NO PRESSURE ON BIRMINGHAM
BIRMINGHAM boss Laurence Rogers says the pressure is off his side ahead of tonight’s (Wednesday – UK time) Championship clash with Poole at Perry Barr.
The reigning champions have already collected ten points on the road this season, but did slip up when they visited the Second City last September when they were beaten 49-41.
The Brummies bring in Tom Brennan to guest for the injured Josh Auty, whilst at reserve Joe Thompson replaces James Shanes who is on FIM Long Track of Nations duty.
Rogers said: “We know Poole are one of the favourites for the league this year but it’s these sorts of meetings where we’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.
“Everyone probably expects Poole to come and beat us and not many people will give us a chance against the reigning Champions.
“But I think our boys can thrive off that. Some of our best riding this year has come when the boys have been more relaxed.
“So with no pressure on their shoulders, hopefully they can go out there, make some starts and it goes without saying it would be nice to get one over the Pirates.”
Poole boss Neil Middleditch said: “Of course we are hoping to go there and keep this mini-unbeaten away run going, but it won’t be a walk in the park for us. As always, we will all need to be on our game.
“Birmingham can be a bit of a trick track but they have done a fair amount of work on it since we were last there and I haven’t had any bad reports about it this year, which is good.”
BELLE Vue’s injured Australian Jye Etheridge is targeting the Aces’ home clash with Ipswich on June 6 for his comeback from a broken collarbone.Etheridge suffered the injury just under a fortnight ago when racing for his Championship club Berwick, and although he escaped a serious break he has still faced a period on the sidelines.
He said: “The problem I have is that I already have a plate on my collarbone and the fracture is right at the end of the plate. I don’t know how big or small it is but either way, it is very painful. “At this stage it’s too soon for me to be thinking about getting back on a bike in the immediate future. It feels like it has improved since last week, but it is still quite sore in the sling.
“I can’t do much right now except wait. I’ve had a lot of different opinions as to when I’ll be OK to race, but now my plan is to try and aim for the Belle Vue home fixture on June 6.
“I’d like to get a few practice laps in before then just to see how I am before I jump back into a meeting, so we’ll see how things go and hopefully I’ll be back sooner rather than later.”
LEICESTER are up to second place in the National Development League after a 50-40 win at Plymouth on Tuesday.
The Lion Cubs secured two mid-meeting 5-1s to take control and pulled away to take all four points from the contest.
Dan Thompson won his first three rides and ended with 13 points, whilst winter signing Connor Coles added 10. Reserve Ben Trigger top-scored for the Centurions against his former club with 13, and guest Alfie Bowtell scored 11.
Cubs boss Dave Howard said: “It was a pretty incident-packed meeting to start with, with falls here and there, but it was a great performance by everybody.“It wasn’t just the gating, it was the passing as well, and I’m delighted to get the four points.
“Early on we could have been even further in front because we had a couple of offs – I think when we were two up, we could have been ten up by that point, but the way everybody kept their heads up and pushed on to grab the four league points was terrific, because away wins are so valuable.”
BRITISH Youth boss Neil Vatcher is urging supporters travelling to this season’s final Grand Prix in Torun to extend their weekend and back the country’s Under-23 side.
GB have qualified for the FIME European U23 Team Final after winning Saturday’s semi in the Czech Republic, and will now go for medals on Sunday October 2.
Vatcher said: “Our win in Pardubice cannot be under-estimated as in the home nation’s squad of five riders, three of those have already qualified for this year’s FIM SGP2 series so they were undoubtedly the favourites before the event as in this year’s competition it was only the winners that qualified for the Final.
“Pardubice historically has been such a tough place for British riders to find the right set-ups as it is a big fast European-style track, almost 400 metres, so you always need fast equipment – however, it often runs as a slick track, and therefore too much power and the bikes just spin and don’t go forward.
“We at the GB management were delighted with our boys’ determination and effort on Saturday. Dan Bewley led by example and now is a genuine World Class rider, and Tom Brennan has stepped up to another level is and competing at the very best level of World Junior Speedway.
“Drew Kemp and Jordan Palin both exceeded expectations on Saturday as this event was an Under-23 event, so another level on from competing at Under-21s. “The Final of this competition is currently scheduled to take place in Krakow, although the venue is still to be confirmed. It would be good for British supporters if the venue was either Bydgoszcz or Gdansk, as these are the airports where the majority of fans would be flying into to attend the Torun SGP the day before.”
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