SPEEDWAY POSTPONEMENT - THURSDAY APRIL 12:
Redcar v Scunthorpe - OFF
Sheffield v Peterborough - OFF
THE organisers of the tenth Ben Fund Bonanza, postponed in March, have had to admit defeat in their efforts to re-stage the meeting in the early part of the season - and will instead aim for an October date.
SRBF secretary Paul Ackroyd said: “We did desperately try to reorganise the meeting which so many people had been looking forward to. We submitted a couple of possible dates but they clashed with domestic fixtures and we were unable to resolve this.
“The bad weather since Easter and the consequent fixture chaos has just made it harder to find a suitable date for our meeting. We did want to include World Champion Jason Doyle in the meeting and Jason has been particularly helpful and supportive.
“Another promoter had offered to stage the meeting in early May but again, there were clashes with existing fixtures.
“Our hope now is that the meeting will be at Peterborough in October. We will confirm this as soon as we can.”
BRADY Kurtz scored a 15-point maximum as Poole opened the Premiership campaign with a 50-40 win over Belle Vue.
Aces boss Mark Lemon was keen to take the positives from the meeting as his side had raced into an early six point lead despite being forced into several changes.
Already without broken leg victim Steve Worrall, the visitors also travelled without British Champion Craig Cook, whose partner gave birth that day – and guest replacement Troy Batchelor scored just one point.
Lemon said: “It’s the one that got away from us to be honest. Had Craig and Steve been with us things may have panned out differently, but at the same time there were some good signs.
“Poole are the league favourites this year and we ran them close. To come away from Wimborne with 40 points is a positive result so I would not class this meeting as a write-off by any means.
“There’s a lot more to come from this team. We’ve only just begun to see their potential and I think, with a few more meetings under our belt, the performances will only get stronger.”
Meanwhile there was frustration at Hoddesdon as rain forced the abandonment of the Rye House/Leicester fixture after eight races.
The match was well poised at 25-23 in the Rockets’ favour but both clubs were in agreement that a halt had to be called.
Rye House boss Peter Schroeck said: “It was definitely the right call. As soon as I saw Heat 8, I made my own mind up that this was going to get too dangerous; they were sliding all over the place.
“I know it is so early in the season and we all want to run these meetings through, but from a safety point of view we couldn’t carry on.”
Lions manager Simon Stead said: “It’s obviously frustrating. We’re all battling the weather at the moment, but it was at least a chance to get a few laps under our belt.
“It was a bit of practice for us and we were keeping it tight at the point it was called off, so there were positives and we know what we’ve got to work on.”
SWINDON finally get their Premiership title defence underway tonight (Thursday) when they host Leicester at the Abbey.
The Robins have been inactive since winning the Charity Shield against Belle Vue three weeks ago and are at full strength for the visit of the Lions.
Leicester are without recent signing Michael Palm Toft as he lines up for Peterborough at Sheffield in the Championship, with Paul Starke booked to guest, whilst Stewart Dickson takes over as team manager with Simon Stead in charge at Owlerton.
Swindon’s Adam Ellis said: “We know this year will be a bit more difficult because we're the Champions and that means we're always the one team others want to beat.
“Last year not too many people gave us a chance so there wasn't as much pressure. But I like the team we've got again this year and there's no reason why we can't win it back-to-back.”
Stead said: “It’s going to be a very different test at Swindon to what we faced at Rye House, but it’s one we’re looking forward to.
“We know it will take our new guys some time to adjust, but it should suit us a bit more and we’re looking to get a result.”
SHEFFIELD launch their defence of the Championship title with a home clash against Peterborough tonight (Thursday).
And Tigers co-promoter Damien Bates is backing his side to build on their crushing win over Newcastle in the Shield last week to make it two wins from two at Owlerton.
Bates said: “It was a good win for us last week, but I’m sure Peterborough will be tougher opposition.
“They traditionally ride our track well and they’ve got some good riders, but as defending Champions we want to start as we mean to go on.
“Our aim is to win at home all year as we did last season, so we don’t want any slip-ups early on.”
Panthers promoter Ged Rathbone said: “We will go there looking to give them a really good test, and looking for a win as we do in every meeting we race in. We will be there to complete, and to make sure Sheffield are aware they will have to earn anything they get.
“It’s a league meeting so we want to get something out of it. It’s been a fault of ours in the past that we’ve had really slow starts to league campaigns, and this time we want to hit the ground running and get some points on the board early.”
Meanwhile Redcar race at home for the first time as they face Scunthorpe at the Media Prima Arena in the Championship Shield.
The Scorpions were convincing winners when the sides met in Lincolnshire last week but did suffer the injury loss of Steve Worrall. Lewis Kerr comes in to guest at No.1 with Jason Garrity taking over as captain.
Redcar boss Jitendra Duffill said: “Our first match against Scunthorpe was tough and they are a very, very good side. There is obviously a lot of room for improvement for us but it’s very early days I know we can be a lot better than we showed.
“Our first aim has to be to win at home, so tonight is a good opportunity for us to make amends and will lay down a bit of a benchmark.
“It was encouraging to see our two reserves go well at Scunthorpe and Tobi (Busch) and Theo (Pijper) are going to be so important to us.”
THE Isle of Wight host reigning National League champions Belle Vue in the Smallbrook season opener tonight (Thursday).
The Colts racked up a massive 34-point away win on the island last year but travel with a very different line-up this time around.
Skipper Jack Smith is racing for Sheffield in the Championship and Tom Perry is absent due to work commitments, so Georgie Wood and Danny Ayres come in to guest.
Warriors promoter Barry Bishop said: “The atrocious weather has been so frustrating, however it just heightens our anticipation and we could hardly ask for a better or more exciting fixture to open up with.
“With local schools still on their Easter holidays, I’m sure we’ll have lots of vocal support and we can look forward to a cracking night, weather permitting.”
Colts reserve Ben Woodhull said: “We’re going there to get as many league points as we possibly can. It’s not ideal being without Jack and Tom but we’ve got two really strong guests who will compliment the team well.
“On paper, the Warriors look pretty strong but we’ve proved already we’re capable of putting in some good laps, and having won our first meeting has given us a great boost of confidence.”
THURSDAY APRIL 12:
PREMIERSHIP: Swindon v Leicester 7.30
CHAMPIONSHIP: Sheffield v Peterborough 7.30
CHAMPIONSHIP SHIELD: Redcar v Scunthorpe 7.30
TRAVEL PLUS NATIONAL LEAGUE: Isle of Wight v Belle Vue 7pm
FRIDAY APRIL 13:
CHAMPIONSHIP SHIELD: Edinburgh v Workington 7.30, Glasgow v Berwick 7.30, Lakeside v Ipswich 8pm, Scunthorpe v Newcastle 7.30
NATIONAL TROPHY: Plymouth v Eastbourne 7.15
SATURDAY APRIL 14:
CHAMPIONSHIP SHIELD: Berwick v Glasgow 7pm, Workington v Edinburgh 7pm
TRAVEL PLUS NATIONAL LEAGUE: Eastbourne v Buxton 7.30
NATIONAL TROPHY: Stoke v Coventry 7pm
SUNDAY APRIL 15:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Peterborough v Redcar 5pm
CHAMPIONSHIP SHIELD: Newcastle v Scunthorpe 6.30
TRAVEL PLUS NATIONAL LEAGUE: Coventry v Eastbourne 3pm
NATIONAL TROPHY: Buxton v Stoke 3pm, Mildenhall v Plymouth 3pm
Results Wednesday April 11, 2018
Poole 50 (Brady Kurtz 15)
Belle Vue 40 (Max Fricke 14)
Premiership points: Poole 3 Belle Vue 0
Rye House 25 (Aaron Summers 5+1/Krzysztof Kasprzak 5+1)
Leicester 23 (Michael Palm Toft 7)
Abandoned after 8 heats - Rain - Result does not stand
King’s Lynn v Wolverhampton - OFF
Birmingham v Stoke - OFF