PIC OF THE WEEK...
Belle Vue’s Dan Bewley turning in another excellent performance scoring 14+2 in Monday’s 47-43 win against Somerset at the National Speedway Stadium. Picture: EDDIE GARVEY
“They didn’t make it easy but we knew we were up against some powerful riders and, despite a few mechanical gremlins, we pulled together and got the win which was a massive achievement.”
It wasn’t a straightforward evening but Craig Cook and the Aces came through with a 47-43 home win over Somerset on Monday.
NEXT HOME: Wolverhampton (KOC), Mon May 7 (12pm)
NEXT AWAY: Somerset, Wed May 23 (7.30)
“There were a couple of mistakes, we had a 5-1 which we blew but we won’t point any fingers because we are a team. It was damn close and that was what was so frustrating. One more point and we would have gone home with something for our efforts.”
So near and yet so far for King’s Lynn, as boss Dale Allitt reflects on what was ultimately a fruitless trip to Wolverhampton on Monday.
NEXT HOME: Swindon, Wed May 2 (7.30)
NEXT AWAY: Leicester (KOC), Mon May 7 (7.30)
“Kenneth is on his own bikes and we saw a brilliant performance from him tonight, and Todd has also put in a good performance. If you look through the team sheet, it’s got to be positive.”
With newcomers Kenneth Bjerre and Todd Kurtz settling in to life with the Lions, boss Simon Stead was delighted with Monday’s win over Rye House.
NEXT HOME: King’s Lynn (KOC), Mon May 7 (7.30)
NEXT AWAY: King’s Lynn (KOC), Wed May 16 (7.30)
“I think it’s too early to start swinging the axe at the moment. We’ve had a few meetings. You can’t judge a season on three meetings.”
Pirates boss Neil Middleditch says it’s too soon to press the panic button and make changes after three successive defeats for his team after their opening win over Belle Vue.
NEXT HOME: Premiership Riders’ Championship, Wed May 9 (7.30)
NEXT AWAY: Somerset (KOC), Wed May 2 (7.30)
“We’re back at home next Monday, and that is an important opportunity to turn things around and get back into the rhythm we want and need. The latest word on Eddie is that he is very much aiming to be back for that one. He is now going for an MRI scan tomorrow, but the swelling has already gone down, he is feeling a lot, lot better after total rest.”
Rockets boss Peter Schroeck expects to welcome back Edward Kennett after a knee injury for their next Hoddesdon encounter on Bank Holiday Monday.
HOME: Somerset, Mon May 7 (3pm)
NEXT AWAY: Poole, Wed May 16 (7.30)
“It was a hard call to take a ride off Jonas but I felt I had to go for the tactical as soon as possible after that terrible start to the meeting. Jonas, though, rode well for the rest of the evening, the track really suited him.”
Rebels boss Garry May was encouraged by what he saw from Danish youngster Jonas Jeppesen in Monday’s narrow defeat at Belle Vue.
NEXT HOME: Poole (KOC), Wed May 2 (7.30)
NEXT AWAY: Rye House, Mon May 7 (3pm)
“Troy Batchelor competed in that meeting with an eye infection, which showed his commitment to the cause and it is great to have a rider like him around. I didn’t know him well enough to speak to him before the season but now I do and he’s great because he’s been there and done it. It’s a good thing to have a rider like with you.”
Robins reserve Zach Wajtknecht is pleased to tap into the experience of Troy Batchelor, who piled up big points in the recent away win at Leicester.
NEXT HOME: Poole, Mon May 7 (7.30)
NEXT AWAY: King’s Lynn, Wed May 2 (7.30)
“Everyone asks me what I put it down to and I would say my clean bill of health has been vital. We have been working on the starts as well. They make life a lot easier but we also had to come from the back at times.”
Back-to-back 15-point maximums at home for Wolves skipper Rory Schlein, who is fully fit and delighted with his start to the 2018 season.
NEXT HOME: Somerset, Mon May 14 (7.30)
NEXT AWAY: Belle Vue (KOC), Mon May 7 (12pm)
“Kev proved he's still a teenager at heart by scoring almost a maximum tonight including a win over Chris Harris of all people. The whole team weighed in tonight with six of them taking wins or paid wins.”
Bandits boss Scott Courtney was delighted to see skipper Kevin Doolan return to form at the head of an all-round team display to defeat Lakeside last weekend.
NEXT HOME: British U21 Final, Tues May 1 (7pm); Workington (CS), Sat May 5 (7pm)
NEXT AWAY: Workington (CS), Fri May 4 (7.30)
“It was a much better match than last week on a good track, and most of our side performed well enough. There are still a few things to work on. I was delighted to see Ricky Wells gating so well.”
Monarchs boss Alex Harkess felt last Friday’s win over Berwick was a step forward for his side, although he admits they are still a work in progress.
NEXT HOME: Peterborough, Fri May 4 (7.30)
NEXT AWAY: Peterborough, Sun May 13 (5pm)
“I think when they hit form at home we’ll be something else, we really will. And I think it will come very soon.”
Tigers boss Cami Brown is expecting his side to be hitting the big numbers around their home track at Ashfield in the near future.
NEXT HOME: Sheffield, Fri May 4 (7.30)
NEXT AWAY: Redcar, Thur May 17 (7.30)
“It was nice to see Cam (Heeps) back winning races, he has had three meetings this week and you could see the difference, he looked relaxed on his bike and he was quick when he hit the front as well. The reserves had better nights and Michael’s (Häertel) first two rides were superb, and that was the best he has rode this year.”
Witches boss Ritchie Hawkins was pleased to see a full team performance for the first time in 2018 as his side hit the 60-point mark against Newcastle.
NEXT HOME: Lakeside (KOC), Thur May 3 (7.30)
NEXT AWAY: Lakeside (KOC), Fri May 4 (8pm)
“We were on the wrong end of a couple of decisions and a few things just didn’t quite fall our way, and that’s the way it goes sometimes. It was one of those evenings where it wasn’t to be, but the key now is we bounce back well against Ipswich this week and make sure we respond quickly.”
No points for the Hammers at Berwick with boss Will Pottinger feeling the fates had conspired against them, especially with the loss of guest Ulrich Ostergaard in his first ride.
NEXT HOME: Ipswich (KOC), Fri May 4 (8pm)
NEXT AWAY: Ipswich (KOC), Thur May 3 (7.30)
“Ever since Lewis joined Newcastle Speedway several seasons ago he has been a massive influence within the club, always one of the supporters’ favourites. Our quest for a new rider to fill his place has already started.”
Diamonds boss George English confirms the club are working on finding a replacement for Lewis Rose, who is taking time out of the sport.
NEXT HOME: Ipswich, Sun May 6 (6.30)
NEXT AWAY: Scunthorpe (CS), Fri May 11 (7.30)
“You can see that Tom is getting that confidence, and it’s not just week by week, it’s race by race. I think the rules help this year in that you don’t have to use your lower-averaged reserve at No.7.”
Panthers boss Carl Johnson is pleased with the improvement shown by reserve Tom Bacon in his second full season of racing at Championship level.
NEXT HOME: Workington, Fri May 11 (7.30)
NEXT AWAY: Sheffield, Thur May 3 (7.30)
“Mikkel and Jordan will benefit from his experience and Ben should have a bit more time to give now he has got himself settled. There is loads of potential there and they will only get better as the season goes on. We need to show some patience but they will be worth it.”
Bears boss Jitendra Duffill feels the influence of skipper Ben Barker will help newcomers Mikkel B Andersen and Jordan Stewart to settle in British Speedway as the season progresses.
NEXT HOME: Scunthorpe (CS), Thur May 3 (7.30)
NEXT AWAY: Scunthorpe (CS), Fri May 4 (7.30)
“He’s very switched on with first corners, knowing where his team-mate is, and he’s riding really well. Sometimes your points scoring doesn’t really reflect how you rode, but he’s riding really well, as are all the boys.”
Scorpions star Josh Auty is pleased to be paired-up with Jake Allen with the two forging a good combination in the recent home win over Sheffield.
NEXT HOME: Redcar, Fri May 4 (7.30)
NEXT AWAY: Redcar (CS), Thur May 3 (7.30)
“We were basically just a four-man team. I can’t fault Jack Smith particularly, but we did expect more from some members of the team. Rider replacement didn’t work again, and we need to look at this as a management team because it is costing us away from home.”
Co-promoter Peter Mole admits the ongoing absence of Josh Bates is biting the Tigers, with defeat at Newcastle last weekend opening the Championship Shield door to rivals Scunthorpe.
NEXT HOME: Peterborough, Thur May 3 (7.30)
NEXT AWAY: Glasgow, Fri May 4 (7.30)
“It is better for us, better for the team, better for the supporters and better for Bradley as he now has a number of confirmed bookings. Then, once Mason is fit to return to the track he will simply slot back into the side in place of Bradley.”
Comets owner Laura Morgan is happy to have secured the services of Bradley Wilson-Dean as a short-term replacement for broken wrist victim Mason Campton.
NEXT HOME: Berwick (CS), Fri May 4 (7.30)
NEXT AWAY: Berwick (CS), Sat May 5 (7pm)
TRAVEL PLUS NATIONAL LEAGUE SOUNDBYTES…
BELLE VUE COLTS
“Overall, not our best night but it wasn’t through lack of trying. We’ve just got to put this one to bed now and consolidate our performance so that we can bounce back at home on Wednesday.”
Colts co-boss Graham Goodwin in the unusual position of reflecting on a heavy defeat, as his side went down 29-61 at Eastbourne on Saturday.
NEXT HOME: Plymouth Wed May 2 (7.30)
NEXT AWAY: Plymouth, Fri May 18 (7.15)
“Even a couple of the Buxton boys weren’t happy with the track and to be honest, even the boys at the top level wouldn’t have gone out there the way it was. We have to remember that this is the National League though and there were a few inexperienced youngsters due to go out there today.”
Brummies skipper Mitchell Davey was in support of the decision to postpone Sunday’s National Trophy match at Buxton due to track conditions.
NEXT HOME: Mildenhall (KOC), Wed May 9 (7.30)
NEXT AWAY: Coventry (NT), Sun May 27 (3pm)
“Certain members of the Birmingham team had made their minds up that they weren't racing today as soon as they arrived and continually made their feelings known to the referee which in the end resulted in him cancelling the meeting.”
Hitmen chief Jayne Moss slammed rivals Birmingham over the postponement of last Sunday’s meeting at Hi-Edge.
NEXT HOME: Coventry (NT), Sun May 6 (3pm)
NEXT AWAY: Kent, Mon May 7 (3.30)
“I think it’s a blend of the riders knowing what they’re supposed to be doing, and going where they need to go on the track. We always instill in them just before they go out that they know what they’re doing, and tell them to do the best they can.”
Bees boss Martyn Macdonald is happy with what he has seen from his side so far, with two impressive wins at their 2018 home base of Leicester already on the board.
NEXT HOME: Eastbourne (KOC), Sun May 13 (3pm)
NEXT AWAY: Buxton (NT), Sun May 6 (3pm)
“I like close racing, regardless of what the score is. It is always nice to win but it was a bit of a whitewash meeting on our behalf.”
Eagles chairman Martin Dugard admitted the ease of the Eagles’ win over Belle Vue last weekend took him somewhat by surprise.
NEXT HOME: Isle of Wight (NT), Sat May 5 (7.30)
NEXT AWAY: Coventry (KOC), Sun May 13 (3pm)
ISLE OF WIGHT
“That was one of the hardest decisions we have ever made. When you know you must do something and you know that one of our favourite riders is in line to be replaced, it is never easy.”
Warriors co-promoter Barry Bishop reveals the difficulty the club faced in replacing Jamie Sealey at reserve with new signing Shaun Tedham.
NEXT HOME: Mildenhall (NT), Thur May 3 (7pm)
NEXT AWAY: Eastbourne (NT), Sat May 5 (7.30)
The Kings were beaten 51-38 at Birmingham in the delayed Easter Cup first leg and will now look to finally start their home season against Buxton on Bank Holiday Monday.
NEXT HOME: Buxton, Mon May 7 (3.30)
NEXT AWAY: Mildenhall (NT), Sun May 6 (3pm)
“The lads have been getting in practise wherever possible and some have already had guest bookings and met with plenty of success on their travels, which can only be good for us when we visit. There is a real feel good feeling around the club as we approach this season.”
Rain, rain, go away… the Fen Tigers are still yet to race as a team this season, but boss Kevin Jolly says they will be well-prepared when they finally do so!
NEXT HOME: Kent (NT), Sun May 6 (3pm)
NEXT AWAY: Isle of Wight (NT), Thur May 3 (7pm)
“There is no doubt that captain Adam Roynon is leading by example, scoring 14 points in each of his three matches so far this year and he is playing an important role in getting the set-ups right for his team-mates.”
Devils co-promoter Mark Phillips says his side are being well led by the experience of Adam Roynon this season.
NEXT HOME: Mildenhall (NT), Fri May 4 (7.15)
NEXT AWAY: Belle Vue, Wed May 2 (7.30)
“I just hope the fans stick with us because this is a team that will get better. We’re very track-rusty and once we’ve had a few meetings I feel quite sure we will be on the up.”
Potters captain Tony Atkin urges supporters not to read too much into early defeats against Coventry and Birmingham at the start of the season.
NEXT HOME: Belle Vue, Sat May 5 (7pm)
NEXT AWAY: Cradley (NT), Mon May 7 (7.30)
MAJOR EVENTS LATEST…
RYE House star Chris Harris hopes to end his long wait for an individual Riders’ title in this month’s showpiece at Poole.
The former British Champion takes his place at Wimborne Road in the Premiership Riders’ Championship as part of a strong line-up on May 9.
And Harris, who has been runner-up in the meeting at top-flight level on three previous occasions, and on the podium five times in all, is keen to get to the top step on this occasion.
Harris said: “I’ve been runner-up a few times but it’s never worked out for me in the big meetings.
“Last year I got close at Glasgow in the Championship equivalent but missed the start in the Final.
“I would love to add this title to the others. It would complete a decent set for me. Poole has always been a good place for me, I enjoy racing at Wimborne Road and the fans are brilliant.
“It would be nice for the Rye House fans to have a winner and as always I'll go to Poole and give it my best shot.”
World Champion Jason Doyle heads an impressive line-up which also includes Niels-Kristian Iversen and Craig Cook on the eve of the first GP of the season in Poland, as well as former World Under-21 Champion Max Fricke.
Hosts Poole are represented by club captain Josh Grajczonek and Brady Kurtz, and former Pirates Hans Andersen, Scott Nicholls, Troy Batchelor and Sam Masters are also included.
British Speedway Chairman Keith Chapman said: “This is a very high quality field, I'm really looking forward to this meeting.
“I'm struggling to predict a winner with any great confidence. The World Champion, Jason Doyle, has to be in contention and he's the man with a target on his back but we'll see what happens on the night.”
*THE race for the British title commences with semi-finals at Sheffield and Leicester later this month.
The Tigers host the first event at Owlerton on Thursday May 10 before the action switches to the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena on Tuesday May 15, with qualification places available for next month’s Final at Belle Vue.
BRITISH SPEEDWAY MAJOR EVENTS 2018
PREMIERSHIP RIDERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP: Poole, May 9
BRITISH FINAL: Belle Vue, June 11
CHAMPIONSHIP FOURS: Redcar, July 1
CHAMPIONSHIP PAIRS: Somerset, July 20
CHAMPIONSHIP RIDERS’ INDIVIDUAL: Sheffield, September 2
PREMIERSHIP PAIRS: TBC
OTHER NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP DATES
BRITISH UNDER-21 SEMI-FINALS: ZACH WAJTKNECHT; JACK THOMAS
BRITISH UNDER-21 FINAL: Berwick, May 1
BRITISH UNDER-19 FINAL: Ipswich, May 17
BRITISH SEMI-FINALS: Sheffield, May 10; Leicester, May 15
NATIONAL LEAGUE EVENTS
NATIONAL LEAGUE FOURS: Coventry, June 24
NATIONAL LEAGUE RIDERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP: Leicester, September 23
TUESDAY MAY 1:
BRITISH UNDER-21 FINAL: Berwick 7pm
WEDNESDAY MAY 2:
PREMIERSHIP: King’s Lynn v Swindon 7.30,
PREMIERSHIP KO CUP Q/F 1st leg: Somerset v Poole 7.30
TRAVEL PLUS NATIONAL LEAGUE: Belle Vue v Plymouth 7.30
THURSDAY MAY 3:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Sheffield v Peterborough 7.30
CHAMPIONSHIP KO CUP 1st round 1st leg: Ipswich v Lakeside 7.30
CHAMPIONSHIP SHIELD: Redcar v Scunthorpe 7.30
NATIONAL TROPHY: Isle of Wight v Mildenhall 7pm
FRIDAY MAY 4:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Edinburgh v Peterborough 7.30, Glasgow v Sheffield 7.30, Scunthorpe v Redcar 7.30
CHAMPIONSHIP KO CUP 1st round 2nd leg: Lakeside v Ipswich 8pm
CHAMPIONSHIP SHIELD: Workington v Berwick 7.30
NATIONAL TROPHY: Plymouth v Mildenhall 7.15
SATURDAY MAY 5:
CHAMPIONSHIP SHIELD: Berwick v Workington 7pm
TRAVEL PLUS NATIONAL LEAGUE: Stoke v Belle Vue 7pm
NATIONAL TROPHY: Eastbourne v Isle of Wight 7.30
SUNDAY MAY 6:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Newcastle v Ipswich 6.30
NATIONAL TROPHY: Buxton v Coventry 3pm, Midlenhall v Kent 3pm
MONDAY MAY 7:
PREMIERSHIP: Rye House v Somerset 3pm, Swindon v Poole 7.30.
PREMIERSHIP KO CUP Q/F 1st leg: Belle Vue v Wolverhampton 12pm, Leicester v King’s Lynn 7.30
TRAVEL PLUS NATIONAL LEAGUE: Kent v Buxton 3.30
NATIONAL TROPHY: Cradley v Stoke 7.30
WEDNESDAY MAY 9:
PREMIERSHIP RIDERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP: Poole 7.30
NATIONAL LEAGUE KO CUP Q/F 1st leg: Birmingham v Mildenhall 7.30
THURSDAY MAY 10:
BRITISH SEMI-FINAL: Sheffield 7.30
TRAVEL PLUS NATIONAL LEAGUE: Isle of Wight v Coventry 7pm
JULIE LEWIS MEMORIAL: Redcar 7.30
FRIDAY MAY 11:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Peterborough v Workington 7.30
CHAMPIONSHIP SHIELD: Scunthorpe v Newcastle 7.30
HARRISONS SCOTTISH OPEN: Edinburgh 7.30
SATURDAY MAY 12:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Berwick v Ipswich 7pm
NATIONAL TROPHY: Stoke v Cradley 7pm, Eastbourne v Kent 7.30
BRITISH YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP: Redcar 2pm
SUNDAY MAY 13:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Peterborough v Edinburgh 5pm
CHAMPIONSHIP SHIELD: Glasgow v Workington 3pm
TRAVEL PLUS NATIONAL LEAGUE: Mildenhall v Buxton 3pm
NATIONAL LEAGUE KO CUP: Coventry v Eastbourne 3pm
MONDAY MAY 14:
PREMIERSHIP: Belle Vue v Swindon 7.30, Rye House v Poole 7.30, Wolverhampton v Somerset 7.30
NATIONAL TROPHY: Kent v Plymouth 6.30
TUESDAY MAY 15:
BRITISH SEMI-FINAL: Leicester 7.30