SUPERTRAX PREVIEW: Prepare for battle!
Cycle Speedway’s newest flagship team competition begins this weekend, with the Supertrax Battle of Britain round one ready to explode into action on Sunday, along with the Women’s League in the South West and Wales region.
Replacing the old Elite League team format, the Battle of Britain sees the four Cycle Speedway regions going head to head over 6 rounds during the season. The Midlands face off against the South East and East at Leicester in round one, while the North and Scotland take on South West and Wales at Astley & Tyldesley, Manchester.
Midlands team managers Wayne Aris and Mark Winwood have named a solid team, which features the most decorated rider in the sport, veteran Dave Hemsley on his home track alongside World Veterans champion Craig Marchant.
Making up the rest of the Midlands, Team GB captain Paul Heard joins British number two, Myke Grimes, and fellow GB squad member, Matt Smith, while team men Chris Jewkes and Lee Kemp offer a nice balance along with former European Junior Champion, Ricki Johnson.
The South East and East look equally strong, with boss Bryan Harvey naming no less than six 2017 Great Britain squad members in their ranks. Lewis Osborne, Josh Brooke, Ashley Hill, Matt Hill, Charlie Rumbold and Richard Fellgett all feature, with Dan Chambers and Leon Mower adding to the East’s fire power.
Polish flyer, Damian Zareba leads the attack for the North & Scotland, who also have their own Team GB members to call upon. Ben Higham and Jake Read provide the heat leader roles, along with Bury’s Kris Ramsden and solid back up from the North’s top juniors, Reece Pollitt, Adam Watson, Niall Morton and Ed Morton.
The South West and Wales squad looks formidable. Team boss Nicky Evans has three British champions to choose from in Ben Mould, Zac Payne and Mark Boaler. While top internationals Mark Carmichael, Jack Harrold provide a water tight top end.
Former world champion and top veteran racer, Steve Harris takes his place in the line up as captain. Top Polish riders from Poole Mateij Ganczarek and Greg Gluchowski could be called upon, along with Team GB’s Dean Hook and Poole team mate, Wil Bristowe, who has impressed so far this year. Exeter’s Aaron Herbert and Horspath’s Jake Neighbour are also in contention.
The junior competition precedes the seniors at 1pm. It is a great opportunity for the young riders to showcase their ability, with some hoping to be knocking on the door of the senior team, especially ahead of the 2017 World Championships in Adelaide, Australia.
Likewise, the Supertrax Women’s League first round takes place at Exeter on Sunday. The popular event features regional team racing, similar to the Battle of Britain, but also two individual events following, one for intermediate racers and one for elite racers.
The Midlands, South West and Wales and the merged North & Scotland/South East and East team will be evenly matched, so expect fireworks.
The sport’s top female riders are expected to be present, including Exeter’s own European and British champion, Lauren Hookway, Ipswich’s Charlie-Jane Herbert who will team up with the North’s Laura Watson in the team competition for N&S/SE&E, Poole’s Macie Schmidt and Leicester’s Lucy Whitehead. World champion Vicky Brown may make the trip, but it remains to be seen.
All of the women and girls across the sport are invited to attend the individual events, which have proven to be a great success as women’s racing continues to build from grassroots upwards.
The Battle of Britain matches start at 1pm for Juniors at Leicester (LE3 5AS) and Astley & Tyldesley (M29 7DW), with the seniors taking to the track at 2pm. The Women’s League starts at 12noon at Exeter (EX2 8QW).
Don’t miss this weekend’s explosive Cycle Speedway action – Let battle commence!