POOLE promoter Matt Ford hopes to see the best of the home duo in next Wednesday’s (May 9) Premiership Riders’ Championship at Wimborne Road.
Brady Kurtz and Josh Grajczonek represent the Pirates in the showcase meeting featuring the top two riders from each club.
Ford said: “Brady has been riding particularly well in Poland, scoring very well for Leszno and I see this as another opportunity for him to showcase his talent as he moves forward with his career.
“In Josh, who I believe is a very good choice of captain for the club, we have a great lad who will compete with anyone on this stage.
“In terms of a name, people might have expected to see Peter Kildemand or Linus Sundstrom taking part but Josh is in on merit and other than the one fixture at home, has done us proud.”
POOLE have moved to sign former British Under-19 Champion Stefan Nielsen in a month-long deal.
Nielsen replaces James Shanes for the Pirates and is set to make his debut at former club Swindon on Bank Holiday Monday.
Promoter Matt Ford said: “This change is being made for a few weeks and it's really to see where we stand once we have completed enough meetings for the new averages to kick in.
“James was disappointed but understood the reasons. He knows it's for a month and, after that, he could come back in – it will depend on how things look once the new averages come in.
“I feel this short-term move is in the best interests of the club and then we can see how things go in the next couple of weeks.”
SCUNTHORPE demolished Redcar 65-25 to make the perfect start to their Championship challenge.
The result equals the club’s biggest-ever league victory at the Eddie Wright Raceway in second-tier league competition – as the Scorpions also defeated the Bears by the same scoreline back in 2011.
Stefan Nielsen (16+2) and Jason Garrity (14+1) both raced to paid maximums whilst Jake Allen (16+1) and Josh Auty (10+3) also hit double figures for the rampant home side.
Nielsen said: “It is my second maximum of the season at Scunthorpe, but this one does feel a lot more accomplished, because I had to go out in Heat 13 and Heat 15 to achieve it. Nobody could say this wasn’t a proper paid maximum.
“When the team are going as well as they did tonight, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be given those extra rides, so it was nice to be given that opportunity.
“It’s good to go into those races and show that I can also mix it with the top riders.”
Elsewhere, Chris Harris returned to top form in Glasgow’s 53-37 win over Sheffield at Owlerton.
Harris notched 13+1 from five rides for the hosts, backed up by Richie Worrall (11+2) and Claus Vissing (10) as they took victory despite the withdrawal of Paul Starke after a heavy third ride crash.
Charles Wright again starred for the visitors with 14, but the absence of No.1 Kyle Howarth proved costly for the reigning champions.
Harris said: “It was almost perfect. I lifted a bit off gate four in the final race and coming off the second bend I thought it was Richie, but it turned out to be Charles. To be fair, he rode a good line
“But I'm not too disappointed. I got paid 14 and after the few weeks we've had, I'll take that. We're getting there slowly.”
Sheffield boss Simon Stead said: “You can see the problem, we only got three points from Kyle’s rider replacement rides and he’s good for at least 12 or 15 round here.
“The boys battled really hard and showed a lot of spirit to stay in the match but in the end we ran out of steam.”
Meanwhile Edinburgh picked up three points from a 48-42 victory over Peterborough, with Scott Nicholls’ bumper 17+1 haul for the visitors helping them take a league point.
The hosts led by ten points at the midway stage but were forced into a last heat decider by a Panthers’ 5-1 from Michael Palm Toft and Simon Lambert in the penultimate race.
Ricky Wells won that to complete a 13+1 total and victory for the Monarchs, whilst Nicholls’ second place ensured his side took some reward.
Edinburgh’s Joel Andersson (6+1) said: “I feel I had a lot better starts to start with. I felt more confident on the bike. I'm really happy we managed to win today.”
Panthers promoter Ged Rathbone said: “We’re pleased with the result and with getting a point, although at the same time we’re actually a little disappointed that we didn’t get more.
“But to take two points from Sheffield and one from Edinburgh is still an excellent two nights’ work. Not many teams will come to these places and get points, and these points on the board for us all help. That’s what we want to do in every away meeting.”
LAKESIDE confirmed progression to the Championship KO Cup quarter-finals with a 49-41 win over Ipswich at Purfleet.
The Hammers had already done the majority of their work by winning the first leg by a 19-point margin, and the injury-hit Witches took some consolation from their display in the return.
They have also been boosted by the news that Danny King did not break his arm on Thursday as previously thought, and the former British Champion hopes to return by the end of the month although that timescale is uncertain.
Nick Morris (12), Adam Ellis (11) and Richard Lawson (10) led the Hammers’ scoring in the second leg, with Rory Schlein collecting 12+1 for the Witches and reserve Connor Mountain impressing with 12.
Lakeside boss Will Pottinger said: “It was always going to be a strange evening starting with such a lead, but in the end it was a good night for us.
“We got the win to keep our strong home form going, and we are obviously pleased to be into the next round.
“The top three all scored double figures which is another positive, so we’ve got plenty of positives to build on and it was a job well done on the night.”
Ipswich manager Ritchie Hawkins said: “I was really happy tonight and it is not often you come away from a defeat happy. I thought the boys did really well and I am proud of them.
“The improvement from when we were here last time was enormous. I expect it will be the same when we come back here in the league.”
WORKINGTON were held to a 45-45 home draw by Berwick at Derwent Park on Friday – with another tight Championship Shield contest expected in the return tonight (Saturday).
The Comets found themselves eight points down in the early stages, with a flying Nicolai Klindt taking a tactical substitute ride to help them back into the meeting.
The scores were finally levelled with two heats to go before the Bandits edged back ahead 43-41 – but a 4-2 from Ty Proctor and Klindt ensured a shared result.
Klindt racked up 18 from seven rides for the hosts with Proctor adding 11+1, whilst Dany Gappmaier (11) and Kevin Doolan (10+2) scored double figures for the Bandits.
Comets manager Tony Jackson said: “Having fought back from an eight-point deficit to take the draw certainly made us the happier of the two sides, and fair play to our lads for dragging themselves back into the match when, to be honest, we looked dead and buried at one stage.
“I am sure that with it being only our third home meeting of the season and our first for three weeks was a contributory factor as we simply were not getting out of the starts at all.
“We left ourselves with far too much to do race after race and had a couple of bits of misfortune that cost us points in the match.
“For a brief moment in heat 15 we looked as if we were in a winning position before Kevin Doolan showed his experience to fight back into second place to seal the draw.
“But a special mention must go to Nicolai, who was outstanding and showed his class by racing to an 18-point haul from seven rides to keep us in the match.”
Berwick boss Scott Courtney said: “What a show from the guys tonight. There was real grit and determination and we led by eight points twice, but Workington's Proctor and especially Klindt who was almost untouchable, can never be discounted and their home expertise won them the draw.
“It was the fairest result on the night after a great battle, and we're ready for round two on Saturday, which could be equally as close!”
Rene Bach returns for the Comets in tonight’s return fixture but Nicolai Klindt is away on SEC Challenge duty – and they are also set to be without recent signing Bradley Wilson-Dean, who injured his knee in a clash with Jye Etheridge on Friday.
Jackson added: “Dropping points last night was not in the plan, so we will be looking to make up for that tonight when we visit Berwick.”
MILDENHALL continued their dream week with another devastating display of strength on the road – this time at Plymouth.
The Fen Tigers had won 59-31 at the Isle of Wight on Thursday and went two better at the St Boniface Arena with a rampant 61-29 victory, to make it eight National Trophy points in two days.
Teenage sensation Drew Kemp was unbeaten again with 17+1 from six rides, whilst Danny Ayres added a paid maximum (13+2) and both Jordan Jenkins and Josh Bailey scored ten. Henry Atkins notched nine for the Devils.
STOKE are searching for their first win of the season as they host champions Belle Vue in the National League tonight (Saturday).
The Potters name a full-strength side, whilst the Colts operate rider-replacement for the injured Paul Bowen – and Danny Phillips guests for Kyle Bickley, who is racing for his Championship club Workington.
Stoke co-boss Adam Isherwood said: “I’m optimistic that we can get a result against Belle Vue. Yes, we took a knock back against Birmingham a fortnight ago in the National Trophy and we had a few gremlins which the lads have worked hard to rectify, and it was our first home meeting of the season.
“We have a good crop of lads here this season and I believe we can put on a good solid display against the Colts.”
Colts manager Graham Goodwin said: “We'll be taking nothing for granted against the Stoke boys. They have a strong top end and if their middle and bottom order rise to the occasion they could be very tricky customers.
“Our boys are hungry for more points on the road and Wednesday night’s win has injected a fresh confidence booster into the team so if we can mimic that at Loomer Road we’re in with a shout.”
EASTBOURNE look to keep up their strong home form when they host the Isle of Wight at Arlington tonight (Saturday).
The Eagles have already put the Warriors out of the KO Cup and have racked up big scores in all of their home matches so far.
Ben Morley, who missed their previous visit, is included for the Warriors, but ex-Eagles man Ben Hopwood has been ruled out of the National Trophy clash.
Eastbourne manager Connor Dugard said: “The Isle of Wight kept us to a four-point lead after seven races a couple of weeks ago before we pulled away.
“They are definitely stronger this time around. Ben Morley will be a big threat. We cannot afford any slip-ups.”
Hopwood said: “Unfortunately something hit my hand (on Thursday night) in Heat 15 and it turns out I’ve broken the knuckle.
“I’m going to rent an Exogen machine so I can begin treatment straight away and get back to racing my bike next week.”
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
Results Friday May 4, 2018;
Edinburgh 48 (Ricky Wells 13+1)
Peterborough 42 (Scott Nicholls 17+1)
Championship points: Edinburgh 3 Peterborough 1
Glasgow 53 (Chris Harris 13+1)
Sheffield 37 (Charles Wright 14)
Championship points: Glasgow 3 Sheffield 0
Scunthorpe 65 (Stefan Nielsen 16+2)
Redcar 25 (Tobias Busch 6)
Championship points: Scunthorpe 3 Redcar 0
CHAMPIONSHIP KOC, 2nd leg
Lakeside 49 (Nick Morris 12)
Ipswich 41 (Rory Schlein 12+1)
Lakeside win 103-76 on aggregate
Workington 45 (Nicolai Klindt 18)
Berwick 45 (Dany Gappmaier 11)
Championship Shield points: Workington 1 Berwick 2
Plymouth 29 (Henry Atkins 9)
Mildenhall 61 (Drew Kemp 17+1)
National Trophy points: Plymouth 0 Mildenhall 4