British Speedway Weekly Bulletin

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BRITISH Youth joint manager Neil Vatcher has thrown his weight behind the country’s rising stars in their bid to succeed on the World stage.Kyle Newman has already been seeded to the qualifying rounds of the World Under-21 Championship, and four other riders will follow from the Dudley-staged British Under-21 Final.Their overall incentive is a place in the seven-round World series, with the British round of that competition now confirmed for Coventry on August 17.Vatcher said: “I would say that we now have a dozen or so good lads in the Premier League who have the ambition to reach the big meetings both here and abroad.“We all know about the costs, but that’s the way it is and we are now finding young riders who are looking at reaching the bigger meetings and coming up with ways of making that happen.“Kyle Howarth, the Worrall twins, Jason Garrity – they are just a handful of young British riders all very keen to move onwards and upwards.“We still have a way to go in order to get to the stage whereby we have British riders in numbers competing on the biggest stage of all – but we are getting there. They want a crack at the foreign riders and there is a lot of talent and ambition amongst the group of riders we have on our hands now.”Meanwhile co-boss Phil Morris has praised both competitors and officials for a successful opening to the British Youth Championship as the series visited Leicester for the first time.Josh Bates (500cc), Zach Wajtknecht (250cc) and Henry Atkins (125cc) took the honours in the respective categories in the first of six rounds this season.Morris said: “It was a fantastic night’s racing at Leicester, and everyone put on a great show for a healthy crowd. The track was a little wet due to rain throughout the day, but not one rider complained – they all got on with the job of racing, and we would like to thank all of the promotion and track staff of the club for their co-operation in staging the event.“The first bend of the 500cc Final was hair-raising and I almost had to close my eyes as they all gave 100 per cent, but luckily they all got around and finished.“The 125cc class saw some great racing with Kyle Bickley showing his vast improvement by going through the heats unbeaten, but last year’s Champion Henry Atkins pulled out a great ride to win the all-important Final.“Now we’re looking forward to Round 2 at Mildenhall, and again it should be a great meeting. Nos. 6 and 7 of the Mildenhall National League team were one-and-two in the first round – so will they be able to repeat it on their home track?”The senior British Final takes place at Wolverhampton on July 30, and a key date in the build-up has been confirmed as July 7, when Rye House will stage a semi-final with the club already confirming that regular Premier League admission prices will be held for the meeting.

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

NATIONAL LEAGUE MAJOR EVENT DATES:NATIONAL LEAGUE FOURS: Stoke, Sunday June 10NATIONAL LEAGUE PAIRS: Mildenhall, Sunday July 22NATIONAL LEAGUE RIDERS CHAMPIONSHIP: Rye House, Saturday September 15

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BELLE VUE boss Jim Lynch feels more racing laps for his riders will improve their early-season fortunes – having again been frustrated by the weather in Monday’s scheduled home match against Eastbourne.Lynch said: “Rory (Schlein) isn’t quite clicking yet and he still looks like a rider who hasn’t had enough laps so far this season. His gating isn’t where he needs it to be yet but he’s a real professional and he’ll get it sorted, no doubt about that.“Adam (Shields) is only a whisker away from winning a couple of races and that will work wonders for his confidence. In addition, Charlie Gjedde did well against Lakeside.”BIRMINGHAM promoter Graham Drury believes German star Martin Smolinski will gain confidence from his match-winning display for his country over the weekend as they qualified for the final stages of the World Cup.Drury said: “I was delighted to see Martin’s result for Germany and I’m sure we will start to see the real Martin Smolinski from now on.“He’s a real entertainer and I know he is desperate to do well for Birmingham, from the moment he signed for us he told us how keen he was to establish himself in British racing once again. He’s a key rider for the team and he can do a good job for us.”COVENTRY promoter Mick Horton is looking to an important series of fixtures over the coming weeks to see the Bees make progress up the Elite League table.Horton said: “There’s also absolutely no doubt that in our opening fixtures we have had some bad luck along the way, but now it’s about time we make our own luck.“The boys need to step up to the plate as a team, we know we are more than capable of making those play-offs but we need to get the points to prove it.”EASTBOURNE boss Trevor Geer admitted a win over Peterborough was the most important factor even though the Eagles had to be content with two points rather than three following a Panthers comeback at Arlington.Geer said: “After being 14-points up at one stage it proved to be a bit of a comedown that we didn’t take maximum points from the match. We looked to be cruising but the Panthers made good use of their tactical rides, particularly the 8-1 in Heat 11 and for a time we started to look vulnerable.“We had a couple of riders below par this evening, Simon (Gustafsson) came back from Sweden on Thursday with a fever and has been in bed ever since. The important thing is that the lads dug in and held on for the win - three points would have been the icing on the cake but we won the match, that’s the main thing.”LAKESIDE are facing up to a big test of their strong early form, as next week they face trips to Peterborough and Swindon plus the visit to Purfleet of reigning champions Poole.Co-promoter Jon Cook said: “In our plans this week we were left free to recharge the batteries after a busy run of home fixtures with it also being the first of the European Grand Prix season but, as things have transpired, it means we will have gone a month without home action when Poole come calling. “It’s very early days and next week will give us a truer indication of how things are shaping, although at the moment things couldn't be gelling better. We have our first team order change to combat next Monday when we visit Peterborough with Kim Nilsson and Robert Mear swapping reserve and second string positions.”KING’S LYNN No.1 Niels-Kristian Iversen made a successful return to Wolverhampton on Monday with a bumper 17-point haul – but it wasn’t enough for the Stars to pick up an away point.Iversen’s side went down 51-41 despite his race wins over the likes of Freddie Lindgren and Tai Woffinden, leaving the Stars looking forward to a big home clash with Swindon on Wednesday as an opportunity to get back on the winning track.PETERBOROUGH boss Trevor Swales took some consolation from a point gained at Eastbourne on Saturday – but he felt the 50-45 defeat represented something of a missed opportunity.Swales said: “We know how important it is to pick up points on the road and this highlights that we’re making good progress on that front.“But it’s a case of mixed emotions really. While in one respect we’re pleased with another away point, we’re also disappointed because we know it could have been a lot more. It was another of those nights for us where it seemed that everything which could go wrong did.”POOLE promoter Matt Ford admits his riders will be lacking track time when they return to Elite League action on Wednesday against Wolverhampton – with no team racing having taken place for the Pirates since April 6.Ford said: “Wolves have won at home twice in the last eight days and gained some valuable track time - something we have been lacking after last Wednesday’s rain-off against Swindon.“It feels an age since we were last racing and the season hasn't really got going. But I hope that is all going to change starting on Wednesday. We are due at Swindon on Thursday then Wolverhampton next Monday - fingers crossed the weather will be favourable and we can get some racing to talk about.”SWINDON boss Alun Rossiter is hoping a feel-good factor in the town will continue, with the Robins still unbeaten in the Elite League and the football club having recently clinched promotion.Rossiter said: “With the football team now promoted, hopefully we’ll get some people who come over from that to the speedway, and that’s why it’s vitally important that we keep winning. “We know the supporters want to follow a winning team, even more so after the last couple of years, so we need to make sure we keep the habit going, and hopefully the crowds will turn out.”WOLVERHAMPTON manager Peter Adams took great encouragement from the performances of reserve duo Ricky Wells and Lukasz Sowka in the win over King’s Lynn on Monday.Adams said: “The big difference was clearly the strength we had at reserve and that makes us a good team. To see Lukasz scoring so well is very pleasing after the tough time he has had since coming to British Speedway.“And Ricky was excellent which is a good achievement after his recent injury at Eastbourne. I’m very pleased with his efforts.”

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BERWICK boss Ian Rae took some positives from a fightback in the second half the meeting at Newcastle although the Bandits went down by 12-points.Rae said: “We suffered two early falls to top men and then proceeded to throw too many points into the Diamonds’ pot. Still, the lads rallied well later on and pulled themselves away from humiliating defeat to a slender loss.”EDINBURGH saw a number of riders return to form in an impressive 54-39 win over League Cup group leaders Workington, with Andrew Tully scoring 14 points and skipper Matthew Wethers adding nine.Boss John Campbell said: “We built this team to be solid and tonight against a side many people thought would win, they have performed very, very well indeed.”GLASGOW co-promoter Stewart Dickson says there has already been a positive response after the Ashfield club’s bosses went public over their current financial concerns.Dickson said: “The GTSSC, STARs and GTFF all made significant pledges which shows to us that there is real hope that we can pull through this. I am very confident that if we can successfully get through the next few weeks, we will all be able to draw breath and look to grow matters from there.”IPSWICH boss Pete Simmons says this week’s fixtures against Rye House are vital to the Witches’ prospects of progress in the League Cup competition.Simmons said: “We need to improve on our Anglian Cup second leg performance as with Somerset winning away twice and Leicester picking up a point down at Plymouth recently we must make sure we pick up points in all our remaining away League Cup matches to ensure we finish in that all important top two of the Southern section.”LEICESTER expect to welcome back winter signing Simon Nielsen for their League Cup clash with Plymouth on Sunday.Nielsen suffered a broken scaphoid in a crash during the Lions’ season-opening challenge match at Scunthorpe but has now been declared back in the team, Kyle Hughes having stood-in as his replacement for the last month.NEWCASTLE overcame problems for No.1 Mark Lemon to defeat Berwick 53-41, their strength in depth evident despite their skipper’s three-point haul.Boss George English said: “Solid in the main, and that’s why we took Berwick apart in the early section of the match. Yes over all a good team performance.”PLYMOUTH could have Todd Kurtz in their line-up for the trip to Somerset on Friday after promoter Mike Bowden confirmed he was to re-declare the Devils’ line-up.Bowden said: “I am sure Todd will be a very good signing and his arrival will strengthen the team. He is a rider with some excellent mechanical equipment and I have always been impressed by him.”REDCAR boss Jitendra Duffill is confident his side can cover the threat of Newcastle in every department when the sides meet on Thursday.He said: “'Newcastle have an experienced top two in Mark Lemon and Stuart Robson but we can counter with the scoring potential of Ulrich Ostergaard and Aaron Summers. The Diamonds also have an in-form reserve in the shape of Richie Worrall but there is no doubt that we have two potent reserves with both Max Dilger and Mark Jones making a real impact. Both teams are also blessed with capable second strings so quite a match is in store.”RYE HOUSE will finally be able to give Anders Mellgren and Jason Bunyan their home debuts in the League Cup clash with rivals Ipswich on Saturday, following a trip to Foxhall on Thursday.Manager John Sampford said: “They will be really out to make an impression, while Charlie Gjedde will have a point to prove as he makes his first home start at No.1. All in all, we are expecting two close, very hard-fought encounters.”SCUNTHORPE’S recent signing Jerran Hart gained some valuable track time when he took part in an amateur meeting at the Eddie Wright Raceway and clocked some fast times.Manager Richard Hollingsworth said: “the important thing was for him to race his bike as he’d not been on his bike prior to racing at home last weekend. He produced two very quick times, getting down to 58.1, and I’m sure he will go into this coming week’s Premier League fixtures with that little bit more confidence.”SHEFFIELD boss David Hoggart says lack of track knowledge cost his side dearly when they were beaten at Glasgow last Sunday.Hoggart said: “It took all of our riders at least a ride to figure the place out whereas the home riders knew where the pitfalls were and where to avoid. We didn't have that luxury, it took us a ride before we knew that so you effectively chalk off everyone's first ride.”SOMERSET promoter Debbie Hancock says the Rebels’ recent win at Plymouth will count for nothing when the Devils visit the Oak Tree Arena this Friday.She said: “As well as having the likes of Ben Barker and Ryan Fisher in their line-up, Friday will see the return of both Cory Gathercole and James Holder to the Oaktree since their departure over the winter, so they will have track knowledge in their favour, giving this match all the hallmarks of a very exciting encounter.”WORKINGTON boss Tony Jackson has stressed nothing has been won yet despite the Comets’ flying start to the League Cup competition this season.Jackson said: “We have opened up a nice lead on the others but we won’t be taking anything for granted. Things can change quickly. I have just been so pleased with the way everyone has mucked in together. There’s a great team spirit and everyone has been contributing.”

FIXTURE PICTURE…

THURSDAY APRIL 26:SKY SPORTS ELITE LEAGUE: Birmingham v Coventry 7.30, Swindon v Poole 7.30LEAGUE CUP: Ipswich v Rye House 7.30, Redcar v Newcastle 7.30, Sheffield v Scunthorpe 7.45

FRIDAY APRIL 27:LEAGUE CUP: Edinburgh v Glasgow 7.30, Somerset v Plymouth 7.30, Scunthorpe v Redcar 7.30

SATURDAY APRIL 28:LEAGUE CUP: Berwick v Newcastle 7pm, Rye House v Ipswich 7pm

SUNDAY APRIL 29:LEAGUE CUP: Glasgow v Edinburgh 4pm, Leicester v Plymouth 6pm, Newcastle v Redcar 6.30NATIONAL LEAGUE: Mildenhall v Buxton 4.30

MONDAY APRIL 30: SKY SPORTS ELITE LEAGUE: Peterborough v Lakeside 7.30, Wolverhampton v Poole 7.30

TUESDAY MAY 1:NATIONAL LEAGUE KO CUP 2nd leg: Isle of Wight v Rye House 7.30

WEDNESDAY MAY 2:SKY SPORTS ELITE LEAGUE: Belle Vue v King’s Lynn 8pmNATIONAL LEAGUE KO CUP 2nd leg: King’s Lynn v Mildenhall 7.30

THURSDAY MAY 3:SKY SPORTS ELITE LEAGUE: Birmingham v Belle Vue 7.30, Swindon v Lakeside 7.30PREMIER LEAGUE: Ipswich v Newcastle 7.30LEAGUE CUP: Redcar v Workington 7.30, Sheffield v Glasgow 7.45

FRIDAY MAY 4:SKY SPORTS ELITE LEAGUE: Coventry v Belle Vue 8pm, Lakeside v Poole 8pmELITE LEAGUE KO CUP 1st leg: Peterborough v Swindon 7.30LEAGUE CUP: Edinburgh v Berwick 7.30, Plymouth v Ipswich 7.30, Somerset v Leicester 7.30

SATURDAY MAY 5:SKY SPORTS ELITE LEAGUE: Eastbourne v Coventry 7.30PREMIER LEAGUE: Leicester v Redcar 7.30LEAGUE CUP: Berwick v Edinburgh 7pm, Rye House v Plymouth 7pm, Workington v Sheffield 7pmSTAFFS CUP 2nd leg: Stoke v Dudley 7pm

SUNDAY MAY 6:PREMIER LEAGUE: Glasgow v Leicester 4pmNATIONAL LEAGUE: Mildenhall v Scunthorpe 4.30NATIONAL LEAGUE KO CIP 1st leg: Buxton v Dudley 3pm

MONDAY MAY 7:SKY SPORTS ELITE LEAGUE: Poole v Swindon 7.30, Wolverhampton v Coventry 7.30PREMIER LEAGUE: Ipswich v Sheffield 2.30, Rye House v Somerset 2pm, Scunthorpe v Edinburgh 3pmNATIONAL LEAGUE: Rye House v Buxton (follows PL fixture)NATIONAL LEAGUE KO CUP 1st leg: Scunthorpe v Stoke (follows PL fixture)

TUESDAY MAY 8:NATIONAL LEAGUE KO CUP 2nd leg: Dudley v Buxton 7.30CHALLENGE: Isle of Wight v Stoke 7.30

WEDNESDAY MAY 9:SKY SPORTS ELITE LEAGUE: King’s Lynn v Coventry 7.30


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