HERE’S our latest soundbytes and fixtures from around the tracks up and down the country.
THE BITE-SIZED BULLETIN
PIC OF THE WEEK…
Redcar claimed the first piece of silverware of the new season when completing a 105-74 Tyne Tees Trophy aggregate victory against rivals Newcastle on Sunday.
Photo Credit: STEVE BROCK
“We were disappointed to lose at home, but I think we showed that we have a lot of fight in us and once everyone settles in I think we will have a strong side.”
Returning Aces No.1 Max Fricke says the club won’t be pressing the panic button after their opening-night home defeat to Sheffield in the League Cup.
NEXT HOME: Wolverhampton (LC), Mon Apr 18 (12pm)
NEXT AWAY: Sheffield (LC), Thur Apr 14
“We look very strong whichever way we set up. As I have always done, I will change the order around and experiment and that won’t change this year unless we find something that we settle on that we think is definitely the best set-up. That is something I think has worked well in the past and is something I believe we can do this year.”
Witches boss Ritchie Hawkins won’t be afraid to tinker with his riding order as the Witches look to make a big improvement upon the 2021 season when they failed to make the play-offs.
NEXT HOME: Peterborough (LC), Thur Apr 14
NEXT AWAY: King’s Lynn (LC), Mon Apr 25
“Josh (Pickering) was the one person I was desperate to sign over the winter and headed every list of team permutations for us, and I’m delighted that he’s also agreed to be our captain for 2022. Jack (Thomas) is obviously very local to us and is desperate to be successful for King’s Lynn. Richie (Worrall) has been with us previously and had a great year, and returns as an even better rider, and my belief is that he is the best reserve in this league by some distance.”
Stars boss Alex Brady is delighted with his new signings for the 2022 season as the club bid to mount a serious play-off challenge following a torrid campaign last year.
NEXT HOME: Peterborough (LC), Thur Apr 21
NEXT AWAY: Peterborough (LC), Mon Apr 18 (5pm)
“Ben was very good, and quick, and he enjoyed it out here. It was a tremendous debut – as we’ve said before, he was our first choice, and I think everybody can see why now!”
Not bad for starters – new Panthers signing Benjamin Basso scored 12+2 on his debut against Ipswich, leaving boss Rob Lyon delighted the club had secured their top target to replace the retired Bjarne Pedersen.
NEXT HOME: King’s Lynn (LC), Mon Apr 18 (5pm)
NEXT AWAY: Ipswich (LC), Thur Apr 14
“We have to win these two home meetings to top the group and head into the League Cup Final. For us to reach a Final of a major competition in only our second season in the Premiership would be something to be proud of but, make no mistake, both Belle Vue and Wolves will be coming here with revenge on their agenda.”
Tigers boss Simon Stead is urging his side to complete the job having secured away wins at both group rivals in a successful start to their League Cup schedule.
NEXT HOME: Belle Vue (LC), Thur Apr 14
NEXT AWAY: Ipswich, Mon May 16
“Obviously we’re disappointed but it’s still early days and a few more meetings around here will iron out any mistakes. We’re only going to get better and we’ll become a much tougher team to beat.”
Wolves star Ryan Douglas says there’s plenty of improvement in the Monmore side after they slipped to defeat in their home League Cup opener against Sheffield.
NEXT HOME: Belle Vue (LC), Mon Apr 18 (8pm)
NEXT AWAY: Belle Vue (LC), Mon Apr 18 (12pm)
“Whenever you win big there’s always a chorus of ‘they’ll face bigger tests ahead’ and that might be true, but you can only beat what is in front of you on any given night. Next weekend it’s Edinburgh home and away which would probably qualify as one of those ‘bigger tests.’
Bandits co-promoter Jamie Courtney reflected on an excellent opening win over Birmingham for his side, as they prepare for this weekend’s Easter double against the Monarchs.
NEXT HOME: Edinburgh, Sat Apr 16
NEXT AWAY: Edinburgh, Fri Apr 15
“It’s a big night against Poole and the club are making a big effort to get the younger supporters in. Poole have three strong heat leaders so it’s up to us to try and score points in every department of the team.”
Brummies skipper Ashley Morris is up for the challenge of their opening home league match of the season, with Poole set to provide strong opposition at Perry Barr.
NEXT HOME: Poole, Wed Apr 13
NEXT AWAY: Redcar, Fri Apr 15
“We’ve put together a team that we believe can only get better. For some of the team at the top end it’s impossible to get much better because they are at the top of their game to start with. But the further down the team you go, the more capable they are of getting better.”
Monarchs boss Alex Harkess says improvement will be a key factor in their bid to secure a play-off place once again this season.
NEXT HOME: Berwick, Fri Apr 15
NEXT AWAY: Berwick, Sat Apr 16
“When we were informed by the FIM after their Congress in Prague in November that we had been chosen to host the Challenge, it was the ultimate award for the work ethic, commitment and dedication of everyone at the Club, from our owners to the countless people who help out at the stadium on a raceday.”
Tigers promoter Alan Dick says the impeding staging of the FIM Grand Prix Challenge at Ashfield in August is suitable reward for the club’s efforts in recent years, and will be the biggest and most prestigious meeting in their history.
NEXT HOME: Newcastle, Fri Apr 15
NEXT AWAY: Leicester, Sat Apr 23
“We’ve done the job and that’s all we can do. The lads are determined and work hard as a team and we’ve had three massive scores in home meetings now. Hopefully the place will be packed next Saturday. When the fixtures came out the first one everyone looked for was Poole at home and it’s on a Bank Holiday weekend too so it should be a cracker.”
Lions skipper Kyle Howarth knows things are about to ramp up after scores of 64, 62 and 65 in home matches so far this season, with reigning champions Poole set to visit on Saturday.
NEXT HOME: Poole, Sat Apr 16
NEXT AWAY: Scunthorpe, Fri Apr 15 (5pm)
“We’re starting to polish things up as a team now, and despite only taking a draw tonight, you could see way more sparks of good racing coming out for us. Max Clegg and Paul Starke in particular were collecting good points, with two wins each, while Heat 14 was a very important race for Lee Complin, who just put his head down and got stuck right in for his win which will do nothing but really boost his confidence.”
Diamonds promoter Rob Grant took encouragement from a 45-45 draw with Redcar in the Tyne/Tees Trophy, coming less than 24 hours after a 41-point hammering at Leicester.
NEXT HOME: Edinburgh (KOC), Sun Apr 17
NEXT AWAY: Glasgow, Fri Apr 15
“This is such an exciting time for speedway, the city of Oxford and its people. The transformation from ‘jungle’ to racetrack in the past few months is quite amazing. The riders feel privileged to be here – for some of them they’ve never stepped foot inside Oxford Stadium before and others already have great memories.”
It’s all systems go for the Cheetahs’ return to the sport this week, with rider coach Peter Schroeck reporting a highly satisfactory track session on press and practice day.
NEXT HOME: Scunthorpe, Wed Apr 13
NEXT AWAY: Poole, Fri Apr 15
The Gladiators are out of the KO Cup after aggregate defeat to Poole in the quarter-finals, but they did pick up a league point from last Friday’s Championship trip to Redcar.
NEXT HOME: Leicester, Tues Apr 19
NEXT AWAY: Scunthorpe, Fri Apr 29
“Here at Poole it is good, and it is important to me to have the experienced guys around to give me support and advice. Both Middlo (Neil Middleditch) and Havvy (Gary Havelock) have raced speedway and they know what it is all about so I can only see coming to Poole as being a very positive thing.”
Pirates reserve Drew Kemp marked his official home debut with a Rider of the Night performance in the KO Cup win over Plymouth last week, scoring ten points from four rides.
NEXT HOME: Oxford, Fri Apr 15
NEXT AWAY: Birmingham, Wed Apr 13
The Bears put three league points on the board from their Championship opener against Plymouth with a 48-42 win before wrapping up the Tyne/Tees Trophy with a draw at Newcastle.
NEXT HOME: Birmingham, Fri Apr 15
NEXT AWAY: Oxford (KOC), Wed Apr 27
“Fair play to Leicester, who rode well on the night. For us, we were on the back foot all night and it was a wake-up call. Hopefully, from now on, we will ride better. I’m sure we will.”
Scorpions No.1 Ryan Douglas expects a rapid improvement for the Lincolnshire side after he contributed half of the team’s total points in the recent 62-28 defeat at Leicester.
NEXT HOME: Leicester, Fri Apr 15 (5pm)
NEXT AWAY: Oxford, Wed Apr 13
NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE SOUNDBYTES…
Danny Phillips 7.90, William Lawson 7.82, Tom Woolley 7.43, George Rothery 4.92, Josh Embleton 4.83, Gregor Millar 3.88, Lewis Millar 3.00
IN: Lawson, Embleton.
OUT: Nathan Greaves (retired), Archie Freeman (to Belle Vue).
NEXT HOME: Oxford, Fri May 6
NEXT AWAY: Berwick, Sat Apr 16
“I weighed up my options and felt that, at this point in time, I would definitely benefit from joining up with Belle Vue and the track is just incredible. For most of my career I’ve raced on quite small, tight track but the NSS is so different and more similar to the kinds of tracks you see in Poland.”
New signing Nathan Ablitt is excited by the prospect of having the National Speedway Stadium as his home track in the NDL having made the winter move from Mildenhall.
NEXT HOME: Plymouth, Fri Apr 15 (1pm)
NEXT AWAY: Plymouth, Tues Apr 12
“It is very early days in the league programme, but it’s still nice to be sitting on the top. The hard work continues to keep us there for the rest of the season, but these lads have the capability to do just that. Even the new boy at seven, Ace Pijper, has shown so much skill and bravery so far, we’ve got amazing strength from top to bottom.”
Perfect start to the season for the Bullets with four points gained from an away win at Armadale backed up by a home win over Oxford, to the delight of team boss Gary Flint.
NEXT HOME: Armadale, Sat Apr 16
NEXT AWAY: Oxford, Wed May 4
“I was hoping on the drive down that the Royals would ride their socks off, and the result on the night speaks for itself. Plymouth had some bad luck with falls, but it certainly wasn’t an easy ride for us. Every point was earned, and we mustn’t get complacent after one match.”
A successful start for the Royals’ new era with promoter Si Kellow delighted to see his side winning their season-opener at Plymouth. They stage their first meeting at Iwade this Sunday.
NEXT HOME: Thurrock Hammers, Sun Apr 17
NEXT AWAY: Mildenhall (KOC), Sun Apr 24
The Lion Cubs will be the last NDL side to start their 2022 season as their fixtures do not begin until early May, with new reserve Max Perry set to turn 15 years of age later this month.
NEXT HOME: Belle Vue, Sat May 14
NEXT AWAY: Belle Vue, Fri May 6
“I’d like to go on record thanking our supporters for their patience this afternoon – there were certain issues today that we will be resolving ahead of next Sunday’s meeting, vs Poultec Select. Also a big thank you to the riders, our track staff and the referee and GB Young Lions co-ordinator, Neil Vatcher who worked with us to ensure we could complete today’s meeting; it was a real team effort.”
Fen Tigers co-owner Phil Kirk thanked everyone for their co-operation after the British Under-21 semi-final was heavily delayed following a Heat 2 accident which saw youngster William Richardson suffer a serious leg injury.
NEXT HOME: Poultec Challenge, Sun Apr 17
NEXT AWAY: Kent (KOC), Sun May 1
Jordan Jenkins 9.56, Nathan Stoneman 8.22, Ben Hopwood 5.90, Sam Hagon 5.75, Jacob Clouting 4.30, Arran Butcher 3.00, Sam Woods 3.00
Club new to NDL in 2022.
IN: Jenkins (from Mildenhall), Stoneman, Hopwood, Hagon (from Mildenhall), Clouting (from Kent), Butcher, Woods.
NB: Club have indicated that Luke Killeen will replace Woods on receipt of UK passport.
NEXT HOME: Berwick, Wed May 4
NEXT AWAY: Aramdale, Fri May 6
The Centurions lost their home opener to Kent and are now preparing for a pair of clashes with Belle Vue as they look to secure their first points of the season.
NEXT HOME: Belle Vue, Tues Apr 12
NEXT AWAY: Belle Vue, Fri Apr 15 (1pm)
TUESDAY APRIL 12:
NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE: Plymouth v Belle Vue 7pm
WEDNESDAY APRIL 13:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Birmingham v Poole 7.30, Oxford v Scunthorpe 7.30
THURSDAY APRIL 14:
LEAGUE CUP: Ipswich v Peterborough 7.30, Sheffield v Belle Vue 7.30
FRIDAY APRIL 15:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Edinburgh v Berwick 7.30, Glasgow v Newcastle 7.30, Poole v Oxford 7.30, Redcar v Birmingham 7.30, Scunthorpe v Leicester 5pm
NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE: Belle Vue v Plymouth 1pm
SATURDAY APRIL 16:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Berwick v Edinburgh 6.30, Leicester v Poole 7pm
NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE: Berwick v Armadale (follows Champ fixture)
SUNDAY APRIL 17:
CHAMPIONSHIP KO CUP 1st round 1st leg: Newcastle v Edinburgh 5.30
POULTEC CHALLENGE: Mildenhall 3pm
CHALLENGE: Kent v Thurrock Hammers 12pm
MONDAY APRIL 18:
LEAGUE CUP: Belle Vue v Wolverhampton 12pm, Peterborough v King’s Lynn 5pm, Wolverhampton v Belle Vue 8pm
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