CS ELITE LEAGUE PREVIEW: It’s crunch time in Round 5

Round 5, the half way stage of the 2016 British Cycling Cycle Speedway Elite League Series takes place this Sunday.

It sees defending champions, Wednesfield Aces, facing a tough trip to the Village to face Horspath Hammers (Oxford), while Poole Comets welcome Ipswich Eagles to Harbourside Park.

If you’re at a loose end this Sunday, get yourself to the small village of Horspath in Oxfordshire and experience the best that team Cycle Speedway racing has to offer.

Wednesfield were unbeaten on their way to being crowned 2015 champions last season, but they’ve already had one slip up away at Ipswich in round two, so another away defeat could severely dent their chances of retaining the title.

The Aces will be expected to track a full strength side, which heavily features key Great Britain internationals, Paul Heard, Ben Mould and Lee Aris.

Horspath made light work of Coventry in round 4, as they bounced back from a defeat to Ipswich in round 3. A similar performance is required from the Hammers if they are to prevent the Aces from finishing the day on top.

It’s always a bit of an unknown what side Horspath will put out, but the GB contingent of Zac Payne, Lewis Osbourne, Chris Timms and Mark Boaler are all expected to feature, as will former world champion, Lukas Nowacki.

Could Bartek Grabowski (centre) be heading over to the UK this Sunday? Photo by Peter Payne.

Could Bartek Grabowski (centre) be heading over to the UK this Sunday? Photo by Peter Payne.

Further options for the home side include a first 2016 appearance for current world champion, Bartek Grabowski, who may fly in for this crunch match.

With all sides in the league having lost at least once, the title race is very much wide open and right there in the mix are Ipswich Eagles. The Eagles travel to Poole, where the Dorset side have seen an improvement after adding Ty Geertsen to their ranks.

This will be the Australian’s final match for the Comets, as he flies home next week after a 6 week stint in the UK. Heat leading Poles, Ganzcerak and Gluchowski add to their fire power as they look for their first win of the series.

The Eagles started poorly in round one at Coventry and again in the first half in round two against Wednesfield, but a resurgent second half performance saw them take the win against the reigning champions.

They went on to beat Horspath at the Village in round 3 and a win against Poole will see them at least joint top at the half way stage.

Australian star, Cody Chadwick added some experience to the Eagles’ young side this year and has helped inspire a new resolve that has become stronger each match.

Chadwick aside, the Eagles team are all home-grown riders, which has been great testament to their strong youth policy.

Both matches could be close. You should never bet against Horspath at home, but the Aces equally have what it takes, whoever makes the fewest mistakes may come out on top.

In Dorset, Poole deserve some points on the board for their efforts, with their strongest side and playing a smart game, they could keep the points on the south coast.

They will be up against a fired up and hungry Eagles side though, like Horspath and Wednesfield, a second loss could see them slip out of contention for the title.

Both matches start at 2pm, with Poole v Ipswich taking place at Harbourside Park, while Horspath take on Wednesfield at the Horspath Recreation Ground, Oxford.