PREMIERSHIP PAIRS AT PETERBOROUGH
PETEBOROUGH stage the opening round of the new-look Premiership Pairs at the East of England Arena tonight (Monday).
The competition has back on the calendar for the first time since 2017 but this time with a round being staged at each of the six tracks in the top league, with series points accumulating over the summer.
And Monday’s line-up is packed full of top Premiership stars, including former World Champion Jason Doyle, fellow Grand Prix regulars Max Fricke and Jack Holder, and British Champions Adam Ellis and Danny King – as well as the Panthers’ own Chris Harris.
All six clubs will race against each other once during the 15 regular heats, with Pairs scoring of 4-3-2-0 applying. The leading team after Heat 15 goes straight to the Final, with second and third racing off for the right to face them, meaning a 17-race schedule in total.
Series points are then awarded based on finishing position: 12-8-6-4-2-0 which are carried into the second round at Ipswich next month.
There is also an element of choice for riders and team managers over gate positions, as although each club will be pre-programmed with gates 1 and 3 or 2 and 4 for each race, their two riders can start from those gates in either order.
Peterborough Director of Operations Dale Allitt said: “We wanted to give the team managers a little more control over the meetings, and speaking as a team manager or former team manager myself, sometimes it can be frustrating that in league matches you only really get one roll of the dice sometimes.
“If someone’s going better off gate 3 or 4, or they prefer an outside line, you’ve got an option with that, and I do think you’ll see a lot of tactics playing out over the meeting, which is something that’s a bit fresh.
“I know most fans want to be team managers when they’re sat at the meeting, so I’m sure it will give them plenty to talk about with who should go off which gate between their own riders!
“I do think it’s important that we come up with new ideas in this sport. People want changes, and that’s what’s happened. We have a lot of top guys in this meeting, and it should be a cracking night.”
*LIVE STREAMING: https://watch.britishspeedway.co.uk .
IPSWICH boss Ritchie Hawkins believes his Premiership Pairs combination of Jason Doyle and Danny King should be perfect for tonight’s venue of Peterborough.
Hawkins said: “It’s a new competition so it will be interesting and exciting to be involved in. Looking at our pairing, we are going in confident as we will have a strong pairing in each round.
“We have certainly got a strong pair for Peterborough, and I know Doyley, Danny and Danyon (Hume) are going there to win the meeting.
“Doyley is the best rider in the league, so he is an obvious pick and Danny is the current track record holder there, which is quite something, so he is very good around the Showground. For this round it was quite an easy choice.”
Wolverhampton skipper Sam Masters, who is paired with Ryan Douglas, said: “Just to get the spot at Peterborough was cool for me because it’s one of those tracks we all enjoy going to.
“We’ve seen Dougy fly around there and score plenty of points there before, and we’ve got a good chance.
“We’ll go and give it a good crack, that’s for sure, but we know it will be tough because there’s some top riders back in the league this year.”
King’s Lynn will be represented by Josh Pickering and Richard Lawson, who have already impressed at the East of England Arena this season.
Boss Alex Brady said: “This is one we are looking forward to. We are lucky to have some really strong riders to pick from and we will go with Josh and Richard.
“It is an interesting concept and a good idea. It gives everyone extra meetings to look forward to and brings together some of the best talent British speedway has to offer.”
Sheffield co-promoter Damien Bates is optimistic of success with Jack Holder and Adam Ellis selected by team boss Simon Stead.
Bates said: “I think it’s great to see the Pairs back this year and it’s even better to have it with this new format.
“All the line-ups look really strong and it’s hard to predict a winner, but with Jack, Adam and Connor (Mountain) as the Rising Star, I’d like to think Sheffield can go close in Round 1.”
Meanwhile Belle Vue are represented by Max Fricke and Brady Kurtz, three weeks after an emphatic league match win at Alwalton in which Kurtz scored a paid maximum.
REDCAR overcame Edinburgh 45-39 at the Ecco Arena in a meeting curtailed before the re-run of Heat 15 due to rain.
Erik Riss (10+1) and Charles Wright (10) top scored for the Bears, with Sam Masters collecting 11 for the Monarchs, as the home side moved up to fifth in the Championship table.
The final race was stopped twice, the second due to a clash between Wright and Josh Pickering, and a subsequent downpour prevented the race from being staged.
Edinburgh therefore took a league point from the meeting, making it four in total from the two matches over the weekend.
Monarchs boss John Campbell said: “We were pleased to get a point, though we would have liked to do better.
“The decision to call off the last heat was the correct one; it could have been made sooner as none of the riders wanted to take risks on the difficult surface.”
MONDAY MAY 23:
PREMIERSHIP PAIRS Round 1: Peterborough 7.30
TUESDAY MAY 24:
NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE: Plymouth v Leicester 7pm
WEDNESDAY MAY 25:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Birmingham v Poole 7.30