SWINDON skipper Troy Batchelor won the Elite League Riders’ Championship at King’s Lynn on Thursday.
The Australian was one of three riders to top the leaderboard on 12 points in the qualifying races, and came through the semi-final along with Maciej Janowski to join Matej Zagar and Jason Doyle in the Final.
It was Batchelor who took victory in the decisive race, with Poole captain Janowski and Doyle (Leicester) completing the top three.
Batchelor said: “I've had a few days off so I went into the meeting looking to blow away the cobwebs.“I like the King's Lynn track and obviously I'm well happy with this result, especially so close to the Grand Prix in Sweden.”(SPEEDWAY 2 – THURSDAY REVIEW)
IPSWICH launched their Premier League play-off campaign with a convincing 57-35 win over injury-hit Scunthorpe at Foxhall.
Richie Worrall (11+2), Cameron Heeps (11+1) and Morten Risager (10) all scored double-figures for the Witches, whilst the Scorpions saw Nicolai Klindt crash out of the meeting whilst leading Heat 7, aggravating a scaphoid injury.
Ipswich boss Brian Messenger said: “The start wasn't particularly good but we have had nights like this before.
“Once the boys got settled they all did well apart from Gino (Manzares) and Rohan (Tungate) having a few problems but the reserves were impressive again and helped cover for those two.”
Scunthorpe manager Dave Peet said: “Nicolai crashing out did make a difference, although the way it was shaping up, it looked like we may have been found to be wanting in any case. We’d have run them closer with Nicolai but it wasn’t to be – it just wasn’t our night.”
League leaders Edinburgh secured another away win at Sheffield in a regular PL fixture, winning 47-45 after two 5-1s to the home side in the final two races.Max Fricke top-scored for the Monarchs on 12 whilst Leigh Lanham piled up 15 for the Tigers.
(SPEEDWAY 3 – FRIDAY PREVIEW)
ASHLEY Birks is set to make a dramatic return from injury in Scunthorpe’s first home Premier League play-off fixture against reigning champions Somerset.Birks is one of three Scorpions riders to have suffered scaphoid injuries, but he has declared himself fit just 13 days after suffering a break in two places at Rye House.
Promoter Rob Godfrey said: “Ashley Birks is a dedicated young man. He was determined to come back as soon as possible, and once he saw how weak we were at reserve at Ipswich last night, he phoned me up and told me he’s ready to come back to ride for us tonight.
“We want to hit Somerset hard tonight, and Ash’s inclusion is a huge boost to us. Ryan Douglas is set to return next Wednesday at Somerset. We certainly haven’t given up on topping our group and getting to the final. We will be up for tonight.”
Somerset boss Garry May said: “Obviously we will be looking to get our play-off matches off to the best possible start.
“I know some people will point to the fact that we took a point from our league visit to Scunthorpe earlier this season, and almost took an away win from the match, but to be honest that was right back in the early months of the season and a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then, so I don’t think you can read too much into that match.”
In Group 1, Edinburgh host Workington at Armadale knowing they could clinch a place in the Final by the end of Saturday’s return fixture at Derwent Park.
Manager Alex Harkess said: “We know what we have to do. Win by more than six at Armadale on Friday and lose by no more than six at Workington on Saturday. We’ll be trying to do better than that though.”
The final meeting of the regular Elite League season takes place at Brandon with Coventry hosting Wolverhampton three days before their play-off semi-final against Swindon.
The Bees are offering £10 admission to Monday’s meeting with re-admission tickets from tonight, whilst Wolves have called in Scott Nicholls and Danny King to guest.
Coventry promoter Mick Horton said: “It’s a good warm-up for us for Monday, to keep riding, and I think it’s better for us to keep riding rather than have a couple of weeks’ lay-off like Swindon have had.”
In the Premier League Knockout Cup, Ipswich are firm favourites to secure a place in the Final as they take a 40-point lead to Plymouth for their second leg tie. The home side have booked Richard Lawson to replace the injured Ben Barker.
Devils boss Lee Trigger said: “We have won our last nine home matches and scored 59 points against Sheffield last week. It is just a case of taking each race as it comes and getting as many points as we can.”
Ipswich manager Brian Messenger said: “We need to turn our attention to finishing off Plymouth. They are very strong on their track but starting with a 40-point lead should be enough to see us through to the KOC final.”
In the National League KO Cup, Cradley take a 35-point lead to Coventry in a match to be staged after the Elite League clash between the Bees and Wolves.
Heathens boss Will Pottinger said: “This is a vital part of the season for us and we cannot afford any slip-ups against Coventry. We are pleased to have Joe (Jacobs) in the side, he’s got a good record around there and he can take up to six rides for us.”
Coventry boss Laurence Rogers said: “We do hold the proud record of being the only team to have defeated the Heathens in 2014, so a repeat performance would be ideal.”(FIXTURES)
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 26:ELITE LEAGUE: Coventry v Wolverhampton 7pmPREMIER LEAGUE PLAY-OFFS: Edinburgh v Workington 7.30, Scunthorpe v Somerset 7.30PREMIER LEAGUE KO CUP S/F 2nd leg: Plymouth v Ipswich 7.15NATIONAL LEAGUE KO CUP S/F 2nd leg: Coventry v Cradley (follows EL fixture)
SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 27:PREMIER LEAGUE PLAY-OFFS: Workington v Edinburgh 7pmNATIONAL LEAGUE KO CUP S/F 2nd leg: Stoke v King’s Lynn 7pm
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 28:NATIONAL RIDERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP: Rye House 2pmPREMIER LEAGUE KO CUP Q/F 2nd leg: Glasgow v Newcastle 5pm
MONDAY SEPTEMBER 29:ELITE LEAGUE PLAY-OFF S/F 1st leg: Coventry v Swindon 7.30, King’s Lynn v Poole 7.30
TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 30:NATIONAL LEAGUE PLAY-OFF S/F 1st leg: Cradley v Mildenhall 7.30