WEEKEND PREVIEW: Elite League gathers pace

As the saying goes, no rest for the wicked, Cycle Speedway’s Elite League stars are back in action for the fourth time in seven weeks. It’s an intriguing week of fixtures, perhaps one that could have some bearing in the outcome of the league, come October. We also have the U16 Club Championships at Great Blakenham and another round of Women’s League action.

Elite League

Horspath v Sheffield

Horspath welcome the Stars to the village, in what could be a big test for the Hammers. Sheffield will be keen to bounce back from a largely lack lustre display against Wednesfield two weeks ago. They welcome British champion Andy Angell back in their side and are likely to field a strong line up. Rumours are about that the Hammers won’t be at full strength, but you never can tell who will make the trip to Oxfordshire for the home side. Last year the Hammers did all the hard work in the first half to seal their win early on, despite a spirited comeback from the Yorkshire men in the second. Not repeating last years sluggish beginning will be essential if Sheffield are going to come away with the points.

Poole v Wednesfield

The robust unit that is Wednesfield Aces travel to Poole, where they face a tricky tie against the Comets. Poole’s young riders have proven to be a real handful this season and their performances have given more than what they have taken away in the form of points. They got their rewards last time out though, demolishing a weakened Newport and getting their first points on the board. The Aces have been in fine form all year and never looked in any trouble at Cookson Park. Team manager Roger Ellis praised his side’s team work after the match, which saw Sheffield limited to only a few heat advantages, as the Aces’ rigid discipline was too big a hill to climb for the Stars. More of the same will be needed to win at the Harbourside, however Wednesfield will be favourites to edge it with their impressive strength and squad depth.

Newport v Ipswich

Newport aren’t having the best of times so far this season, with some heavy defeats in the first three rounds leaving them at the foot of the table. They need to put out a full team to be in contention for any points this season and certainly had commitment issues in round 3. They will fancy their chances at home against Ipswich, who have recently lost Leon Mower to retirement. There are plenty ready to step up in his stead for the Eagles mind. Matt Hill has been impressive, along with brother Ashley who will no doubt ably fill the void. Replacing either of them at reserve, the Eagles can easily call on the likes of Richard Fellgett, Ben Harvey, Dan Knights or Pierce Bacon, the latter who impressed in the Junior Laurels and won’t be far off ready for the Elite League test. The outcome of the match depends on who turns up for both sides, Ipswich just snook it by 4 points last season. Either side is capable of taking the points this weekend and putting some fresh air between them and their opponents in the table.

British U16 Club Championship

Saturday sees a straight final shoot out at Great Blakenham for the British U16 Club Championships, which do not seem to be as well attended as last season across all age groups. Here’s the draw:

Under 16’s Club Championship – 30th May 14:00
Great Blakenham
1 Ipswich CSC
2 Great Blakenham CSC
3 Wednesfield Aces CSC
4 Sheffield Stars CSC
5 East Park

Champions East Park will have to defend their title without key riders Brandon Whetton and Lee Kemp after their move to Wednesfield. Though the White brothers look to be following closely in their footsteps. Ipswich will be among the favourites with their impress array of young riders and Sheffield will hope to go a few better than their third place finish last season.

Women’s League

It’s Hethersett’s turn to take the Women’s League baton, as round two heads for Norfolk. The popular event will see teams from Eastern, North & Scotland, Midlands and South & South Wales regions face each other starting at 12 noon. Home rider Katie Adams is in the Eastern squad. The team event is followed by a grand prix which is open to all female riders, irrespective of ability.

It’s the last Women’s League before Geoff Gamage finalises his GB squad for the upcoming World Championships, so there’s no better time for the girls to stake their claim for a shirt.

Other racing this weekend sees Northumbria and Hull’s second and third teams facing Glasgow in the Northern League Divisions 2 and 3. Enjoy your racing this weekend and stay safe those who are travelling.