EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS 2014: Preview
As the UK touring party are all more or less in Poland now, some recovering after gruelling 20+ hour journeys via car and minibus, we take a look at this weekend’s European Cycle Speedway events, which kick off with junior qualifying, tomorrow in Torun and Żołędowo.
All times are local to Poland.
Friday 15th August 2014
Junior Qualifying round B – Torun
Junior Qualifying round D – Żołędowo
Junior Qualifying round A – Torun
Junior Qualifying round C – Żołędowo
Junior Qualifying repechage (A/B) – Torun
Junior Qualifying repechage (C/D) – Żołędowo
Senior Qualifying round A – Torun
Senior Qualifying round C – Bydgoszcz
Senior Qualifying round B – Torun
Senior Qualifying round D – Bydgoszcz
Senior Qualifying repechage (A/B) – Torun
Senior Qualifying repechage (C/D) – Bydgoszcz
Saturday 16th August 2014
Junior Elimination round 1 – Torun
Junior Eliminiation round 2 – Bydgoszcz
Junior Eliminiation round 3 – Żołędowo
Senior Elimination round 1 – Torun
Senior Eliminiation round 2 – Bydgoszcz
Senior Eliminiation round 3 – Żołędowo
Junior Nations Cup – Torun
Opening Ceremony – Bydgoszcz
Senior Nations Cup – Bydgoszcz
Women’s Final – – Bydgoszcz
Sunday 17th August 2014
Junior Semi Final 1 – Torun
Junior Semi Final 2 – Bydgoszcz
Senior Semi Final 1 – Torun
Senior Semi Final 2 – Bydgoszcz
Veteran’s Final – Torun
Junior Final – Torun
Senior Final – Torun
With healthy entries in the Senior and Junior competition, it makes for a hectic schedule on Friday, starting early in the morning and finishing well into the evening.
Reigning European champion, Marcin Szymanski appears in Senior qualifying round C, with 2012 silver medalist Paul Heard also present. Looking at it, it should be the qualifier of the day with some big names all going toe to toe at this early stage in the competition, which should give spectators a taste of what is to come. In all qualifiers there are top Elite League and DMP riders, along with various world finalists from the 2013 Australian tour, means we will no doubt see some big names hitting the repechage later in the afternoon.
The next day brings the three elimination rounds, where the field will be whittled down to the top 32 riders, who then move on to the semi final on Sunday. Saturday also sees the team nations competitions taking place. England, Wales, Scotland and hosts Poland fight for the European team title at Bydgoszcz, whereas it’s just England, Wales and Poland doing battle in Torun earlier in the day, in the junior competition. Closing proceedings on Saturday night at Bydgoszcz, will be the Women’s final. World Champion Lauren Davies is in the draw and is looking set to make her comeback to complete her treble of British, European and World Champion at the same time, after retiring from Cycle Speedway to pursue other disciplines.
On Sunday we start with the junior semi finals, top eight from each go through, giving us the 16 that will battle it out later that day, likewise with the seniors, who follow the junior semis. The Veteran’s then take centre stage to decide who will be European Veterans champion for the next two years. After that we discover which junior rider has what it takes to get through the entire competition on top. Finally, the weekend closes with the big one, the Senior open. Who will be crowned European Champion? Will Szymanski keep is title? Can Paul Heard go one better than two years ago at Ipswich? Or will we see someone else emerge on the top spot of the podium? It’s impossible to call, all will be revealed on Sunday evening.
For the full European Championship 2014 draw, click HERE.