BIG EVENT LATEST…
BEN FUND BONANZAA HOST of star names will be at Sheffield's Owlerton Stadium for a worthy cause on Sunday, March 29.The Ben Fund Bonanza is the first-ever meeting to be staged in aid of the much acclaimed Speedway Riders' Benevolent Fund and tapes go up at 3.30pm.
It sees a combination of Grand Prix, Elite League and Premier League stars doing battle with the aim of raising vital cash to support injured riders in their time of need.
Grand Prix riders Scott Nicholls, Jason Crump, Freddie Lindgren and Leigh Adams were quick to pledge their support for the 20-heat individual meeting.
And the event will be officiated by legendary referee Graham Brodie, who was in charge of a host of world finals during his glittering career. He'll be making the trip north from his Essex base to come out of retirement for the day.
Admission is £15 adults, £10 OAPs and children under 16 £5.
LEE Smart has got the nod to replace Adam Roynon in the British Under-21 Final at Lakeside on April 24.The former Birmingham man was due to ride in the semi-final at the Isle of Wight but stepped up following Roynon’s crash in pre-season.
And the semi-finals have had more changes with Jack Hargreaves, Jack Roberts and Gary Irving all withdrawing. The updated line-ups are below.
British Under-21 co-ordinator Graham Reeve said: “It’s great news for Lee to be seeded and we are all naturally delighted to learn of the progress being made by Adam in his recovery from the injuries he sustained.
“I saw Pete Toogood’s comments last week about the entertainment value from the youngsters and I agree. I would urge speedway fans to turn out in force to support the younger riders because they will give it their all.”
The British Under-21 Final is the first of the 2009 Super 7even series of events and Lakeside successfully staged the meeting last season in front of a big crowd.
PLYMOUTH: Friday, April 10:Jamie Courtney, Nicki Glanz, Daniel Halsey, Charles Wright, Paul Starke, Jamie Pickard, Scott Meakins, Kyle Hughes, Harland Cook, Robert Smith, Danny Stoneman, Scott Richardson, Gary Cottham, Richard Franklin, Charlie Saunders, Kye Norton.ISLE OF WIGHT: Tuesday April 14:
John Resh, Ben Hopwood, Jerran Hart, Aaron Baseby, Matthew Bates, Tim Webster, Michael Bovis, Andrew Braithwaite, Lee Strudwick, Ben Taylor, Adam Wrathall, Brendan Johnson, Adam M Lowe, Kyle Newman, Oliver Rayson, Mark Baseby.
BRITISH UNDER-21 FINAL (seeded riders) Lakeside, Friday, April 24: Lewis Bridger, Tai Woffinden, Ben Barker, Simon Lambert, Robert Mear, Joe Haines, Josh Auty, Lee Smart.
SUPER 7EVEN SERIES 2009BRITISH UNDER 21 FINAL: Lakeside, Friday April 24.BRITISH FINAL: Poole, Wednesday May 20.PREMIER LEAGUE PAIRS: Somerset, Friday June 26.PREMIER LEAGUE FOURS: Workington, Saturday July 25.ELITE LEAGUE PAIRS: Eastbourne, Saturday August 8.PREMIER LEAGUE RIDERS' CHAMPIONSHIP: Sheffield, Sunday September 27.ELITE LEAGUE RIDERS' CHAMPIONSHIP:Coventry, Friday October 2.
ELITE LEAGUE LATEST…
BELLE VUE youngster Billy Forsberg is hoping to be back in action early next month as he recovers from the broken wrist he sustained pre-season.Forsberg said: "I will have a better idea of when I can start riding again after I've had the pins taken out. Then I'll be able to see how my wrist feels. "Maybe I'll be OK to get back on a bike in one and a half weeks and be racing again in two weeks. I'll have to wait and see."
COVENTRY star Rory Schlein top-scored in the Bees' narrow challenge-match win over Wolverhampton, and is looking forward to a new year ahead.Schlein said: "Even though it was a challenge match we obviously wanted to win. I tried a few different things and managed to improve during the meeting, and it was nice to finish as top-scorer."We've shown we can pull back six points at home and I think we'll be okay.I'm very confident in my own set-up this year, it's a long season and I want to be in Heat 15 where the big boys are every week."
EASTBOURNE captain Davey Watt is expecting a season of improvement from the Eagles, who are tracking a much-changed side in 2009.Watt said: "They are all good boys and always open for suggestions as to how to get better. Every one of them wants to get better and that’s what counts for me."I have got a reputation and personality for helping younger fellows out anyway so being a captain is no real change for me."
IPSWICH have started the season with major injury problems after both Leigh Lanham and Kozza Smith crashed out of their opening-night defeat by Lakeside, and Dawid Stachyra picked up a knock too.Witches star Daniel King said: "It was a bad night. No-one wants to see all that and no-one enjoys hanging around for the time we did."I really enjoyed my first two rides and was really up for it, but than Leigh has that horrible crash and it just knocks you a bit. It's not the start we needed."
LAKESIDE manager Jon Cook was pleased with the early signs shown by his team after double victory over Ipswich last week.The Hammers won by six points at Foxhall before demolishing a weakened Witches' line-up 66-24 at Purfleet.Cook said of the away performance: "It was unfortunate that Ipswich lost two of their riders through injury but we all kept focus during the resultant delays. It was a good all-round performance with all of our team looking impressive during the course of the match."
PETERBOROUGH have handed an Elite League opportunity to Danish teenager Rene Bach after Karol Zabik requested time out due to a serious family illness.Panthers promoter Mick Bratley said: "It is a difficult time for Karol and his family and I fully understand him not wanting to travel presently. Rene will come into the side and I am sure he will do a good job for us."I have had my eye on Rene for a long time and have followed his progress closely, he is without doubt a talent and has a great future in the sport."
POOLE are anxiously awaiting news on winter signing Kyle Legault, who has aggravated the leg he broke last season and could join Jason Doyle on the long-term injury list.Pirates chief Matt Ford said: "I can’t even remember having one injury before the season started in the past but now I have two, plus Craig Watson who was going to be the number eight. "We’ll find out the extent of Kyle’s injuries on Friday, but it could be bad news for him. He basically now has to wait and see the specialist in the hope that his season will continue."
SWINDON manager Alun Rossiter is keen to build a first-leg lead when the Robins face Wolverhampton in the Knockout Cup this week.Rossiter said: "Wolverhampton have a very good looking squad and Thursday’s meeting will provide us with a strong test. Wolves have started the season well and will arrive at Blunsdon brimming with confidence."We rode well against Lejonen and I’m targeting the same kind of professionalism against Wolves. It’s important we take a lead to Monmore Green for the return leg in early April."
WOLVERHAMPTON boss Peter Adams was suitably encouraged by his team’s efforts in the narrow defeat at Coventry.He said: “On a different night we could so easily have won there and that would have been a great result.“We had key stages of the meeting go against us, which was our own fault, but I feel happy with the performance and I’m cautiously optimistic about the new season.”
PREMIER LEAGUE LATEST… BERWICK manager Dave Peet says the return of Guglielmo Franchetti from international duty should provide the difference for the Bandits - after they were narrowly beaten by Newcastle in the Tyne/Tweed Trophy.Peet said: "Guglielmo should be on top form following his Italian National Championships and his sporting workshop with top sports psychologists last weekend. I'm sure Redcar will find a finely-balanced team of Bandits on Saturday."
BIRMINGHAM boss Graham Drury is refusing to press the panic button after two defeats on the road.He said: “It’s going to take time for the new riders to settle in and I expect the likes of Ludvig Lindgren and Richard Sweetman to get quicker and quicker.“At the start of every season there are going to be teething problems, let’s just hope we’ve got over them!”
EDINBURGH have confirmed that Matthew Wethers has taken over the club captaincy as the Monarchs look to defend both the Premier League and the Premier Trophy this season.Wethers said: "I feel very lucky to have been chosen because there are seven guys there all doing their best. Last season was great but I believe we can all improve and get the job done."
GLASGOW boss Stewart Dickson says the club's team-building strategy should be no surprise - and feels the younger Tigers riders will take a big step forward.Dickson said: "We knew that last season was only phase one of our philosophy on protecting the long-term future of the club, so that is why we have brought back quite a number of the team. I don't think we have seen anywhere near the best of any of them."
KING'S LYNN start the season with a one-off Premiership clash against Edinburgh - and have given their opponents a ten-point advantage due to there only being one leg.Stars boss Rob Lyon said: "We couldn't have picked a harder opening match and have unfortunately lost Kozza (Smith) to injury, but I believe we can do enough to cover for him and start with a win."
NEWCASTLE overcame local rivals Berwick to win the Tyne/Tweed Trophy by two points after two well-fought meetings.Diamonds boss Richard Juul said: "The way we rode at Berwick was very encouraging, and if Steve Boxall had not had an absolute nightmare evening with clutch trouble, I think we would have won there too."
NEWPORT have signed the highly experienced Paul Fry - a Wasp back in 1997 - to cover for the absence of the injured Craig Watson.Team boss Laurence Rogers said: "Paul brings stability and points reliability to the Wasps team. Not just the management but also the fans will be pleased to have him back in our ranks."
REDCAR manager Brian Havelock has high hopes for the much-changed club this season, with Havelock himself a member of the new promotional team.He said: "I'm quite optimistic, I think we have the makings of a very good side. It's a big season for me and all the new co-directors, and hopefully it will all come together."
RYE House skipper Chris Neath is battling to be fit to return to the Rockets' team in their Premier Trophy trip to Birmingham on Wednesday after suffering chest and rib injuries and a burn to his thigh.Neath said: "I think I got the burn from my tyre, and unfortunately it got infected as the week went on. was getting in a lot of pain and I when I back to hospital on Saturday morning, they confirmed it was infected."
SCUNTHORPE overcame local rivals Sheffield over two legs last weekend, with their 60-32 home win their first over the Tigers since their return to Premier League level.Manager Kenny Smith said: "I was absolutely delighted with that. We hit the ground running and all the riders were superb. This is a team to watch this year as far as I'm concerned."
SHEFFIELD boss Eric Boocock saw plenty of encouragement in their home win over Scunthorpe on Sunday.Tigers bounced back from a heavy defeat at the hands of the Scorpions 48-hours earlier.Said Boocock: “We saw some far more encouraging signs and hopefully as the new signings settle in we will just get better.”
SOMERSET general manager David Croucher has tipped winter signing Cory Gathercole to be one of the Rebels' key men this season.Croucher said: "Cory has always been as keen as mustard, that's one of the reasons I wanted him in the team this year. I know this is going to be his year, he wants Elite League, and the only route is to have a good 2009 here at Somerset."
STOKE boss Dave Tattum was delighted with his side's opening-night victory over Birmingham in the first leg of the M6 Trophy.Tattum said: "It was pleasing to see all of our riders getting a race win under their belts. We looked solid right the way throughout the team, and this is against a side that many pundits have tipped to be pushing for a top five place in the league by the end of the season."
WORKINGTON owner Keith Denham was pleased with the atmosphere within his new-look team at their practice session last weekend - which was attended by over 500 supportersDenham said: "The riders have got on together quite well. They have got on with it and there’s been excellent team spirit, which is different from last season."
CHECK OUT OUR OFFICIAL WEBSITE british-speedway.co.uk for all the latest National League news in the build up to the launch of the new league.
WEDNESDAY MARCH 25ELITE SHIELD: Poole v Eastbourne 7.30PREMIER TROPHY: Birmingham v Rye House 7.30 PREMIERSHIP TROPHY: King's Lynn v Edinburgh 7.30THURSDAY MARCH 26ELITE LEAGUE KO CUP: Ipswich v Belle Vue 7.30, Peterborough v Coventry 7.30, Swindon v Wolverhampton 7.30CHALLENGE: Redcar v Newcastle 7.30FRIDAY MARCH 27ELITE LEAGUE KO CUP: Coventry v Peterborough 8pm, Lakeside v Eastbourne 8pm PREMIER TROPHY: Scunthorpe v Stoke 7.30 SPRING TROPHY: Edinburgh v Glasgow 7.30, SEVERN BRIDGE TROPHY: Somerset v Newport 7.30SATURDAY MARCH 28ELITE LEAGUE KO CUP: Eastbourne v Lakeside 7.30 PREMIER TROPHY: Berwick v Redcar 7pm, Rye House v Somerset 7pm, Stoke v King's Lynn 7.30, Workington v Newcastle 7pmSUNDAY MARCH 29PREMIER TROPHY: Newport v Rye House 3.30CHALLENGE: Glasgow v Edinburgh 4pm, Newcastle v Redcar 6.30 BEN FUND BONANZA: Sheffield 3.30MONDAY MARCH 30SKY SPORTS ELITE LEAGUE: Poole v Swindon 7.30, Wolverhampton v Lakeside 7.30CHALLENGE: Belle Vue v Glasgow 7.30WEDNESDAY APRIL 1PREMIER TROPHY: Birmingham v Newport 7.30, King's Lynn v Rye House 7.30THURSDAY APRIL 2SKY SPORTS ELITE LEAGUE: Ipswich v Coventry 7.30, Peterborough v Lakeside 7.30, Swindon v Eastbourne 7.30 PREMIER TROPHY: Redcar v Berwick 7.30, Sheffield v Edinburgh 7.45FRIDAY APRIL 3SKY SPORTS ELITE LEAGUE: Coventry v Belle Vue 8pm, Lakeside v Peterborough 8pm PREMIER TROPHY: Edinburgh v Sheffield 7.30, Scunthorpe v Birmingham 7.30, Somerset v Rye House 7.30SATURDAY APRIL 4SKY SPORTS ELITE LEAGUE: Eastbourne v Belle Vue 7.30 PREMIER TROPHY: Berwick v Edinburgh 7pm, Rye House v King's Lynn 7pm, Stoke v Somerset 7.30, Workington v Glasgow 7pmSUNDAY APRIL 5PREMIER TROPHY: Glasgow v Redcar 4pm, Newcastle v Sheffield 6.30, Newport v Scunthorpe 3.30MONDAY APRIL 6SKY SPORTS ELITE LEAGUE: Belle Vue v Lakeside 7.30 ELITE LEAGUE KO CUP: Wolverhampton v Swindon 7.30
TUESDAY APRIL 7CHALLENGE: Isle of Wight v Bournemouth 7.30WEDNESDAY APRIL 8PREMIER TROPHY: King's Lynn v Scunthorpe 7.30