PREVIEWS: Big weekend ahead

The 2014 Cycle Speedway season really picks up the pace this weekend, with the first matches in the Elite League, along with the inaugural rounds of the British Youth and Junior League taking place in all four regions.

The BYJL kicks off on Saturday at Astley and Tyldesly (Northern), Leicester (Midlands), Norwich (South East – Harford Park track) and Exeter (South and South Wales). A great showcase and a must for all junior competitors to gain valuable individual racing experience. The BYJL is an important part of the Cycle Speedway calendar. All matches start at 12pm, except for A&T which is programmed to start at 1pm (times as per British Cycling website).

Sunday sees the big guns come out to do battle in the highest level league competition in the country, the Elite League. Ipswich take on Elite League debutants Newport in Suffolk. It will be an intriguing affair with the Eagles’ young side all beginning to come of age against a Newport side untested at this level, but capable of making things happen with experienced Elite League riders in their squad.

Sheffield take on a half brand new Horspath side at the Graves, in what many are predicting will be a close battle. Sheffield appear to be at relatively full strength after dabbling in the transfer market in the close season, although not as much as Horspath, who are expected to have high-flying Poles, literally fly in, to bolster their attack – a move that definitely worked well for champions Poole last term. The Hammers will be without suspended Chris Timms, who sits out after his altercation with a referee in the final Elite League fixture for Birmingham against Wednesfield last season.

The final match up is between Wednesfield and reigning Elite League champions Poole. Many are backing the Aces for the title this year after some shrewd close season signings, this will be the ultimate test for the Midlands outfit and their resolve against a largely unchanged Poole side, who were so clinical last season. Poole will be looking to pick up where they left off. The Dorset side have strength in-depth in their squad and will be looking to pull off another emphatic win, like last year at Ashmore Park.

Highlights from last years Wednesfield v Poole match up, Poole taking the win 80-97.

Full fixtures for all of this weekends racing are on the British Cycling website.