British Speedway Weekly Bulletin

BIG EVENT LATEST…

THE race is on for riders to claim the final six places in the 2012 British Under-21 Final.The first showpiece event of the new season takes place at Monmore Green, the adopted home of National League Dudley, on April 24, with ten riders already seeded to the event.The remaining six places will be determined from the semi-final at Stoke on April 7 – and GB Youth coach Phil Morris has stressed that performances in these meetings will be important when it comes to progression in both individual and team events this year.Morris said: “The riders have plenty to go for, as apart from the individual title we have five places available for the World Under-21 Championship, so their goal will be to reach the Grand Prix-style finals, culminating in the last two rounds in Argentina.“We will also be looking very carefully at the Under-21 Final and all the riders’ league form to select our squad for the World Under-21 Team Cup semi-final at Scunthorpe later in the season.”Former Champion Joe Haines is on the list of seeded riders for the Final at Dudley, along with 2011 runner-up Steve Worrall and 2011 British Under-19 Champion Jason Garrity.The remaining seeded places go to Ashley Morris, Jerran Hart, Kyle Newman, Kyle Howarth, Robert Branford, Ritchie Worrall and Ben Morley – with the latter two having already impressed at Premier League level this season.The riders to contest the semi-final at Stoke are: Jake Knight, James Sarjeant, Shane Hazelden, Joe Jacobs, Ben Hopwood, Tom Perry, Brendan Johnson, Marc Owen, Stefan Nielsen, Richard Franklin, Adam Wrathall, Oli Rayson, Darryl Ritchings, Tom Stokes, Ritchie Andrews and Tom Young.Meanwhile, the 2012 British Youth Championship has attracted a third sponsor, with the Nuneaton Speedway Supporters Club joining Friends of Speedway and Wessex Marine.The series begins at Leicester on Saturday April 14 and takes in rounds at Mildenhall, Northside, Eastbourne and Scunthorpe before the finale at Sittingbourne on September 9.NSSC spokesman Russell Bott said: “We’re an independent supporters club, and our aim is to raise funds to support and encourage young British riders. “We have helped the second half juniors at Coventry for many years, but due to our continued success we are now in a strong enough position to embark on what we hope will be a long and fruitful relationship with the British Under-16 and Under-21 scene.”Morris added: “NSSC are also looking to help out some of the riders who make the FIM World Under-21 qualifying rounds, so that will be another massive help to the youngsters. We’re really grateful for all the support we’re receiving.”

SPEEDWAYGB EVENTS SERIES:BRITISH UNDER-21 FINAL: Dudley, Tuesday April 24PREMIER LEAGUE FOURS: Peterborough, Sunday July 15BRITISH FINAL: Wolverhampton, Monday July 30PREMIER LEAGUE PAIRS: Somerset, Friday August 24PREMIER LEAGUE RIDERS CHAMPIONSHIP: Sheffield, Sunday September 23ELITE LEAGUE RIDERS CHAMPIONSHIP: Swindon, Saturday October 20

ELITE LEAGUE LATEST…

BELLE VUE continue a busy start to the season on the road with away trips to Poole (challenge) and Lakeside (Elite League) this week.The Aces were beaten 55-40 in their league opener at Eastbourne last Saturday, and race their first home meeting on Good Friday against Wolverhampton.BIRMINGHAM boss Graham Drury has vowed to stay patient with new signings Seb Ulamek and Martin Smolinski, who have both struggled in their opening away matches.Drury said: “You have to remember both the riders we’re discussing haven’t raced in British Speedway for a number of years.“I’m disappointed with this result (at Wolverhampton), I’m not getting away from that because I felt we could come here and push Wolves, but it wasn’t to be.”COVENTRY star Scott Nicholls returned to the club with a paid maximum in the Bees’ comfortable Midland League win over Birmingham in their first team meeting of the season.Nicholls said: “It would be nice if we could do that every week – it’s a shame in some respects that it wasn’t in the Elite League, but you take the positives and it was a fantastic team performance.“Birmingham aren’t a weak side, they’ve got some strong riders there but we were the better side. Everyone did their bit, and although it’s early days and nobody wants to do anything silly at this stage, the positive signs are there for a good season.”EASTBOURNE co-promoter Mike Bellerby was in buoyant mood after seeing his side defeat Belle Vue by a 15-point margin in the first Elite League match to be staged this season.Bellerby said: “This proved to be a night that ticked all the boxes for us, a great result against Belle Vue in front of our largest opening night crowd in many years. “I appreciate there has been the one match ridden, but nevertheless, this puts us top of the Elite League table and that is just where we intend to stay.”LAKESIDE star Stuart Robson feels the Hammers’ winter team-building offer them their best chance for some years to challenge for the Elite League title.Robson said: “The team is looking very strong this year, the management have made some really good signings over the winter and I think we have a very good chance of silverware this year as long as we all steer clear of those dreaded injuries and engine problems. “I think this is the strongest team line up I have been in for a while and I’m looking forward to getting on track with them, and doing the business in front of the Hammers fans.”KING’S LYNN promoter Buster Chapman feels the Stars have the potential to enjoy another strong season in the Elite League, after reaching the play-offs last season.Chapman said: “I am so excited about this coming season, last year was simply amazing and I feel we will follow it up with an even better one this season. The team is full of racers and if they don’t gate then I am sure they will use every part of the track to win their points the hard way. “Mads (Korneliussen) will make an exceptional captain and it pleases me that they get on so well.”PETERBOROUGH star Olly Allen says he’s delighted with his winter switch to the Showground – having started his career with the club in the Conference League.Allen said: “Because me and my dad both rode here and I actually started my career here, the club means an awful lot to the family. I must admit it’s really cool to be back.“It’s taken longer than I wanted it to but now it’s finally happened I couldn’t be more pleased. To be honest it’s my dream move.POOLE star Darcy Ward will take over the Pirates’ No.1 race-jacket in their challenge match against Belle Vue on Wednesday, with skipper Chris Holder in New Zealand ahead of this weekend’s Grand Prix.Promoter Matt Ford said: “Without Chris we will of course be somewhat weaker and that will just put more pressure on the rest of the lads but that is no bad thing and Wednesday should be a good test for them all.“Chris joked at our Press day that he thought Darcy was too scared to be number one, well Darcy will be wearing that number on his back and will no doubt want to send a message Down Under to his buddy!”SWINDON boss Alun Rossiter admits he will be wary of the Robins’ first Elite League opponents Birmingham when the sides meet next week.Rossiter said: “I wouldn’t have minded another challenge meeting next week but it’s not to be. I’m a bit concerned we haven’t got enough track time.“Birmingham have got the Midland League going on against Coventry and Wolverhampton, and I do think that will be a tough one as they seem quite well-balanced.”WOLVERHAMPTON manager Peter Adams took great encouragement from his side’s first win of the season, a 51-39 Midland League success over Birmingham – with Tai Woffinden in outstanding form.Adams said: “I believe there is a group of British riders like Danny King and Ben Barker of Birmingham who are under-rated. I include Woffinden in that and he is the pick of the bunch, he is back to his best form, it’s great to see.“We’re delighted with this victory, I’m fairly encouraged going forward although we need to work hard on Lukasz Sowka because he’s finding it tough and you can see the confidence sapping away from him.”

PREMIER LEAGUE LATEST…

BERWICK are hoping to welcome No.1 Ricky Ashworth back in time for their fixture against Edinburgh on Saturday, the former Sheffield man having crashed out of last Sunday’s trip to Newcastle.Manager Ian Rae said: “We have checked up on Ricky’s condition and we’re told he should be ok to race again, subject to x-rays, next weekend.”EDINBURGH star Andrew Tully became the first home rider to lift the Jack Young Trophy for winning the Scottish Open since Bill Landels in 1966.Tully said: “I was aiming for the cutback behind Ollie Allen and was picking up some speed, then he made a little mistake and I took my chance. Quality!”GLASGOW will defend a 14-point first leg lead in the Spring Trophy at Edinburgh on Friday before staging their League Cup opener against Scunthorpe at Armadale on Sunday. GLASGOW LINE-UP: Joe Screen, James Grieves, Josh Grajczonek, Jayden O’Malley, Mason Campton, Robert Ksiezak, Jade Mudgway.IPSWICH are facing a vital weekend of League Cup action with home and away clashes with Somerset followed by a trip to Leicester on Saturday.Manager Pete Simmons said: “It’s a busy few days for man and machine coming up. Both these away fixtures are going to be real tough but If we have any aspirations of a successful year these are the kind of teams we must push hard to show we mean business early on.”LEICESTER newcomer Kyle Hughes is keen to take his opportunity at Beaumont Park, having agreed a deal to replace the injured Simon Nielsen.Hughes said: “I want to thank Leicester Speedway for giving me this opportunity. I tried getting into Leicester during the winter because I really liked the track and everything about the club. I had a very hard year last year both at speedway and at home and was at a very low part in my life at times due to injury but I’ve seriously changed my outlook on everything.”NEWCASTLE’S grip on the Tyne Tweed Trophy was removed with a last-heat aggregate defeat against Berwick on Sunday – and manager George English says the Diamonds need to learn from the setback.English said: “We have won this trophy from 2007 to 2011 and dearly wanted to add another to the roll-call, but again we let too many points slip past us especially as they had several riders themselves not firing – but that’s a trophy, next time it will be in the League Cup and we will make amendsPLYMOUTH will stage a challenge fixture on Friday featuring a number of former favourites who rode for Plymouth and Weymouth in their Conference and National League days.Plymouth promoter Mike Bowden says: “It is a really competitive line-up with some familiar faces returning to the Arena and I am sure it will be a very entertaining meeting.”PLYMOUTH PL LINE-UP: Ben Barker, Ryan Fisher, Cory Gathercole, James Holder, James Cockle, Gino Franchetti, Nicki Glanz.REDCAR promoter Brian Havelock is backing Carl Wilkinson to do a good job for the club having stepped in to replace Gary Havelock, who is sidelined with multiple injuries.Havelock said: “'Wilko has an encouraging scoring record for both Newport and Scunthorpe at the Motorpark since 2006. He is a real battler and I know that the Bears' fans will appreciate that. He has big boots to fill and supporters must appreciate that and get behind him.”RYE HOUSE will hand a debut to new No.1 Charlie Gjedde in Saturday’s eagerly-awaited challenge match against Peterborough, with former Rockets Tai Woffinden, Linus Sundstrom and Edward Kennett also racing in the meeting.And the Rockets are also expecting to welcome back Jordan Frampton, who has made a rapid recovery from a scaphoid injury.SCUNTHORPE boss Richard Hollingsworth says the challenge match at Leicester last weekend served its purpose as the Scorpions head into a busy League Cup programme.Hollingsworth said: “The idea of these start-of-season challenge matches is to allow the riders to get any gremlins out of the way, before the serious stuff begins. Next weekend will be a very important weekend for us, with three League Cup fixtures, away at Redcar on Thursday, at home to Newcastle on Friday and away to Glasgow on Sunday.” SHEFFIELD co-boss David Hoggart says the Tigers’ League Cup opener against Workington on Thursday is “the big one” after his side were beaten at Rye House on Saturday.Hoggart said: “It was a tough night at Rye House but now we look ahead and Thursday's meeting is a big one. We are absolutely determined to get our first win under our belts and hopefully the public come out in force to support us.”SOMERSET have signed Robin Aspegren on a short-term deal after admitting they could not risk the possibility of Jason Doyle’s visa issues not being complete in time for their opening League Cup matches – although Doyle should be in the UK by the end of the week.Promoter Debbie Hancock said: “Doyley rang me at 3.15am Tuesday morning to say that he had received his visa and was hoping to be on a flight to the UK on Wednesday or Thursday in order that he could be here at the Oaktree Arena on Friday to meet the fans, gee on the rest of the team and have a practice after our match against Ipswich.”WORKINGTON are expecting a bumper opening-night crowd on Saturday with additional interest created by the special guest appearance of Boyzone band member Shane Lynch - who is a talented driver, and so as well as meeting the fans he will also be touring the track in a Rally Car demonstrating the art of drifting.Comets promoter Keith Denham said: “It is not every day a member of an internationally famous band comes to Workington and we really need to show Shane that he is a welcome guest at Derwent Park by having as large a crowd as possible. I urge fans from across the county to come along with as many of their friends and family as possible to join in a night that is not to be missed.”WORKINGTON LINE-UP: Rene Bach, Richard Lawson, Rusty Harrison, Kenny Ingalls, Adam Roynon, Kyle Howarth, Gary Irving.FIXTURE PICTURE…

WEDNESDAY MARCH 28:SKY SPORTS ELITE LEAGUE: King’s Lynn v Eastbourne 7.30CHALLENGE: Poole v Belle Vue 7.30

THURSDAY MARCH 29:LEAGUE CUP: Ipswich v Somerset 7.30, Redcar v Scunthorpe 7.30, Sheffield v Workington 7.45MIDLAND LEAGUE: Birmingham v Coventry 7.30

FRIDAY MARCH 30:SKY SPORTS ELITE LEAGUE: Lakeside v Belle Vue 8pmLEAGUE CUP: Scunthorpe v Newcastle 7.30, Somerset v Ipswich 7.30MIDLAND LEAGUE: Coventry v Wolverhampton 8pmSPRING TROPHY 2nd leg: Edinburgh v Glasgow 7.30CHALLENGE: Plymouth v Weymouth Select 7.30

SATURDAY MARCH 31:LEAGUE CUP: Leicester v Ipswich 7.30, Workington v Redcar 7pmCOCK O’ THE NORTH 1st leg: Berwick v Edinburgh 7pmCHALLENGE: Rye House v Peterborough 7pm, Stoke v Isle of Wight 7.30

SUNDAY APRIL 1:LEAGUE CUP: Glasgow v Scunthorpe 4pm, Newcastle v Workington 6.30

MONDAY APRIL 2:SKY SPORTS ELITE LEAGUE: Eastbourne v King’s Lynn 7.30MIDLAND LEAGUE: Wolverhampton v Coventry 7.30

TUESDAY APRIL 3:STAFFS CUP 1st leg: Dudley v Stoke 7.30

THURSDAY APRIL 5:SKY SPORTS ELITE LEAGUE: Swindon v Birmingham 7.30LEAGUE CUP: Sheffield v Redcar 7.45

FRIDAY APRIL 6:SKY SPORTS ELITE LEAGUE: Belle Vue v Wolverhampton 1pm, Birmingham v Swindon 7.30, Coventry v Poole 11am, Eastbourne v Lakeside 7.30, King’s Lynn v Peterborough 7pm, Lakeside v Eastbourne 1pm, Peterborough v King’s Lynn 2pm, Poole v Coventry 8pmLEAGUE CUP: Edinburgh v Newcastle 7.30, Ipswich v Leicester 2.30, Redcar v Sheffield 7.30, Somerset v Rye House 7.30NATIONAL LEAGUE KO CUP 1st leg: Rye House v Isle of Wight 7pm

SATURDAY APRIL 7:LEAGUE CUP: Berwick v Glasgow 7pm, Leicester v Rye House 7.30, Workington v Edinburgh 7pmBRITISH U21 SEMI-FINAL: Stoke 7.30

SUNDAY APRIL 8:LEAGUE CUP: Glasgow v Berwick 4pm, Newcastle v Scunthorpe 6.30NATIONAL SHIELD 1st leg: Mildenhall v Dudley 4.30

MONDAY APRIL 9:LEAGUE CUP: Rye House v Leicester 2pm, Scunthorpe v Sheffield 3pmNATIONAL LEAGUE: Rye House v Stoke (follows LC fixture), Scunthorpe v King’s Lynn (follows LC fixture)

TUESDAY APRIL 10:SKY SPORTS ELITE LEAGUE: Wolverhampton v Belle Vue 7.30CHALLENGE: Isle of Wight v USA Tourists 7.30