CS ELITE LEAGUE PREVIEW: Drop everything and go to Ashmore Park on Sunday
This Sunday welcomes the concluding Round 10 of the British Cycling CS Elite League series. Come 4pm, will the champions be crowned or will it be heading for a play off?
League leaders Horspath travel to Wolverhampton, where they face closest rivals, Wednesfield Aces at Ashmore Park. If you have no plans on Sunday, this is where you want to be heading, as an explosive Cycle Speedway match is sure to take place.
A win for Horspath means they will be crowned champions. If Wednesfield – unbeaten at home this year so far – are victorious, the two teams will be heading for a play off at Leicester on Sunday 16th October.
If it goes to a play off, they could be joined by Ipswich, who would need a likely home win against Poole, to join the Hammers and Aces in a three way tie.
If that does happen, a round robin will take place, with all three clubs racing each other to determine the final outcome.
Horspath will have other ideas though, the last thing they will want is a play off, when they can seal the deal on Sunday. They’re expected to be flying over world champion, Bartek Grabowski from Poland to compete for the Hammers on the track he won his world title on in 2015.
Szymon Kowalczyk (l) and Mark Carmichael (r) have been in fine form for the Hammers.
Polish champion Szymon Kowalczyk is likely to join domiciled European champion Lukasz Nowacki, giving the Hammers a formidable top end. Home top end talent Mark Carmichael, Lewis Osbourne and Zac Payne add to the Oxford side’s strength, while they’re missing Chris Timms, who is due for surgery today on a knee injury sustained earlier in the year.
Wednesfield missed Ben Mould and Brandon Whetton as they lost out to Poole in round 9. They will expected to be back to bolster the Aces, who still boast their own home international riders in Paul Heard, Matt Smith and Lee Aris, along with British champion, Mould.
So who will win? Wednesfield are unbeaten at home and notoriously difficult to overturn on home shale. It has been done before by teams on their way to the title though, most recently with Poole in 2013 and Horspath in 2014 claiming Ashmore Park scalps.
If Horspath turn up with their team as expected, they look rock solid and are difficult to bet against. However, if any team can defeat such a robust side, it’s Wednesfield at home. Much will depend on how well the Aces’ supporting riders cope with the relentless Horspath fire power.
Whatever happens, it’s definitely one to watch for the spectators.
Ipswich have enjoyed their best ever Elite League season. Unbeaten at home, complete with taking the only two losses conceded by Horspath so far, though slip ups in the opening fixture against Coventry and away at Poole have proven costly.
With a full strength team expected, the Eagles are not out of it yet and will leave no stone unturned against Poole, who haven’t won away from home so far.
The Comets will be travelling without skipper Greg Gluchowski, something which has stunted their progress this series. They did inflict two good home wins against Ipswich and Wednesfield, but a repeat of their round 5 success against the Eagles would seem unlikely on the road.
If Horspath do win, along with Ipswich, the Eagles will secure an excellent runners up spot, their best ever return in the Elite League.
Catch the action this Sunday: Wednesfield v Horspath at Ashmore Park and Ipswich v Poole at Whitton Sports Centre. Both matches start at 2pm.
Cover photo by Peter Payne.