Preview: Cycle Speedway Elite League week 3

Preview: Cycle Speedway Elite League week 3


Ipswich v Birmingham | Elite League
Location: Ipswich Cycle Speedway, Ipswich, Suffolk
Event: 12 May 2013

The two bottom clubs lock horns in what should be a close affair with both Ipswich and Birmingham yet to get off the mark after suffering two defeats each from their opening Elite League fixtures.

Ipswich should give home debuts to Adam Peck and Chris Osborne after both riders featured for the first time in the defeat at Wednesfield.

Expect the core of the side to remain the same for Ipswich from the side that travelled to the West Midlands, with the only likely change to be the inclusion of Richard Williamson, if he can shake off a knee injury.

Ashley Hill may come into the number nine spot after a solid performance at Newport in the Welsh Open where the Suffolk youngster finished in the silver medal position.

Exclusions cost Ipswich last time out, and manager Bill Brooke will look to the experienced heads in the eagles pits to stamp the mistakes out so they can get their season up and running come close of play Sunday.

After making their longest away trip of the season last time out, Birmingham make another long haul excursion to Ipswich where they will be hoping for better fortunes this time around.

Birmingham were unable to track nowhere near their full team at Poole and manager Phil Widdas will be keen to field their strongest team in Sunday’s basement battle. If Birmingham can track their full team this match should be really close to call.

Chris Timms, Mark Winwood, Kieron Jones, David Ball and Nicky Evans should all make the trip to Ipswich, with Nathan Groves likely to return to the line up.

The Monarchs may give first appearances of the season to Konrad Pientak and Scott Millward; the latter seems to be really missed at present due to a hand injury picked up in pre season. Youngsters Joe Kemp and Ollie Riley should fill the nine and 10 positions and Birmingham search for their first win of the season.

Sheffield v Wednesfield | Elite League
Location: Sheffield Cycle Speedway, Bochum Parkway, Sheffield
Event: 12 May 2013

After defeating the reigning champions last time out Sheffield will go into this fixture full of confidence as they look to maintain their 100% winning start to the season.

Sheffield have fielded the same top six riders for their opening two Elite League fixtures, and its highly likely manager Shaun Hudson will consistently use the same pairings throughout the entire season, with only the reserve booths being rotated.

This approach to team selection will give the Sheffield side a really strong backbone; Horspath have shown over recent years that continuity is the key to success at the very top end of the sport.

Jono Birks and Damien Zaremba rode at reserve when the hammers where in town, and it’s difficult to call as to whether they will feature this weekend. Birks’ commitments are dictated by the motorised version of the sport, so Polish flyer Radek Handke could move make his first start of the season this weekend should Birks not be available.

Wednesfield put their opening day defeat behind them with a solid performance against Ipswich last time out. Paul Heard continues to look a man on a mission and Ben Mould raced unbeaten against the eagles, and with the class of Lee Aris these three riders should prove a real handful for Sheffield on Sunday. With Craig Marchant, Chris Jewkes and the evergreen Mark Griffiths to accompany their attack the aces will fancy their chances of inflicting the South Yorkshire sides first defeat of the season.

What could hold the key to Wednesfield’s success on Sunday is how youngsters Ricki Johnson and Matt Haddock score; it will be interesting to see where these two riders are deployed in the aces line up by management duo Roger Ellis and Wayne Aris as they do like to utilise a tactical reserve or two.

Horspath v Poole | Elite League
Location: Horspath Cycle Speedway, Horspath, Oxford
Event: 12 May 2013

This is the pick of this weekend’s fixtures, with Poole looking to replicate their achievement last year by taking the league points away from the village. This fixture is set to be a cracker, and should be nip and tuck from the first to the last heat.

Horspath can take plenty of positives out of their defeat last time out at Sheffield, only losing by two points and being without the services of Shaun Rudman and Matty Szymczak was a huge effort, all be it for no return.

World Champion Lukasz Nowacki was in awesome form at Sheffield and he will be relishing the chance to go up against European number one Marcin Szymanski. Lukasz is now only racing in Elite League fixtures and this less gruelling racing schedule looks like it’s having huge benefits to the world’s number one rider.

Young Welshman Jack Harrold is in the form of his life at present and like Lukasz seems to be seeing the benefits of a winter move to the hammers.

Certainly racing alongside the likes of Nowacki, Boaler and Bates can only be a positive thing for Harrold's development and with a 17 point haul at Sheffield it looks like Horspath have signed the real deal, however Sunday's match against table topping Poole will test the Welsh internationals credentials.

After missing the trip to Sheffield expect to see key men Shaun Rudman and Matty Szymczak return to the hammers as they look to get their title defence back on track.

Poole make the short trip to Horspath seeking their third win from as many matches as they chase their first Elite League title.

Steve Harris is set to return to his old club in what could be an emotional and strange day for the hammers legend. Expect Gavin Wheeler to return to the line up after missing the home victory against Birmingham, and Polish superstars Marcin Szymanski and Maciej Ganzerak should both make the trip to race in this colossal fixture.

With Tom Reed and Greg Gluchowski also likely to race the Poole top six looks super strong, with Leyton Glover, Aaron Morgan and Michel Nowak likely to fill the remaining places in the Poole line up.