PIC OF THE WEEK…Wolverhampton raced to an eighth successive victory and secured their Premiership play-off place with an impressive 46-44 win at fourth-placed Sheffield on Thursday.
Picture: CHARLOTTE FLANIGAN
HERE’S our latest soundbytes and fixtures from around the tracks up and down the country.
“We have almost consolidated our position in the top four but while there are meetings remaining there is still a job for us to do, and we must win all of our home fixtures.”
Aces boss Mark Lemon will be keen to get back to winning ways when his side resume Premiership racing next week, having slipped up at home in recent meetings against Wolverhampton and Peterborough.
NEXT HOME: King’s Lynn, Mon Aug 23
NEXT AWAY: Wolverhampton, Mon Aug 30
“We have lost too many at home and we have not given the fans enough to cheer about. We have got two meetings left at home, so we need to provide them with some entertainment and make up a little bit for what has been a disappointing year.”
Witches boss Ritchie Hawkins says his side will still be up for the challenge of facing league leaders Wolverhampton this week, with their play-off hopes all but over following a poor run of results at Foxhall this season.
NEXT HOME: Wolverhampton, Thur Aug 19
NEXT AWAY: Sheffield, Thur Aug 26
“It was within touching distance for us, and it was a fantastic effort from the full one-to-seven which is truly the first time I’ve said that this season. I’m proud of the team but just gutted not to get over the line, and the general reaction from the fans even though we’ve lost has been quite good, which you don’t always expect.”
Stars boss Alex Brady saw his side go agonisingly close to an A47 local derby win over Peterborough only to be edged out in a last-heat decider despite Erik Riss winning the race.
NEXT HOME: Sheffield, Thur Aug 19
NEXT AWAY: Belle Vue, Mon Aug 23
“I knew it would be tougher tonight than last time here, because they’ve made a couple of changes and I think it has strengthened their team. You could see they were up for it, and fair play to them, but what can I say about our team? They just keep grinding away, and we don’t panic, we know we’ve got quality in certain heats, and it paid off for us.”
Panthers boss Rob Lyon always expected a tough battle at King’s Lynn last Thursday and was delighted to come out on top with Chris Harris and Michael Palm Toft sharing the points in a last-heat decider.
NEXT HOME: Wolverhampton, Mon Aug 23
NEXT AWAY: Ipswich, Thur Sept 2
“I haven’t really got any answers there and unfortunately neither has Batch. We know what he’s capable of, we’ve seen it, maybe not much this season but certainly in previous years. He’s a former GP rider, I just never thought I’d see the day where I saw Batchelor scoring zero in this league.”
Tigers boss Simon Stead was left trying to explain the inexplicable when star winter signing Troy Batchelor failed to trouble the scorers in last Thursday’s narrow home defeat to Wolverhampton.
NEXT HOME: Ipswich, Thur Aug 26
NEXT AWAY: King’s Lynn, Thur Aug 19
“We were fortunate in having Ryan Douglas scoring so freely in the reserve position. We managed to squeeze all his seven quota of rides in and he was the star of the show for us. Everybody fought tooth and nail though because we wanted to win here.”
Wolves boss Peter Adams made maximum use of the in-form Ryan Douglas racking up 16 points from seven rides, which proved crucial in last week’s win at Sheffield which confirmed their play-off place.
NEXT HOME: Belle Vue, Mon Aug 30
NEXT AWAY: Ipswich, Thur Aug 19
“What a meeting that was! It had some superb passing and the Bandits, at full strength, did what we know they can, they worked as a team unit to dominate the Gladiators and were not intimidated by the presence of Jason Crump and Bjarne Pedersen, in fact they all tried that bit harder to beat them, and some of them did!”
Bandits boss Gary Flint was pleased with the way his side dealt with the strong top-two spearhead of Plymouth on their way to a convincing home win against the Gladiators.
NEXT HOME: Kent, Sat Aug 21
NEXT AWAY: Kent, Tues Aug 17
“I’ve said it regularly, when we have all our riders together on one night we can beat anybody. We’re a really good team and we can achieve good things this season, I have no doubt about that.”
In-form Brummies reserve Paco Castagna says a troubled campaign at Perry Barr can still reach a happy conclusion, with the side having pulled off 46-44 wins in both of their last two home fixures.
NEXT HOME: Berwick, Wed Aug 18
NEXT AWAY: Scunthorpe, Fri Aug 20
“It was tough tonight. Coming without Edward Kennett didn’t help. He is suffering after his second Covid jab. I hope we can do better things next weekend against Redcar.”
Eagles boss Trevor Geer gave his reaction to last weekend’s defeat at Leicester to the club’s official website.
NEXT HOME: Redcar, Sat Aug 21
NEXT AWAY: Edinburgh, Fri Aug 27
“Plymouth made a tremendous match of it. Some of our team were below par, we had some bad luck as well and I hope the riders involved in the heat 13 crash will be OK. I felt the referee got the decision to exclude Richie Worrall wrong but I would not criticise him too much as it was a very tough call.”
Monarchs boss Alex Harkess knew his team had been in a major battle as they just edged out Plymouth to take victory at Armadale last Friday.
NEXT HOME: Kent, Fri Aug 20
NEXT AWAY: Newcastle, Sun Sept 5
“It’s a big weekend and we have to pick ourselves up, because it’s the biggest challenge we’ve had so far. Thankfully most of the team are racing during the week, which won’t do them any harm, and those who aren’t will get a bit of practice – so all seven of them will be on the bike at some point.”
Tigers boss Cami Brown was left downbeat after last Sunday’s surprise defeat at Newcastle, and hopes for a reaction with home and away clashes against Leicester in a repeat of the 2019 Grand Final.
NEXT HOME: Leicester, Fri Aug 20
NEXT AWAY: Leicester, Sat Aug 21
“I’m pleased to report that, so far, since the Pandemic rules disappeared, our attendance figures are healthy even though I am sure that there are still people out there who are not yet aware of our change of race night, or of the fantastic racing we have been enjoying.”
A positive update from Kings chief Len Silver, who was delighted with his side’s display in last week’s narrow win over Edinburgh which featured a first race victory at Championship level for youngster Jake Mulford.
NEXT HOME: Berwick, Tues Aug 17
NEXT AWAY: Edinburgh, Fri Aug 20
“Wednesday night has been well documented by enough people without me adding to it anymore – this was about how we responded, and we responded very well. It was a good team performance, pretty solid, and it was nice to have a choice of riders again in Heat 15.”
Lions boss Stewart Dickson was pleased to enjoy a relatively trouble-free evening against Eastbourne, after the setback of losing 44-46 at local rivals Birmingham three nights earlier.
NEXT HOME: Glasgow, Sat Aug 21
NEXT AWAY: Glasgow, Fri Aug 20
“Tonight was like speedway has finally come back to Newcastle, with the whole side weighing in with everything they could – even if points weren’t coming, they were hard at it in the pits, helping as a team to get a result we all desperately wanted.”
Diamonds boss Steve Pate praised the efforts of his team both on and off track to pick up a shock home win against league leaders Glasgow last Sunday.
NEXT HOME: Kent, Sun Aug 22
NEXT AWAY: Kent, Tues Aug 24
The Gladiators took a point from the first leg of their Northern tour when they pushed Edinburgh all the way, although they then suffered heavier defeats at Berwick and Redcar.
NEXT HOME: Scunthorpe, Tues Aug 17
NEXT AWAY: Birmingham, Wed Aug 25
“I am glad to have Ben back in the fray. He is very keen to get going again after his lay-off and after the problems of last week I think we are all desperate to get going again, and hopefully we will be able to attract a good summer’s evening crowd to provide plenty of support to lift the Pirates as we seek to close the gap on leaders Glasgow.”
Pirates promoter Danny Ford has been boosted by the news that key reserve Ben Cook will be fit to return from injury for this week’s important fixtures against Championship play-off rivals.
NEXT HOME: Scunthorpe, Wed Aug 18
NEXT AWAY: Redcar, Fri Aug 20
“Plymouth are no longer a pushover but our side are all starting to hit form together and that was the key today. (James) Sarjeant was brilliant today, he had some clutch issues earlier in the year but he has solved that issue now and he has been brilliant for us this week. Anders Rowe was brilliant tonight, I haven’t seen anyone work as hard as he did for three points at Scunthorpe on Friday but he did a great job today.”
Bears co-promoter Jamie Swales was more than satisfied with his side’s efforts over the weekend, with a point from a narrow defeat at Scunthorpe and then a convincing home win over Plymouth.
NEXT HOME: Poole, Fri Aug 20
NEXT AWAY: Eastbourne, Sat Aug 21
“It’s awesome riding for Scunthorpe at home, because all the riders are so strong around here and banging in points. Tonight, a couple of the lads had off-nights, but everyone was still scoring points and we won it. The focus now switches to the away meetings at Plymouth and Poole. If we all ride to our potential, we can come away from those with some points.”
Scorpions No.1 Adam Ellis led the way in a thrilling victory over Redcar last Friday, being unbeaten from his first four rides and then securing the vital second placed in Heat 15 over the Bears’ Jake Allen.
NEXT HOME: Birmingham, Fri Aug 20
NEXT AWAY: Plymouth, Tues Aug 17
NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE SOUNDBYTES…
NEXT HOME: Eastbourne, Sat Aug 28
NEXT AWAY: Belle Vue, Fri Aug 20
NEXT HOME: Armadale, Fri Aug 20
NEXT AWAY: Kent, Tues Sept 21
NEXT HOME: Kent, Sat Aug 21
NEXT AWAY: Eastbourne, Mon Sept 27
NEXT HOME: Mildenhall, Sat Aug 21
NEXT AWAY: Armadale, Sat Aug 28
NEXT HOME: Belle Vue, Tues Sept 21
NEXT AWAY: Berwick, Sat Aug 21
NEXT HOME: Kent, Sat Oct 9
NEXT AWAY: Mildenhall, Sun Sept 12
NEXT HOME: British U19 Final, Sun Aug 22
NEXT AWAY: Eastbourne, Sat Aug 21
WEDNESDAY AUGUST 18:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Birmingham v Berwick 7.30, Poole v Scunthorpe 7.30
THURSDAY AUGUST 19:
PREMIERSHIP: Ipswich v Wolverhampton 7.30, King’s Lynn v Sheffield 7.30
FRIDAY AUGUST 20:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Edinburgh v Kent 7.30, Glasgow v Leicester 7.30, Redcar v Poole 7.30, Scunthorpe v Birmingham 7.30
NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE: Belle Vue v Armadale 7.30
BRITISH YOUTH CHAMPIONSHP (125cc): Belle Vue 6pm
SATURDAY AUGUST 21:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Berwick v Kent 6.30, Eastbourne v Redcar 7.30, Leicester v Glasgow 7pm
NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE: Berwick v Kent (follows previous fixture), Eastbourne v Mildenhall (follows previous fixture)
SUNDAY AUGUST 22:
BRITISH UNDER-19 FINAL: Mildenhall 3pm
CHAMPIONSHIP: Newcastle v Kent 4pm
MONDAY AUGUST 23:
PREMIERSHIP: Belle Vue v King’s Lynn 7.30, Peterborough v Wolverhampton 7.30
TUESDAY AUGUST 24:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Kent v Newcastle 6.30, Plymouth v Birmingham 7pm
WEDNESDAY AUGUST 25:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Birmingham v Plymouth 7.30, Poole v Newcastle 7.30
THURSDAY AUGUST 26:
PREMIERSHIP: King’s Lynn v Wolverhampton 7.30, Sheffield v Ipswich 7.30
FRIDAY AUGUST 27:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Edinburgh v Eastbourne 7.30, Redcar v Scunthorpe 7.30, Glasgow v Berwick 7.30
SATURDAY AUGUST 28:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Berwick v Eastbourne 7pm, Leicester v Plymouth 7pm
NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE: Armadale v Eastbourne 2.30, Berwick v Eastbourne (follows Champ fixture)
SUNDAY AUGUST 29:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Newcastle v Eastbourne 4pm, Poole v Birmingham 5pm, Redcar v Berwick 2pm
MONDAY AUGUST 30:
PREMIERSHIP: Belle Vue v Wolverhampton 12pm, Wolverhampton v Belle Vue 8pm
CHAMPIONSHIP: Kent v Birmingham 4pm
BRITISH YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP Round 5: Leicester 4pm
TUESDAY AUGUST 31:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Plymouth v Newcastle 7pm