SPEEDWAY News and Fixtures

(SPEEDWAY 1)

CRAIG Cook has his sights firmly set on progression in the World Championship when he competes in Saturday’s Grand Prix Qualifier at Berwick.The Belle Vue and Edinburgh star is one of two British riders in the line-up, and whilst Chris Harris has extensive GP experience Cook is aiming to reach the sport’s pinnacle for the first time.He said: “Obviously you talk about aiming high, and it’s all about wanting to progress. I want to progress onto the next level, and making it to the Grand Prix would be the next step for me.“It’s a meeting I’m desperate to do well in, and I’ve got a few things to iron out. I’m confident that if I hit the front there I’ll have the speed, so if I can make five starts then hopefully I’ll make it through to the next round.”Meanwhile Josh Grajczonek has now withdrawn from the meeting as a result of the facial injuries he suffered last weekend, and his place will be taken by fellow Australian Ty Proctor.

(SPEEDWAY 2 – THURSDAY PREVIEW)

SWINDON have handed Nicolai Klindt a return to the Abbey Stadium for Thursday’s Elite League clash with Leicester.Klindt was released by the Robins earlier in the season but having regained form with Scunthorpe, promoter Alun Rossiter has booked the Dane as a guest for the unavailable Nick Morris.Rossiter said: “I’m pleased to have Nicolai back. We had an honest chat about things and I am personally pleased to see him turn his form around. He’s a good lad and I’m sure he can do a good job for us.“We just need to get a meeting under our belt as a team – remember we went to Eastbourne with half a team and that’s the only meeting which was fully completed in nearly a month.”Leicester include Sam Masters as a guest for the unavailable Simon Stead and promoter David Hemsley is hoping track experience assists the Lions to secure a positive result.Hemsley said: “Jason (Doyle), Mads (Korneliussen) and Lasse (Bjerre) have had plenty of laps of the Swindon track so we are hoping that their knowledge will give us a boost.”Elsewhere, leaders King’s Lynn host bottom club Birmingham and are expected to return to full strength with reserve Lewis Rose due back from injury.Stars boss Rob Lyon said: “Another three league points will be the target and we will be going all out to capture them and keep our impressive run going.”Birmingham are without Bartosz Zmarzlik (Polish Championship), Daniel Nermark (Swedish League) and Paul Starke (racing for Somerset) and include Thomas Jorgensen and Dan Halsey as guest riders.Captain Danny King said: “We know what a tough task this is for us but we will go there and give it a good go. I personally enjoy the track and I’m feeling confident on the bike again.”In the Premier League, Sheffield are set for a hectic summer of racing as they bid to catch up with rained-off fixtures, and they get back into Owlerton action against Glasgow.Co-promoter Damien Bates said: “The riders are desperate to get out and race. We even organised a proper closed-doors race session at Scunthorpe last week to try and let them blow the cobwebs away but even that was rained off.“But there is an encouraging forecast this week and we hope the supporters will come along in numbers.”Ipswich host Somerset in the first leg of their Knockout Cup quarter-final tie, with Gino Manzares and Cameron Heeps switching riding positions for the Witches whilst reserve Adam Ellis has declared himself fit after injuring his knee at Rye House last week. Somerset bring in Ben Morley to replace Pontus Aspgren due to a Swedish League commitment.Rebels boss Garry May said: “The aim at Ipswich will be to keep the scores as close as possible ahead of when we stage the second leg.”

(SPEEDWAY 3)

COVENTRY have moved for ex-World Under-21 Champion Michael Jepsen Jensen, who is set to join the Bees next week.Jepsen Jensen, who has been absent from Elite League racing since 2012, will replace Ryan Fisher who makes his final appearance in Friday’s local derby against Wolverhampton.Coventry promoter Mick Horton said: “This is one of the most exciting signings I have ever made in speedway, and I think it is a true statement of our ambition.“It’s something we’ve been working hard on for a number of days, it’s been a complex deal and one that had to be right for both Michael and the club and I’m delighted we have achieved that.“Ryan will be back – there’s no doubt about that, and he will still be riding for Peterborough in the Premier League. What I would really like now is for the fans to come along in numbers on Friday and say thanks to him for his efforts.”(SPEEDWAY 4)

LEICESTER have made a change at reserve with British Under-21 Champion Josh Bates joining the club.Bates replaces Tom Perry, who has been on the sidelines for the last month with collarbone and shoulder injuries, and will make his debut on Saturday against King’s Lynn after impressing Lions bosses in the recent World Under-21 qualifier at the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium.Manager Norrie Allan said: “Tom has given us great service and is as committed as anyone but there is only so long that you can continue soldiering on using other club’s riders. I am sure that Tom will find another club quickly once his shoulder heals and we wish him all the best for the future.“Josh was unlucky not to reach the (under-21) final. He fell when placed second in his opening ride but then scored nine points from his remaining four heats. Had he not fallen and maintained his position then Josh would have qualified for the final.”

(SPEEDWAY 5)

BELLE VUE boss David Gordon today welcomed moves by Manchester City Council to turn the public spotlight on the National Speedway Stadium as a “massive step forward.”The project is now undergoing a public awareness blitz in the lead-up to the planning submission which is expected later this month.Gordon said: “It’s terrific for Manchester, and Gorton in particular, as well as the sport of speedway, that the Council have decided the time is right to take this initiative. It’s the massive step forward we have been working towards.“There is strong support for the Sports Village in Gorton already but we want residents to know that their best interests have been thoroughly discussed and catered for, for example the planning application includes an acoustic shield to control noise.”(FIXTURES)

THURSDAY JUNE 5:ELITE LEAGUE: King’s Lynn v Birmingham 7.30, Swindon v Leicester 7.30PREMIER LEAGUE: Sheffield v Glasgow 7.45PREMIER LEAGUE KO CUP Q/F 1st leg: Ipswich v Somerset 7.30

FRIDAY JUNE 6:ELITE LEAGUE: Coventry v Wolverhampton 7.30, Lakeside v Belle Vue 8pmPREMIER LEAGUE: Somerset v Rye House 7.30PREMIER LEAGUE KO CUP Q/F 2nd leg: Plymouth v Peterborough 7.15LEAGUE CUP SEMI-FINAL 1st leg: Edinburgh v Sheffield 7.30

SATURDAY JUNE 7:WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFYING ROUND: Berwick 7pmELITE LEAGUE: Eastbourne v Belle Vue 7.30, Leicester v King’s Lynn 7.30PREMIER LEAGUE: Rye House v Somerset 7pm

SUNDAY JUNE 8:PREMIER LEAGUE: Newcastle v Berwick 6.30JAMES GRIEVES TRIBUTE: Glasgow 3pm