Sheffield are through to the League Cup Final – by the skin of their teeth after Thursday’s 46-44 home defeat to Wolverhampton. The Tigers did just enough to top the Northern group on race points difference, with just two points between two sides after four matches apiece.
Photo: CHARLOTTE FLANIGAN
HERE’S our latest soundbytes and fixtures from around the tracks up and down the country.
“It was good to get a podium place for Belle Vue tonight and it puts us in a good position early doors. I unfortunately fell in the semi-final but I’m okay, but it was disappointing for us to miss out on a shot at the Final.”
The Aces put six points on the board in the Premiership Pairs opener at Peterborough on Monday, but failed to reach the Final after Max Fricke came down on turns three and four when battling with King’s Lynn in the semi.
NEXT HOME: Ipswich, Mon June 6
NEXT AWAY: Sheffield, Thur May 26
“Danyon has done everything to warrant his place in the team at the moment. As it stands Danyon is in the side and is doing very well. He was a highlight last week and it is Anders’ job when he is ready to force his way back into the side now.”
Witches boss Ritchie Hawkins confirms Danyon Hume is to continue getting the nod in the Rising Star berth, with Anders Rowe having missed recent meetings due to illness.
NEXT HOME: Wolverhampton, Thur May 26
NEXT AWAY: Belle Vue, Mon June 6
“We came here and decided as you do in a Pairs competition that no last places was the mantra from the start, which we did very well. I’m really pleased. Richard and Josh were deserved winners, and Jack (Thomas) played his part too.”
The Stars completed an excellent week with Richard Lawson and Josh Pickering winning the first round of the Premiership Pairs, with Alex Brady’s side having grabbed their first league win of the season last Thursday after overcoming a stern challenge from Belle Vue.
NEXT HOME: Peterborough, Mon May 30
NEXT AWAY: Ipswich, Thur June 2
“We couldn’t get both boys firing at the same time, but that’s the way it goes. It was a very competitive line-up, and a competitive meeting all the way through, so it was always going to be tight. It’s disappointing that we finished last on our own track, I’ve got to be honest about that, but fair play to the other boys and congratulations to King’s Lynn for coming out on top.”
Frustration for Panthers boss Rob Lyon, whose riders won three races in Monday’s Premiership Pairs but carded too many last places to be able to mount a challenge to reach the closing stages.
NEXT HOME: Wolverhampton, Thur June 2
NEXT AWAY: King’s Lynn, Mon May 30
“What happened in the Final left a sour taste in our mouths; personally I think it could’ve been avoided but the most important thing is that Adam got up and walked away from it because it could’ve been a lot worse. We now look ahead to Thursday and the boys are all up for it.”
Tigers boss Simon Stead is relieved to have Adam Ellis fit and available for this week’s Roses clash with Belle Vue, after he suffered a high-speed crash in Monday’s Premiership Pairs Final at Peterborough.
NEXT HOME: Belle Vue, Thur May 26
NEXT AWAY: Wolverhampton, Mon May 30.
“I’m stoked for the boys with that, they all dug deep, and it’s a good warm-up for the next time we come here. I’m happy with the end result – but of course I’m not happy that we didn’t make the Final.”
Sam Masters scored paid-14 as Wolves sent out a statement of intent with a 46-44 win at Sheffield last Thursday – leaving them agonisingly short of qualification for the League Cup Final, missing out by just two race points.
NEXT HOME: Sheffield, Mon May 30
NEXT AWAY: Ipswich, Thur May 26
“Now we have a break with physios, cryogenic chambers, gyms and all variety of rehabilitation taking place to get the strongest side on track for the visit of Glasgow next Saturday!”
Bandits director Jamie Courtney is hoping for good news on the injury front this week, with Jye Etheridge having recently joined Ty Proctor and Leon Flint on the sidelines following his Heat 1 crash against Redcar.
NEXT HOME: Glasgow, Sat May 28
NEXT AWAY: Redcar (KOC), Fri May 27
“Over the two nights we were very much two matched teams with the weather levelling things out on both occasions. We won at their place, they won here and we are disappointed we couldn’t back that up.”
Brummies boss Laurence Rogers saw his side break their away duck at Oxford last Tuesday, only to lose at home to the Cheetahs 24 hours later with the weather playing a key factor in both meetings.
NEXT HOME: Poole, Wed May 25
NEXT AWAY: Edinburgh, Fri May 27
“Armadale Stadium has been a happy place for the club over what has been very many years. We are thankful to have had it as our home and will be sad to see it go, but we must now look to the future and that is exciting. There is life beyond Armadale Stadium for the Monarchs.”
Chairman Alex Harkess insists the club are still planning for their future after the news broke that their Armadale venue will cease to become available for speedway after the end of the current season.
NEXT HOME: Birmingham, Fri May 27
NEXT AWAY: Plymouth, Tues May 31
“When the track settled down I thought we were a bit better but then Poole got two 5-1s and everyone in the stadium would have bitten your hand off for a draw then, so we did well to come back. Poole are a very good team and some of our riders were a bit below par. But it’s a long season and at least we didn’t lose.”
Mixed emotions for Tigers boss Cami Brown, speaking to glasgowtigers.co.uk after last Friday’s 45-45 draw with Poole in a meeting where both sides held a six point lead at one stage.
NEXT HOME: Edinburgh (KOC), Sat June 4
NEXT AWAY: Berwick, Sat May 28
“It’s a big weekend for us. We put Birmingham out in the first round, and now we want our name in the semi-finals.”
The Lions are back in action this Friday after a fortnight’s break, where Stewart Dickson will be looking for his side to build on their recent league win at Edinburgh when they face Scunthorpe home and away in the KO Cup.
NEXT HOME: Scunthorpe (KOC), Sat May 28
NEXT AWAY: Scunthorpe (KOC), Fri May 27.
“Following the conclusion of essential track work, and the approval of the Speedway Control Bureau (SCB), we are pleased to announce that speedway racing will return to Newcastle Greyhound Stadium (Brough Park) on Sunday 29th May against the Redcar Bears.”
Good news for the Diamonds as confirmed on their official website, with their home campaign set to resume this weekend after a three week break after the abandoned clash with Glasgow earlier in the month.
NEXT HOME: Redcar, Sun May 29
NEXT AWAY: Oxford, Wed June 8
“Cam has been struggling both with his engines and his confidence, but tonight he took a crucial victory in Heat 14 and that’s helped us win the meeting. He got taken out of a ride, which is always hard, so he’s then showed plenty of character to round off his evening with a win.”
Cheetahs skipper Scott Nicholls scored 16 points in last week’s victory at Birmingham but also praised Cameron Heeps who won the penultimate race of the meeting having not scored a point earlier in the evening.
NEXT HOME: Newcastle, Wed June 8
NEXT AWAY: Redcar, Fri June 10
“To celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee week, which is a School Bank Holiday week, Plymouth Gladiators Speedway have announced the start of an “Under 16 GO FREE” scheme that will also see the launch of an UNDER 16 Free Season Pass and the return of the popular Children’s Running Races at all Westcolour Gladiators and SWTR Centurions Fixtures from Tuesday 31st May, for the visit of the very aptly named Edinburgh Monarchs.”
Plymouth are looking to attract more youngsters to the Coliseum and have unveiled a range of new schemes on that front via plymouth-speedway.com .
NEXT HOME: Edinburgh, Tues May 31
NEXT AWAY: Leicester, Sat June 11
“There is a fair bit of banter going on between me and Havvy right now and that is all a good bit of fun. The lads have had a couple of fantastic results on the road this year and that result on Friday in Glasgow was awesome.”
Pirates boss Neil Middleditch admitted he kept a close eye on last Friday’s action at Glasgow, where the team secured a 45-45 draw with former World Champion Gary Havelock, who is based in the north, taking charge as team manager.
NEXT HOME: Edinburgh, Wed June 1
NEXT AWAY: Birmingham, Wed May 25
“It was a good night, the track was really grippy today which made it a little challenging at the beginning. After my first ride I made changes to my set-up and that helped me score well.”
Bears star Erik Riss totalled 10+1 from four rides in last Sunday’s home win over Edinburgh after also winning four races on his old home circuit of Armadale two nights earlier.
NEXT HOME: Berwick (KOC), Fri May 27
NEXT AWAY: Newcastle, Sun May 29
“I think on reflection that loss to Plymouth did us the world of good. It replicates that year in the old Conference League when we lost at home to Plymouth in our first home match, but immediately regrouped and went on to win the league. It was a wake-up call against Plymouth this year and everybody responded brilliantly.”
Scorpions promoter Rob Godfrey says the Scorpions have come up with the right reaction to last month’s home defeat to Plymouth, and are now back on track to challenge this season.
NEXT HOME: Leicester (KOC), Fri May 27
NEXT AWAY: Leicester (KOC), Sat May 28
DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE SOUNDBYTES…
The Devils have another opportunity to get off the mark in the NDL this season when they visit the National Speedway Stadium to take on Belle Vue on Friday.
NEXT HOME: Mildenhall, Fri June 17
NEXT AWAY: Belle Vue, Fri May 27
The Colts have juggled their home fixtures following last Friday’s postponement due to the weather of their clash with Leicester. They will now face the Lion Cubs on Friday August 19, with the visit of Mildenhall brought forward to July 15.
NEXT HOME: Armadale, Fri May 27
NEXT AWAY: Mildenhall, Sun July 24
“Once again our reserves were the key. It may be different personnel but Ben and Kieran really backed up the top five and their points were crucial in the final analysis. Kent are a good side and in Alfie Bowtell have one of the league’s top riders so to win by 16 points is an outstanding performance.”
Bullets boss Gary Flint praised the contributions of Kieran Douglas and Ben Rathbone in an all-round team victory over Kent on Saturday.
NEXT HOME: Leicester, Sat June 4
NEXT AWAY: Leicester, Sun June 5
“Alfie and Ben were involved in a sickening Heat 13 crash. The duo were racing side by side when Kyle Bickley thundered underneath Morley, which even if there was wasn’t contact clearly unsettled the Kent rider and he fell into the path of his team-mate Bowtell, and was harshly disqualified.”
The Royals were unhappy with the decision to disqualify Ben Morley from Heat 13 of last Saturday’s defeat at Berwick, which ended his racing for the evening although he thankfully escaped injury.
NEXT HOME: Berwick, Sun July 10
NEXT AWAY: Leicester, Sat June 18
“We had some issues with getting the right lines out of bends in the early races, and the crashes as well. Obviously we’re pleased to win and stop them getting a point, because the objective is always to not only win the match but to stop the away team grabbing a losing bonus point.”
Dave Howard’s Lion Cubs made it two out of two last Saturday with a hard-fought home win in an eventful clash with reigning champions Mildenhall.
NEXT HOME: Berwick, Sun June 5
NEXT AWAY: Plymouth, Tues May 24
“Myself and Malcom (Vasey) are so proud of the efforts of all the lads, those injured and those who had to battle to the end with reduced numbers and a decreasing number of functioning bikes also. It was an incredible effort and, let’s face it, but for the injuries we would have won this match.”
The Fen Tigers were reduced to four riders at Leicester last Saturday with reserve duo Josh Warren and Luke Muff both crashing out, with co-boss Jason Gardner delighted with the side’s resolve as they still went close to taking a league point.
NEXT HOME: Danny’s Day, Sun June 19
NEXT AWAY: Armadale, Fri June 17
The Chargers face a busy period at the start of June as they host Plymouth at Cowley on Wednesday, before an early start on Jubilee Friday as they travel to Belle Vue for a 1pm start.
NEXT HOME: Plymouth, Wed June 1
NEXT AWAY: Belle Vue, Fri June 3
“Henry Atkins has decided to seek opportunities elsewhere in the sport. We await news of the full Centurions 1-7 and will update supporters as soon as it’s available.”
Confirmation on plymouth-speedway.com that the Centurions are seeking a replacement for Henry Atkins, who has left the club, whilst guests will continue to be used for injured No.1 Dan Gilkes.
NEXT HOME: Leicester, Tues May 24
NEXT AWAY: Oxford, Wed June 1
TUESDAY MAY 24:
NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE: Plymouth v Leicester 7pm
WEDNESDAY MAY 25:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Birmingham v Poole 7.30
THURSDAY MAY 26:
PREMIERSHIP: Ipswich v Wolverhampton 7.30, Sheffield v Belle Vue 7.30
FRIDAY MAY 27:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Edinburgh v Birmingham 7.30
CHAMPIONSHIP KO CUP Q/F 1st leg: Redcar v Berwick 7.30, Scunthorpe v Leicester 7.30
NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE: Belle Vue v Armadale 7.30
SATURDAY MAY 28:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Berwick v Glasgow 7pm
CHAMPIONSHIP KO CUP Q/F 2nd leg: Leicester v Scunthorpe 7pm
BRITISH YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP Round 3: Edinburgh 2.30
SUNDAY MAY 29:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Newcastle v Redcar 4pm
BRITISH YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP Round 4: Glasgow 2pm
MONDAY MAY 30:
PREMIERSHIP: King’s Lynn v Peterborough 7.30, Wolverhampton v Sheffield 7.30
TUESDAY MAY 31:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Plymouth v Edinburgh 7pm
WEDNESDAY JUNE 1:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Birmingham v Leicester 7.30, Poole v Edinburgh 7.30
NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE: Oxford v Plymouth 7.30
THURSDAY JUNE 2:
PREMIERSHIP: Ipswich v King’s Lynn 7.30, Peterborough v Wolverhampton 7.30
FRIDAY JUNE 3:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Scunthorpe v Redcar 5pm
CHAMPIONSHIP KO CUP Q/F 1st leg: Edinburgh v Glasgow 7.30
NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE: Belle Vue v Oxford 1pm
BRITISH YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP (500cc/250cc): Belle Vue (follows NDL fixture)
SATURDAY JUNE 4:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Berwick v Leicester 6.30
CHAMPIONSHIP KO CUP Q/F 2nd leg: Glasgow v Edinburgh 7pm
NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE: Berwick v Leicester (follows Champ fixture)
SUNDAY JUNE 5:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Leicester v Berwick 4pm, Redcar v Scunthorpe 5pm
NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE: Leicester v Berwick (follows Champ fixture)
MONDAY JUNE 6:
PREMIERSHIP: Belle Vue v Ipswich 7.30, Wolverhampton v Peterborough 7.30
TUESDAY JUNE 7:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Plymouth v Birmingham 7pm