back-to-back clashes between Berwick and Workington commence at Shielfield Park – and Bandits promoter Ryan Anderson is expecting a tough challenge.
He said: “When the various teams in the Premier League were set up this season, virtually all the pundits named Workington as title favourites. Now we’re a month into the season and I see no reason to argue with them! Their management have constructed at very solid line-up, and Saturday and Sunday’s racing will be very, very tough for our team.”
Comets boss Tony Jackson said: “Obviously the two defeats by Edinburgh were very disappointing but we all had a good chat about things afterwards and the team are all desperate to show that they can produce a much better showing this weekend.”
In the Southern group, Plymouth and Somerset will both have their respective No.1 riders – Ben Barker and Nick Morris – back from Elite League duty for Saturday’s clash at the St Boniface Arena, with the Rebels having been limited to two points on Friday.
Manager Garry May said: “Dropping that home point is not what we really wanted, but the boys are all keen to make amends when we travel down to Plymouth for the return fixture.”
UK NEWS - 18 April, 2014
Story by BSPA Press Office
KING’S Lynn again proved strong in the second half of a meeting to take maximum points against Belle Vue at the Norfolk Arena.
The scores were level at 24-24 after eight races but the home side then scored three successive 5-1s to take control and set up a 52-38 win.
Kenneth Bjerre led the way for the Stars with 11+2 in their third victory from four Elite League meetings, whilst Aces’ No.1 Matej Zagar scored 12 courtesy of four wins from his five outings.
SHEFFIELD youngster Josh Bates will make a personal appearance for supporters prior to the Tigers’ League Cup clash with Redcar on Thursday.
Bates won the British Under-21 Championship on Tuesday and will be available for autographs and photographs with the trophy between 6.30 and 7pm at Owlerton, prior to the first of two Easter clashes between the clubs which could prove vital to the Northern section of the competition.
Co-promoter Damien Bates said: “As a club we are absolutely thrilled and honoured to have a national champion in our side.
“It’s given us all a great boost and we hope to see a big crowd in the stadium to give him a hero’s welcome.”
SWINDON youngster Darryl Ritchings has been brought out of sedation after suffering swelling to his brain in a crash nearly a fortnight ago.
Ritchings, who was transferred to Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital the morning after the accident, has a slight chest infection and some disorientation but has awareness of people around him.
Swindon promoter Alun Rossiter said: “I’ve been in contact with the family and the good news is that Darryl knew his daughter Poppy, and was also aware of things like his mother’s birthday.
“Apparently the disorientation is normal for a youngster who has been through what he has, and it’s now a case of taking things slowly day by day.”
PETERBOROUGH and Coventry star Ryan Fisher has turned to his local MP in a bid to be reunited with his young family.
Fisher’s wife and two children are stranded in California due to visa problems after returning for a Christmas holiday, even though the family own their own business – a Mexican food restaurant in Tamworth.
Fisher said: “I understand they want to tighten the borders up, but this makes no sense. We have a business here, we employ six British citizens and pay all our tax and national insurance. We always do everything the right way, but my family are not currently allowed back in to the country to do it.
“I’m pushing every day to get it resolved and my local MP is doing everything he can to help our situation. Right now we are stacked out financially after throwing ten grand at the problem. The MP is our last hope. If anyone can have a bit of pull, it will be him.”
SWINDON'S Elite League double date with Poole on Good Friday has been given added spice.
The British Speedway Promoters' Association have approved a proposal to allow the two meetings to also count as the Elite Shield.
It means not only will vital league points be on the line at Wimborne Road at 11am followed by the Abbey Stadium at 8pm, but the side who comes out on top on aggregate will also win the silverware.
Robins boss Alun Rossiter said: “Because of a lack of available dates and fixture clashes we feel this is a good decision. It also gives the two meetings, which already carry great interest, something extra. It should be a great day!”