WEEKEND PREVIEW: U16 Club and Elite League
The most important weekend of Elite League racing is upon us, what happens this Sunday will be sure to have an impact on the Elite League title race. First though, we travel to East Park for the Under 16 Club Championship.
British Under 16 Club Championship
It’s East Park’s turn to hold one of the Club Championships, this time the best Under 16s around do battle for the title of being the best young club in the country. Hull have had to withdraw from the meeting and to our knowledge, no other team has stepped forward yet. The draw is as follows:
Semi Final 1
|1||Hull CSC (withdrawn)|
Semi Final 2
|5||East Park CSC|
|7||Sheffield Stars CSC|
Sheffield and Ipswich will look to make the final in order to chase down Kesgrave, who are absent from their first Club competition this year and are currently leading the standings overall. The Minor Final will start at 2:30pm with the Grand Final taking place at 3:30pm.
Wednesfield Dragons v East Park
Also on Saturday is the encounter between Wednesfield Dragons and East Park at Ashmore Park. The match is programmed for 4pm so one assumes, East Park will go the short journey to their neighbours after the Under 16 Club Championship. East Park need to win the match to stay in touch with Birmingham in the race for the title, after Wednesfield Aces’ title challenge was ended by Coventry in a 89-89 draw at Hearsall Common on Wednesday.
This has match has been rearranged due to the Under 16 Club Championship at East Park. Rescheduled for Wednesday 3rd September 2014
On to Sunday and our preview starts with the most important match of the season so far, Horspath v Sheffield.
Horspath v Sheffield
One point separated these two sides at the beginning of the year, after a dramatic last race maximum from Boaler and Nowacki for Horspath. The Hammers have gone on to win their other 4 matches and are four points clear, leading the way in the table after Wednesfield slipped up at Sheffield, while Ipswich suffered defeat at the hands of the Aces. If they win on Sunday against a resurgent and powerful Sheffield side, now well over their early season blues, the Hammers will be odds on favourite to bring the title back to the Village. If the Stars have designs on a top three finish, a victory is a necessity. There is no DMP racing in Poland this weekend, that means we could see the likes of Grabowski, Parandinski and Kolata, all of whom featured in the first match of the season. Chris Timms was suspended last time out, he is likely to feature and give the Hammers an added boost, not that they need it! Sheffield are likely to be unchanged from their last outing, a dominating performance against Wednesfield Aces. If this match is anything like April’s, those at the Village are in for a treat!
Newport v Ipswich
Newport welcome Ipswich to the International Sports Village, where they will be hoping to inflict some revenge on the Eagles, after they won the first clash between the two sides at the start of the season. Newport rely fairly heavily on their experienced Midland based riders for the Elite League and will need them to topple the Eagles, who are now 2 matches without a win. The Suffolk side will see this as a good opportunity to get back to winning ways on a great track that doesn’t have much of a home advantage given. If both sides have a full team out, expect a close run match.
Poole v Wednesfield
Poole will have been delighted to have got off the mark against Newport at Harbourside Park a few weeks ago. Their dreadful start of the season has gradually got better as the team have gelled with their younger riders, lead by the experienced Harris, Wheeler and Gluchowski. Arek Szymanski has also played more of a role for Poole in recent weeks, regionally as well as in the Elite League. Wednesfield need to put their loss to Sheffield behind them. They are missing Paul Heard, pretty much a guaranteed 18+ points in any match. Injury has seen him sidelined for the last six or seven weeks, but a comeback is due any time – if he is back off holiday! The Aces are a match for anyone on their day, but it won’t be a walkover like the opening day of the season, which saw Wednesfield score way over a ton. Poole are much stronger now and will no doubt have a big home crowd to cheer them on. Just like the other two Elite League matches, this one could be close.
Other Regional racing that takes place this weekend sees a local Scottish derby between Glasgow and Edinburgh in Division 2 of the Northern League. It’s the South East GP 5 at Ipswich, while the Elite League side are away at Newport. Astley and Tyldesley host the Northern 4s and it’s various individual categories, while Coventry continue their “Coventry League”, between Coventry, Bretford, Earlsdon and Brandon.
Over in Australia we have the Patrons Open Championship at Salisbury Cycle Speedway on Saturday.
Good luck to all riders and teams this weekend. It’s a big weekend for the Elite League, what will the outcome be?