FRIDAY APRIL 13:
Scunthorpe v Newcastle - OFF
Edinburgh v Workington - OFF
SATURDAY APRIL 14
Stoke v Coventry - OFF
LEICESTER No.1 Martin Vaculik suffered a suspected broken ankle in a crash at Swindon on Thursday.
The Grand Prix star was involved in a third-bend pile-up in Heat 1 with the Robins’ Nick Morris, who was leading, coming down first, whilst Vaculik and team-mate Michael Palm Toft followed him into the fence.
Vaculik was taken away by ambulance whilst Palm Toft also suffered a sprained ankle, and the meeting was abandoned.
Leicester captain Danny King said: “We thought the biggest problem beforehand would be the visibility. The track didn’t seem too wet when we walked it, and I don’t think anyone complained about it.
“Obviously underneath it was a lot wetter but from walking on it, it seemed dry enough to race on. But it was damper than we thought, and it caught the riders out because as soon as they got to peak speed and tried to turn, none of them could.
“I’m just a bit speechless really. It doesn’t look good for Martin, our thoughts are with him and we just keep our fingers crossed it isn’t as bad as first feared.”
Swindon manager Alun Rossiter said: “The riders were keen to give it a go, but the conditions got worse with the drizzle getting heavier, and the surface became like an ice rink.
“It wasn’t just the fact that Nick locked up when he came into the bend, they all did exactly the same, and the referee and the riders were all unanimous that it was too dangerous to carry on.
“Our thoughts are with Martin who was in a lot of pain in the ambulance, and we’ll have to await the official word on his injury.”
THE Isle of Wight edged a close National League contest with champions Belle Vue to take a 48-42 home win on Friday.
The Colts led by four points in the early stages but were reeled back in by the halfway stage, and saw Ben Woodhull disqualified after a tangle with Chris Widman in Heat 14, leaving the hosts two points ahead.
The decider went the Warriors’ way as Colts guest Danny Ayres came to grief when chasing Ben Morley, with the home side awarded a 5-1 and the visitors having to be content with one league point.
Morley top-scored for the hosts with 12+1 despite having to run home for over a lap in Heat 13 after mechanical trouble – whilst Ayres notched 12 for the Colts.
Said Morley: “It was a great way to start my season with the Isle of Wight. I had one or two machinery niggles but have started to sort them out – one thing’s for sure, I don’t want to have to push the bike home for over a lap on a track this size again!”
Colts boss Graham Goodwin said: “We came here wanting a point at minimum, so in that respect we accomplished our mission but at the same time we have mixed feelings about the result.
“Towards the end, there were a few controversial decisions where our riders were being excluded for what, we felt, was the fault of the opposing riders, which ultimately cost us vital points.”
EDINBURGH and Glasgow both host meetings tonight (Friday) as the Border section of the Championship Shield finally gets underway.
The Monarchs are at home to Workington, and expect to be at full-strength with Joel Andersson due back in the UK today after a heavy crash in last week’s opening challenge fixture at Armadale.
The Comets are without Mason Campton who broke his wrist in a practice crash at Leicester, and call in Bradley Wilson-Dean to guest at reserve.
Edinburgh boss Alex Harkess said: “This weekend, first things first, we’ve got to win the home match and win it well. Then we’ll take on Workington at their place.
“They are totally different tracks of course, but nevertheless we should have a few riders there capable of a good score, and a few more who can contribute to take us into a very good score. We’ve certainly got enough riders to make a decent match of it.”
Meanwhile Glasgow take on Berwick at Ashfield with Tigers skipper Chris Harris keen to get going for his new club.
Harris missed their season-opener against Edinburgh to attend the birth of his daughter, and their next three fixtures were then postponed.
He said: “I’ve never had a start to a season like this – it’s a new one for me. I’m just having to take every day as it comes.
“It has been nice in a way because I’ve been able to spend more time with the family.
“But my focus is still there and I’m good to go. I’ve kept tinkering in the workshop the odd day here and there to keep myself busy.”
SCUNTHORPE will operate rider-replacement for the injured Steve Worrall in tonight’s (Friday) Championship Shield clash with Newcastle.
The Scorpions put a big home win on the board in the Northern section against Redcar last week but that result came at the cost of Worrall’s broken leg.
Promoter Rob Godfrey said: “Given the way our lads rode last Friday, rider replacement should work out OK for us.
“The lads were superb last week and hit the ground running with a very comfortable win.
“But there is no way we will taking Newcastle for granted, since they’ve got three former Scorpions in their line-up who know the best way around our track. We cannot afford to under-estimate anyone, and our lads have still got to turn up and do the job.”
LAKESIDE can go to the top of the Southern section of the Championship Shield if they defeat Ipswich at Purfleet tonight (Friday).
Both clubs have been left chasing Peterborough after the Panthers’ win at Foxhall last week, but the Hammers did win at home against the Alwalton side.
Lakeside boss Will Pottinger said: “I’ve heard a lot things about the rivalry between the two clubs back from the Elite League days, and it will be good to renew that on Friday.
“It’s an important match for us as we look to get some more Shield points, because we want to progress from the group and we know every point will be vital.
“We’ll be looking to win the meeting and make sure Ipswich go home empty handed, so we’re aiming for a similar job to what we did to Peterborough last Friday.”
Witches manager Ritchie Hawkins said: “We go to Lakeside knowing the situation in the group, and first of all we need to put in a much better performance and progress on a lot from last week - that is the main goal.
“Group wise, if we could take a point on Friday that would be a massive help but we know the situation will be that we need to win our home match and at Peterborough if we want to qualify whether we win on Friday or not.
“We will concentrate on a better performance and try to take something from the meeting.”
PLYMOUTH co-promoter Stuart Kellie says the Devils go into a busy weekend with high hopes – starting tonight (Friday) against Eastbourne.
The South-West side narrowly defeated Kent in their National Trophy opener last week and now host the Eagles before making the trip to Mildenhall on Sunday.
Kellie said: “The weather has not affected ourselves as we have been lucky, but for both Eastbourne and Mildenhall all of their matches have been washed out.
“We have the advantage of having raced a meeting so have blown off the post-season cobwebs.”
Eagles boss Connor Dugard said: “Victory at Plymouth will allow us to take an early grip on our section of the National Trophy.
“A year ago, we had a stunning win at Plymouth and we will make the long trip to south Devon with high hopes.”
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 Thursday April 12, 2018,
Swindon v Leicester
Abandoned prior to the completion of heat 1 due to rain
TRAVEL PLUS NATIONAL LEAGUE
Isle of Wight 48 (Ben Morley 12+1)
Belle Vue 42 (Danny Ayres 12)
National League points: Isle of Wight 3 Belle Vue 1