HANS Andersen is hoping for a happy return to his former home track in Wednesday’s Premiership Riders’ Championship at Poole.
Andersen left the Pirates after two seasons over the winter and joined rivals Leicester, who he represents in an event he is yet to win throughout his successful career.
The Dane said: “It is the top riders from each team and it will be very competitive, I cannot see anyone maxing out around there.
“It is all about chipping away at the points, making sure you take any chances that come your way and making it count once you reach the Final.
“It is an event I have taken part in many times without managing to win. I have come close on a number of occasions, got on the rostrum and everything else but not taken that top step. It would be nice to add that to the collection.”
BERWICK and Workington proved inseparable for the second time in 24 hours with a 45-45 draw at Shielfield Park.
Having shared the spoils in Cumbria on Friday, the return fixture remarkably produced the same result with neither side able to hold onto advantages they created.
The Comets’ Ty Proctor (13+2) won his final three rides, including a shared Heat 15 in which he got the better of the hosts’ Dany Gappmaier (12+1) and Aaron Summers, with Rene Bach kept at the back.
Berwick boss Scott Courtney said: “The second draw between the sides in 24 hours, and I guess to use that old speedway cliché, it’s the fairest result - but it also means we were that close to two wins.
“Dany is settling into his new higher team position well and has sharpened up his gating to another level and top scored for the second match running.
“Jye (Etheridge) and Nikolaj (Busk Jakobsen) were, shall we say, unfortunate with a couple of decisions, but as we can’t change history we'll move on with a tinge of disappointment.”
Workington boss Tony Jackson said: “Both teams deserve credit for playing their part in two very entertaining fixtures and both clubs will look back and see several ‘what if’ moments in each match that could have seen them take victory on the night.
“From our own point of view we can take heart from how we fought back after falling behind in each match to get a draw, however we showed too much inconsistency in each fixture. Hopefully, when we get a few more matches under our belts, some of that can be eradicated.”
BELLE Vue fired up their National League title defence with a 50-37 win at Stoke on Saturday.
The Colts took maximum points from the meeting with the Potters left to rue a host of problems throughout the evening.
Veteran Tony Atkin piled up 16 points for the hosts but his team-mates dropped numerous points; whilst the Colts were well led by No.1 Tom Perry with 14 from five rides, and in-form Joe Lawlor added 12.
Colts co-boss Steve Williams said: “We’re thoroughly impressed with the boys tonight. Conditions were a little tricky and there were a few fallers but our guys were sensible and rode brilliantly.
“We got things off to a more-than satisfactory start. From the outset we were strong and took an early lead. We had to make sure that, if we weren’t getting the heat wins, we were drawing races.”
Stoke manager Adam Isherwood said: “I cannot fault any of the lads for effort but we threw too many points away, and you cannot do that against a side like Belle Vue.
“We must have thrown around nine to ten points through falls while we were in points-scoring positions, and whether it was riders trying too hard I don’t know.”
EASTBOURNE were comfortable winners over the Isle of Wight on Saturday despite a fine show from Warriors No.1 Ben Morley.
The home side won the National Trophy match 56-34 with Morley’s 17-point haul accounting for half of the visitors’ total.
Tom Brennan led the way for the Eagles with 13 points whilst reserve Jason Edwards added 10+2 in a solid display.
Eastbourne No.1 Mark Baseby (9+1) said: “Ben Morley is on top form at the moment but, look we did the job and came out with the win. We still have more to come.
“We had some great performances tonight and we are coming on leaps and bounds. At home, we are looking a little bit formidable. We might have some tougher tests but we can handle it.”
Warriors co-promoter Barry Bishop said: “Ben again rode superbly and took the fight to the Eastbourne racking up 17 points, but the Eagles riders rarely squander their home track advantage and so it proved again tonight.”
IPSWICH have called on Ben Barker and Josh Pickering to plug their injury gaps when they visit Newcastle in the Championship today (Sunday).
Barker and Pickering replace injured duo Danny King and Michael Hartel, with rider replacement also in operation for Nico Covatti.
The Diamonds have Kevin Doolan and Paul Starke replacing Lewis Rose (retired) and Stuart Robson (injured).
Witches boss Ritchie Hawkins said: “We go there looking for a win and with the same attitude we showed at Lakeside on Friday.
“Ben comes in at number one and he loves riding for Ipswich, and we are looking forward to having Josh in the team.
“He came to Ipswich with Edinburgh last season and won them the meeting with a superb performance so it will be nice to have him in the side.”
MILDENHALL look to maintain their stunning start to the season when they host Kent in the National Trophy today (Sunday).
The Fen Tigers hit scores of 59 and 61 on the road at the Isle of Wight and Plymouth in their first action of the campaign, and are now set to finally race at West Row for the first time in 2018.
Promoter Kevin Jolly said: “It is of course very early days but we must be pleased with what the lads have achieved in these two meetings.
“They came into both meetings without too much action but it certainly didn’t show and I was highly impressed by the skill, determination and will to win.
“We have two difficult meetings coming up at home to Kent before heading off to Birmingham in the KOC on Wednesday and must keep our focus, which I am sure this group will do such is their hunger.”
Meanwhile Buxton host Coventry in what has become their opening National Trophy fixture at the Hi-Edge Raceway.
The Hitmen are back at full strength with David Wallinger returning from injury, whilst the Bees – who beat Stoke in their Trophy opener – bring in Tom Perry to guest for unavailable No.1 Connor Mountain.
Buxton manager Josh Moss said: “We’ve been given a real boost having David back in the line-up especially as rider-replacement hasn’t really worked for us, and I’m sure it will give all the lads in the pits a lift.
“I’m hoping that David will continue where he left off as he was looking good and he can get amongst the points straight away.
“Coventry have a strong line-up and have a good record around here when they used to be Storm but I feel we can just edge this meeting.”
Coventry boss Martyn Macdonald said: “I checked out Tom’s performance at Buxton with Belle Vue and he got 13+1 there, so if he can replicate that or something close to it then we should be where we need to be with the heat-leaders.
“I’ve re-arranged the team again to hopefully neutralise what I feel are their strong points, and there should be an opportunity for the reserves to compete on equal terms.”
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
Results Saturday May 5, 2018
Berwick 45 – Dany Gappmaier 12+1
Workington 45 – Ty Proctor 13+1
Championship Shield points: Berwick 1 Workington 2
TRAVEL PLUS NATIONAL LEAGUE
Stoke 37 – Tony Atkin 16
Belle Vue 50 – Tom Perry 14
National League points: Stoke 0 Belle Vue 4
Eastbourne 56 – Tom Brennan 13
Isle of Wight 34 – Ben Morley 17
National Trophy points: Eastbourne 3 Isle of Wight 0