PIC OF THE WEEK…Photo: by STEVE DIXON
Leicester are the early pace-setters in the Championship following a 48-42 win against Poole on Saturday at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena.
HERE’S our latest soundbytes and fixtures from around the tracks up and down the country.
“It is massively disappointing for us to end our Bank Holiday with two defeats. Some of the lads are really struggling at the moment and we just don’t seem to be firing at the same time. But it is still early days, we’ve not started the league yet and we still have time to make the improvements we know we need to make.”
Aces star Charles Wright piled up a brilliant 16 points at Wolverhampton on Monday but knows the team as a whole needs to step things up for the start of the league campaign.
NEXT HOME: Peterborough, Mon May 2 (12pm)
NEXT AWAY: Ipswich, Thur May 5
“We’re lucky in the fact that it’s the League Cup, so we’ve got two more meetings in that competition now to get ourselves ready for the league, because we can’t come into the league campaign as we are now. We’ve got two free hits now to get ourselves a little bit more gelled, and a little bit more comfortable on our home track, and ready to start the league.”
Witches boss Ritchie Hawkins admits his side need to resolve their early issues in the near future, as the start of the Premiership league campaign draws ever nearer – after two League Cup defeats at the hands of Peterborough.
NEXT HOME: King’s Lynn (LC), Thur Apr 28
NEXT AWAY: King’s Lynn (LC), Mon Apr 25
“We couldn’t have scripted it any better with a great crowd on a Bank Holiday Monday, fantastic weather, lots of controversy, and we got the job done so we’re going home very happy. The team did exactly what we built it to do, we were solid throughout and we had people to carry the slack when others didn’t do quite what they’d hoped for, and it was exactly what we wanted.”
Alex Brady saw his rebuilt Stars side make a superb start to the season with an Easter Monday triumph at Peterborough to put their troubles of 2021 firmly behind them.
NEXT HOME: Peterborough (LC), Thur Apr 21
NEXT AWAY: Ipswich (LC), Thur Apr 28
“The crash was unfortunate for Michael, he was trying hard and just clipped the back wheel, and that was a high-side straight into the fence for him. Fingers crossed he’s going to be alright, but he’s signed out for nine days with concussion, so he won’t be available on Thursday which is disappointing because he likes the King’s Lynn track and we need to go there now and get some points.”
Panthers co-promoter Carl Johnson delivers the injury verdict on Michael Palm Toft after the Dane crashed out of the Easter Monday home defeat to King’s Lynn.
NEXT HOME: Belle Vue, Mon May 9
NEXT AWAY: King’s Lynn (LC), Thur Apr 21
“It’s started brilliantly, the team spirit is up there with some of the best teams I’ve been involved with and we’re only three meetings in which is a positive sign. If we all stay fit and confident like this then we can take anyone on at any track – we’re looking forward to it.”
British Champion Adam Ellis is in bullish mood after a sensational start to the season for the Tigers, who have won all three of their League Cup matches so far.
NEXT HOME: Peterborough, Thur May 5
NEXT AWAY: Ipswich, Mon May 16
“That was a good effort from everybody. Everybody pulled together and all-in-all we’re stoked with that, two wins in the same day, you can’t go wrong.”
American star Luke Becker praised the team effort as Wolves got their season fully up and running with an impressive Easter Monday double against Belle Vue.
NEXT HOME: King’s Lynn, Mon May 2
NEXT AWAY: King’s Lynn, Thur May 5
“We’re a solid side, and even if one or two of the lads find the going tough, we still have that strength running through the side which can take a 22-point win over a very good side like the Monarchs, so it’s all good positive vibes coming out of tonight’s match, and we’re still in second place in the league table.”
Positive vibes continue to emanate from Shielfield Park with boss Gary Flint delighted with Saturday’s 56-34 home win over Edinburgh.
NEXT HOME: Oxford, Sat Apr 23
NEXT AWAY: Birmingham, Wed Apr 20
“I think we have a good set of guys in this team and we just need to click, we have potential and we’ve had a tough start to the season. They’ve done some great work on the track here and that should make for great racing.”
Brummies star Adam Ellis says there are reasons for encouragement for the Perry Barr side who have had awful luck with the weather so far this season, with two of their three home meetings postponed and the other affected by downpours.
NEXT HOME: Berwick, Wed Apr 20
NEXT AWAY: Scunthorpe, Fri Apr 22
“It was a good win, last night was a tough one so it was good to get a win tonight. I like coming to new places and I want to beat everyone so to get the heat win was good as well. We move onto Friday now and we need to complete the job and beat Newcastle again.”
Monarchs newcomer Lasse Fredriksen enjoyed his first trip to Brough Park on Easter Sunday as the Armadale side ran up a 49-41 victory in the first leg of their KO Cup tie.
NEXT HOME: Newcastle (KOC), Fri Apr 22
NEXT AWAY: Glasgow, Sun May 1
“Craig Cook looks like the Cook of old. He seems to have his mojo back. He missed the gate a couple of times and was last coming out of bends one and two, but was first by the end of the first lap. We’re going to need him to do that because we need an out-and-out number one. I still think on his day he is the best in the league.”
Tigers boss Cami Brown hopes Craig Cook’s 15-point maximum in Friday’s rout of Newcastle is the sign of things to come in the 2022 season.
NEXT HOME: Berwick, Fri Apr 22
NEXT AWAY: Leicester, Sat Apr 23
“We showed we’re up for a scrap, and that was a real battle tonight. I thought we were on the wrong end of a decision in Heat 4, and I was just pleased to see both boys walk away in Heat 15. The important thing was to get the victory. We won by six points and I don’t think that flattered us in any way.”
Lions boss Stewart Dickson praised his side for overcoming a stern challenge against title favourites Poole in a competitive encounter at the Paul Champan & Sons Arena on Saturday.
NEXT HOME: Glasgow, Sat Apr 23
NEXT AWAY: Plymouth, Tues Apr 19
“I can appreciate the fans will be getting frustrated after our latest result, but I can confirm we are doing the air miles in trying to contact as many riders as we can. We are on the case, but the majority of riders who are not fixed up are either retired or don’t want to race this season. We are not clear on the shoulder injury of Bradley Wilson-Dean, and therefore we are looking at different options.”
Diamonds promoter Rob Grant confirms he is looking to take action after another heavy defeat at Glasgow last weekend – but accepts finding the right man will be no easy task.
NEXT HOME: Oxford, Sun Apr 24
NEXT AWAY: Edinburgh (KOC), Fri Apr 22
“Wednesday was a fantastic night. To have a full stadium, secure the win and personally earn maximum points – I can’t ask for much more than that. I go out to win every race, hopefully we can build on this performance in the coming meetings.”
New Oxford No.1 Troy Batchelor made the perfect start for his new club with a 15-point maximum in their big return meeting against Scunthorpe in front of a capacity crowd at Cowley.
NEXT HOME: Poole, Wed Apr 20
NEXT AWAY: Berwick, Sat Apr 23
“Edward Kennett has got to have an operation on his arm, he has a plate sticking out of arm in three places and we will see what happens after the operation. I am hoping the authorities will allow us to use guests as it was a Speedway injury.”
Speaking to redcar-speedway.com after the recent match at the Ecco Arena, Gladiators boss Garry May provides an update on the injury suffered by Edward Kennett recently.
NEXT HOME: Leicester, Tues Apr 19
NEXT AWAY: Scunthorpe, Fri Apr 29
“I must say that we did well to take a point home with us, and I don’t think there will be too many clubs over the course of the season that will be able to claim that. They are a very good side, especially at home, and to come as close as we did, after all the result went to a last heat decider, with just paid three points across three riders, is encouraging.”
Pirates co-promoter Danny Ford looked at the bigger picture after their first defeat of the season in a close encounter at Leicester on Easter Saturday.
NEXT HOME: Birmingham, Wed Apr 27
NEXT AWAY: Oxford, Wed Apr 20
“They make it look so easy, it can be quite annoying! Charles (Wright) and his mechanics have been very helpful to me, Erik (Riss) is flying and Lewis (Kerr) is helping us to wins at the moment which is really important.”
Promising Bears reserve Jason Edwards has high praise for the club’s heat-leaders, who were all in the big points in the Good Friday victory over Birmingham.
NEXT HOME: Leicester, Fri Apr 22
NEXT AWAY: Oxford (KOC), Wed Apr 27
“It means more because it was against Leicester. If we’d have crushed another team at home, we’d still be thinking whether we are that good or whether it’s because the other team are not so strong. But Leicester have already proved this season that they are a powerhouse team and one of the best sides in the league, so to take them apart around here proves that we are going to take some stopping around the Eddie Wright Raceway this season.”
Team manager Dave Peet summed up the mood in the Scorpions’ pits after they finally put their Leicester hoodoo to bed with their impressive home victory on Good Friday.
NEXT HOME: Birmingham, Fri Apr 22
NEXT AWAY: Plymouth, Tues Apr 26
NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE SOUNDBYTES…
“I didn’t get to see much of the racing as I was always doing stuff on the bike, but it seems like everyone was putting in lots of effort – but we just need to bounce back in the next meeting and then we’ll get that win.”
Devils No.1 Danny Phillips is optimistic the tide will turn shortly, after a tricky start to the season for Edinburgh’s second string who have suffered back-to-back defeats against Berwick.
NEXT HOME: Oxford, Fri May 6
NEXT AWAY: Belle Vue, Fri May 27
“Both Archie and Freddy did a brilliant job at reserve, and Connor [Coles] was a fantastic guest for Nathan. We couldn’t have asked for more from those boys. Everyone did their job today. We said going into this meeting that we didn’t want Plymouth going away with any points and we did just that and returned the favour.”
Colts captain Jack Smith praised his side’s bounce-back at home to Plymouth on Good Friday after their defeat in Devon three days earlier.
NEXT HOME: Leicester, Fri May 6
NEXT AWAY: Berwick, Sat May 7
The Bullets kept up their 100 per cent start to the season by defeating Armadale 56-28 at Shielfield Park on Saturday, with Kyle Bickley scoring a 12-point maximum in a match curtailed by one race due to the curfew.
NEXT HOME: Belle Vue, Sat May 7
NEXT AWAY: Oxford, Wed May 4
“We had over 500 fans come along today, and it proved Graham (Arnold) and I made the right decision. The Hammers gave us a good race, but the Tunnel Trophy is ours – well done to the riders, mechanics, track staff and the fans for making it all possible.”
A successful opening to the Royals’ new era at Iwade for promoter Si Kellow with his side defeating the Thurrock Hammers in a special challenge fixture.
NEXT HOME: Mildenhall (KOC), Sun May 1
NEXT AWAY: Mildenhall (KOC), Sun Apr 24
The Lion Cubs start their league campaign in early May but several of their riders were on track over Easter, including a successful guest appearance for Connor Coles at Belle Vue and outings for Tom Spencer and Vinnie Foord at Kent.
NEXT HOME: Belle Vue, Sat May 14
NEXT AWAY: Belle Vue, Fri May 6
“There are lots of new faces, riders I don’t know at all riding in the NDL now; and of those riders that I do know, people like old team-mates of mine, Ben Morley and Alfie Bowtell are now No.1s in the division! For me it’s going to be a case of riding without the pressure I once felt when I was a youngster and seeing where my points scoring takes me.”
Jack Kingston is making a welcome return to the sport after five years out of official competition, having agreed to rejoin the Fen Tigers in place of the retired Elliot Kelly.
NEXT HOME: Kent (KOC), Sun Apr 24
NEXT AWAY: Kent (KOC), Sun May 1
“We were a bit unlucky. But I’m really proud how well they rode, because I think it’s quite respectable to come here and only lose by 10 points – it’s one of the tougher away meetings.”
Chargers co-boss Peter Schroeck was in upbeat mood after the recent defeat by Berwick in the team’s first NDL outing.
NEXT HOME: Berwick, Wed May 4
NEXT AWAY: Armadale, Fri May 6
The Centurions collected their first win of the season with an impressive home performance against Belle Vue last Tuesday, before a depleted side fell to a 58-32 defeat in the return fixture.
NEXT HOME: Leicester, Tues May 24
NEXT AWAY: Mildenhall, Sun May 15
TUESDAY APRIL 19:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Plymouth v Leicester 7pm
WEDNESDAY APRIL 20:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Birmingham v Berwick 7.30, Oxford v Poole 7.30
THURSDAY APRIL 21:
LEAGUE CUP: King’s Lynn v Peterborough 7.30
FRIDAY APRIL 22:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Glasgow v Berwick 7.30, Redcar v Leicester 7.30, Scunthorpe v Birmingham 7.30
CHAMPIONSHIP KO CUP 1st round 2nd leg: Edinburgh v Newcastle 7.30
SATURDAY APRIL 23:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Berwick v Oxford 7pm, Leicester v Glasgow 7pm
SUNDAY APRIL 24:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Newcastle v Oxford 4pm
NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE KO CUP 1st round 1st leg: Mildenhall v Kent 3pm
MONDAY APRIL 25:
LEAGUE CUP: King’s Lynn v Ipswich 7.30
TUESDAY APRIL 26:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Plymouth v Scunthorpe 7pm
WEDNESDAY APRIL 27:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Poole v Birmingham 7.30
CHAMPIONSHIP KO CUP 1st round 1st leg: Oxford v Redcar 7.30
THURSDAY APRIL 28:
LEAGUE CUP: Ipswich v King’s Lynn 7.30
FRIDAY APRIL 29:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Edinburgh v Glasgow 7.30, Scunthorpe v Plymouth 7.30
CHAMPIONSHIP KO CUP 1st round 2nd leg: Redcar v Oxford 7.30
SATURDAY APRIL 30:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Berwick v Newcastle 7pm, Leicester v Redcar 7pm
SUNDAY MAY 1:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Glasgow v Edinburgh 6pm, Newcastle v Berwick 4pm
NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE KO CUP 1st round 2nd leg: Kent v Mildenhall 12pm
MONDAY MAY 2:
PREMIERSHIP: Belle Vue v Peterborough 12pm, Wolverhampton v King’s Lynn 8pm
TUESDAY MAY 3:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Plymouth v Poole 7pm