FOUR NAMED FOR GP QUALIFIERS
GREAT Britain have turned to youth in their selections for this month's Grand Prix qualifiers.
Flying youngster Dan Bewley has been handed a first opportunity to make his mark on the senior World Championship stage following his sensational start to the season.
Current GP man Craig Cook and double British Under-21 Champion Robert Lambert will also be competing – whilst Kyle Howarth is another man to be rewarded for his form in the early stages of the 2018 campaign.
Lambert and Bewley will race at Danish venue Slangerup on Saturday May 19, whilst Cook and Howarth compete at Abensberg, Germany on Monday May 21
The qualification process has been streamlined this season, and this is the only stage prior to the GP Challenge at Landshut on July 28.
Great Britain were initially handed three places in the GP qualification process, but their request for a fourth was granted by the FIM when a further spot became available.
And Great Britain Speedway team manager Alun Rossiter says the time is right for some of the country's less experienced riders to be given the opportunity, based on their current form.
He said: "I know there will be people who say with Dan 'don't push him at this stage' so I want to stress that there's absolutely no pressure on him.
"This is all about experience. When I spoke with him I said nothing would be held against him if he didn't want to do it – but his reply was 'I'll never find out if I don't get stuck in!' which I thought was great.
"Craig is obviously our No.1 by average, and Robert's form for King's Lynn this season has been exceptional, so I'm sure they'll both be targeting qualification.
"I also felt Kyle deserved an opportunity. He's having a very good season so far and he jumped at the chance of going to Abensberg.
"I do also want to stress that this isn't the end for the 'old guard' of riders who have served us with great professionalism over many years, and they all have a part to play in our future.
"I just felt, especially with the new Speedway of Nations format this season, and not having to select four or five riders for a World Cup as in previous years, this was the right time to do it.
"Obviously the other rider who would have been in contention was Stevie Worrall, and sadly his broken leg means that isn't possible – but I'm sure he'll come back stronger than ever.
"It has been a really positive start for a lot of British riders this season and it's fantastic to see them doing so well, so it wasn't an easy choice but a huge good luck to the guys involved – we're all behind them."
POOLE captain Josh Grajczonek says first place is everything as he heads into the Premiership Riders’ Championship on Wednesday.
Grajczonek is one of two home riders at Wimborne Road as he and Brady Kurtz look to provide an improvement to the Pirates’ early-season fortunes.
Said Grajczonek: “I never go into these sorts of meetings thinking that I want to be in the top three or four or whatever.
“Okay, at the end of the night you might be happy with that sort of finish, but you go into these meetings to win them.
“I rode in the Premiership Riders’ Championship last year and finished fifth.
“I was happy with how I rode that night at Belle Vue, I just messed it up in the semi-final so hopefully I can learn from that for this year and hopefully take me to the top.”
SWINDON are back on top of the Premiership after a 50-39 win over rivals Poole at the Abbey Stadium.
The scores were level after eight races but the Robins then pulled clear with the visitors suffering two disastrous races.
First, Peter Kildemand and Stefan Nielsen both crashed out of Heat 9 to hand the home side a 5-0, and Swindon duo Nick Morris and Adam Ellis quickly followed up with a 5-1 in the next race.
When Kildemand fell again in his tactical substitute ride, the visitors’ hopes were virtually over.
Tobiasz Musielak top-scored for the Robins with 12 and David Bellego adding 11+2, with Musielak the only rider to defeat the Pirates’ Brady Kurtz, who scored 14.
Swindon boss Alun Rossiter said: “I was always confident last year that as meetings went on we had strong pairings, and I feel it’s exactly the same this year.
“It was level after Heat 8 but I was quietly confident that we would get stronger, and fair play to Zach (Wajtknecht) because he’s lost a bit of confidence recently.
“I got in his ear and said he has to do what he does in grasstrack, and the great thing is he listens – which helps the team manager!”
SCOTT Nicholls rolled back the years with a paid maximum in Rye House’s 48-42 win over Somerset.
Nicholls twice got the better of World Champion Jason Doyle before they met again in a crucial last-heat decider with the Rockets just two points in front.
And it was Nicholls and Krzysztof Kasprzak who raced to maximum points over Doyle and Jack Holder in Heat 15 to secure a victory which moves the Hoddesdon side off the foot of the table.
Kasprzak also racked up 13 points from five rides whilst Doyle top-scored for the Rebels with nine as they collected a league point despite the Heat 1 withdrawal of Jake Allen after a crash with Chris Harris.
Nicholls said: “We got there in the end. It was a very hot day, with a few re-starts, but the key thing is we got the win.
“It’s a shame we didn’t send them away pointless. We really should have taken advantage of a couple of situations. But there was a good crowd, some brilliant racing and, most importantly, a vital win for us.
“I haven’t had a maximum for a little while, and to do that against a class team like Somerset, with the reigning World Champion in there, was extra special. It was very much a team effort, and I am very much a team man, but on a personal, selfish level, yes, I am delighted to get a maximum!”
Somerset boss Garry May said: “Losing Jake early on didn't help our cause on what was a very hot day and having riders taking extra rides to cover was not the ideal situation, but Jonas (Jeppesen) and Bradley (Wilson-Dean) acquitted themselves well.
“We knew it would be a fairly even meeting and it proved to be, but getting the meeting to a last heat decider and then losing out is always a disappointment.”
BELLE Vue seized control of their KO Cup quarter-final with a 57-33 win over Wolverhampton on Monday lunchtime.
The final scoreline belied the standard of racing with overtaking galore, and British teenage talent Dan Bewley was again the centre of attention.
Bewley scored 11+1, dropping his only points in Heat 15 of the first leg tie, whilst Max Fricke led the Aces’ scoring with 13.
Rory Schlein scored 9+1 from Wolves who will be left needing a major comeback in the return at Monmore next month.
Belle Vue boss Mark Lemon said: “I’m delighted with the performance the boys put in but this is only one half of the bigger picture. We’ve still got a job to do and I’d like to think 24 points is enough for us to finish it at Monmore.
“Conditions were far from what we’re used to this afternoon. It’s been extremely hot and everyone has put in a tremendous effort to bring home such an emphatic win against a quality team.”
Wolves star Sam Masters said: “Their boys are so strong at home and when they're really dialled in, they know how to build up so much speed.
"It's easily the most enjoyable track to ride but it's by far the hardest track to hold on to a lead at because there's so many different lines which makes for some awesome racing.
"Obviously we could've done a lot better, but I think the score makes it look like we rode a lot worse than we actually did.”
LEICESTER were held to a 48-42 KO Cup first leg win over King’s Lynn – despite the Stars racing without captain Robert Lambert.
The British Under-21 Champion was left stranded by flight delays in Latvia, with his side restricted to using a Championship rider of an average of 4.00 or less to replace him.
Connor Mountain stepped in but the Stars still forced a last-heat decider on the night before Hans Andersen and Kenneth Bjerre recorded a 5-1 for the Lions.
Andersen scored 13+1 and Bjerre added 11+1 despite a fall in his third ride, whilst Ty Proctor led the Stars’ battling efforts with 10+1.
Leicester boss Simon Stead said: “It’s another home victory, but I would have liked for it to be a bit more convincing as they were without Robert.
“We should have capitalised on that more and we didn’t, but we know what we’ve got to do at King’s Lynn now.
“Again, we’ve been unbalanced again through injuries, which has been a constant frustration since the start of the season. We’ve yet to have a balanced one-to-seven for very long.”
King’s Lynn manager Dale Allitt said: “We looked at every possible option to get Robert on a plane in time, but there wasn’t one from where he was in Riga. I don’t make the rules - but we have to abide by them.
“With the form he’s been in, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that we probably would have won with him in the side.
“The boys dug deep and we’d have probably taken the result, given the circumstances, it’s all to play for and I’m over the moon with their dedication on a difficult night.”
KENT opened their National League campaign with a clear 58-31 home win over Buxton at Central Park.
But the Kings did suffer an injury problem in the process with reserve Jacob Clouting crashing out of Heat 2 and being withdrawn with a foot injury.
Luke Bowen raced to a 15-point maximum for the home side and Nathan Stoneman added 13+1.
The Hitmen used Jon Armstrong as a guest for Connor Coles, absent with a broken bone in his ankle, and he top-scored with ten.
Buxton manager Josh Moss said: “It was always going to be a difficult meeting around here as Kent are very good around their home circuit.
“I felt we were unlucky in a couple of heats when decisions went against us, and everyone battled hard throughout.
“I’d like to thank Jon - he was superb for us, but we are missing David Wallinger immensely. The young guys are doing their best to cover for his absence.”
CRADLEY boss Will Pottinger was delighted with his side's National Trophy opener as they eventually wrapped up an emphatic 59-29 home win over Stoke.
The Heathens came out on top in a dramatic encounter which saw a series of crashes, spills and machinery problems.
The hosts recovered from an opening race 5-1 deficit, and finished strongly bagging four maximums of their own before being awarded a 5-0 in the final race.
Jordan Jenkins scored a paid maximum from five rides (14+1) and Drew Kemp was also unbeaten by an opponent with 10+2. Reserve partner Jason Edwards added 11+3, with Kyle Bickley on 10+1 despite a spectacular crash in his final outing.
Pottinger said: “It was great to see such a good turnout and fingers crossed we can maintain that good level of support for the boys throughout the year.
"Naturally we're more than happy to get off to a winning start.
"Four of the lads got double figures, Adam (Roynon) would have scored more had he not have suffered a few bike problems and it was a good team performance.”
Stoke boss Adam Isherwood said: “I cannot fault the effort of the lads and we battled really hard, especially in the opening six races before they started to pull away from us in the second half of the meeting.
“Again we had some falls and a few decisions go against us, but we have to put this behind us and do better in the return on Saturday night.”
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 7.3
Results Monday May 7, 2018
Swindon 50 (Tobiasz Musielak 12)
Poole 39 (Brady Kurtz 14)
Premiership points: Swindon 3 Poole 0
PREMIERSHIP KO CUP Q/F 1st leg
Leicester 48 (Hans Andersen 13+1)
King’s Lynn 42 (Ty Proctor 10+1)
Cradley 59 (Jordan Jenkins 14+1)
Stoke 29 (Tony Atkin 8)
National Trophy points: Cradley 3 Stoke 0
Other results from earlier
Rye House 48 (Scott Nicholls 14+1)
Somerset 42 (Jason Doyle 9)
Premiership points: Rye House 3 Somerset 1
PREMIERSHIP KO CUP Q/F 1st leg
Belle Vue 57 (Max Fricke 13)
Wolverhampton 33 (Rory Schlein 9+1)
TRAVEL PLUS NATIONAL LEAGUE
Kent 58 (Luke Bowen 15)
Buxton 31 (Jon Armstrong 10)
National League points: Kent 3 Buxton 0