Leicester v Lakeside new dateTuesday, July 29th, 2014 | Fixtures, News
The Leicester v Lakeside Elite League ‘B’ fixture that was rained-off on 19th July will now take place on Saturday 16th August with a start time of 7.30 pm.
The Leicester v Lakeside Elite League ‘B’ fixture that was rained-off on 19th July will now take place on Saturday 16th August with a start time of 7.30 pm.
The Leicester Lion Cubs face an important two days with back-to-back fixtures against the Mildenhall Fen Tigers at home on Sunday and away to the Kent Kings twenty-four hours later. The Cubs are presently third in the National Trophy League table and well placed to qualify for the final but first of all they need to secure three points against Mildenhall who are their closest rivals.
The Suffolk club are having a good season and have three top class heat leaders in Joe Jacobs, Daniel Halsey and Josh Bates. Both Jacobs and Halsey have ridden well on their previous visits to the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium for their respective Elite League clubs and are expected to pose a threat to the Cubs. Bates misses the match as he is required to race at Workington for his Premier League club Sheffield if fit following an injury to his hand and the Tigers will utilise the rider replacement rule to cover for his absence.
Leicester are also forced into a change following the news that Oliver Greenwood has secured a team place at Rye House in the Premier League and he will be riding for his new club at Newcastle. Greenwood, who is second in the Cubs averages, is replaced by Steven Worrall who rides for Cradley.
“It is vital that we win both meetings, and our target is to collect all seven match points which will then place ourselves in a good position to make the final. Like us, the Mildenhall team contains riders with Elite League experience, but I am confident that we will rise to the occasion. Oliver Greenwood is a big loss to the team but I am pleased that Steven Worrall has agreed to guest for us. He is having a fabulous season racing in all three leagues and I know that Steve will fit in well as he rides in the same Cradley team as Tom Perry and Max Clegg” commented the Lion Cubs Team Manager David Howard.
The Tigers strengthened their league position by completing the double over the Kent Kings in the National Trophy and on Monday the Lion Cubs also need to come away from Sittingbourne with a win. The Kings are led by the one-time Leicester rider Simon Lambert and Ben Morley who also doubles up in the Elite League with the Lakeside Hammers. “Whilst Kent have yet to gain a match point in this competition, their league form is much better and we will not be taking them for granted. Whilst we welcome Oliver Greenwood back in to the side we lose James Sarjeant who has picked up a guest booking in the Premier League for Sheffield on Monday. Leicester’s senior team receive huge support away from home and it would be great to see our fans on the Central Park Stadium terraces on Monday for what will be a new venue to most people and another vital fixture” added Howard.
The racing on Sunday at the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium gets underway at 4.00 pm and prices have been set at: adults £10, children 10 to under 16 £2.50 and under 10’s free.
Sunday 27th July
Leicester: 1. Steven Worrall, 2. Dan Greenwood, 3. Max Clegg, 4. Tom Perry, 5. James Sarjeant, 6. Sam Chapman and 7. Tom Woolley
Mildenhall: 1. Daniel Halsey, 2. Rider Replacement, 3. Connor Coles, 4. Brendan Johnson, 5. Joe Jacobs, 6. Jack Kingston and 7. Connor Mountain
Monday 28th July
Kent: 1. Ben Morley, 2. Aaron Baseby, 3. David Mason, 4. Benji Compton, 5. Simon Lambert, 6. Jason Garrad and 7. Danny Ayres
Leicester: 1. Oliver Greenwood, 2. Dan Greenwood, 3. Tom Perry, 4. Max Clegg, 5. Rider Replacement, 6. Sam Chapman and 7. Tom Woolley
Leicester’s new found home form will be severely tested on Saturday when the Lakeside Hammers visit the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium. The visitors are currently third in the Elite League table and have maintained a settled septet since the start of the season. Their only change to their team occurred last week when Peter Karlsson was released to make way for Kim Nilsson to return to the club after a short spell riding for Eastbourne last season.
The team have shown consistent form which has helped Lakeside remain one of the forerunners for a place in the play-offs and possibly their best finish since 2008. Their strength has been at home where the Hammers have lost just once when the Elite League leaders King’s Lynn lowered their colours but they gained a measure of revenge when they temporarily halted the Stars run of a record fourteen consecutive wins in the ‘B’ fixture at the Arena Essex Raceway. Away from home Lakeside have won at Birmingham and drawn at Belle Vue but need additional points on their travels to make sure they remain play-off contenders.
On their last visit to Leicester the Hammers felt aggrieved that a decision to withdraw their reserve Adam Ellis from the meeting may have caused them to lose a match point. The flashpoint arose when Ellis crashed and in the opinion of the medical practitioner the Lakeside teenage reserve was not fit to continue much to the annoyance of the rider and his team manager. Leicester went on to win the match by 48 points to 41.
Leicester have a doubt over the fitness of Josh Bates who injured his hand during the win against Eastbourne on Monday and have the Coventry rider James Sarjeant on standby. The visitors are without Mikkel Bech whose sparkling performance at Leicester in May earned the talented Danish teenager the highest step on the rostrum in the World Under-21 Championship qualifier and his place will be filled by the King’s Lynn captain Rory Schlein.
“There are no easy matches in the Elite League and this one will be a stern test for us. Our home form has shown a marked improvement and it is in meetings like this that you gauge just how far we have come as a team. Lakeside know that they need at least another away win to boost their points tally and our goal is at the very least to remain unbeaten in the ‘B’ fixtures at home. We have started well by beating Belle Vue and Eastbourne on their return visits to Leicester and it will be a great boost to our confidence if we can add Lakeside to the list” said the Lions Team Manager Norrie Allan.
Leicester: 1. Jason Doyle, 2. Simon Stead, 3. Mads Korneliussen, 4. Nicolai Klindt, 5. Krzysztof Buczkowski, 6. Max Clegg and 7. Josh Bates
Lakeside: 1. Davey Watt, 2. Richard Lawson, 3. Lewis Bridger, 4. Kim Nilsson, 5. Rory Schlein, 6. Ben Morley and 7. Adam Ellis
Leicester face two back-to-back fixtures in mid-week with first of all a trip to King’s Lynn on Wednesday. The Stars are in an almost uncatchable position in the Elite League table with a twenty point lead over the second placed club, the Lakeside Hammers, who are the visitors to the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium on Saturday. Only two clubs, the defending champions Poole and Swindon, have managed to come away from the Norfolk Arena with their reputations intact so far this season. Leicester’s last visit to King’s Lynn in April ended with a 53-43 points defeat but the Rapid Solicitors Lions have a much changed line-up since that match with the arrival of Krzysztof Buczkowski, Nicolai Klindt and Josh Bates.
“We did not get off to the best of starts at their place and were 22-8 down after five races. After that we scored more points than they did but those first five races where to prove costly and our downfall. I felt that had Jason Doyle not been off a 15 metre handicap in Heat 11 following a tapes infringement we could have ended the meeting much closer than we did. Whilst King’s Lynn are currently the best team in the league we go there with three riders who know the track well. Mads Korneliussen and Simon Stead are former King’s Lynn riders and so too is Klindt who had a short spell at the club last year and maybe, just maybe, we can give the Stars a closer match this time” commented the Lions Team Manager, Norrie Allan.
Leicester make one change to the team after last night’s win against Eastbourne as Josh Bates took a knock to his hand during the meeting and is replaced by the former Lions rider Simon Lambert.
King’s Lynn: 1. Niels-Kristian Iversen, 2. Nicklas Porsing, 3. Rory Schlein, 4. Robert Lambert, 5. Kenneth Bjerre, 6. Lewis Kerr and 7. Lewis Rose
Leicester: 1. Jason Doyle, 2. Simon Stead, 3. Mads Korneliussen, 4.Nicolai Klindt, 5. Krzysztof Buczkowski, 6. Max Clegg and 7. Simon Lambert
Twenty-four hours later the Lions travel to Wiltshire to race against the Swindon Robins without Simon Stead and Josh Bates who are needed by Sheffield, their Premier League club, who have a home fixture against Newcastle. Leicester have named Sam Masters as Stead’s replacement and he will partner Jason Doyle at number one. “Jason Doyle and Sam both rode together for Somerset a while back so they are fully in tune with how and where each other like to ride the track so it was sensible that they are our opening pairing at Swindon. We will also include James Sarjeant as a guest to cover for Josh” explained Allan.
Leicester’s last visit to Swindon ended with an eight points defeat and it came at a time when the club was going through a period of injuries. The Lions team that took to the track that night included three guest riders. “We came close to a result against Swindon and were only two points adrift after ten races and even going into the last heat we were in with a chance of a consolation bonus match point. It is a shame that we go there without Simon and Josh who are riding very well but even so I am expecting us to give a better account of ourselves this time around” added Allan.
Swindon: 1. Peter Kildemand, 2. Dakota North, 3. Nick Morris, 4. Simon Gustafsson, 5. Troy Batchelor, 6. Nathan Greaves and 7. Steven Worrall
Leicester: 1. Jason Doyle, 2. Sam Masters, 3. Mads Korneliussen, 4. Nicolai Klindt, 5. Krzysztof Buczkowski, 6. Max Clegg and 7. James Sarjeant
Speedway comes under the spotlight on Monday when the first ever televised live meeting takes place at the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium. The Leicester Lions are in action against the Eastbourne Eagles in what is an historic occasion for the club who stepped up into the Elite League this year. “We have been looking forward to this fixture since the decision was made to film the meeting. The Sky Sports production team do such a good job in presenting speedway to a worldwide audience and of course the television exposure will help to promote Leicester as a destination” commented the Lions Promoter David Hemsley.
Eastbourne, who last won the league championship fourteen years ago, are heading for their best finish since 2011 as the team have worked their way into the play-off zone on the back of a robust home record. When the two teams last met at Leicester in April it was the Rapid Solicitors Lions who came out on top with a 49 points to 41 win. Whilst the visitors have remained faithful to the same seven riders that began the season the Lions have made three changes to their side. “A team makeover takes time to come to fruition which of course was partly forced upon us by the decision of Peter Ljung and Patrick Hougaard to leave British Speedway. I believe that we have now reached a position of where we want to be in terms of the side and as long as we stay clear of injuries then we can look forward to an improvement in results in the second half of the season. Last week’s match against Belle Vue was high in entertainment and I am expecting Monday’s match to be just as absorbing. Eastbourne are a top side with a number of quality riders in their midst and I feel that we are as equally competitive now” added Hemsley.
Admission prices for Monday’s Elite League clash between Leicester and Eastbourne in front of the television cameras have been reduced to £10 for adults, £5 for children aged between ten and fifteen and £20 for a family ticket comprising of two adults and up to two children as a way of thanking fans for their continued support of the club and an incentive for people who have never watched a speedway meeting before to come along to see what the sport is all about.
Leicester: 1. Jason Doyle, 2. Simon Stead, 3. Mads Korneliussen, 4. Nicolai Klindt, 5. Krzysztof Buczkowski, 6. Josh Bates and 7. Max Clegg
Eastbourne: 1. Bjarne Pedersen, 2. Timo Lahti, 3. Joonas Kylmakorpi, 4. Cameron Woodward, 5. Mikkel Michelsen, 6. Lewis Blackbird and 7. Daniel Halsey
Leicester welcomes back Mads Korneliussen, Jason Doyle and Nicolai Klindt for their Elite League fixture against the Belle Vue Aces at the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium on Saturday. All three missed the team’s last match at home to Swindon which coincided with a qualifying round of the Grand Prix competition in Poland.
It will be the first occasion since Leicester faced the Lakeside Hammers on 12th April that the club has not had to rely on guest riders for a home fixture and Nicolai Klindt makes his home debut after signing for the Rapid Solicitors Lions last month. Whilst Promoter David Hemsley was looking forward to a settled period following a spate of injuries it has been an uncertain few days for the club following news that the Lions match at Birmingham on Wednesday had been cancelled.
As the West Midlands club were due to race in the return fixture at Leicester on Saturday it moved Hemsley to have a contingency plan in place should the Brummies’ be unable to fulfil their commitment as David explains: “Following the cancellation of our fixture at Perry Barr last Wednesday that did cast a large doubt over the return match at our stadium. So we had to have some sort of contingency plan should the worse come to the worse whilst we awaited official news from the British Speedway Promoters’ Association as to the situation. So knowing that Belle Vue wanted to re-arrange the fixture scheduled for 14th August at Leicester we began a dialogue with them and the outcome was an agreement for the Aces to replace Birmingham. We have to thank Belle Vue for being prepared to step in at such a late stage and also their riders who no doubt had to re-arrange their diaries to be here.”
Whilst Leicester are back to full strength the date switch has left Belle Vue without Matej Zagar who is committed to riding for Slovenia in a qualifying round of the World Team Cup. In his place the Aces Team Manager has recruited Coventry’s Chris Harris as a replacement. The Grand Prix rider has already ridden twice at Leicester and both times he finished on the winning side. “It is an astute move by Belle Vue who no doubt have studied riders form at Leicester before choosing Zagar’s replacement and Harris fits the bill perfectly” commented Hemsley.
At reserve the visitors have been forced into two further changes as Stefan Nielsen is unfit following a crash three weeks ago and Lee Payne is required by his National League club, Stoke Potters. In their place Belle Vue have gone for a similar policy of horses for courses and include two of the Lion Cubs team members, Dan Greenwood and Tom Perry, who lost his place in the senior side last month, but has continued to captain the juniors.
When the two clubs last met at Leicester in early May the Lions came out on top by 50 points to 43 and so far it has been a imbalanced season for Belle Vue who have only ridden six matches at home but have completed twelve on their travels. As a result the club currently sit eighth in the Elite League table and whilst their home form is impressive having won five matches by the maximum three points with Lakeside the only team so far to leave the Greyhound Stadium with a point the Aces have yet to win away from home.
Leicester: 1. Jason Doyle, 2. Simon Stead, 3. Mads Korneliussen, 4. Nicolai Klindt, 5. Krzysztof Buczkowski, 6. Josh Bates and 7. Max Clegg
Belle Vue: 1. Chris Harris, 2. Richie Worrall, 3. Scott Nicholls, 4. Michael Palm Toft, 5. Craig Cook, 6. Dan Greenwood and 7. Tom Perry
Please note a fixture change at Leicester on Saturday. The Rapid Solicitors Lions were due to host the visit of Birmingham and now Leicester will race against the Belle Vue Aces instead with the meeting starting at the usual time of 7.30 pm. The Aces were originally scheduled to visit the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium on 14th August and the Leicester promotion would like to thank the Aces management for agreeing to bring forward this Elite League fixture.
The date of the National Trophy fixture between the Lion Cubs and Mildenhall at Leicester will now take place on Sunday 27th July with a start time of 4.00 pm. The meeting has been re-arranged due to the televised Leicester v Eastbourne Elite League match.
The Leicester Lion Cubs make the short journey along the A50 to Stoke on Sunday in what is a top of the table clash against the Potters. The Staffordshire club have accumulated eleven points from five matches and a win against Leicester will guarantee them a place in the final. The Lion Cubs are in second place after home wins against Kent and Stoke and have three matches in hand over their nearest rivals.
“Sunday’s fixture promises to be our toughest test so far. Stoke are on a real high and deserve to be top of the National Trophy table and have won three out of four matches in the league so far. With this momentum together with their home track advantage we will need to be on our very top form to stand a chance of taking anything from the match” explained the Lion Cubs team manager David Howard.
Stoke are surprising the pundits this year and have an experienced trio of heat leaders in Ben Wilson, Jon Armstrong and Ben Hopwood. Apart from a good run in the National Trophy and a promising start in the league this year the Potters tasted early success at the weekend when Wilson and Armstrong won the first major competition of the season after they beat the host club Mildenhall, Kent and Buxton in the National Pairs Final at the Suffolk track.
“This match has all the makings of a great encounter between the experience of the Stoke team and the exuberance of our top end so I am sure it will be an interesting contest between two very good sides. I am really pleased to be able to name our strongest top five, with Oliver Greenwood, Tom Perry and James Sarjeant all due to return following injury and any travelling Lion Cubs supporters could be in for some great entertainment as well as spurring on the team” enthused Howard.
Stoke: 1. Ben Wilson, 2. Chris Widman, 3. Ben Hopwood, 4. Lee Payne, 5. Jon Armstrong, 6. Rob Shuttleworth and 7. Adam Kirby
Leicester: 1. Oliver Greenwood, 2.Dan Greenwood, 3. Max Clegg, 4. Tom Perry, 5. James Sarjeant, 6. Sam Chapman and 7. Tom Woolley
The Swindon Robins are Saturday’s visitors to the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium but it will be a much changed line-up for both teams who are without certain key riders. The Robins have two of their seven riders unavailable because captain Troy Batchelor and Peter Kildemand are appearing at the Gorcian Stadium in Croatia where they are competing in a semi-final of the Grand Prix Challenge. The Wiltshire club have called upon the Lakeside rider Davey Watt to guest for them in place of Batchelor and have elected to cover for Kildemand’s absence by sharing his rides out amongst his team-mates.
Whilst Swindon are missing two riders, the Rapid Solicitors Lions are without three from the main body of the team as on the same day Mads Korneliussen, Jason Doyle and new signing Nikolai Klindt will be competing in the second semi-final of the Grand Prix Challenge qualifying competition at Czestochowa in Poland. The Polish track has happy memories for Klindt who was crowned the Under-19 European Champion there in 2007.
The seven highest scorers from each semi-final will progress to a final at Lonigo in Northern Italy and from there the prize for the top three riders is a place in next season’s Grand Prix competition. “It is unfortunate that both teams will be without star riders as we are both paying for their success in the competition. I am pleased with our trio of guests who have all shown good form at Leicester and I just hope that we have chosen wisely as we are in urgent need of a win” stated the Lions Team Manager Norrie Allan.
Leicester have named Eastbourne rider Bjarne Pedersen as the replacement for Doyle and Rory Schlein, who was joint top scorer for the Lions at Lakeside on Friday, will deputise for Korneliussen. At number four, Ashley Birks, will take the place of Klindt and he faces Swindon the team he rode for last season before picking up an injury.
Leicester: 1. Bjarne Pedersen, 2. Simon Stead, 3. Rory Schlein, 4. Ashley Birks, 5. Krzysztof Buczkowski, 6. Josh Bates and 7. Max Clegg
Swindon: 1. Rider Replacement, 2. Dakota North, 3. Nick Morris, 4. Simon Gustafsson, 5. Davey Watt, 6. Nathan Greaves and 7. Steven Worrall
Leicester travel to Poole on Wednesday looking to make up for their poor performance at Lakeside on Friday where the Rapid Solicitors Lions suffered their heaviest defeat of the season. It will be the first occasion since 14th April that the club has not had to rely upon guest riders to complete their team following the double signing of Krzysztof Buczkowski and Nicolai Klindt last week.
“Since April we have had to fall back on the use of sixteen guest riders to cover for injuries and whilst there will be occasions when we will have to dip back into the guest rider system due to fixture clashes I am hoping that we can now look forward to a more settled period” explained the Lions Team Manager Norrie Allan.
It will be a challenging baptism for the newcomers as Poole are the 2013 Elite League Champions and are currently in sixth place with matches in hand over the teams above them. The Pirates quest for a place in the top four received a setback last month as both Coventry and King’s Lynn came away from the Wimborne Road Stadium with the match points.
“We go there in the knowledge that two teams have already won at Poole this season so it is not beyond reasonableness to think that we can get something out of this match. Having a settled side makes all the difference to team spirit and having the same race partner cultivates understanding and confidence between each other whereas this has not been possible due to the necessity of employing guest riders for such a long period” added Allan.
Poole are led by the talented Australian Darcey Ward who is sixth in the Grand Prix standings after five rounds of the competition and he will be partnered by Edward Kennett who stands-in as a guest for the injured Josh Grajczonek.
Poole: 1. Darcy Ward, 2. Edward Kennett, 3. Przemyslaw Pawlicki, 4. Vaclav Milik, 5. Maciej Janowski, 6. Ben Hopwood and 7 Kyle Newman
Leicester: 1. Jason Doyle, 2. Simon Stead, 3. Mads Korneliussen, 4. Nicolai Klindt, 5. Krzysztof Buczkowski, 6. Josh Bates and 7. Max Clegg
On Friday the Rapid Solicitors Lions make their second visit to Lakeside this season and hoping to make a better start than in their previous meeting. Leicester were met with an opening salvo that ended with the team on the wrong end of a 14-4 score-line after three races.
“It was a dreadful start and in the end those ten points were the difference between the two teams because we actually matched the Hammers point for point in the remaining twelve heats so on Friday we have to ensure that we get off to a better start” stated the Lions Team Manager Norrie Allan.
Lakeside are presently occupying second place in the Elite League table and have only lost once at home this season when the Hammers were beaten in the top of the table clash against King’s Lynn last month. The Lions still have a facility in place to cover for the space created in the team following Patrick Hougaard’s decision to sever his contract with the club and will be tracking a guest at number five.
“We have booked Rory Schlein to ride for us on Friday and I am hoping that we will soon be in a position to resolve this situation of only having six contracted riders to represent Leicester” added Allan.
Lakeside: 1. Davey Watt, 2. Richard Lawson, 3. Mikkel Bech, 4. Lewis Bridger, 5. Peter Karlsson, 6. Ben Morley and 7. Adam Ellis
Leicester: 1. Jason Doyle, 2. Simon Stead, 3. Mads Korneliussen, 4. Lasse Bjerre, 5. Rory Schlein, 6. Max Clegg and 7. Josh Bates
After two wins out of two for the Leicester Lion Cubs in the National Trophy competition, the juniors head to the Central Park Stadium in Sittingbourne on Monday to race against the Kent Kings. The two teams last met in April at the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium when Leicester, after weathering early pressure from the visitors, went on to win comfortably by 57 points to 38.
“There are only four clubs in the National Trophy competition which means three home and three away fixtures to decide the two finalists so there is hardly any room for mistakes and although Kent have yet to pick up a point from three matches the meeting down there will be far from easy. They have a good home track advantage which we need to master and if we can gain some success in the early heats that will build confidence and hopefully we will then come away with the match points” explained the Lion Cubs Junior Team Manager David Howard.
Kent are without Ben Morley for the fixture and have named the Stoke rider Ben Hopwood as a guest in his place, whilst the Cubs, jubilant from winning at home on Sunday against Stoke welcome back James Sarjeant and Tom Perry from injury. Oliver Greenwood who recently broke his collar-bone is replaced by Nathan Greaves who stepped in as a guest for the Cubs and scored thirteen points against Stoke.
Kent: 1. Ben Hopwood, 2. Aaron Baseby, 3. David Mason, 4. Luke Chessell, 5. Simon Lambert, 6. Luke Harris and 7. Danny Ayres
Leicester: 1. Nathan Greaves, 2. Dan Greenwood, 3. Tom Perry, 4. Max Clegg, 5. James Sarjeant, 6. Tom Woolley and 7. James Shanes
Leicester hosts the current leaders of the Elite League, the King’s Lynn Stars at the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium on Saturday without their number one rider and talisman Jason Doyle. Whilst the Lions are hoping to become only the second team this season to beat the visitors, Doyle will be bidding for a place in next season’s Grand Prix series at Berwick.
“Jason has a great opportunity to secure a place in next season’s Grand Prix series and we as a club would not wish to stand in his way. It is every rider’s ambition when they start out in the sport to reach the top of their chosen profession and to represent your country in a World Championship competition. Jason in my view is close to realising his dream of rubbing shoulders with the very best and already this season we have seen him beat some of those currently competing in the Grand Prix so he knows that he has the ability to make an impression if he qualifies from the meeting at Berwick on Saturday” explained the Lions team manager Norrie Allan.
In Doyle’s place the Rapid Solicitors Lions will book in a guest rider and King’s Lynn are also missing two riders from the team that has taken them to the top of the Elite League table. Kenneth Bjerre is competing in the same meeting as Doyle at Berwick and Robert Lambert is representing Team GB in a semi-final of the Speedway World Under-21 Team Championship at the Teterow stadium in Germany. The visitors have booked Sam Masters as a guest for Lambert and team manager Rob Lyon has opted to cover for Bjerre’s absence with rider replacement. The big draw-card on Saturday is the appearance of Niels-Kristian Iversen, ranked the third best rider in World Speedway who currently has the highest race average in the Elite League.
“King’s Lynn will present us with an almighty challenge as they are the in-form team of the moment and deserve their lofty position as leaders of the Elite League. Bjerre will be a loss to the team as he is second in their averages but they have enough cover throughout the side to step into his shoes. We have booked in Coventry’s Kenneth Hansen to replace Patrick Hougaard and I am in the process of engaging a guest rider for Jason Doyle. I believe that rider for rider we are a match for them in the main body of the team and the key will be at reserve where they have two of the best pairings in the league on current form so whichever team scores the most in heats 2 and 9 may well be the difference between winning and losing this match” added Allan.
Leicester: 1. Guest, 2. Simon Stead, 3. Mads Korneliussen, 4. Lasse Bjerre, 5. Kenneth Hansen, 6. Josh Bates and 7. Max Clegg
King’s Lynn: 1. Niels-Kristian Iversen, 2. Nicklas Porsing, 3. Rory Schlein, 4. Sam Masters, 5. Rider Replacement, 6. Lewis Kerr and 7. Lewis Rose
Leicester travel to Swindon on Thursday for their re-arranged Elite League match against the Robins after the original fixture that was due to take place on 22nd May was postponed because of a waterlogged track. With Simon Stead riding on the same night for his Premier League club, Leicester have engaged Sam Masters as a guest and the club will cover for Hougaard with either a guest rider or they will share out his four rides between his team members. Swindon sit one place above Leicester in the Elite League table and with three former riders in the Lions line-up there is an optimism of a close result. “Jason, Mads and Lasse have had plenty of laps of the Swindon track so we are hoping that their knowledge will give us a boost” added Hemsley.
Swindon: 1. Peter Kildemand, 2. Simon Gustafsson, 3. Nicolai Klindt (Guest), 4. Dakota North, 5. Troy Batchelor, 6. Nathan Greaves and 7. Steven Worrall
Leicester: 1. Jason Doyle, 2. Sam Masters (Guest), 3. Mads Korneliussen, 4. Lasse Bjerre, 5. Guest or Rider Replacement, 6. Max Clegg and 7. Tom Perry
Leicester go to Wolverhampton on Monday still searching for that first elusive away win in the Elite League. The Rapid Solicitors Lions have one away match point so far from five fixtures and are looking to add to that figure against the Wolves.
The teams last met at Leicester in March and Wolverhampton edged a win in the very last race of the meeting. Since then the Wolves have lost each of their last five away fixtures with only a bonus consolation match point gleaned at Birmingham to show for their efforts. At home both Poole and Belle Vue left the Monmore Green Stadium with a draw and the west Midlands club have dropped points against Lakeside, King’s Lynn and Coventry. Wolverhampton will be buoyed by the performance of their captain and current World Champion Tai Woffinden who is now joint leader in the Grand Prix series after his win in Prague on Saturday.
“Wolverhampton are a quality side but have not fully found their top form at home so far which is a mystery really and that has to be to our advantage. I was looking for both Tom Perry and Max Clegg to give the team a big performance as they both ride for Cradley whose home track is at Wolverhampton but this has been partly scuppered by the fact that we will now be without Tom again for a short while” explained the Lions Team Manager Norrie Allan.
Perry has been missing from Leicester’s team since breaking his collar-bone last month and had a fitness test on Saturday with the intention that if all went well he would lead the Lion Cubs out against Stoke yesterday in a National Trophy fixture but the practice ended in disappointment as he fell and injured muscles in his shoulder which now rules him out of the team again.
With Perry back on the injured list and Patrick Hougaard still missing following a broken thumb sustained at Coventry in April, Rory Schlein who guested for Leicester at Eastbourne on Saturday continues at number five in the team against the Wolves. “Rory did a great job for us at Eastbourne and finished joint second top scorer but our preparation was disrupted a little when I had to make a last minute change to the side following the injury to James Sarjeant whilst riding for Coventry on Thursday. Sarjeant was deputising for Perry and because he was unfit to race we asked Marc Owen to ride for us. The King’s Lynn lad had rotten luck and was unable to show us what he could do as both of his bikes broke down” explained Allan.
Wolverhampton: 1. Tai Woffinden, 2. Jacob Thorssell, 3. Ricky Wells, 4. Ty Proctor, 5. Piotr Pawlicki, 6. Joe Jacobs and 7. Ashley Morris
Leicester: 1. Jason Doyle, 2. Simon Stead, 3. Mads Korneliussen, 4. Lasse Bjerre, 5. Rory Schlein, 6. Max Clegg and at 7. Guest for Tom Perry
Leicester Lion Cubs make two late changes to the team to face the Stoke Potters tomorrow in the National Trophy fixture at the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium.
Dan Greenwood now returns to the team following his release from Newcastle earlier this week and with James Sarjeant unavailable due to injury following a crash whilst riding for Coventry at King’s Lynn on Thursday the Cubs will cover for his absence at number five by sharing his rides out under the rider replacement rule.
The meeting on Sunday starts at the earlier time of 4.00 pm and will be followed by a Midland Development League fixture between the Long Eaton Invaders and Stoke Spitfires.
Leicester: 1. Marc Owen, 2. Dan Greenwood, 3. Tom Perry, 4. Max Clegg, 5. Rider Replacement, 6. Tom Woolley and 7. Adam Kirby
With no home meeting on Saturday as Leicester are racing away at Eastbourne, this weekend sees the Lion Cubs back in action against the Stoke Potters in a National Trophy fixture at the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium on Sunday.
The competition involves four clubs; Leicester, Stoke, Mildenhall and Kent who will ride against each other home and away with the top two teams progressing through to a Grand Final to determine the winners. The Lion Cubs began with a convincing home win against Kent by 57 points to 38 in April and on Sunday they meet Stoke one of the surprise teams of the National League so far this season. The Potters lead the National Trophy table with seven points from three matches after completing the double over the Kent Kings whilst Leicester are currently in second place with two matches in hand over the visitors.
“Stoke have really jelled as a team this season and if we can replicate the same spirit and desire as we did during the match against Kent we will be competitive. The Potters are a strong side with a lot of experience at the top end. Ben Wilson has ridden extensively in the Premier League and Jon Armstrong is a consistent performer at this level. Their third heat leader is Ben Hopwood and he has recently gained a place in the Elite League with Poole” outlined the Lion Cubs Team Manager, David Howard.
The visitor’s run of good results can be pinpointed to the form of Chris Widman who was snapped up by Stoke after Isle of Wight, the club he rode for in 2013, folded during the winter. Widman, who lives in Leicestershire, has been a match winner for the Staffordshire club and will pose a threat to Leicester.
The Lion Cubs make three changes to the team that beat Kent in April with the Greenwood’s Oliver and Dan together with James Shanes unavailable for Sunday’s fixture as Howard explains: “Since our last match Dan Greenwood has secured a team place at Newcastle and as they are also riding on Sunday that ruled him out of my plans. I have known for some time that Oliver would not be able to race for us against Stoke so I have opted to utilise rider replacement to cover for his absence and have Marc Owen who rides for King’s Lynn replacing Dan. At reserve James Shanes has a prior Grass-track commitment so Michael Neale gets his chance to shine at National League level.”
Tom Perry, who broke his collar-bone last month, is close to returning and will have a practice on Saturday and if he comes through the fitness test then he will race against Stoke on Sunday before returning to the Lions senior team for their Elite League fixture at Wolverhampton on Monday.
Leicester Lion Cubs: 1. Rider Replacement (for Oliver Greenwood), 2. Marc Owen, 3. Tom Perry, 4. Max Clegg, 5. James Sarjeant, 6. Tom Woolley and 7. Michael Neale
Stoke Potters: 1. Ben Wilson, 2. Chris Widman, 3. Ben Hopwood, 4. Lee Payne, 5. Jon Armstrong, 6. Rob Shuttleworth and 7. James McBain
Leicester make their second visit of the season to Eastbourne on Saturday in search of Elite League points. The Rapid Solicitors Lions forged into an early lead during the ‘A’ fixture in April and although the Eagles eventually gained the upper hand the score-line of 52-37 to the home side was not a true reflection of well Leicester rode.
Since then Eastbourne have continued to maintain an unbeaten home record and have been unscathed by injuries which have disrupted Leicester’s team with the loss of Peter Ljung, Patrick Hougaard and Tom Perry at various times. With Ljung replaced by Lasse Bjerre, the Lions are still without Perry and Hougaard and in the meantime they continue to cover for their absent riders by the use of guests. King’s Lynn’s captain Rory Schlein takes the place of Hougaard and the former Leicester rider now at Coventry, James Sarjeant will deputise for Perry at Eastbourne.
“It is not an ideal situation we are in and whilst our guests have not let us down it is difficult to generate team spirit when the side is forever changing from match to match. Eastbourne never gives much away on their home track and therefore we need everyone to contribute points. We pushed them hard at their place in April and with Rory and James in the side I believe that it will be another close contest again” explained the Lions Team Manager Norrie Allan.
The Leicester team have not been together since their win against Belle Vue on 3rd May as the three subsequent fixtures against Swindon away, Birmingham and Poole at home during the Bank Holiday weekend were postponed due to the weather. After the Lions face Eastbourne on Saturday they have two more away fixtures in close succession at Wolverhampton on Monday and the re-arranged fixture at Swindon on Thursday 5th June.
Eastbourne: 1. Bjarne Pedersen, 2. Timo Lahti, 3. Joonas Kylmakorpi, 4.Cameron Woodward, 5. Mikkel Michelsen, 6. Lewis Blackbird and 7. Daniel Halsey.
Leicester: 1. Jason Doyle, 2. Simon Stead, 3. Mads Korneliussen, 4. Lasse Bjerre, 5. Rory Schlein, 6. James Sarjeant and 7. Max Clegg
The news story released yesterday that the postponed Leicester v Birmingham Elite League fixture on Saturday at the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium had been re-arranged for Friday 30th May has now been cancelled.
“We have to operate a full stadium safety certificate to satisfy our local authority and as a result we have to have a fixed number of stewards in place to be able to open the stadium gates and at this short notice the volunteers who provide this service are simply not available in sufficient numbers to allow us to open the stadium” explained the Lions Promoter David Hemsley.
“I would like to place on record the co-operation and understanding of the Birmingham Promoter Alan Phillips and as soon as we have a new re-staging date the information will be posted on the club’s website” added Hemsley.
Meanwhile the Rapid Solicitors Lions are in action tomorrow, Bank Holiday Monday, against the Poole Pirates who are led by the talented and exciting Australian Darcy Ward. The first race gets underway at the earlier time of 3.00 pm against the 2013 Elite League Champions.
The Leicester Lions enters this Bank Holiday weekend with two Elite League fixtures in three days at the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium. On Saturday the Rapid Solicitors Lions race against the Birmingham Brummies’ in what is a crucial fixture for both teams. Last season the West Midlands club finished top of the Elite League table but lost to Poole Pirates in the play-off final. Four of the team that carried the club to within a whisker of the championship title have since moved on but results wise, Birmingham have not been able to reproduce the same form and are currently propping up the table. With Leicester sitting one place above them neither club will want to reach the end of heat fifteen empty handed.
“This is a must win for us and I am pleased that we have Simon Stead back who missed the win against Belle Vue and the away trip to Swindon on Thursday due to fixture clashes with Sheffield his Premier League club. Lasse Bjerre makes his home debut and he is in the form of his life at Peterborough and knows every inch of the Leicester track so I am sure that he will turn out to be a good replacement for Peter Ljung. Of course we are still missing Patrick Hougaard and for now we are covering for his absence with a guest” explained Lions Team Manager, Norrie Allan.
Chris Harris, the former Birmingham rider now at Coventry will stand in at number five for Hougaard and Tom Perry, who broke his collarbone is replaced by Oliver Greenwood who went so well for Peterborough in a pre-season friendly at Leicester in March and was also amongst the points when he rode for the Lion Cubs against the Kent Kings in the National Trophy a month later.
Birmingham too have injury worries having lost Adam Skornicki following a crash in the home fixture against King’s Lynn last week and they will be including a guest rider for the Polish International at number one in the team on Saturday.
Leicester: 1. Jason Doyle, 2. Simon Stead, 3. Mads Korneliussen, 4. Lasse Bjerre, 5. Chris Harris, 6. Oliver Greenwood and 7. Max Clegg
Birmingham: 1. Guest rider 2. Daniel Nermark, 3. Danny King, 4. Nicolas Covatti, 5. Ben Barker, 6. Paul Starke and 7. Simon Lambert
On Bank Holiday Monday Leicester face Poole Pirates, the 2013 Elite League Champions, which added a fifth title success in eleven seasons to their list of achievements. Team wise, their recent concern has been over the fitness of their talisman Darcy Ward who sustained a broken thumb whilst competing in the opening round of the Speedway Grand Prix in Auckland, New Zealand. Darcy’s absence has been covered by the temporary return of another Poole icon the 2012 World Champion Chris Holder but Ward is now back in the team and will make his first appearance at Leicester on Monday.
“They don’t come any tougher than Poole who have been a model of consistency over the last two decades and have a bulging trophy cabinet to prove it. Whilst the Pirates are at full strength we are without Lasse Bjerre who is riding for Peterborough on Monday and so Sam Masters is standing in for our latest signing. At number five we have the King’s Lynn Captain Rory Schlein as a guest in place of Patrick Hougaard and at reserve Josh Bates is covering for Tom Perry” stated Norrie Allan.
Bates, who is the British Under-21 Champion, gave an impressive performance in the World Under-21 Championship event at Leicester earlier this month. Had he not fallen when placed second in his opening heat the teenager who rides for Sheffield in the Premier League would have qualified for the final.
“With five of the seven Poole riders having never ridden the Leicester track I am hoping that we can get some early points on the board whilst they are figuring out the best way to ride the circuit” added Allan.
The Monday Bank Holiday meeting against Poole starts at the earlier time of 3.00pm.
Leicester: 1. Jason Doyle, 2. Sam Masters, 3. Mads Korneliussen, 4. Simon Stead, 5. Rory Schlein, 6. Josh Bates and 7. Max Clegg
Poole: 1. Darcy Ward, 2. Josh Grajczonek, 3. Przemyslaw Pawlicki, 4. Vaclav Milik, 5. Maciej Janowski, 6. Kyle Newman and 7. Ben Hopwood
After a break of nearly three weeks since Leicester were last in action the team travel to Swindon on Thursday for an Elite League fixture against the Robins who are currently one place above the Lions in the table. The composition of the main body of the side is a replica of the Leicester team that beat Belle Vue at the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium at the beginning of the month.
“We are without Simon Stead who is racing for his Premier League club the Sheffield Tigers in the cup against Berwick so I have asked Sam Masters to guest for us. Sam did a great job against Belle Vue and ended the night with seven points. I have partnered him with Jason Doyle as the two know each other’s style of riding from their days together at Somerset. We are still without Patrick Hougaard following his crash in the Midlands derby fixture at Coventry so we have asked Ben Barker to help us out again. Ben gained three vital third places against the Aces and I know that whichever team he is riding for he gives you one hundred per cent commitment. At reserve, Tom Perry is still a little way off returning to the team after breaking his collar-bone so Simon Lambert will fill in at Swindon” explained the Lions Team Manager Norrie Allan.
Two defeats at home this season have masked the quality of the Robins team who came close to achieving a shock win at King’s Lynn last week, only to lose by a six point margin. “We are not fooled by where Swindon sit in the league table and will give them every respect but we are going there with the intention of at least picking up a point and have Jason Doyle and Mads Korneliussen who have ridden for Swindon in the past so we have some experience in the side” added Allan.
The Rapid Solicitors Lions welcome back Lasse Bjerre for this fixture after the Dane signed for the club following his successful negotiation of the World Under-21 Championship qualifier at Leicester. Bjerre finished third in the meeting after a run-off with the Wolverhampton rider Jacob Thorssell which guaranteed the Dane a safe passage through to the final. Allan said: “Lasse is a great favourite with Lions fans following his two seasons with the club and it was disappointing that we could not fit him in from the very beginning of the season but both David (Hemsley) and I have kept a watchful eye on his performances for Peterborough in the Premier League and have been impressed with his scores.”
Swindon: 1. Peter Kildemand, 2. Simon Gustafsson, 3. Nick Morris, 4. Dakota North, 5. Troy Batchelor, 6. Nathan Greaves and 7. Steven Worrall
Leicester: 1. Jason Doyle, 2. Sam Masters, 3. Mads Korneliussen, 4. Lasse Bjerre, 5. Ben Barker, 6. Max Clegg and 7. Simon Lambert
The future of British Speedway is on show at the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium on Saturday when riders from all parts of the country compete in Round 2 of the British Youth Championship. The competition is open to any British rider under the age of sixteen and the series which began at Scunthorpe in March is set to run throughout the season. After the Leicester staging there are further rounds at Northside, Eastbourne, Rye House and Redcar.
There are four classes catered for starting with the 125cc sized engines and moving up to 150cc, 250cc and finally 500cc. With forty-one riders entered, the 2014 round at Leicester on Saturday is going to be the biggest to date since its inception. There will be plenty of interest for Lions fans as their three mascots, Luke Whitehead and the Thompson twins, Dan and Joe, will be competing on Saturday. In the opening round at Scunthorpe Dan Thompson fared the best with fourth place in the final of the 125cc section.
“The competition is seen to be the stepping stone into National League racing and the sport is indebted to Neil Vatcher and Phil Morris, the Team GB Under-21 Managers who give up a great deal of their personal time to ensure the smooth running of this event. This will be our third season of hosting a round and we are only too pleased to play a small part in the development of young British riders at grass roots level” explained the Lions Promoter David Hemsley.
With 45 races on the programme the meeting will start at the earlier time of 6.30 pm on Saturday.
Leicester’s Elite League fixture at Birmingham on 28th May has been rearranged and will now take place on Wednesday 27th August at Perry Barr.
World Championship Speedway action comes to Leicester on Saturday at the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium when some of the best young international riders will be competing for a place in the finals of the FIM World Under-21 Individual Championship competition later this season.
“Last season we hosted the British round of the FIM Flat-Track Cup and the delegates who were present that day recommended that Leicester Speedway be awarded a four year licence to run FIM international events. I am pleased to say that we received accreditation and during the winter we were awarded our first ever Speedway World Championship meeting. Clearly, this is another major milestone in the club’s recent history and we hope that it is just the first step along a path that leads to Leicester being considered for FIM World Championship meetings in the future” said the Lions Promoter David Hemsley.
The line-up includes the former Lions rider Lasse Bjerre who is likely to receive a great reception from Leicester fans as he was a firm favourite in the two years he rode for the club. The Dane is determined to make track knowledge count as he targets a place in the World Under-21 Final this weekend and takes his place in Saturday’s qualifier with his confidence high from a strong run of results for Peterborough and also with two years as a Lions rider in the Premier League behind him. Bjerre said: “I had some good times at Leicester and I know the track well. Hopefully that can work in my favour. I have the experience of riding it regularly plus I’ve also been to Leicester to watch a meeting this season so I should know what to expect. I will be so unhappy if I don’t get through because I know I am good enough to do it. I rode as a wild card in a couple of rounds last year, but I’ve never done the whole final. This is my last chance and it is really important to do it.”
Competition for a place in the final is likely to be hotly contested as in addition to Bjerre there are several known racers in the field. Namely the American Gino Manzares who is in his first season over here and already piling up the points for Ipswich; the Australian teenager Max Fricke who was a match winner as a guest for Coventry at Leicester last month; the high scoring Swede from Wolverhampton, Jacob Thorssell; the new British Under-21 Champion Josh Bates; Belle Vue’s Stefan Nielsen and Mikkel Bech the teenage star at Lakeside.
Admission prices for the event are as follows: Adults £15.00, Concessions £10.00 and Juniors £5.00 (children 11 and under free).
Full Line-up in draw order: 1. Stefan Nielsen (Great Britain), 2. Roman Cejka (Czech Republic), 3. Adrian Cyfer (Poland), 4. Nike Lunna (Finland), 5. Adrian Gala (Poland), 6. Mikkel Bech (Denmark), 7. Victor Palovaara (Sweden), 8. Gino Manzares (USA), 9. Dimitri Berge (France), 10. Lasse Bjerre (Denmark), 11. Max Fricke (Australia). 12. Eduard Krcmar (Czech Republic), 13. Jacob Thorssell (Sweden), 14. Sean Mason (New Zealand), 15. Josh Bates (Great Britain) and 16. Jiri Nieminen (Finland).
In speedway circles the Belle Vue Aces are known the world over and the Manchester club are this week’s visitors to the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium. Jason Attwood, the former Lions Team Manager, has named the same side that beat Poole on Monday. The current Elite League Champions were rocked by three consecutive maximum scores in a barn storming finish by the Aces who ended the match winners by 51 points to 39. The visitors have started the season with comprehensive home wins over Leicester, Wolverhampton and Poole and on the road they drew 45 points apiece at Wolverhampton last month.
Only Matej Zagar and Craig Cook remain from the 2013 team, as the Aces management have moved the pendulum from having just one British rider last year to currently five and with it a promising combination that is hoped will bring the good days back to the Manchester club.
Meanwhile, the Rapid Solicitors Lions Team Manager Norrie Allan has been scouring the list of eligible riders available to guest for the club on Saturday. With Peter Ljung still unfit from his crash at Leicester in the match against Eastbourne, Sam Masters, who deputised for him at King’s Lynn on Wednesday, keeps his place. With Simon Stead ruled out of the meeting due to a fixture clash with his Premier League club the Sheffield Tigers, Allan has engaged the former Lions rider Lasse Bjerre as his replacement and Birmingham’s Ben Barker comes into the side at number five to cover for the absence of Patrick Hougaard who broke a thumb last month.
“Our options have been limited for Saturday as there are so many fixtures with riders committed elsewhere. It is bad enough finding two replacements for Ljung and Hougaard but we have also had to contend with losing Simon Stead. Sheffield are at Berwick in the cup and whenever there is a fixture clash the Premier League club have priority over him but I believe that we have come up with the best possible guests available on the night” commented the Lions Team Manager, Norrie Allan.
Leicester: 1. Jason Doyle, 2. Sam Masters, 3. Mads Korneliussen, 4. Lasse Bjerre 5. Ben Barker 6. Tom Perry and 7. Max Clegg
Belle Vue: 1. Matej Zagar, 2. Michael Palm Toft, 3. Scott Nicholls, 4. Richie Worrall, 5. Craig Cook, 6. Stefan Nielsen and 7. Ben Reade
The Rapid Solicitors Leicester Lions face a stern test on Wednesday when they race against the King’s Lynn Stars at the Norfolk Arena. The hosts enter the meeting in confident mood having made a near perfect start to the season and living up to the pre-season forecasts as a team to be feared. Five wins from a possible six has placed the Stars in a bullish position of second in the Elite League table, just two points behind leaders the Lakeside Hammers but with three matches in hand.
At the helm of the team is their Grand Prix rider Niels-Kristian Iversen and he receives solid support from Kenneth Bjerre and Rory Schlein. “King’s Lynn went about their team building in a different way to Leicester. Whereas they have top end strength we went for a more even spread of scoring throughout the side. After our performance against Eastbourne at the weekend we will be approaching the match in a positive mood” stated the Lions Team Manager Norrie Allan.
Leicester make two changes to the team that won at the weekend. Ryan Fisher replaces Patrick Hougaard and Sam Masters will cover for Peter Ljung. “Patrick had an operation last week to fix his broken thumb sustained at Coventry and is likely to be missing for around six weeks and Peter also injured his hand in a crash against Eastbourne on Saturday. I have also switched the reserve pairing around with Max at six and Tom at seven for this match” added Allan.
King’s Lynn: 1. Niels-Kristian Iversen, 2. Nicklas Porsing, 3. Rory Schlein, 4. Robert Lambert, 5. Kenneth Bjerre, 6. Lewis Kerr and 7. Lewis Rose
Leicester: 1. Jason Doyle, 2. Sam Masters, 3. Mads Korneliussen, 4. Simon Stead, 5. Ryan Fisher, 6. Tom Perry and 7. Max Clegg
The Eastbourne Eagles are the visitors to Leicester on Saturday and Team Manager Norrie Allan is looking for his team to bounce back from the home reverse against Coventry last week. “The match point we picked up at Coventry was scrubbed out the following night in the return fixture at home when we let slip a six point lead. We were all deflated to say the least. I thought the night before was the beginning of a turn in fortune and if someone had said to me that Jason Doyle would go through the card unbeaten at home then I would have expected us to win. We are a much better team than that and nothing short of a win against Eastbourne, and by that I mean three match points in the bag, is needed to keep in touch with the in-form teams above us in the league table.”
With Patrick Hougaard ruled out of the fixture with a broken thumb sustained in a crash at Coventry, the Rapid Solicitors Lions have lined up Nick Morris as a guest on Saturday. The Australian is a renowned Leicester track specialist and he was the top scorer in the season opener in March at the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium for the Rest of the World side against Team GB. Eastbourne are also forced into one change as Lewis Blackbird is required by Peterborough, his Premier League club, and he has been replaced by a teammate of Morris’s at Swindon, Steven Worrall.
So far, this season has begun with the Eagles unbeaten at home having won all four matches but on their travels they have yet to open their account from two meetings but sit handily in fourth place in the Elite League table by virtue of their results at home. When the two sides last met earlier this month in Sussex, the Lions led during the early stages of the match and were still in contention with five heats remaining but the Eagles pulled away to win by 52 points to 37.
Leicester: 1. Jason Doyle, 2. Peter Ljung, 3. Mads Korneliussen, 4. Simon Stead, 5. Nick Morris, 6. Tom Perry and 7. Max Clegg
Eastbourne: 1. Bjarne Pedersen, 2. Timo Lahti, 3. Joonas Kylmakorpi, 4. Cameron Woodward, 5. Mikkel Michelsen, 6. Steven Worrall and 7. Daniel Halsey
Leicester have a double date with near neighbours the Coventry Bees this Easter Bank Holiday with first of all a trip to the Brandon Stadium on Friday. With three defeats on the road so far, the Rapid Solicitors Lions will be looking for an improved performance following their below par showing at Belle Vue on Monday when the team crashed to their worst result of the season so far.
“We showed real promise in our fixtures at Lakeside and Eastbourne but we just did not find our rhythm in Manchester. Not wishing to take anything away from Belle Vue whose 1-7 all delivered what was expected of them our Achilles heel was down to a lack of sharpness from the start-line. As a result we were forever in chase mode and it was hard going for our riders who were trying to find a racing line to make a difference” explained the Lions Promoter David Hemsley.
Leicester make one change to their line-up at Coventry as Simon Stead is required by Sheffield to race at Redcar on Friday. The club have booked Ricky Wells who will take Stead’s place at number four. Coventry meanwhile make one enforced change for the return match at the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium on Saturday as Kyle Howarth is unavailable because he is committed to riding for Workington, his Premier League club and he will be replaced by a guest.
The back-to-back fixtures brings together the first league meetings between the two clubs since the Lions disappeared in 1983 and the matches will evoke memories of bygone days when the local derby clashes were the highlight of the season for Leicester and Coventry supporters.
“We had a fantastic turnout of fans for the Midlands derby against Wolverhampton last month and I can foresee a similar attendance for the visit of Coventry. There is an air of excitement amongst our fans and I am sure that the same aura is being replicated by many Bees supporters who themselves remember the days when Coventry last met Leicester. With two former Lions riders Jason Garrity and James Sarjeant in their side and the spectacular Chris Harris leading out their team there is plenty of talking points for fans to look forward to” enthused Hemsley.
After a season of pain last year which saw Coventry finish rock bottom of the Elite League table, owner Mick Horton vowed that this year would be very different in terms of results and he was the first to announce the full team before anyone else. It was a case of out with the old and in with the new as the Bees totally re-engineered the make-up of the team which meant there were no survivors from 2013. Though, like Leicester, the Bees have made an indifferent start to the season having picked up match points at Swindon but then lost three consecutive matches, one of which was at home to King’s Lynn last week.
Team Line-ups at Coventry
Leicester: 1. Jason Doyle, 2. Peter Ljung, 3. Mads Korneliussen, 4. Ricky Wells (Guest), 5. Patrick Hougaard, 6. Tom Perry and 7. Max Clegg
Coventry: 1. Hans Andersen, 2. Ryan Fisher, 3. Kenneth Hansen, 4. Kyle Howarth, 5. Chris Harris, 6. Jason Garrity and 7. James Sarjeant
Team Line-ups at Leicester
Leicester: 1. Jason Doyle, 2. Peter Ljung, 3. Mads Korneliussen, 4. Simon Stead, 5. Patrick Hougaard, 6. Tom Perry and 7. Max Clegg
Coventry: 1. Hans Andersen, 2. Ryan Fisher, 3. Kenneth Hansen, 4. Guest replacement for Kyle Howarth, 5. Chris Harris, 6. Jason Garrity and 7. James Sarjeant
The Rapid Solicitors Lions are in action again on Monday at Belle Vue and with two former riders in the team they will be looking for their first league points away from home. “Both Patrick Hougaard and Simon Stead have ridden for the Aces during their careers so we go there with some knowledge of the Manchester track. We rode well at both Lakeside and Eastbourne without getting the breaks and I am confident that an away win is just around the corner. Belle Vue have not ridden at home yet so perhaps that may go in our favour to give us a little track advantage on the night” explained the Lions Team Manager Norrie Allan.
Belle Vue: 1. Matej Zagar, 2. Michael Palm Toft, 3. Scott Nicholls, 4. Richie Worrall, 5. Craig Cook, 6. Stefan Nielsen and 7. Ben Reade
Leicester: 1. Jason Doyle, 2. Peter Ljung, 3. Mads Korneliussen, 4. Simon Stead, 5. Patrick Hougaard, 6. Tom Perry and 7. Max Clegg
The Lakeside Hammers, Saturday’s visitors to the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium, were on course last season to make the play-off stage until the bottom fell out of their bid after negotiating their way into contention. Of their remaining seven fixtures, six were away from home so perhaps it was not surprising that they fell short in the final reckoning and added to that the Hammers lost Peter Karlsson to injury in a crash at King’s Lynn during this period.
The Lakeside management have retained four of last season’s team; Peter Karlsson, Davey Watt, Lewis Bridger and Richard Lawson with the only new face in the main body of the side being Mikkel Bech. The nineteen year old was a summer signing for Plymouth and the young Dane made an immediate impact, scoring a paid thirteen against Glasgow. It was thought that Mikkel was heading to Peterborough this year until the Panthers pulled out of the Elite League and in nipped Lakeside to secure his services. At reserve they have a talented teenager in Adam Ellis and this could be the year when his race partner Ben Morley ‘comes of age.’
The Hammers have begun the 2014 campaign with three wins out of three which includes the 52-42 victory over Leicester last Friday. Lakeside made a tremendous start to the meeting and were ten points ahead after three heats. Whilst the Lions matched the home side point for point from thereon the damage had already been done. Entering the final heat Leicester needed a 5-1 to gain a consolation match point and whilst Jason Doyle won the race Peter Karlsson and Davey Watt filled the minor places to deny the Lions a point.
“We recovered well from such a poor start which shows the character in the side and had we begun the match with a few more points on the board I am sure that we would not have left Essex empty handed. We applied ourselves much better at Eastbourne which was a tricky fixture in itself and made more difficult by light rain during most of the meeting which made the top surface slippery. We were still in contention after ten heats but then the Eagles were the better team over the last third. However, we are a new team that has to get used to one another but my impression is after taking into account the last three fixtures we are close to collecting our first league points of the season and hopefully it will be on Saturday night against Lakeside” commented the Lions Promoter David Hemsley.
Leicester: 1. Jason Doyle, 2. Peter Ljung, 3. Mads Korneliussen, 4. Simon Stead, 5. Patrick Hougaard, 6. Tom Perry and 7. Max Clegg
Lakeside: 1. Peter Karlsson, 2. Richard Lawson, 3. Davey Watt, 4. Mikkel Bech, 5. Lewis Bridger, 6. Ben Morley and 7. Adam Ellis
The teams for tomorrow’s Inter-League Challenge Match fixture at Peterborough are confirmed and it will bring together four of last season’s Lions team members with Kauko and Jan in opposition to Lasse and Lewis.
The meeting will start at 7.30 pm.
Peterborough: 1. Ryan Fisher, 2. Lewis Blackbird, 3. Ales Dryml. 4. Ulrich Ostergaard, 5. Lasse Bjerre, 6. Joe Jacobs and 7. Oliver Greenwood
Leicester: 1. Jason Doyle, 2. Jan Graversen, 3. Kauko Nieminen, 4. Simon Stead, 5. Patrick Hougaard, Max Clegg and Tom Perry
On Sunday Leicester venture into new territory when the Lion Cubs take on the Kent Kings in the National Trophy at the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium. During the winter the club accepted an invitation to enter a team in the competition which comprises of a mini league encompassing Leicester, Kent, Mildenhall and Stoke. Each team will race one another home and away with the top two teams meeting in a Grand Final to be staged over two legs to decide the winners.
“This is of course a new venture for the club and an exciting one at that as we are bringing National League racing to Leicester for the first time. We have appointed David Howard our Incident Recorder as Team Manager to oversee the project and he has come up with what I consider to be a competitive side and as close to a representative Leicester team as possible” commented the Lions Promoter David Hemsley.
The Kent Kings are a new club having been formed last season and are captained by the one-time Leicester rider Simon Lambert who rode for the Lions in 2012. The Kent management have built their team around the experience of Lambert, together with Ben Morley, who whilst only twenty years of age is starting his sixth season. David Mason is the oldest member of the team at thirty-seven and Benji Compton, a former Conference League Riders Champion, is in the main body of the side.
The Lion Cubs have constructed their team around the rising stars of the National League as Team Manager David Howard explains: “I am looking forward to the start of the National Trophy competition and we have a competitive well balanced team to entertain the fans. They all have experience of riding the Leicester track which hopefully gives us the opportunity of progressing through the group to the final. I have included our two young reserves from Leicester’s senior team, Tom Perry and Max Clegg, who will form a partnership. They both ride together for Dudley as well and I have replicated the same approach with the opening pairing of James Sarjeant, who was on Leicester’s books last season, and Dan Greenwood who rides in the same team as Sarjeant at Coventry. Continuing the Coventry theme, at five is Oliver Greenwood who I am pleased to say was a high performer the other week when he scored eight points for Peterborough at Leicester in the pre-season challenge. At six and seven are another two stars of the future who have shown plenty of promise whenever they have ridden the Leicester track.”
It promises to be an action packed Sunday as there are two added attractions as part of the programme which gets underway at 4.00 pm. Firstly, after the completion of the National Trophy fixture, there will be a Match Race between Simon Lambert, the current holder of the Bronze Helmet title, and one of the top three scorers in the Leicester team. Finally, the Long Eaton Invaders will race against the Rye House Raiders in their opening Midland Development League fixture of the season and the occasion will mark the debut of the Lions mascot Luke Whitehead who has been signed by the Derbyshire club.
Leicester Lion Cubs: 1. James Sarjeant, 2. Dan Greenwood, 3. Tom Perry, 4. Max Clegg, 5. Oliver Greenwood, 6. James Shanes and 7. Tom Woolley
Kent Kings: 1. Simon Lambert, 2. Luke Chessell, 3. Ben Morley, 4. Benji Compton, 5. David Mason, 6. Daniel Blake and 7. Luke Harris.
The Leicester team embarks upon a busy period of three matches in four days which begins on Friday with a trip to Lakeside for their opening away fixture in the Elite League. The Hammers began their 2014 Elite League Campaign with a 47-44 victory over the Swindon Robins, with the Essex based club giving full home debuts to Mikkel Bech and fast track reserves Adam Ellis and Ben Morley, all of whom scored heat wins.
The Lions have switched their reserves around for the fixture but kept the same pairings in the main body of the side. “I thought that the pairings worked well against Wolverhampton with the seniors outscoring their opposite numbers and once we get our reserves firing, as I know they can, the results will start to come. Compared to our track the Lakeside circuit is completely different in shape and size, being sixty-one metres shorter. Our top five have ridden there regularly so they will know just what’s required and of course Peter Ljung rode for Lakeside when he was last here in 2011, so his inside knowledge of how best to ride the track will be an advantage” explained the Rapid Solicitors Lions Team Manager Norrie Allan.
Lakeside: 1. Peter Karlsson, 2. Richard Lawson, 3. Davey Watt, 4. Mikkel Bech, 5. Lewis Bridger, 6. Ben Morley and 7. Adam Ellis
Leicester: 1. Jason Doyle, 2. Peter Ljung, 3. Mads Korneliussen, 4. Simon Stead, 5. Patrick Hougaard, 6. Max Clegg and 7. Tom Perry
Twenty-four hours later the team will move on to Eastbourne. Last year was a season of struggle that ended with the Eagles occupying eighth place in the Elite League table, their worst finish since 2006 but this year they have started on a high note with the demolition of Birmingham by 62 points to 30 at the weekend. Eastbourne have been forced into a team change already following an injury to Kim Nilsson earlier this year and as a result the Sussex club have recalled Timo Lahti as cover until the Swede is fit to return. At the head of the Eagles team are Bjarne Pedersen, Joonas Kylmakorpi and Cameron Woodward. Kylmakorpi’s capabilities are already known to Leicester as he deputised for Jason Doyle last month and ended the night as top scorer for the Lions in Mads Korneliussen’s Testimonial at King’s Lynn. The Lions make one positional change with the two reserves swopping places again. “The reason for switching the reserves around is a tactical change that may bring us a few more points” added Allan.
Eastbourne: 1. Bjarne Pedersen, 2. Timo Lahti, 3. Joonas Kylmakorpi, 4. Mikkel Michelsen, 5. Cameron Woodward, 6. Lewis Blackbird and 7. Dan Halsey
On Monday Leicester will fulfil the return Inter-League fixture against the Peterborough Panthers. The Lions went down 42 points to 48 in the pre-season friendly at home last month and details of the team line-up will be released soon.
It is a red letter day for the Leicester Lions on Saturday who take on the Wolverhampton Wolves in their first ever Elite League fixture at the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium. The visitors reached the semi-final play-off stage in 2013 but were outpointed by Birmingham who went on to lose in the final to the Poole Pirates. The Wolves avenged their end of season disappointment on Monday by beating the Brummies’ by 58 points to 35 at Monmore Green and the chief architect of their victory was the British World Champion Tai Woffinden, who raced to a perfect score of fifteen points. Joining Woffinden at the top of the score-chart was their new Polish signing Piotr Pawlicki who on his home debut was also unbeaten by an opponent.
Pawlicki though will be missing from the Wolverhampton team for the visit to Leicester as he is competing in the Polish Under-21 Championship qualifier and so they have engaged the Coventry rider Chris Harris as a guest replacement. Meanwhile, the Rapid Solicitors Lions are strengthened by the presence of Jason Doyle who received clearance on Monday to work in the UK when his Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Creative and Sporting) Sponsorship application was approved. Doyle, missed the Inter-League Challenge fixture against Peterborough last weekend but he will take his place at number one in the Leicester team alongside Peter Ljung who himself will be flying in for the fixture after representing Sweden in Round 1 of the Speedway Best Pairs competition at the Torun track in Poland the night before.
“It will be an historic night as we are now involved at the highest level of racing in this country again. To think that it is just over three years ago that we came of age as a club and are now on the brink of a new chapter in the story of Leicester Speedway. It is a special moment to savour for fans and everyone who worked so hard to bring the sport back to the City” commented the Lions Press Officer, Alan Jones.
Leicester were previously a First Division club having spent sixteen years in the top flight of British Speedway during the earlier era of the Lions when the team were considered one of the most fashionable sides in the country with their colour co-ordinated red and yellow racing leathers. The team came close to winning the British League Championship in 1971 and were cup finalists four years later. On the individual front, Ray Wilson was crowned British Champion in 1973 and he steered Great Britain to their first success at Wembley Stadium in the World Cup Final. Much later, Les Collins, who was the last captain of the Lions, delighted his legion of fans with second place in the World Championship Final.
Wolverhampton: 1. Tai Woffinden, 2. Jacob Thorssell, 3.Ty Proctor, 4. Ricky Wells, 5. Chris Harris, 6. Joe Jacobs and 7. Ashley Morris
The Leicester Promotion received the news that they have been waiting for all winter, that Jason Doyle will receive his Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Creative and Sporting) Sponsorship approval in the next few days. It means that the Lions will go into their first full team match without Doyle against the Peterborough Panthers on Saturday but he should be in the UK in good time to face Wolverhampton confirmed the Lions’ boss David Hemsley: “It has been a frustrating time for the club and Jason in particular. We were hoping that he would be here in time for Saturday but the fixture is not critical in the whole scheme of things. The important aspect is that Jason will receive written confirmation shortly giving him the right to work in the UK and knowing Jason as soon as that comes through he will be on a flight here.”
In Doyle’s absence the Rapid Solicitors Lions will operate the rider replacement facility in his place at number one in the team against the Peterborough Panthers in the Inter-League Challenge at Leicester on Saturday. “Whilst this is not an ideal situation I would rather give my own riders extra races at the expense of another club’s asset because at this time of the season the sooner our new team becomes accustomed to the Leicester track the better it will be, particularly as our first Elite League fixture against Wolverhampton is in just over a week’s time” added Hemsley.
Apart from missing Doyle the Lions will be at full strength. Originally Max Clegg was booked to compete in the British Under-21 Championship at Plymouth on Saturday but has opted to race for Leicester instead. “We left it entirely up to Max to decide which meeting he wanted to compete in as we did not want to insist that he pulls out of a British Championship competition to ride in what is effectively a pre-season challenge event. Max chose to ride for the Lions which shows his commitment to the club” stated Hemsley.
Peterborough, who opened their season with a home defeat on Tuesday against Rye House in the League Cup competition, is also missing the former Czech Republic National Champion, Ales Dryml. The Panthers have booked the Leicester track specialist Nick Morris as a guest replacement. With Lewis Blackbird also missing the fixture, the Panthers have included Aaron Summers at number two in a team that features the USA World Cup rider Ryan Fisher, along with the former Leicester rider Lasse Bjerre.
Leicester: 1. Rider Replacement for Jason Doyle, 2. Peter Ljung, 3. Mads Korneliussen, 4. Simon Stead, 5. Patrick Hougaard, 6. Tom Perry and 7. Max Clegg
Peterborough: 1. Ryan Fisher, 2. Aaron Summers, 3. Lasse Bjerre, 4. Ulrich Ostergaard, 5. Nick Morris, 6. Joe Jacobs and 7. Oliver Greenwood
Mads Korneliussen will make his first appearance in the colours of new club Leicester when he stages his Testimonial at King’s Lynn on Sunday (3.00 pm).
Korneliussen has switched to the Rapid Solicitors Lions for the 2014 Elite League season but is celebrating a decade in British Speedway at the Norfolk Arena, where he has spent the previous three campaigns, and the four-team tournament also includes representation from two of his other former clubs, Swindon and now defunct Newport.
Korneliussen said: “I want to thank Keith Chapman for letting me use the Norfolk Arena for my big day, it is one of my favourite tracks and I’m sure it will make for excellent racing. I also want to thank the great people and businesses who have sponsored heats and riders.”
Joining Mads in the team will be Patrick Hougaard who had his first competitive match last Sunday. Hougaard scored six points which included a heat win for the Rest of the World side that were on the wrong end of a 45-39 score-line against Team GB at Leicester. For Peter Ljung, the meeting at the Norfolk Arena on Sunday will be his first appearance in the UK since he was last here in 2011 whilst riding for the Lakeside Hammers.
Leicester were originally hoping to include Jason Doyle in the team but the Australian is still waiting to hear that his Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Creative and Sporting) application has been successful and therefore the Lions have co-opted the Eastbourne rider Joonas Kylmakorpi as a guest to complete their team.
Reflecting on the season ahead for the Lions Mads said: “I am excited by the new challenge at Leicester and that’s one of the reasons why I opted to go there when there were other options. It parallels King’s Lynn and it would be just brilliant if we could turn in a season that upset the odds a bit. The more I get to know about Leicester the more impressed I am with them and hopefully we will make their first season in the Elite League a memorable one.”
LEICESTER: Mads Korneliussen, Peter Ljung, Patrick Hougaard, Joonas Kylmakorpi
SWINDON: Hans Andersen, Peter Kildemand, Troy Batchelor, Nicolai Klindt
KING’S LYNN: Kenneth Bjerre, Rory Schlein, Richie Worrall, Morten Risager
NEWPORT: Niels-Kristian Iversen, Cameron Woodward, Scott Nicholls, Ty Proctor
The Ben Fund Bonanza at Leicester opens the British Speedway season on Sunday (2.00 pm) and this year the meeting is also the first outing for the Great Britain team under their new manager Alun Rossiter.
Rosco has taken the opportunity to have a look at some of the less experienced contenders for his side with Richard Lawson and Kyle Howarth included alongside the obvious top names such as Tai Woffinden, Chris Harris and Craig Cook.
They race against the Rest of the World in a match on the old 14-heat format with 8 riders per team. The riders of both sides will then contest a second half of four heats and a final for the Ben Fund Bonanza Trophy.
Organiser Paul Ackroyd again stresses the importance of the event. He said “2013 proved to be a very difficult year, with several riders suffering extremely serious injuries. Due to the support of the previous Bonanza’s and track collections, the Fund was able to react swiftly and efficiently to be able to give the necessary assistance as required.
“A snapshot of the type of help we gave last year was: assistance towards home adaptations, purchase of a wheelchair, assistance for former (veteran) riders suffering serious illness and financial support was given to more than 50 current riders. In total we spent £120,000.”
Several of the former riders now in wheelchairs will be attending the meeting. Garry Stead is of course managing the Rest of the World team and also expected are Neil Hewitt, Graham Miles who is now WSRA president, Steve Weatherly, Joe Owen and possibly former Belle Vue captain Alan Wilkinson.
GREAT BRITAIN: Tai Woffinden (Captain), Richie Worrall, Chris Harris, Danny King, Craig Cook, Kyle Howarth, Richard Lawson and Ben Barker
REST OF THE WORLD: Bjarne Pedersen (Captain), Josh Grajczonek, Adam Skornicki, Cameron Woodward, Ty Proctor, Patrick Hougaard, Nick Morris and Morten Risager
Sunday’s International at the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium between Team GB and a Rest of the World side will mark the first occasion that Tai Woffinden will wear the captain’s armband since being appointed to the position by Team Manager Alun Rossiter last month. The British World Champion, who makes his Leicester track debut, will form a strong opening partnership with the Belle Vue rider Richie Worrall. At three and four Rossiter has elected for an experienced pairing in Chris Harris and Danny King. The two rode together for Birmingham last season and wearing the number five race-jacket is the fastest rider to circumnavigate the Leicester circuit, Craig Cook who holds the track record and on past performances as a visiting rider he has few equals. Partnering Cook is Kyle Howarth who was a winter signing for Coventry. At reserve is Richard Lawson who receives his first call-up to ride for his country at senior level. The Lakeside rider won the 2013 Pride of the Midlands Trophy at Leicester and alongside Lawson at reserve is Ben Barker who was selected for Team GB’s World Cup squad last season.
On the opposite side of the pits, the Rest of the World team is managed by Gary Stead and the side comprises of four Australians, three Danes and a Pole. Leading out the team will be the vastly experienced Bjarne Pedersen who will be partnered with Josh Grajczonek who rounded off a successful season with two league championship medals with Poole and Somerset along with a gold medal in the Premier League Pairs event. One of the sports’ most entertaining riders is Adam Skornicki, the 2008 Polish National Champion, who lines up alongside the Eastbourne captain Cameron Woodward.
For Leicester fans it will be their first glimpse of Patrick Hougaard since he signed to ride for the Rapid Solicitors Lions. The former Peterborough rider will ride alongside Ty Proctor who was scoring well for Wolverhampton before an injury adjourned his season last year but is now fully recovered and keen to pick up from where he left off. Finally, at reserve are two riders who know what it feels like to win races at the JRS Stadium. At number seven is Nick Morris, a potential match winner who rides the track as well as any visitor and Morten Risager, who was in the Ipswich team that won the Premier League Fours’ in 2011 at Leicester.
“The format of the meeting will move away from the traditional fifteen heats. Instead, the two eight man teams will race over fourteen heats and there will be more scope for the team managers to try to gain an advantage. Whoever wins the toss of the coin, that team will have choice of gate positions on the start-line in the first heat but then the gate positions will alternate for every subsequent race thereafter. In addition, there are no fixed gate positions so tactics should come into play for the team managers who will have the opportunity to decide where best to deploy their riders on the start-line. For example they may decide that a certain rider favours an outside grid whereas his partner may prefer to ride the inner lines so that may be how the team managers position their pairings for a particular race” explained the Lions Press Officer, Alan Jones.
Supporters heading for the meeting on Sunday will be given the opportunity to have their photo taken with World Champion Tai Woffinden.
Tai is making himself available between 12.00 noon and 1.00 pm on Sunday inside the stadium, and anyone who wants to be photographed with him will be able to, for a contribution to the Benevolent Fund.
After the main international team event, each rider will compete for the Ben Fund Bonanza Trophy. The four heat winners from the qualifying races will meet in a Grand Final and immediately afterwards the sixteen race jackets worn by the riders will be auctioned off in front of the two home straight stands and the money raised will go to the Speedway Riders’ Benevolent Fund.
The meeting starts at 2.00 pm and the stadium ticket office will be open at 12 noon on the day. Normal Leicester Speedway admission prices apply for this meeting with the exception of the family ticket which will not be available for this event.
The one remaining fixture in the National Trophy competition has now been agreed. The Leicester Lion Cubs will visit Kent on Monday 9th June with a start-time of 6.30 pm.
There are fixture date amendments for the senior team who will now race against Eastbourne and Poole on the following dates.
The visit of Eastbourne to Leicester on Thursday 15th May has now been moved to a new date of Saturday 26th April. The Poole Pirates, who were scheduled to race at the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium on Thursday 24th April, will now race against the Lions on Bank Holiday Monday 26th May with a start-time of 3.00 pm.
There is also a change to the original fixture at Poole. The Rapid Solicitors Lions, who were due in Dorset on Wednesday 11th June, will now race at Wimborne Road a week later on 18th June.
Lewis Bridger has had to withdraw and his place will be taken by Redcar’s new recruit Richard Lawson, making his first Bonanza appearance.
Great Britain boss Alun Rossiter said “Lewis got in touch to advise me that he couldn’t guarantee having all of his equipment in place in time for the meeting, and he didn’t want to go into it in a half-hearted fashion.
“I appreciate his honesty with that, and I’ve therefore called up Richard who is a rider who was always in my thoughts.
“I already know what several of the more experienced senior riders are capable of but it’s also important that I start looking at those who have been making good progress recently, and this will be a good test for Richard to see how he adapts at this level.”
The Rapid Solicitors Lions will be represented by Patrick Hougaard who joins two of his fellow countrymen, Bjarne Pedersen and Morten Risager in the Rest of the World team which includes the Swindon rider Nick Morris who is always good for double figures at the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium.
“The event is in its sixth year and is in aid of riders who have had spells out of the sport after suffering an injury whilst racing for British based teams or for those whose careers have been cut short due to life changing injuries. The Speedway Riders Benevolent Fund reaches out to so many people and exists solely for this purpose and therefore we sincerely hope that we will see a big turn-out of speedway fans to support such a worthy cause” commented the Lions Press Officer, Alan Jones.
All proceeds raised will go to the Speedway Riders Benevolent Fund and the stadium ticket office will be open from 12.00 noon on the day. Normal Leicester Speedway admission prices apply for this meeting with the exception of the family ticket which will not be available for this event.
REST OF THE WORLD
The Rest of the World side which presents Rosco’s English lineup with its first test will be: Bjarne Pedersen (Eastbourne & Denmark), Josh Grajczonek (Poole, Workington and Australia), Adam Skornicki (Birmingham & Poland), Cameron Woodward (Eastbourne & Australia), Ty Proctor (Somerset, Wolverhampton and Australia), Patrick Hougaard (Leicester & Denmark), Nick Morris (Swindon & Australia) and Morten Risager (Ipswich & Denmark). Managing the Rest of the World will be Garry Stead.
Lakeside supporter Anthony Warren will be doing his bit for the Ben Fund, because he is running the London Marathon on 12th April. He says “I will be running on behalf of the Speedway Riders Benevolent Fund. I have a lot of respect and admiration for speedway riders and what they put themselves through week in, week out. After the loss of Lee Richardson last year and the terrible injuries sustained by Ricky Ashworth earlier this year, it brought home how important the work of the SRBF is.
“The help and support they provide for speedway riders and their families is why I will endeavour to raise as much money as possible for this worthy cause. If you would like to contribute in any way, you can donate at www.srbf.co.uk Any donation would be greatly appreciated.”
Leicester are in the throes of arranging home and away pre-season challenge match fixtures against opponents to be confirmed later. “We did not want to go straight into racing in the Elite League with a new team without the riders getting at least one match under their belt. I am close to finalising the visiting team and I confirm that the match at Leicester will take place on Saturday 22nd March” stated the Lions Promoter David Hemsley.
The Leicester promotion has agreed two fixtures changes with the Lions now travelling to Wolverhampton on Monday 2nd June instead of 9th June and the away trip to Belle Vue has been moved from 23rd June to 8th September.
Leicester will stage Round 2 of the British Youth Championship series on Saturday 17th May with a start time of 6.30 pm.
It will be the third occasion that the event has been held at the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium and Co-promoter Alan Jones had this to say: “This is a worthwhile competition for aspiring British youngsters to engage in. Phil Morris and Neil Vatcher, who are the GB Under-21 Managers, co-ordinate the series and they are so passionate and committed to the development of riders for the future that you cannot help being pulled along by their enthusiasm and we are only too delighted to offer our support again. I am pleased to say that this fixture is an additional meeting and will be included in the current season ticket offer.”
The British Youth Championship is considered to be a stepping stone into league racing and recent evidence of that is the progress made by Danny Phillips, Jack Kingston, Nathan Greaves and Nathan Stoneman who have all passed through the competition and are now competing at a higher level along with Max Clegg who will be riding in the Elite League this year with Leicester.
Meanwhile, the club will hold a Preview Day on Saturday 15th March at the stadium with a start time of 1.00 pm. The first hour has been set aside for media interviews and photographs followed by a practice session for the team at 2.00 pm. “The stadium will be open at 1.00 pm and everyone is welcome to attend. We plan to have a question and answer session afterwards with the riders and promotional team” added Jones.
The Lions begin their first season in the Elite League on Saturday 29th March with the visit of Wolverhampton who will be led by the new World Champion Tai Woffinden. Full details of the season’s fixtures can be found on the fixtures page.
Leicester have been allocated a World Under-21 Qualifier next season. The event will take place on Saturday 10th May at the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium.
“This is another step forward for the club and to receive an FIM event in what will be only our fourth season is an honour indeed for Leicester and all the staff who help run the club” commented the Lions Co-promoter, Alan Jones.
Leicester Speedway gained their FIM licence following the successful staging of the British round of the World Flat-track Cup, Gold Trophy Championship in June.
Tai Woffinden, the newly crowned World Speedway Champion will be at the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium for a promotional photo shoot on Saturday 26th October at 12.00 noon. Tai, who rides for the Wolverhampton Wolves, battled against injury to win the title and his achievement marked the first occasion that a British rider has scaled such heights since Mark Loram won the title thirteen years ago. The Stadium will be open for anyone wishing to see the event so why not pop into the bar for a lunch-time drink to catch up with all the speedway news.
The teams for the Four Team Tournament later in the day have now been finalised and it will be the last chance to watch a speedway meeting at Leicester this season. The line-up includes a blend of experience, some familiar faces and a dash of stars in the making. Team GB World Cup member Ben Barker will lead the League Select side along with the Pride of the Midlands Champion, Richard Lawson. Richie Worrall, winner of the Freestyle Show at Leicester, forms a twin brother spearhead with Steve for King’s Lynn and representing Sheffield are the Compton brothers, Andre and Benji along with Josh Auty who helped Birmingham to a place in the final of the Elite League play-offs. Leicester are served by Kevin Doolan and Jan Graversen and the side is completed by Chris Widman and Tom Perry, the pair fresh from helping the Isle of Wight reach the Cup Final after their well- deserved win at Mildenhall last night.
Leicester: Kevin Doolan, Jan Graversen, Chris Widman and Tom Perry
Sheffield: Josh Auty, Andre Compton, Benji Compton and Damien Koppe
King’s Lynn: Richie Worrall, Darren Mallett, Steve Worrall and Lewis Rose
League Select: Ben Barker, Richard Lawson, Shane Waldron and Max Clegg
On Saturday the speedway season comes to a close at the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium when Leicester race against Sheffield, King’s Lynn and a Premier League Select in a Four Team Tournament. Kevin Doolan and Jan Graversen will be in the Lions team along with Chris Widman who lives in Leicestershire and rides for the Isle of Wight. The Premier League Select are fielding two of the top riders in Ben Barker and Richie Worrall and Sheffield are represented by Josh Auty and the Compton brothers, Andre and Benji. King’s Lynn, the National League play-off finalists are the fourth club and they have called upon Richard Lawson, the Pride of the Midlands winner at Leicester earlier this season, to front their challenge along with Tom Perry and Steve Worrall.
The Lions Co-promoter Alan Jones said: “It has been an incredible few days in trying to assemble four teams of similar strength and we are in the process of putting the final touches together in order to make an attractive line-up for fans. As we are in the last few days of the official closure of the season, riders have gone back home, have mothballed their equipment or attending the many club dinner and dances that are happening up and down the country this weekend. Nevertheless, there will be a number of top entertainers on show on Saturday.”
Confirmation of the full team line-ups will follow once completed and the meeting will start at the usual time of 7.30 pm. The senior event will be followed by a Midlands Development League fixture between the Long Eaton Invaders and King’s Lynn.
Last weekend’s postponed East Midlands Bowl fixture against the Coventry Bees at the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium will now take place on Sunday with a start-time of 6.00 pm.
Alan Jones the Co-promoter of the Leicester Lions said: “It was a disappointment to lose the original meeting to the weather as there is a great deal of preparation that goes on behind the scenes in terms of organisation for both clubs. There are so many aspects to consider when a new date has to be found; not least of all whether the riders are available and added to this is staffing an event at such short notice. Thankfully it all fell into place and Coventry were as keen as us to stage the event and we are pleased that they agreed to return on Sunday. It is a rarity to see such an array of world-class talent on show at a Premier League track and the two teams assembled are brimming with exceptional ability so this has all the prospects of a classic meeting and one not to be missed.”
The East Midlands Bowl dates back to the early post-war days at the old Blackbird Road Stadium and it was the traditional season curtain raiser between Leicester and Coventry. Such was the popularity of the event that it continued in the last era of the Lions. “There is nothing like a local derby to whet the appetite of fans and the history between the two clubs made it one of the oldest local derbies in speedway and the vibrancy between both sets of supporters ensured that the meetings attained legendary status” added Jones.
The Coventry Bees Select have confirmed an unchanged line-up and have named a powerful group of riders in Scott Nicholls, the seven times British Champion, Niels-Kristian Iversen who came third in the season long Grand Prix series and the Polish Speedway World Cup Under-21 double gold medallist Grzegorz Zengota. The Leicester Select team make one change to the original line-up, bringing in Nick Morris for the unavailable Lasse Bjerre. The Australian is an ideal replacement as he rides the Leicester track as well as any visitor and will form the opening partnership with Kenneth Bjerre. Joining Bjerre at the head of the team is the Polish International and a rider of high repute, Krzysztof Kasprzak and Hans Andersen who led Swindon to a place in the Elite League play-off semi-finals earlier this month.
Leicester: 1. Kenneth Bjerre, 2. Nick Morris, 3. Krzysztof Kasprzak, 4. Kenneth Hansen, 5. Hans Andersen, 6. Kevin Doolan (captain) and 7. Jan Graversen
Coventry: 1. Niels-Kristian Iversen, 2. Scott Nicholls (captain), 3. Grzegorz Zengota, 4. Ryan Fisher, 5. Ben Barker, 6. Aaron Summers and 7. James Sarjeant
The second leg of the East Midlands Bowl takes place at Brandon on Friday 25th October.
Coventry have bolstered their line-up for Sunday’s East Midlands Bowl by bringing in World No.3 Niels-Kristian Iversen to face Leicester.
The sides meet at Brandon at midday before a 6.00 pm clash at the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium, and the Lions have strengthened with Elite League heat-leaders Kenneth Bjerre, Hans Andersen and Krzysztof Kasprzak.
Coventry promoter Mick Horton said: “I want to win these meetings, I’m sure our fans want to as well, and I want us to show Leicester it can be tough in the Elite League!
“They’ve shown plenty of ambition with the team line-up they’ve put together and I’m delighted to bring in another World-class rider in Niels which can only add to the entertainment in both meetings.”
“The two teams are brimming with talent and it is such an interesting line-up that there should be no end of season feel about the two fixtures. Both teams have two riders each who will represent their club in the Elite League Riders’ Championship at Swindon next weekend so you can begin to get a feel of the quality on show and with admission prices held at Premier League level fans are guaranteed value for money in both fixtures” added the Lions Co-promoter Alan Jones
After the much awaited local derby fixture against the Coventry Bees on Sunday at the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium for the East Midlands Bowl Leicester’s junior team, the Lion Cubs face the Milton Keynes Knights in the final of the Midland Development League Vase competition. Riding for the visitors is Shaun Tedham who won the League Riders’ Individual Championship at Leicester last month and for the Cubs, third placed James Shanes rides at number 3 for the home team.
“The day promises to be terrific entertainment for fans with such an array of talent on show at Leicester. There are only two riders, one from each side who have never ridden regularly in the Elite League so you can begin to appreciate the quality of the event. The history behind Leicester and Coventry is immense and dates back to the early days of the sport and I am sure that we are in for a night to remember. The Vase Final after the East Midlands Bowl will in my opinion be another interesting contest and a great way to round off the evening by watching some of the future stars of British Speedway” commented the Lions Co-promoter Alan Jones.
Normal admission prices apply for Sunday’s second leg of the East Midlands Bowl at Leicester and the meeting starts at 6.00 pm.
Leicester: 1. Kenneth Bjerre, 2. Lasse Bjerre, 3. Krzysztof Kasprzak, 4. Kenneth Hansen, 5. Hans Andersen, 6. Kevin Doolan and 7. Jan Graversen
Coventry: 1. Scott Nicholls, 2. Aaron Summers, 3. Grzegorz Zengota, 4. Ryan Fisher, 5. Ben Barker, 6. Rohan Tungate and 7. James Sarjeant
Derby fever comes to Leicester on Sunday with the visit of Coventry to the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium when the Lions take on the Bees in the second leg of the East Midlands Bowl. It is thirty years since the two clubs last met and the history between the teams made it one of the oldest local derbies in speedway and the vibrancy between both sets of supporters ensured that the meetings attained legendary status.
Alan Jones the Lions Co-promoter said: “This is the one everyone has been waiting for and has been top of Lions fans wish list of teams to see racing here at Leicester since we opened in 2011. The Coventry Bees are one of the cornerstone clubs in British Speedway and the two meetings on Sunday should be a gala day for both sets of fans. We have had to reinforce the Leicester team to ensure that as far as possible it will be an evenly balanced competition and hope that fans of both clubs will give their support to the event.”
Leicester have named an opening pairing of the Bjerre brothers, Lasse who rides for the Lions, and his older brother Kenneth, the Peterborough Panthers number one. Joining Kenneth at the head of the team is Hans Andersen a high performer at Swindon along with one of Poland’s top stars, the World Cup winner and Grand Prix rider Krzysztof Kasprzak. Leicester’s Kevin Doolan captains the side in the absence of the injured Kauko Nieminen and he is paired with Jan Graversen the longest serving member of the Leicester team having been at the club since it opened. The side is completed by Kenneth Hansen who last rode in the UK for Peterborough.
Coventry will be led out by Scott Nicholls, a seven times British Champion and a multi-capped World Cup and Team GB International rider who will be paired with Aaron Summers. Nicholls will be looking to Grzegorz Zengota, Ryan Fisher and Ben Barker for support for the bulk of the points. Zengota, a double Under-21 World Cup gold medal winner for Poland, is in his first year at Coventry. Fisher and Barker are club assets out on loan and are exciting riders to watch. At reserve the Bees have Rohan Tungate who has had a successful second year racing in the UK. The Australian has helped his Premier League club the Ipswich Witches to reach the League Cup Final and in the top tier of racing Rohan rides for Poole one of the Elite League Play-off Finalists. Tungate is joined by James Sarjeant who rides for Coventry’s National League team and was contracted to Leicester earlier this season.
“The club is aspiring to compete at the highest level of British Speedway in the not too distant future and our line-up is designed to give fans a flavour of watching a team of Elite League regular performers. Six of the team currently ride or have ridden at the highest level and so Sunday provides an opportunity for fans to watch a higher level of racing” added Jones.
Teams for both fixtures:
Leicester: 1. Kenneth Bjerre, 2. Lasse Bjerre, 3. Krzysztof Kasprzak, 4. Kenneth Hansen, 5. Hans Andersen, 6. Kevin Doolan and 7. Jan Graversen
Coventry: 1. Scott Nicholls, 2. Aaron Summers, 3. Grzegorz Zengota, 4. Ryan Fisher, 5. Ben Barker, 6. Rohan Tungate and 7. James Sarjeant
The first leg of the East Midlands Bowl takes place at noon at Coventry with the return later that day at Leicester when the first race begins at 6.00 pm.
The Harry Jordan Leicester Lions make one change to the team that lost at home on Sunday for the return fixture at Belle Vue on Wednesday 9th October with Richard Lawson taking the place of Ashley Morris at number seven in the side. The meeting in Manchester starts at 8.00 pm.
Belle Vue Select:
1. Craig Cook, 2. Dakota North, 3. Ulrich Ostergaard, 4. Thomas Jorgensen, 5. Richie Worrall 6. Max Fricke and 7. Ryan Douglas
1. Magnus Karlsson, 2. Jan Graversen, 3. Ryan Fisher, 4. Ricky Wells, 5. Kevin Doolan, 6. Alex Edberg and 7. Richard Lawson
Fans are in for a treat on Super Sunday 13th October when the Leicester Lions lock horns with the Coventry Bees for the East Midlands Bowl. The day starts with the first leg at Brandon at 12.00 noon with the return fixture set for a 6.00 pm start at the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium.
Normal admission prices will apply for the home meeting and the fixture will also be valid for season ticket holders.
This is the one everyone has been waiting for and is top of Lions fans wish list of teams to see racing here at Leicester. It nearly happened in March only for heavy rain to ruin a mouth-watering opening meeting and there is no other fixture that generates so much interest, talking points or healthy banter than the coming together of these two long-standing East Midlands clubs. The Bees are one of the cornerstone clubs of British Speedway with a long history and a bulging list of major title successes over the years.
The Lions are already planning ahead to track a competitive side with club asset Sergey Darkin making a return to the team along with one of the top names in World Speedway, the Grand Prix rider and Polish International Krzysztof Kasprzak who will be making a guest appearance for Leicester.
Can the Lions surprise their near neighbours with a win in the East Midlands Bowl or will the Bees have too much sting in their tail?
After a break of five weeks without a team fixture the Harry Jordan Haulage Lions are back on track on Sunday when they face the Belle Vue Aces in an Inter-League Challenge fixture at home with the meeting starting at the earlier time of 5.00 pm.
The Elite League club are team managed by Jason Attwood who will lead his side out for the first time against his former club and has named Craig Cook, the current Leicester track holder and Aces captain, at number one in the side. With the Aces overseas contingent not available, Belle Vue will bring with them an attractive side that will test the home team. At the head of the Aces alongside Cook will be Richard Lawson who won the Pride of the Midlands meeting at Leicester in July and Rene Bach his teammate at Workington. In the middle is Jozsef Tabaka and Thomas Jorgensen and at reserve is the ‘flying’ Ryan Douglas whose scores as a guest for Leicester at Redcar and home to Berwick were influential in helping Leicester win both matches. Steve Worrall occupies the other reserve position in Belle Vue’s team.
The Lions are now almost back to full strength following a spate of injuries that plagued their run-in towards a place in the Premier League play-offs; just missing out on qualifying by an inferior points scored for and against differential. Kauko Nieminen, who underwent an operation last month on his shoulder which he injured during Leicester’s home meeting against Rye House in August, is convalescing back home in Finland so Leicester have booked the Peterborough rider Ryan Fisher as a guest replacement for their captain and he will partner Lasse Bjerre in the team.
“The lack of fixtures during September has been a frustration and this is certainly one aspect which I want to see avoided in the future. We did not want to end the season so early so we have been working hard in the background to bring new clubs to Leicester this month. Some of the talks have gone nowhere but we are pleased that Belle Vue’s promoter Chris Morton agreed that his club would come to race the Lions in a challenge match. Belle Vue are one of the cornerstone clubs in British Speedway and a symbol of success having won almost every competition going and are known the world over” commented the Lions Promoter David Hemsley.
The fixture brings together the two clubs for what will be the first time they have faced one another since the Aces were the last team to race at the old Blackbird Road Stadium in October 1983, almost thirty years to the day!
The return fixture will take place at Belle Vue on Wednesday 9th October with the first race at 8.00 pm.
Leicester: 1. Magnus Karlsson, 2, Jan Graversen, 3. Ryan Fisher, 4. Lasse Bjerre, 5. Kevin Doolan (captain), 6. Alex Edberg and 7. Simon Nielsen
Belle Vue: 1. Craig Cook (captain), 2. Jozsef Tabaka, 3. Richard Lawson, 4. Thomas Jorgensen, 5. Rene Bach, 6. Ryan Douglas and 7. Steve Worrall
The Harry Jordan Haulage Lions fixture against the Belle Vue Aces has now been moved to Sunday 6th October with a start time of 5.00 pm.
On Wednesday 9th October the Lions will travel to Manchester for the return fixture against the Aces with a start time of 8.00 pm.
For a second successive year the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium is set to stage the Midland Development League Riders’ Championship Final on Saturday. Sixteen riders will compete against one another over twenty heats with the top eight scorers progressing through to the semi-finals. The top two riders from each of the seven league clubs will be vying with one another for the title and also included are two ‘wild card’ entries; Lee Springthorpe, who is representing the Leicester Lion Cubs, received an invitation on the back of winning the inaugural MDL Grand Prix series last month and Danny Phillips who was crowned Champion of the Northern Junior League Individual Championship.
Two of the most famous names in British Speedway, Peter and Les Collins, are guests of honour at the event. There was virtually no major title that escaped Peter during the course of a glittering career that began as a sixteen year old at Rochdale in 1971 and ended in 1986 at Belle Vue. In between ‘PC’ won three British League Championship titles and also the same number of Knock-out Cup Final successes with the Aces. A multi-gold medal winner in the World Cup for his country and first place in the 1976 World Final was the pinnacle of a stunning record.
Four years after Peter made his debut for Rochdale, his younger brother Les entered the sport at Crewe and after stop-offs at Stoke and Belle Vue he signed for Leicester for a fee that broke the club transfer record paid for a rider. Les made a total of 227 appearances for the Lions, scoring 2223 total points in all competitions making him the fourth highest rider in the club’s list of all-time points’ scorers. Les came close to equalling the exploits of Peter but had to settle for second place in the 1982 World Final at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
“Having Peter and Les present on such an occasion as this adds a great deal of prestige to the MDL Championship Final. Without doubt the two brothers are highly respected people in World Speedway and role models for aspiring novices who are setting their sights on becoming a speedway rider. Both Peter and Les will be on hand for photo opportunities during the course of the evening for a small charge of one pound ‘per click’ and the proceeds will be shared between two worthy causes, the Speedway Riders’ Benevolent Fund and the Ricky Ashworth Fund” outlined the MDL Co-ordinator, Laurence Rogers.
During the course of the evening Les and his son Aidan Collins will ride in two demonstration races mounted on a prototype Formula2 450cc speedway bike and in addition to the main event there will be a further three heats featuring four stars of the future, two of whom are the Thompson twins, Joe and Dan who are the Leicester Lions mascots.
1 Josh Bailey (King’s Lynn Lightning)
2 Shaun Tedham (Stoke Spitfires)
3 Connor Mountain (King’s Lynn Lightning)
4 James Shanes (Coventry Mercia-Vikings)
5 Jeremy Pestell (Long Eaton Invaders)
6 Ryan Terry-Daley (Coventry Mercia-Vikings)
7 David Holt (Belle Vue Colts)
8 Lee Springthorpe (Leicester Lion Cubs)
9 Lee Payne (Stoke Spitfires)
10 Nathan Greaves (Castleford Kings)
11 Max Clegg (Belle Vue Colts)
12 Danny Phillips (Redcar Bear Cubs)
13 Danno Verge (Milton Keynes Knights)
14 Liam Rumsey (Castleford Kings)
15 Conor Dwyer (Milton Keynes Knights)
16 Lee Geary (Long Eaton Invaders)
Adam Portwood (Long Eaton Invaders)
Sam Ward (Stoke Spitfires)
The Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium hosts an event with a difference on Saturday 14th September that begins with a Speedway meeting followed by two sessions of Freestyle Motocross. The day boasts fantastic entertainment from start to finish, with speedway racing getting the show on the road at 1.00 pm with fifteen heats consisting of four qualifying races, ten main event heats and a Grand Final where the winner takes all.
Six of the competitors ride regularly in the Elite League with Rory Schlein returning to Leicester for the first time since he rode in the 2011 Pride of the Midlands meeting. Danny King, the inspirational captain of the table topping Birmingham ‘Brummies’ is included in the line-up and also Lewis Bridger who represented Team GB in this season’s Speedway World Cup. Richie Worrall, who is having a highly successful year with King’s Lynn and Newcastle, has accepted an invitation to ride and so too has Ashley Birks, captain of the Premier League Champions, the Scunthorpe Scorpions along with the teenage sensation Adam Ellis who rides for Ipswich. Local interest will be provided by the captain of Leicester, Kevin Doolan, who is a popular figure in the Lions team. Completing the line-up are four British riders; Chris Widman, a recent winner of the Mick Spiers Memorial Trophy who rides in the National League for Isle of Wight and his teammate Brendan Johnson; Lee Geary the captain of the Long Eaton team and the Stoke Potters rider Shaun Tedman.
After the speedway meeting has ended the show moves on to feature the Freestyle Motocross event. This is a raw motorsport full of adrenaline where stunt riders showcase a wide selection of motocross tricks to music. Many of these moves will result in the rider exiting their seat, taking their hands off the handlebars and rotating their body around the bike.
“If you haven’t seen Freestyle Motocross before then you are in for something very special. The riders will jump from portable ramps placed on the centre green, reaching heights of around 40 feet and performing a fully choreographed stunt show. The riders will often take off one after another and perform stunts which involve completely letting go of the bike. The gates open at 11.00 am so come along to The Freestyle Show, cheer on the speedway riders and enjoy the sport you love and at the same time see something different” commented the Lions Co-promoter Alan Jones.
It is a make or break fixture for the Harry Jordan Haulage Lions at Newcastle on Sunday as the team need the match points to give them a chance of making the play-offs later this season.
“We are currently level on match points with the Redcar Bears who also have one fixture remaining. They are at Rye House on 14th September so whatever happens at Newcastle on Sunday it will mean we have to wait six days to know who goes through.
“So every point will count in our meeting at Newcastle as the question of who makes the play-offs between us and Redcar could be decided on the differential between points scored for and against. It is that close. Newcastle have an unbeaten home record in the Premier League this season but two clubs have come away with a draw and Edinburgh won there in the cup so they are not totally invincible. We have to concentrate on the task ahead of us and create the same mood as we did when we won at Redcar last month and then anything is possible” commented the Lions Co-promoter Alan Jones.
Leicester are hoping that Kevin Doolan, who missed the win over Edinburgh on Saturday with a broken rib sustained whilst riding for Lakeside in the Elite League, will be fit to take his place in the side. Doolan is planning to have a workout the day before to determine whether he is fit to race at Newcastle. If Doolan fails his fitness test then Leicester will cover for his absence by utilising the rider replacement facility as will Newcastle who are without the injured Stuart Robson. Meanwhile the Lions captain Kauko Nieminen is booked in to have an operation on the shoulder he injured whilst riding for Leicester against Rye House last month.
Saturday’s meeting against the Edinburgh Monarchs brings to an end Leicester’s home fixtures in the Premier League and the Lions welcome back Alex Edberg who has missed six of the last seven matches through injury.
Leicester make two changes to the team to face Edinburgh with the inclusion of Linus Eklöf and Simon Nielsen, two former Lions riders who replace Kauko Nieminen and James Sarjeant. The Lions captain has been ruled out for the remainder of the season and will undergo an operation soon on his injured shoulder.
“It is a blow to lose Kauko at such a critical part of the season but it is more important for him to have the operation now as I understand the recovery period is in the region of four months so it makes sense to proceed and be ready for the start of next season. As soon as we knew the situation regarding Kauko we have moved quickly to cover for his absence by asking Linus to return to the club and we are thankful that he has been able to rearrange his life to answer our call of help. We are sorry to have to say goodbye to James who has bags of talent, a great attitude and a joy to work with. Unfortunately, we are really struggling to compete on an equal footing with every team we meet when it comes to the reserve races and therefore we feel the need to try and resolve the situation going into the final two fixtures which are a make or break time for us. The return of Alex Edberg following his injury and the re-engagement of Simon Nielsen at reserve is intended to give us greater experience where we have been lacking” commented the Lions Co-promoter Alan Jones.
Linus Eklöf joined Leicester in July 2012 and his presence helped the Lions to make the play-offs. Since then the twenty-four year old has raced back home in Sweden for Smederna and Griparna where he is a teammate of Edberg.
Edinburgh are certainties for a play-off position and all that remains now is whether they finish first or second in the table. It has not been all plain sailing though for the Monarchs who have had a couple of scares along the way when Redcar and Newcastle plundered the points at the Armadale Stadium which over the years has proved a stronghold and a watershed for visiting teams. Their away record though has compensated for the home reversals because out of eight meetings completed the Scottish club have picked up points in every fixture.
The Monarchs have arguably the best rider in the Premier League in Craig Cook who has had another terrific season with Edinburgh and not surprisingly he rides the Leicester circuit as well as anyone and is the current track record holder.
“It is a make or break night for us against Edinburgh where we have to win by seven points or more to stand any chance of a place in the play-offs. That is a tall order against the Monarchs who collectively as a team have increased their match average by over two points a meeting. That is some going indeed and it goes without saying that we have to get ourselves into the right mental frame of mind to make every race count” added Jones.
Leicester face two very important fixtures over the Bank Holiday period that will go a long way to determining whether they make the play-offs or not. On Sunday the Harry Jordan Lions face the Berwick Bandits at home without two of their influential riders, Kauko Nieminen and Alex Edberg. The Leicester captain is still troubled by the shoulder injury he picked up during the last home fixture and Edberg will be testing out his fitness after the meeting on Sunday.
“After the win at Redcar last week we are back in the frame for a top six finish and it is very much in our own hands now whether we succeed or not. There are two teams in the top six who are within our reach and we have to believe that we can overhaul one of them in the final reckoning. But to do that we have to gain all three match points against Berwick on Sunday and go to Scunthorpe the next day and pick up at the very least a draw which will give us another two match points. It is going to be tight but if we duplicate the same ‘can do’ attitude as we did to surprise the Redcar team then anything is possible” commented the Lions Co-promoter Alan Jones.
Leicester will cover for the absence of Nieminen by sharing his rides out with his teammates in the two fixtures and have booked Ryan Douglas as a guest for Edberg against Berwick. On Monday the Lions have lined up a guest should Edberg fail his fitness test the day before.
There will be an additional six races after the senior event on Sunday when a Leicester Lion Cubs team ride against the Long Eaton Invaders for the Mick Spiers Memorial Trophy. Mick was born and bred in Leicester and was making great progress with the Long Eaton Invaders junior side when he died following a crash during a team training session. Mick was nineteen at the time and would have undoubtedly formed part of the side that won the Anglian Junior League in 1984. His name lived on at Long Eaton where the Memorial Trophy was raced for at junior level in the 1980’s and nineties up until the stadium closed for redevelopment.
The competition was contested on eight occasions at Long Eaton and the original trophy has been located and recently returned to the Spiers family. The trophy is an exact replica of Mick riding his speedway bike and the trophy will be on display inside the stadium main entrance for fans to view before the meeting.
“I was the speedway correspondent for Radio Trent, the Commercial Radio Station that sponsored the Invaders back in those days and remember Mick very well. He was certainly making good progress to become a professional speedway rider when the accident happened. We should never forget the people who are no longer with us and when the idea of a Memorial meeting was run past me I readily agreed. I am sure the two teams will put on a good show for Mick’s family on Sunday to mark the 30th anniversary of his death” added Jones.
It is an important day on Thursday for the Harry Jordan Leicester Lions who travel to Redcar to face the Bears in a Premier League fixture. The North-east club have surprised the pundits who wrote off the Bears in their pre-season forecasts and Leicester are in need of the match points after their home reversal against Rye House on Sunday.
“The Redcar team are full of confidence and sitting pretty comfortably in second place at the moment. We don’t have a particularly good record at the South Tees Motor Sports Park having only picked up one consolation bonus point there since we opened in 2011 but that is not to say that we won’t be going there fully committed. The Bears have lost once at home and drawn twice so they are not invincible as there have been days when it has not gone right for them. Both Kevin Doolan and Jan Graversen are former Redcar riders and we need a big performance from everyone to achieve a result” commented the Lions Co-promoter Alan Jones.
With Alex Edberg side-lined with an injury to his hand, the Lions have called upon Scunthorpe’s Ryan Douglas as a guest replacement on Thursday. The Australian, who is in his first season in British Speedway, scored nine points for his club earlier this month at Redcar and he will line-up at number six for Leicester who will also operate rider replacement for their injured captain Kauko Nieminen.
The Harry Jordan Leicester Lions welcome back their high scoring reserve Alex Edberg for the back-to-back Premier League fixtures against the Rye House Rockets this weekend. Edberg has been out of the side since he was injured whilst riding for his Swedish club Griparna in early July and missed the home wins against Newcastle, Sheffield and Scunthorpe.
The Lions Co-promoter Alan Jones said: “Without being disrespectful to anyone we have missed the contribution that Alex Edberg makes to the lower end of the team. I believe that with Alex in the side we would certainly have collected three match points from the Newcastle fixture and most likely last Saturday against Scunthorpe. When your reserves are not firing it places a greater burden on the number five in the team, as in our case Magnus Karlsson, who has virtually been on his own in three of his four rides. That said the team have coped admirably throughout his absence.”
Leicester will be without Lasse Bjerre for the fixture in Hertfordshire on Saturday as he is competing in the UK Round of the World Under-21 Championship competition at Berwick but he will be back for the return fixture twenty-four hours later at Leicester. The Lions have booked the Sheffield rider Ricky Wells to guest for Bjerre and the New Zealander, who rides on an American licence, scored double figures for his club in a recent meeting at Rye House.
“Ricky is an acknowledged small track expert and we think that his experience will be an added advantage to us so hopefully we have chosen the right person for the task. Our target has to be a minimum of four points from this weekend’s two fixtures against Rye House and that would give us such a boost going forward. Can we do it – well you have to believe we can! Rye House are coming into better form of late after a slow start and I estimate that on current form they are in a false league position at the moment so we can expect two intense meetings against them” added Jones.
Currently the visitors are picking up form after a quiet League Cup campaign that saw them finish out of the reckoning and a slow start in the Premier League where Rye House conceded the points at home to Plymouth and Newcastle. Since then a win at Sheffield and last weekend at Glasgow has seen them put some daylight between themselves and the bottom two clubs and with matches in hand over the teams immediately above them the Rockets have every opportunity to climb the table. It is in the Knock-out Cup where the Rockets have excelled with a semi-final tie with Redcar after wins in the earlier rounds against Glasgow and Sheffield.
The Lions number one and captain of the team, Kauko Nieminen has been ruled out of Leicester’s Premier League fixture against Sheffield at home on Saturday. Nieminen, injured his knee during a fall whilst riding for his Swedish club Rospiggarna at the beginning of July which he further aggravated seven days later at Coventry when racing for Belle Vue in an Elite League match.
“Kauko had a scan on Tuesday and today he received the results which confirmed that he does not require surgery. It is a relief for Kauko and good news indeed for us as we feared the worst. His absence would have left a massive void in the team in terms of his scoring and leadership qualities” commented the Lions Co-promoter, Alan Jones.
Nieminen, is having a brace made to support his knee and is planning to practice in Finland before returning in time to take his place at the head of the team for Leicester’s home fixture a week on Saturday against Scunthorpe. It is not so good news for Alex Edberg who also picked up an injury whilst competing in the Swedish League. The free scoring Lions reserve rider is likely to be out of the side for a further two weeks and Team Manager Glyn Taylor is searching for a replacement for Saturday’s meeting.
In the meantime David Howe will deputise for Nieminen on Saturday and it will be the first occasion that the former British Under-21 Champion has ridden for his home town club since the sport returned to Leicester in 2011. Sheffield are also going through a spate of injuries which has disrupted their team planning. The visitors are missing Simon Stead who broke his leg during a practice session last month and he will be replaced by Nick Morris who last rode at Leicester for his club the Somerset Rebels. Morris was unbeatable that night and Somerset went on to break Leicester’s long sequence of home wins that stretched back to August 2011. The Tigers are making one further change as their young reserve Damien Koppe is also ruled out and his place is taken by James Sarjeant who rides for Coventry’s National League team.
The final two places in the Pride of the Midlands meeting have been confirmed as Workington’s Richard Lawson and Jason Bunyan who rides for the Rye House Rockets. The line-up, in draw order is as follows:
1. Thomas Jorgensen
2. Henning Bager
3. Sergey Darkin
4. Richard Lawson
5. Kevin Doolan
6. Nicolai Klindt
7. Adam Roynon
8. Jason Bunyan
9. Jake Anderson
10. Michael Palm Toft
11. Jonas Raun
12. Lasse Bjerre
13. Ricky Ashworth
14. Jan Graversen
15. Patrick Hougaard
16. Roland Benko
17. Chris Widman
18. Lee Geary
Leicester Speedway’s premier individual meeting of the season takes place on Sunday when sixteen riders battle for the honour of winning the Pride of the Midlands competition. The event has been dominated by the Danes, when first of all Patrick Hougaard was the recipient of the trophy two years ago and the destination of the silverware last season was only decided after a run-off between two Leicester riders, Lasse Bjerre and Kauko Nieminen, which was won by the Danish teenager.
There are some familiar names in the line-up that will add interest to the event as Sergey Darkin, the former Russian National Champion, is making a special visit to Leicester to ride in Sunday’s meeting. During his time at the club Sergey made twenty-five appearances, scoring a total of 195 points and was the first rider of the new era to piece together an unbeaten race-card when he scored fourteen and one bonus point against Rye House at home in April 2011. After leaving Leicester, Sergey moved up into the Elite League with Swindon and that was the last time that he was seen on British tracks. Nowadays Sergey rides in the Russian League for Salavat.
Adam Roynon, who was hailed as a major signing by the Lions at the start of the season, is also appearing at the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium. His stay was one of the briefest on record having completed just one match for the Lions in their League Cup fixture at Scunthorpe. It has been a long process of convalescence for Adam who is on the way back to form having won the Young Guns meeting at Sheffield two weeks ago. Simon Nielsen who started the season at Leicester is included and so too is the former Lions rider Henning Bager who came third in last season’s event.
“Since we announced the draw for the event during the interval of last Saturday’s meeting against Newcastle there has been three withdrawals due to injury. Ashley Birks who was involved in the accident with Christian Henry during the first race against Newcastle whilst guesting for Leicester is out of the event due to a fractured scaphoid. So too is Jari Mäkinen who broke his leg on Tuesday and Kauko Nieminen has had to pull out as the knee he injured is still very swollen. Provided the swelling has subsided Kauko is booked in for a scan on Tuesday and we will know more about the extent of his injury during the week” reported the Lions co-promoter Alan Jones.
With three places to fill, Ricky Ashworth the number one in the averages at Berwick has agreed to ride and so too has Jake Anderson, who rides for Plymouth and did very well on his first visit to Leicester in May when the Australian scored eight points. Jones said: “We are currently in the process of looking for someone to replace Kauko and soon as that has been completed we will announce the name and the full line-up in draw order.”
Scunthorpe have two representatives in the meeting as Thomas Jorgensen, a heat leader with the Scorpions, who was a key person in their Premier League Championship title winning team last season makes an appearance and so too does new signing Nicolai Klindt. The Dane has bags of Elite League experience having ridden solely at the highest level since his debut for Wolverhampton in 2008. It will be the Dane’s second appearance in the Pride of the Midlands, having ridden in the first staging in 2011.
Making his debut in the competition on Sunday is the double Under-21 British Champion Joe Haines who was last here for the Kauko Nieminen Testimonial meeting. Joe reached the British Final this year after scoring eight points in the qualifier on his home track and is producing some of his best form of the season so far. Since we announced the draw we have heard that Kozza Smith, the Berwick heat leader, is unable to appear so this leaves another place to fill.
Jan Graversen, a match winner on his own track at Leicester, is in the line-up and so too is Kevin Doolan who has become a great favourite since joining the club in the winter. The two join Lasse Bjerre to make it three Lions riders who will compete for the title of the Harry Jordan sponsored Pride of the Midlands trophy.
The fifteenth rider to be added to the list is Roland Benko an eighteen year old Hungarian who is in the UK at present gaining as much riding experience as he can. The teenager top scored with fifteen points for his country in a challenge match win against Poland in June and a month earlier totalled seven whilst representing Hungary in a World Cup qualifying round against the USA, France and Italy.
Alex Edberg suffered a broken hand, two fingers and collar-bone whilst riding for his Swedish League club Griparna last night. The incident happened in Edberg’s first race when his team partner Robin Tornkvist was responsible for the crash. Alex was unable to take avoiding action and was awarded second place but neither took any further part in the meeting.
“It is a real blow to lose Alex for what may be several weeks as he was scoring so well and had bolstered the lower end of the team. For tomorrow’s fixture against Newcastle Simon Nielsen will guest for us at number six and we have to thank Simon for changing his arrangements at such short notice to help us out and also Plymouth who have agreed to our request to borrow him for the night” commented the Lions co-promoter Alan Jones.
The Newcastle Diamonds, one of the in-form teams in the Premier League at the moment visit the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium on Saturday. The North-east club are riding on the crest of a wave having just made it through to the League Cup Final after completing an aggregate win over Sheffield last weekend. Newcastle are the only team left unbeaten at home this season in the Premier League and although they were held to a draw against Ipswich recently, the Diamonds are well placed with matches in hand over the leading group of clubs.
“Apart from Newcastle everyone has lost at least one home fixture and we have to count on not losing another. A win on Saturday is a must because I cannot see any of the top six dropping further points at home and we have to be on our very best form to succeed. When you take a look at their team statistics the one fact that jumps out at you is that five of their riders have increased their race points’ average from the figures they started with at the beginning of the season. That says a lot about the task that awaits us. Promoter George English has put together a compact septet and the synergy within the side is working as they are delivering championship form away from home” said the Lions co-promoter Alan Jones.
Leicester welcome back Lasse Bjerre to the side after injury and are at full strength for the first time since their last home fixture when Somerset ended the Lions unbeaten home record in the Premier League. Jones went on to say: “the longer our home Premier League unbeaten record went on the more our expectations grew but I think we all knew deep down inside that good things always come to an end. That is out of the way now and we have to forget about the result and starting on Saturday push on to seal a win to consolidate our position as play-off candidates.”
On Sunday the Harry Jordan Lions have another big day ahead of them at Peterborough when the team set out to go one step further in the Premier League Fours’ competition. Leicester have twice finished runners-up in the final and this year are drawn in Group B alongside Somerset, Edinburgh and Newcastle. The two highest scoring teams progress to the final where they meet the winners and second placed team of Group A. “We can expect a large turn-out of fans at the East of England Showground to cheer on the team and whilst our Group on paper looks to be the strongest there is every chance that we can achieve our goal of reaching a third final where anything can happen on the day” added Jones.
Leicester have named their riding order of Magnus Karlsson, Lasse Bjerre, Kevin Doolan and Kauko Nieminen with Alex Edberg at reserve.
Leicester’s fixture at Ipswich on Thursday 11th July when the Lions were due to race the Witches in the John Berry Memorial meeting has now been cancelled. The club accepted an invitation to honour the Witches former promoter but due to the non-availability of three riders and possibly four the format of the meeting will not include the Leicester team.
“When we accepted the invitation prior to the start of the season we did not have Magnus Karlsson or Alex Edberg in the team and therefore our original seven riders were available to race at Ipswich. The picture has changed since then of course and now Magnus and Alex are required to fulfil league fixtures back home in Sweden on the day we were due at Ipswich, Lasse is injured and Kauko is awaiting confirmation as to whether he will be required to race for Rospiggarna. So all in all Ipswich felt it best to scrap the idea of us possibly only turning up with three riders and instead to change the fixture” commented the Lions co-promoter Alan Jones.
The Harry Jordan Lions welcome back their two injured Swedish riders, Magnus Karlsson and Alex Edberg to the side for their trip to Workington on Saturday. Both riders missed the match at Edinburgh where Leicester went down by 52 points to 37 after leading with six races to go.
Saturday’s fixture is a top of the table clash between the Premier League leaders as the Comets are two points ahead of Leicester with a match in hand. Leicester though will be without Lasse Bjerre who is ruled out following an injury he sustained whilst playing football in Denmark on Sunday. The teenager has suffered a nasty cut to the inside of his lower arm and has damaged the blood vessels. The injury has required stitches to his lower arm and hand and doctors have advised Lasse to rest for at least ten days after the surgery which rules him out of the fixture at Workington and Ipswich next week.
“Magnus has been carrying a shoulder injury now since the beginning of June and Alex hurt his foot during our last home fixture against Somerset so it will be a boost to the team to have them both back on Saturday. Unfortunately, as they return we then lose Lasse so will be requesting permission to operate rider replacement for him at Workington.
“The race to be one of the six teams to qualify for the play-offs is really hotting up now and Saturday is seen as an important fixture for us. We have to deliver a top performance at Derwent Park where the Comets are near invincible on their own circuit. Both Kauko Nieminen and Kevin Doolan are former Workington riders so hopefully their track knowledge will stand us in good stead. Fortunately, as Lasse is second in the club’s averages Glyn Taylor will have the pick of the other five riders to choose from for the replacement rides” commented the Lions co-promoter Alan Jones.
Micky Dyer has had to turn down the chance of riding for Leicester at his former track tonight due to his engines going in for service. The Lions have now engaged Peterborough’s Dakota North for tonight’s Premier League fixture against the Edinburgh Monarchs.
Leicester will now use rider replacement to cover for Magnus Karlsson and North will take the place of Lasse Bjerre in the team.
The Harry Jordan Lions have been forced into two late changes for their Premier League fixture at Edinburgh tomorrow night. Alex Edberg, who injured his foot in the meeting against Somerset on Saturday, has not recovered in time and Adam Ellis the teenage Ipswich reserve will take his place at number six in Leicester’s team.
Also missing is Magnus Karlsson who rode through the pain for Leicester at the weekend. The Lions Heat Leader crashed earlier this month whilst riding for his Swedish club Ornarna and despite treatment this week is not fit to ride at Edinburgh. The Lions have engaged Micky Dyer the former Monarchs rider to take his place at Armadale.
Edinburgh: 1. Craig Cook, 2. Derek Sneddon, 3. Theo Pijper, 4. Jozsef Tabaka, 5. Claus Vissing, 6. Tommy Fenwick, 7. Max Fricke
Leicester: 1. Kauko Nieminen, 2. Jan Graversen, 3. Kevin Doolan, 4. Rider Replacement, 5. Micky Dyer, 6. Adam Ellis, 7. Robert Branford
On Saturday at the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium there is racing with a difference as the venue is the stage for a FIM Flat Track Cup, Gold Trophy Championship event. Leicester Stadium has been selected by the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) to host the UK Round of this competition, which breaks new ground as it is a first occasion the competition has been staged in this country. Afterwards the series moves on to Slovakia in July followed by two rounds in the Czech Republic with the final and sixth meeting in Italy during October.
Last season’s competition ended with a gold medal for Vesprini Fabrizio of Italy who finished top of the leader-board, just four points ahead of Tom Woolley who rides speedway for the Buxton Hitman in the National League.
The first staging of the 2013 competition opened earlier this month at Forssa in Finland. Fabrizio started his defence of the title in good form having finished second to the home rider Janne Rantala of Finland in Round 1 and just four points separate the two riders entering Saturday’s meeting. Amongst the field at Leicester is Aidan Collins, the son of the former captain of the Leicester Lions, Les Collins. Aidan is the reigning British Flat Track Champion and a serious contender for a place on the rostrum.
Normal speedway admission prices apply and the first race gets underway at the usual time of 7.30 pm. This meeting is valid for season ticket members.
Leicester travel to Edinburgh on Friday for their Premier League fixture against the Monarchs without Lasse Bjerre who has been selected by the Danish Motor Union to represent his country in the opening round of the World Under-21 Championship competition in Poland the following day. The Lions will cover for the teenager’s absence by giving additional rides to four of his teammates as they go in search of league points to boost their position as leaders of the Premier League.
Team Manager Glyn Taylor is awaiting news from Alex Edberg as to his fitness. The Swede who joined Leicester from Berwick last month hurt his foot during the home defeat against Somerset on Saturday. It was first feared that Edberg had broken his foot but a further examination revealed that he had suffered damaged ligaments and hopes to be fit to ride in Scotland.
“Edinburgh suffered a surprise defeat at home to Redcar at the beginning of the month but generally they have a very good record and are hard to beat at Armadale. Being without Lasse makes the task much harder for us but we are fortunate in some ways that he is positioned second in the club’s averages which means we are entitled under the rules to select any four riders in the team to take his rides” commented the Lions co-promoter Alan Jones.
The Monarchs are still without Mitchell Davey who is not quite ready to return to the side following his broken wrist and so the club have drafted in local teenager Tommy Fenwick at reserve.
Team Manager Glyn Taylor has named his side for the Premier League Fours’ competition at Peterborough on Sunday 14th July. Kauko Nieminen, Lasse Bjerre, Kevin Doolan and Magnus Karlsson will carry the hopes for success along with Alex Edberg as the meeting reserve. Taylor will decide the actual riding order nearer the time.
The Lions have twice just missed out on first place in the final having conceded second best to Ipswich in 2011 and Berwick last year.
“When you have four riders of heat leader quality in every race it is impossible to forecast the result because after all there are no team partners to help one another so basically it is an individual meeting within a team event. No-one wants to let the side down so the pressure to perform is enormous. It is a great day out for fans and we have been so close to winning a major trophy which would mean so much to the club and our loyal fans if we can go one better this year” commented the Lions Team Manager Glyn Taylor.
Leicester have been drawn in Group B alongside Edinburgh, Somerset and Newcastle. The meeting starts at 2.30 pm on Sunday 14th July.
The Harry Jordan Lions face a stern test on Saturday with the visit of the Somerset Rebels to Leicester. The visitors came within a whisker of being crowned 2012 Premier League Champions; in fact it went down to the very last race of the season, only to be usurped by Scunthorpe. They had come close before, four years earlier when the Rebels came second. This time round though it went to a play-off situation and whilst they were again the bridesmaid, Somerset tasted success in the League Cup Final, beating Ipswich on aggregate over two legs.
“The Somerset team are always there or thereabouts in most competitions. They have an out and out number one in Jason Doyle and he receives strong backing from his fellow Australian countrymen Nick Morris and Josh Grajczonek. Along with a middle order of Alex Davies and Kyle Newman the visitors have a solid look about them” commented the Lions co-promoter Alan Jones.
Tipped by many to be the favourites for the Premier League Championship title, the Rebels took a knock to their aspirations when they forfeited their proud home record two weeks ago against Edinburgh. It was the first time that Somerset had been on the wrong end of a result since October 2011.
“Saturday’s match marks the half way stage in our fixtures and another three points are a must have situation. There have been some shocks recently and no doubt there are more to come. Who’d have thought that Somerset would have surrendered their unbeaten home record against Edinburgh, who themselves were still smarting from losing at home the week before to the surprise package of them all, the Redcar Bears. Newcastle winning at Ipswich was another big result for the Diamonds but then in the return match three days later the two teams fought out a draw which was a huge performance from the Witches as you have to go some to get a result up there on Tyneside. Despite losing at home last week, Somerset have not just turned into a non-runner as they have too many quality riders in their side and it would be folly for us to discount them on Saturday” added Jones.
Leicester’s Team Manager Glyn Taylor has named the same riding order that beat Glasgow two weeks ago for the visit of Somerset who sit just one place off the play-off positions and are at full strength apart from their reserve Tom Perry who took ill at the weekend whilst riding for his National League club. Perry’s place will be taken by the former Lions rider Lewis Blackbird.
The Harry Jordan Lions return to Premier League action on Saturday with the visit of the Glasgow Tigers to Leicester and Team Manager Glyn Taylor has decided not to make a change to the side following Adam Roynon’s return to the sport on Sunday in the Testimonial meeting for Kauko Nieminen.
“It has been the most important decision we have had to make regarding team selection since we opened in 2011. It was agreed with Adam that he would work towards a comeback in Kauko’s Testimonial meeting where points were not at stake as it would be a nice event to ease his way back in and then see where we went from there depending on how he came through it.
“After Adam’s accident Magnus Karlsson stepped in at such short notice to help us out and his form of late particularly on away tracks at Glasgow and Plymouth cannot be ignored. Adam as we all know is a class act and gives everything so you can see the predicament we were in. After Sunday’s meeting we had to make a quick decision either way for the sake of Magnus and Adam. So rather than change a winning team we have decided to allow Adam the opportunity to find another club and have circulated his name as available and wish him well” commented the Lions co-promoter Alan Jones.
Leicester are currently top of the league table and go into the fixture against Glasgow hoping to complete the double over the Scottish club and extend their unbeaten run to seven matches. The Tigers have selection problems following the announcement earlier in the week by James Wright that he was taking a break from the sport and have co-opted the Scunthorpe rider Ashley Birks to deputise. Added to their woes Joey Ringwood is missing due to a swollen knee following a crash in the home fixture against Edinburgh two weeks ago and so Glasgow are operating the rider replacement facility to cover for their absent Australian.
Kauko Nieminen, the Leicester Lions captain, celebrates eleven full seasons in British Speedway with a Testimonial meeting at the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium on Sunday. Nieminen signed for Leicester in July 2011 and his presence soon helped to improve Leicester’s results as the Lions ended the season on a winning note and second place in the Premier League Fours’ Final.
The three times Finnish National Champion will take his place in a Leicester team to face a Kauko Select seven which includes one of Team GB’s rising stars in Craig Cook. The Edinburgh rider is a Leicester track specialist; having broken Nieminen’s track record for the circuit during the first heat of last week’s meeting and has been chosen as a reserve at the British Grand Prix at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday.
Cook’s teammates will include Adam Roynon who returns to the sport after picking up an injury on the first day of the season. Roynon, who was a winter signing, made his debut in the afternoon meeting for Leicester at Scunthorpe but later that evening he was involved in a crash whilst riding for his parent club the Coventry Bees. Now given the all-clear to race again, the Testimonial at Leicester will be Adam’s first meeting back on the track.
Kim Nilsson who was a teammate of Nieminen’s in the Elite League at Lakeside will be making his first appearance at Leicester and leading out the side is one of Nieminen’s closest friends Rusty Harrison. The Australian befriended Nieminen when he first came to the UK in 2002 and helped him settle into the British way of life. Both were riding for the Comets at the time and were in the same team that won the Premier League Fours’ Final.
Joe Haines, a double British Under-21 Champion and Sheffield Tiger has also accepted an invitation to ride and so too has one of last season’s favourites at Leicester, Jari Mäkinen. Completing the ‘Select’ team is Henric Lindqvist, a nineteen year old who is making his British track debut and has impressed Nieminen during their time racing together in the Swedish Allsvenskan League for Rospiggarna.
“When Kauko Nieminen first came to Leicester in 2011 we were in the midst of a poor run of form but his arrival heralded the start of a new beginning really for the club as our results began to pick up. Since then our stature has steadily grown and we will be forever grateful for Kauko’s leadership as captain of the Lions. People who have met Kauko talk warmly about the man, not just from a riding perspective but about him as a person. He has given eleven full seasons to British Speedway and we sincerely hope that fans turn out in large numbers on Sunday in support of a truly nice guy” commented the Lions co-promoter, Alan Jones.
There will be an element of nostalgia to savour as well on the day as Les Collins, the last captain of the first era of the Lions and a former World number 2 will open the proceedings with a number of demonstration laps of the track.
Why not have a pre-meeting drink in Yulia’s Bar which will be open from 1.00pm.
Tickets for the Testimonial are on sale on the day of the meeting at the stadium ticket office from 1.45pm and normal Leicester Speedway admission prices apply. The parade of riders will take place at 3.45pm with the first race at 4.00pm.
OLLY Allen will stand in for the Sheffield number one Simon Stead in tomorrow’s Premier League meeting with Leicester at Owlerton. Stead has failed a fitness test as he has insufficient strength in his hand and shoulder but Allen, who rides for Rye House and Coventry, has agreed to make a guest appearance. The Sheffield Window Centre side are boosted by the return of Richard Hall the former Leicester captain for the meeting after a two week break.
Why not dine and enjoy watching the racing action from the best seats in the house in the comfort of the stylish glass fronted Panorama Restaurant as the Lions go head to head with the Tigers for Premier League points. To reserve a table please telephone 0114 234 3074
On Friday 31st May Lasse Bjerre and Kevin Doolan will represent Leicester in the Premier League Best Pairs Final competition at Somerset. The Lions duo have been drawn in Group B alongside pairs from Edinburgh, Workington, Plymouth and Sheffield. The top two pairings from each group progress to the semi-final stage with the winners going through to a grand final. Leicester reached the semi-final stage last season only to go out against the Scunthorpe Scorpions.
The Harry Jordan Haulage Lions who are in the midst of their best spell since the return of the sport in 2011 travel to Sheffield on Thursday in search of another win to cement their position at the top of the Premier League table. Leicester though will be without their in-form heat leader Magnus Karlsson who has a prior commitment back home in Sweden so the club have asked Coventry’s National League rider James Sarjeant to stand-in on the night.
“It is unfortunate that we are without Magnus at Sheffield for what is an important fixture for us, particularly as we are on a roll with five consecutive league wins to our credit. Magnus is required to ride for his Swedish club Ornarna in an Allsvenskan League fixture and they have first call on his services as Magnus did not re-join Leicester until after he had signed for them” explained the Lions co-promoter Alan Jones.
Sarjeant, who recently appeared for Leicester earlier this month when he deputised for Robert Branford in the fixtures against Berwick and Ipswich, takes the number 2 race jacket and Jan Graversen moves to four in the line-up with Kevin Doolan occupying the number five position normally occupied by Karlsson.
1. Simon Stead, 2. Facundo Albin, 3. Joe Haines, 4. Richard Hall, 5. Ricky Wells, 6. Damien Koppe and 7. Jake Knight
1. Kauko Nieminen, 2. James Sarjeant, 3. Lasse Bjerre, 4. Jan Graversen, 5. Kevin Doolan, 6. Alex Edberg and 7. Robert Branford
The Harry Jordan Haulage Leicester Lions visit the team currently rooted at the bottom of the Premier League table on Friday, the Plymouth Devils. The Devon club have started the season with two defeats on the road at Redcar and Edinburgh and in the return the following night the Scottish club achieved the double.
Plymouth co-promoter Ashley Taylor says the club will keep faith with their current line-up for their fixtures against Leicester. “We will be taking a close look at things, especially with the new averages coming into force for the start of June, and want to make sure that any changes we make are the right ones for the Plymouth team.”
The Devils are led by the high scoring Australian Ty Proctor, who doubles up in the Elite League with Wolverhampton. Proctor is joined by their Swedish ace Ricky Kling, another rider with bags of Elite League experience from riding for the Poole Pirates last season and Mark Lemon who is still posting big figures despite celebrating his fortieth birthday earlier this year. Backing up their top three is Cory Gathercole who captain’s the side along with Todd Kurtz who recently starred for Australia in a World Under-21 Team Cup qualifier and recent signing Jake Anderson. Completing the side is Chris Schramm, the only British rider amongst a team of five Australians and a Swede!
“The Plymouth promotion has assembled a team that we thought would be a surprise package this year with plenty of experience and a dash of youth. Why it has not worked out for them so far is a mystery but we will not underestimate their capability especially around their own circuit where they have a very good record.” commented the Lions co-promoter Alan Jones.
Leicester will host the return fixture twenty-four hours later at the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium and have named the same side that completed a successful weekend’s racing with wins at home to Workington and away at Glasgow which propelled them into third place in the Premier League table. “The only positional change we have made for both fixtures is to switch the two reserves around so Alex Edberg moves to number six and Robert Branford to seven in the team for both fixtures” added Jones.
The Harry Jordan Haulage Lions play host to the Workington Comets at home on Saturday. The visitors are currently top of the Premier League table with twelve points from five matches and they will test Leicester’s unbeaten home record to the full.
“Workington will present us with a stern test of our resolve to maintain an unbeaten home record and they are big track specialists so should be relishing their visit here. They had an injury jinxed season in 2012 but still managed to be one of the fore-runners in the Premier League. Now they have resumed where they left off and are again a formidable outfit that oozes class and respect – but not too much respect as we cannot afford to stand on ceremony” commented the Lions co-promoter Alan Jones.
The Lions will be back to full strength for the first time in five weeks; the last occasion was their second leg Knock-out Cup win against Edinburgh on 13th April and the fixture will mark the new reserve partnership of Robert Branford and Alex Edberg. The British Under-21 Champion missed Leicester’s win against Ipswich last week due to a commitment to ride in a World Under-21 qualifier at Rawicz, Poland.
Meanwhile Workington are without Tero Aarnio who has four broken bones in his foot and will cover for his absence by operating the rider replacement rule and there is a fitness doubt over reserve Chris Mills.
It is a busy weekend for the Leicester team who the following day head north to race against the Glasgow Tigers. The Scottish club have begun the season in winning form having won four out of their first five home meetings and are led by two of British Speedway’s longest serving riders Joe Screen and James Grieves. Supporting these two evergreens is the former Leicester rider Henning Bager and winter signing from Somerset James Wright. The remainder of the side is made up by first year Premier League riders, Joe Jacobs, who also rides in the lower tier for Coventry, and two newcomers from Australia, Joey Ringwood and Harley Horwood.
“We have another long trip ahead of us on Sunday to Glasgow and last season we came back with the points. The Tigers have three new faces themselves in the team and with Scunthorpe coming away with a draw there last week we have to believe it is within ourselves to at least achieve a similar outcome as the Scorpions” added Jones.
STOP PRESS: We have been informed that Chris Mills is not fit to ride on Saturday and will be replaced by Cameron Heeps
Leicester welcomes back their captain Kauko Nieminen to the team for this weekend’s meetings after he missed the fixture at Ipswich on Bank Holiday Monday due to mild concussion following a crash at Somerset the previous Friday.
Whilst Nieminen returns the Harry Jordan Haulage Lions will be without Lasse Bjerre again on Saturday for their visit to Berwick in the Premier League and also missing is Robert Branford as both riders are riding in a World Under-21 Championship qualifier in Rawicz, Poland. It will be the fourth consecutive match that Leicester have been one rider short and his team mates will again be expected to take extra rides to cover for Bjerre’s absence. James Sarjeant, who is the captain of Coventry’s National League side, will replace Branford and he retains his place for the visit of Ipswich to the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium the following day.
Berwick have team selection problems of their own as their number one Ricky Ashworth will miss the meeting on Saturday. The Manchester-based racer suffered severe concussion in two recent high-speed crashes – at Glasgow and then a fortnight later at Edinburgh – and despite several neurological consultations has not yet been cleared again for action. The Border club are also without David Bellego who is riding in the same competition as Bjerre and Branford and will replace the Frenchman with a guest.
Ipswich, who won at home against the Lions on Monday by 53 points to 37, have named an unchanged line-up for their visit to Leicester on Sunday and apart from Branford Leicester will be at full strength. Bjerre is due to fly into the UK in the morning from Poland but as Branford is travelling overland he will not be available to make his home debut for the Lions.
“We won at Berwick last season and although the Bandits have lost three times at home already we are going there under no illusion that it will be easy. Three of our last four away results have been disappointing and whilst it is early days we just cannot rely on our home form to ensure we reach the play-off stage. Despite being without Kauko Nieminen at Ipswich on Monday we were in the meeting right up to the halfway stage. The return fixture against the Witches at Leicester on Sunday is one of the most attractive meetings of the year particularly as the visitors are led by Ben Barker who is a top performer in the Premier League. For us it is a must win match and we can take some satisfaction from the way we applied ourselves at their place” commented the Lions co-promoter Alan Jones.
The Harry Jordan Lions travel to Somerset tomorrow to face the Rebels in what is their first away Premier League fixture of the season. The meeting will mark the debut of their new signing Robert Branford who won the British Under-21 Championship last week. The nineteen year old takes the place of Lewis Blackbird who has decided to leave the club.
“After careful thought Lewis has asked to be allowed to move to another club where he will be guaranteed regular rides. He was due to share the role with new signing Robert Branford and now the British Under-21 Champion will occupy one of the reserve positions in the team on a full-time basis” commented co-promoter Alan Jones.
Blackbird made twenty-five appearances for Leicester with his best meeting coming in the opening fixture this season at Scunthorpe where he shared top spot on the score-board with Kauko Nieminen. “During the winter we set out on a policy of creating opportunities for young British riders to step up from the National League and into the next tier of racing at Leicester. Our initial entry before the start of the season did not get off the ground because Lewis Kerr, who was earmarked for a similar role, received an offer to go full-time at Newcastle and it has confirmed so far that our assessment of Kerr is proving spot on as Lewis is delivering good results for the Diamonds. We were undeterred and never lost sight of repeating the initiative resulting in an agreement with Robert Branford. Unfortunately we are back to square one again but we will park the idea for now and take stock of the situation at a later date” added Jones.
The Lions will be looking to improve upon previous visits to the Oak Tree Arena which has never been a good hunting ground. Somerset came within a whisker of being crowned Premier League Champions in 2012, only to lose the title in the very last race to Scunthorpe. The Rebels have started the season in winning form and are currently top of the Southern Section of the League Cup table, a competition they won last year.
The Lions are on the road again on Bank Holiday Monday where they are due at Ipswich in a Premier League fixture. The Witches started the season in good form and are poised to leapfrog defending Champions the Somerset Rebels in the Southern Section of the League Cup if they beat Plymouth later this month and have begun their Premier League campaign with a hard fought draw at Scunthorpe.
“Last season we collected a consolation bonus point in the corresponding fixture and with Lasse Bjerre and Kevin Doolan, two former Ipswich riders in the side, we are looking to get something out of this meeting. Ipswich have won all of their home meetings so far but by only a two point margin against Rye House and Plymouth so there is quiet optimism that we can be as equally effective on Monday” commented the Lions co-promoter, Alan Jones.
The future of British Speedway is on show on Saturday at the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium when forty-one riders take part in the British Youth Championships. The competition is open to any British rider under the age of sixteen and the series will be staged at six different venues throughout the season and gets underway at Leicester.
There are three classes catered for, with a British Championship at 500cc and 250cc levels, and a 125cc support class. With over forty riders registered the 2013 series is going to be the biggest to date since its inception.
The competition is seen to be a stepping stone into league racing and last season’s winner of the 500cc event Josh Bates, is now riding for the Premier League Champions, the Scunthorpe Scorpions. This season there are a number of riders in the senior class who have previously ridden at Leicester and now compete in the thriving Midland Development League namely Belle Vue’s representative Michael Neale; Connor Mountain and Josh Bailey from King’s Lynn and Nathan Greaves who rides for the Milton Keynes Knights.
GB Youth co-boss Neil Vatcher said “I would urge fans to come along and cheer on the future talent for GB, and I’m sure many people will be surprised at that talent as we have riders as young as eight years of age coming through the ranks. There will be a total of 42 races, and we try to get the meeting finished in under three hours so the track action is always fast and furious. We would like to thank the following for their invaluable assistance in getting the British Youth Championships to the level we currently enjoy: our four series sponsors Friends of Speedway, Wessex Marina, NSSC and Duck Smart, and also the BSPA and SCB for funding of the events.”
For Leicester fans the interest will without doubt centre on the junior competition where their three mascots will be competing against one another for the first time. Luke Whitehead who is now into his third year as the Lions mascot and rode in the competition last season is joined by Leicester’s youngest club representatives, Dan and Joe Thompson. The twins aged eight years are making their first appearance in an official competition.
The first race gets underway at 5.30pm and admission prices have been reduced to £5.00 for adults, £2.50 for children aged between ten and sixteen and children under 10 are free.
The Harry Jordan Leicester Lions are without their Danish teenager Lasse Bjerre for the fixture against the Redcar Bears at home on Saturday. Bjerre is taking part in a meeting on his home track in Denmark which has been arranged by the Danish Motor Union to determine their country’s qualifiers for the World Under-21 Individual Championship competition which starts next month.
If Bjerre gets through as one of the qualifiers he will face a World Under-21 preliminary fixture next month at one of three venues, Chervonograd (Ukraine), Rawicz (Poland) or Lonigo (Italy). His absence means that the Lions go into Saturday’s meeting with six riders and rider replacement against a Redcar team that won at Berwick in the Knock-out Cup last weekend.
The Lions will be hoping to put their disappointment of going out of two cup competitions behind them and collect all three Premier League points. “As it is an official fixture covered by an agreement between the Danish Motor Union and the British Speedway Promoters Association we have no option but to allow Lasse to miss our match against Redcar. It is not ideal to have a gap in our team and means that all remaining six riders need to be scoring well to cover for Lasse’s absence” explained the Lions Co-promoter Alan Jones.
It will be the first occasion that Kevin Doolan will face his former club since his transfer during the winter to Leicester. The Australian ended the year with the highest match average for the Bears and the visitors have re-signed Ulrich Ostergaard, Aaron Summers, Matej Kus and Carl Wilkinson from the team that finished last season in ninth position. The new faces are Hugh Skidmore from Sheffield who set the first track record when the Leicester stadium opened in April 2011 and the Australian is joined by two fellow countrymen, Mitchell Davey and Micky Dyer.
Leicester: 1 Kauko Nieminen, 2 Rider Replacement, 3 Kevin Doolan, 4 Jan Graversen, 5 Magnus Karlsson, 6 Simon Nielsen and 7 Lewis Blackbird
Redcar: 1 Ulrich Ostergaard, 2 Hugh Skidmore, 3 Matej Kus, 4 Carl Wilkinson, 5 Aaron Summers, 6 Mitchell Davey and 7 Micky Dyer
Leicester face three important meetings in as many days which will define how their season will turn out in two competitions. First of all the Harry Jordan Lions travel to Sheffield on Thursday as Group 3 leaders of the League Cup competition and a point at Owlerton will secure their place in the semi-final draw. Sheffield can also qualify if they collect all three match points and both teams are at full strength.
“Let’s not kid ourselves, Sheffield are almost invincible at Owlerton where they have lost just eighteen Premier League matches in sixteen years. From these statistics you can begin to see that everyone has to be on their game on Thursday night. I believe that we are riding well enough to make a real go of it and have only one thought in mind and that is to win. We can afford to draw or as a bare minimum lose by six which will give us the bonus match point. But that is defensive talk when in fact we will be going there on the offensive” commented the Lions Team Manager Glyn Taylor.
Twenty-four hours later Leicester journey further north to Edinburgh where they take on the Monarchs in the first leg of the Knock-out Cup. The Scottish club are renowned cup specialists and are three times winners of the title. Last year Edinburgh came close to making the final again but went out in the last stage to Ipswich.
“Edinburgh are another team with a very good home record and at the very least we need to keep in contention throughout the meeting up in Scotland to give ourselves a chance of outscoring them over the two leg tie. The rules of the competition do not favour the away team as there are no tactical changes a team manager can make to gain double points if their side is losing and as in any sport there is a higher percentage of home wins” explained Taylor.
The Lions make two positional changes to the team that gained a convincing win against Scunthorpe with Jan Graversen and Kevin Doolan switching places for all three fixtures.
1 Kauko Nieminen, 2 Jan Graversen, 3 Lasse Bjerre, 4 Kevin Doolan, 5 Magnus Karlsson, 6 Simon Nielsen and 7 Lewis Blackbird
1 Simon Stead, 2 Facundo Albin, 3 Joe Haines, 4 Richard Hall, 5 Ricky Wells, 6 Damien Koppe and 7 Jake Knight
1 Craig Cook, 2 Derek Sneddon, 3 Theo Pijper, 4 Max Fricke, 5 Claus Vissing, 6 Marcel Helfer and 7 Jozsef Tabaka
The Harry Jordan Haulage sponsored Leicester Lions complete their home fixtures in the League Cup competition on Saturday with a visit from the Scunthorpe Scorpions. The two clubs last met on Good Friday when Leicester pushed the home side to a last heat decider at the Eddie Wright Stadium in North Lincolnshire and the result in the return fixture is important to both teams to enhance their chances of being one of the four teams in the semi-final draw.
Leicester are buoyed by the inclusion of Magnus Karlsson who re-joins the club following the injury to Adam Roynon last week and he faces his old club on Saturday. “Magnus had a big following at Leicester during his eighteen months at the club and his return has been warmly received. Adam is still very much in our plans but competing with six of our riders up against a team of seven is not sustainable and as it is not clear how long Adam will be missing we had to move quickly to bring the Leicester team back up to strength” remarked the Lions Co-promoter, Alan Jones.
Scunthorpe are the Premier League Champions and have kept the nucleus of the side from last year with the only changes being at reserve where Josh Bates has been promoted from the lower tier of league racing and Ryan Douglas, a nineteen year old Australian, is a newcomer to British Speedway.
Leicester: 1 Kauko Nieminen, 2 Kevin Doolan, 3 Lasse Bjerre, 4 Jan Graversen, 5 Magnus Karlsson, 6 Simon Nielsen and 7 Lewis Blackbird
Scunthorpe: 1 Josh Auty, 2 Thomas Jorgensen, 3 Michael Palm Toft, 4 Ashley Birks, 5 David Howe, 6 Josh Bates and 7 Ryan Douglas
The Leicester Lion Cubs are in action for the very first time later in the evening when they take on the Mercia Vikings in the first round of the Midland Development League Knock-out Cup competition at the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium.
After the cancellation of Leicester’s pre-season warm-up match against the Coventry Bees the Harry Jordan Haulage Lions are thrust into a League Cup fixture at Scunthorpe on Good Friday without the advantage of a team practice match beforehand. It will not be the easiest of starts either for Leicester who face last season’s Premier League Champions who edged home by one point on aggregate in the Play-off Final against Somerset to win the title.
“Ideally we would have liked a meeting beforehand to get ourselves back into the swing of things but the same applies to the Scunthorpe riders. Kauko Nieminen and Kevin Doolan were hoping to get some laps under their belts in David Howe’s Testimonial meeting at Scunthorpe last weekend but that fell foul to the weather. It is an important meeting to go into cold for both teams particularly as so much is at stake so early in the season” commented the Lions Co-promoter Alan Jones. Leicester have been drawn with Scunthorpe and Sheffield and the winners of Group 3 will progress through to the semi-finals of the competition.
Scunthorpe: 1. Josh Auty, 2. Thomas Jorgensen, 3. Michael Palm Toft, 4. Ashley Birks, 5. David Howe, 6. Josh Bates and 7. Ryan Douglas
Leicester: 1. Kauko Nieminen, 2. Jan Graversen, 3. Lasse Bjerre, 4. Adam Roynon, 5. Kevin Doolan, 6, Simon Nielsen and 7. Lewis Blackbird
On Saturday Leicester host a fixture against the Sheffield Tigers at the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium and Taylor has named the same riding order. “The visitors have a solid top four but also have three riders who are starting out on a path to a career in the Premier League so it will be intriguing to see whether the trio will hit the ground running and so provide their top end scorers with enough points to see them win matches” added Jones.
Sheffield: 1. Simon Stead, 2. Facundo Albin, 3. Joe Haines, 4. Richard Hall, 5, Ricky Wells, 6. Jake Knight and 7. Damien Koppe
One of the aristocrat clubs of British Speedway, the Coventry Bees make their first appearance at Leicester’s Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium in a seven-a-side fixture on Saturday when the two teams race for the East Midlands Bowl.
Since returning to the sport in 2011 the Harry Jordan Haulage sponsored Leicester Lions have been bereft of regular local derby meetings so Saturday’s fixture is one to savour and for the longer standing Leicester supporters it will conjure up those heady days when Leicester met Coventry.
The pre-season opener against Elite League opposition will pose a stern challenge for Leicester against Coventry who are three-times league champions. Last year was not the best of campaigns for the Bees by their own high standards, although they did reach the final of the Knock-out Cup only to lose against Poole.
The visitors are geared up to rectify the situation with the acquisition of Krzysztof Kasprzak to front the Bees scoring and the Grand Prix rider will be a big draw-card on Saturday. It is the Polish International’s second spell with the club having arrived at Brandon in May 2010 when Coventry was in the midst of a run of poor form. His presence helped the Bees to climb the table and into a play-off position from where they won the league title with Krzysztof heading the team’s averages. The Bees number one rider holds the distinction of being the first person to complete a few laps of the Leicester track in the days leading up to the stadium opening and alongside Kasprzak at the helm of the Coventry team is Scott Nicholls who last season became British Champion for a record seventh time and is a world class rider of some considerable standing.
“This is a meeting that fans have been asking us to arrange and whilst there are no league points at stake the mere fact that the two clubs are facing one another for the first time in a full fifteen heat team meeting has created much interest and excitement” commented the Lions Co-promoter Alan Jones. “Saturday will be the first time that four riders will compete against one another following the track alterations last month and we are grateful to Lafarge Tarmac who kindly supplied different materials which enabled us to carry out the work at very little cost to the club” added Jones.
With the track now measuring 317 metres a new track record will be created in the opening race which will feature Krzysztof Kasprzak and Leicester’s captain Kauko Nieminen who holds the record for the fastest four laps when the circuit measured 321 metres.
A large attendance is expected and the stadium ticket office will be open at 5.30pm.
Leicester have accepted an invitation from Ipswich for the Lions to race against the Witches for the John Berry Memorial Trophy on Thursday 11th July. John, who presided over a golden era when Ipswich were one of the top clubs in British speedway passed away suddenly last year. The meeting will follow a 13-heat format with a traditional old style second half event.
Friday 15th March has been set for Leicester’s press, practice and preview day at Beaumont Park when the team will be together for the first time. “Ideally the event should be staged at a weekend to allow fans the opportunity to attend if they so wish but we have taken into consideration the fact that three of the team live outside of the UK and to fly in for a few practice laps and then return home proves to be an expensive visit. We were mindful of this and therefore have decided to hold the event on the day before we open against Coventry” explained the Lions co-promoter Alan Jones.
The day starts at 1.00pm when the stadium gates will be open for people to come in and watch until 4.00pm when the session is due to finish. For people who cannot make the event due to work commitments there will be an opportunity for fans to meet the team during a Q and A forum which will be held in the Stadium bar that day from 5.00pm onwards. With David, Alan and Glyn also in attendance it is an ideal time to catch up on the latest news.
The Lions will open their season at Beaumont Park on Saturday 16th March with a visit from their near neighbours the Coventry Bees who will race for the East Midlands Bowl. The competition was the traditional season opener between the two clubs that followed through to the last era of the Lions.
Leicester Promoter David Hemsley had this to say: “It is great to resurrect the East Midlands Bowl competition and the traditional rivalry from these two clubs who are full of history. This will be the first time in the modern era of Leicester Speedway that the two teams have come face to face on a full 1 to 7 basis and it is fantastic we have that opportunity here at Leicester. It is an excellent way to start our 2013 campaign, and it continues to demonstrate that Leicester Speedway is fully committed to operating at the highest level of competition. We look forward to the Grand Prix stars such as Krzysztof Kasprzak and British Champion Scott Nicholls gracing our shale and I am sure the supporters will turn out in force to support the Lions and the Bees when the oldest Midland’s derby of them all recommences on 16th March.”
Coventry will be at full strength apart from Adam Roynon who will be making his debut for the Lions against his parent club that night so the Bees will be tracking a guest for as a replacement. “No doubt this is a mouth watering opener for both Coventry and Leicester. This meeting will generate a big crowd and will give Leicester a real test against the mighty Bees. Our relationship is very good with Leicester and I am more than happy to take this challenge, We will be at full strength and this meeting will give the boys a chance to brush off the cobwebs. I think the Leicester promotion have done a great job with the club and I certainly hope they will join us in the top flight for 2014″ commented Mick Horton, Coventry Promoter.
Leicester are set to launch their season with a trip to Scunthorpe, the current Premier League Champions on Good Friday when League Cup points are at stake. Twenty-four hours later the Lions entertain the Sheffield Tigers at Beaumont Park in the same competition and the team that finishes top of the group after meeting each other home and away will go forward to the semi-final stage. “It is an interesting start to the season having to face the league champions so early on. Scunthorpe have basically the same side that won the title but in contrast Sheffield have four new faces in the team” commented the Lions Co-promoter Alan Jones.
The first home meeting has been pencilled in for Saturday 23rd March but the type of fixture has yet to be agreed. “Ideally we do not want to start our season with an away meeting at Scunthorpe in the League Cup and therefore we are in discussions with another club as to the viability of a challenge match at Beaumont Park, possibly taking place the previous Saturday, but until the details are finalised we are unable to confirm the visiting team” added Jones.
The Lions embark on their Premier League programme with a visit from Redcar on Saturday 20th April and it will be the first occasion for Kevin Doolan who will ride against the club he left to join Leicester. With Adam Roynon and Jan Graversen also former Redcar riders, there will be great incentive to begin the competition with a win over the North-east side. During April, Leicester enter the Knock-out Cup with back-to-back meetings against Edinburgh with the winners going through to meet either Plymouth or Newcastle in the next stage.
Beaumont Park Stadium will again be the venue for the Midland Development League Riders’ Championship Final next season. “We see the benefits of a grass roots organised league structure whereby newcomers can gain valuable experience of different tracks and also to learn the techniques of team racing. As a club we are fully committed to doing our bit for junior development through our support for the Long Eaton Invaders and are delighted to be asked to stage the flagship Riders’ Championship Final again” commented the Lions Co-promoter Alan Jones.
“I’d like to thank both David and Alan for agreeing to stage this event for the second year running. The 2012 staging was a huge success and was enjoyed by both spectators and riders alike. It is our plan to once again run the meeting under the current GP format with 16 of the MDL’s best riders fighting it out to be crowned the 2013 champion. In line with MDL rules none of the riders will receive points and travel money for this event, however we will be offering a whole range of sponsorship packages to help the riders out. Details of these sponsorship packages will be available shortly, in the meantime anyone that is interested in coming forward to help can contact me at email@example.com or Laurence Rogers on firstname.lastname@example.org” stated Kelvin Lapworth, the Midland Development League Co-ordinator.
The final will take place on Saturday, 28th September with a 7.30 pm start-time.
Leicester prepare for their back-to-back play-off fixtures against the Somerset Rebels without Lasse Bjerre who has two prior engagements in the Czech Republic. The teenager also has had to withdraw from the re-staging of the Premier League Riders’ Championship Final at Sheffield on Sunday.
Bjerre’s rides in the two meetings against Somerset will be shared out between his teammates with the exception of Kauko Nieminen who, as the top rider at the club, is ineligible to deputise under the rules of the competition. The Lions are also missing Lewis Blackbird who broke his collarbone in the play-off fixture at Newcastle on Sunday and his place will be taken by Lewis Kerr who rides for King’s Lynn in the National League.
Leicester require a match point at the Oaktree Arena and three at Beaumont Park to guarantee them a place in the Grand Final against the winners of Group 1.
“It is a great shame that we are without Lasse for what are important matches for the club against Somerset. He had no alternative but to fulfil his contract to his main sponsor Jawa, which has been in his diary for some time now. Had these dates been firm fixtures in our calendar then Lasse would have been obliged to ride for Leicester but they were only ever pencilled in as reserved dates in the hope that we were to make the play-offs” said the Lions Co-promoter Alan Jones.
“The situation is not ideal for us but it is not insurmountable. There have been many examples of rider replacement working for a team but to be successful everyone has to be on their game” added Jones.
Teams (both fixtures)
Leicester: 1. Kauko Nieminen, 2. Rider Replacement, 3. Linus Eklӧf, 4. Jan Graversen, 5. Magnus Karlsson, 6. Jari Mäkinen and 7. Lewis Kerr
Somerset: 1. Jason Doyle, 2. Alex Davies, 3. Jesper B Monberg, 4. James Wright, 5. Claus Vissing, 6. Kyle Newman and 7. Tom Perry
Beaumont Park is expecting one of its largest attendances of the season on Saturday for the visit of the Newcastle Diamonds in a play-off fixture. The two teams last met at Leicester in June with the Lions gaining a narrow win by 46 points to 44.
It has been a wonderful year for Newcastle who finished the season top of the Premier League table which is no mean feat for any club in a super competitive league set-up. Their progress in the League Cup and Knock-out Cup competitions also has to be admired having reached the semi-finals in both.
The club has had to endure the loss of both Steve and Richie Worrall through injury which was a double blow but the Diamonds have kept the match points flowing. At home the only team to gain a bonus point was Ipswich that was until last Sunday when Somerset achieved the same outcome in a play-off fixture.
Fronting the Diamonds challenge on Saturday is Mark Lemon and Stuart Robson two of the most experienced riders in the Premier League. Supporting the duo are three riders who have upped their averages from the figures they started out with in March. Christian Henry, a winter capture from Glasgow, has put almost one and a half points on his CMA and Ludvig Lindgren and Claes Nedermark have both seen an upward trend of one additional point per meeting on their averages.
Newcastle have included two guest riders to cover for the Worrall twins on Saturday. One is the British Under-21 Individual Champion Joe Haines who rides for the Sheffield Tigers and was a recent visitor to Beaumont Park when he rode for Coventry in the Midland Fours’ event, scoring 6 points. The seventh rider is Paul Starke who rides in the National League for the Isle of Wight club.
“All three match points are a must against Newcastle and secondly we have to go for every available point on the table because in a tie situation it could be settled on points scored for and against that count. There is no doubt we are perceived to be the underdogs in Group 2. The results between Newcastle and Somerset last weekend has given Somerset the edge so Newcastle need to win here on Saturday. So that is our challenge to not only win but win handsomely. We are not kidding ourselves, it will be tough, very tough, but there are no easy meetings when you reach this stage of the competition and we need a great turn-out of people to add vocal support to cheer the team on” stated the Lions Co-promoter, Alan Jones.
Leicester: 1. Kauko Nieminen, 2. Linus Eklӧf, 3. Lasse Bjerre, 4. Jan Graversen, 5. Magnus Karlsson, 6. Jari Mäkinen and 7. Lewis Blackbird
Newcastle: 1, Stuart Robson, 2. Claes Nedermark, 3. Mark Lemon, 4. Christian Henry, 5. Ludvig Lindgren, 6. Paul Starke and 7. Joe Haines
Leicester go into the Premier League Play-off’s on Friday at Somerset and welcome back Magnus Karlsson who missed the final league fixture at Workington following an injury sustained at Edinburgh the night before. Lasse Bjerre and Jari Mäkinen, who also picked up knocks on the Northern tour, have also confirmed their fitness in what is an important weekend for Leicester who face three matches in as many days with a visit from Newcastle on Saturday and the return fixture on Tyneside twenty-four hours later.
“Somerset currently head Group 2 after a convincing win against Newcastle on Friday and two days later they picked up a bonus point in the return fixture on Tyneside. The Rebels are in the driving seat and will be quietly confident of consolidating their position against us on Friday. Titles are won on performances away from your own backyard when you have to raise your game above the home team. That is where successful teams are judged as to whether they have the mental character to pull it off. In our group all three teams have not lost at home so something has to give. It will be tight and there is no leeway for errors which makes the play-off’s an exciting position to be in and hopefully we can do ourselves justice” commented the Lions Co-promoter, Alan Jones.
Somerset: 1. Jason Doyle, 2, Alex Davies, 3. Jesper B Monberg, 4. James Wright, 5. Claus Vissing, 6. Kyle Newman and 7. Tom Perry
Leicester: 1. Kauko Nieminen, 2. Linus Eklӧf, 3. Lasse Bjerre, 4. Jan Graversen, 5. Magnus Karlsson, 6. Jari Mäkinen and 7. Lewis Blackbird
Sixteen riders in the Midland Development League will be in competition against one another on Friday 28th September at Beaumont Park. The event is the first ever staging of a Riders’ Championship Final and the seven league clubs will be represented by their top two riders with two ‘Wild Cards’ invited to complete the number of contestants.
One of the two ‘Wild Cards’ is the Leicester born rider Chris Widman who will generate a great deal of local interest. The Leicester born rider who currently rides for the Buxton Hitmen in the National League starred for Long Eaton at their adopted Beaumont Park stadium last season and his high scoring points’ contributions helped the Invaders win the Midland Development League Championship. Widman will encounter strong opposition from a number of the contestants among them his former Long Eaton teammates Liam Rumsey and Lee Geary who are regulars at the Leicester track.
“Along with the Grand Final play-off this will be the showpiece of the MDL season and will give 16 of the league’s riders an opportunity to prove who the best is and I’m sure we are in for some very exciting racing. The meeting will take on the Grand Prix format with the top 8 riders after 20 qualifying heats going through to the semi-finals and then a grand final” stated the Midland Development League Co-ordinator, Kelvin Lapworth.
The parade of riders will take place at 7.15pm when they will be presented to the guest of honour, the 1991 World Speedway Champion Jan O’ Pedersen and the first race will start at 7.30pm.
Ollie Greenwood (Milton Keynes), Michael Neale (Belle Vue), Martin Wrathall (Stoke), Lee Springthorpe (Halifax), Andy Braithwaite (Sheffield), Chris Widman (Long Eaton), Lee Geary (Long Eaton), Danny Phillips (Scunthorpe), Liam Rumsey (Long Eaton), Dan Greenwood (Coventry-Mercia), Tom Woolley (Sheffield), Shaun Tedham (Stoke), Nick Laurence (Milton Keynes), Martin Knuckey (Coventry-Mercia), Max Clegg (Belle Vue) and Tommy Fenwick (Scunthorpe). Meeting Reserves David Holt (Belle Vue) and Adam Kirby (Scunthorpe)
Three Elite League clubs are coming to Beaumont Park on Saturday to compete against the Leicester Lions in a Midland Fours’ Team Tournament. The competition will be run over sixteen heats with one rider from each team in a race.
Leicester have named Magnus Karlsson, Lasse Bjerre, Jan Graversen and Linus Eklӧf as their quartet who will face stiff opposition from their neighbouring Midland clubs. The Lions completed their home Premier League programme on Sunday with a win against Workington which was the first time a Leicester team has achieved the feat in thirty-five seasons of league competition but their captain Kauko Nieminen who led the side to a club record will be missing as he has a prior engagement in Germany that day.
The meeting will be an opportunity for Leicester fans to see the Argentinian Nicolas Covatti, a new name to British Speedway. Covatti has recently joined Birmingham after being recommended to the club by Team Manager Phil Morris. Nicolas was a ‘wild card’ in the Italian Grand Prix last month and in only his third appearance for his new club he was the top scorer in the West Midlands derby against Wolverhampton at Perry Barr. Covatti will be joined by the Brummies’ captain Danny King and Josh Auty.
Wolverhampton have named a strong foursome that is headed by Nicolai Klindt and Ty Proctor but the one to look out for is Jacob Thorssell who impressed onlookers on his first visit to Leicester when he scored nine points in the Pride of the Midlands event. The Wolves team is completed by Pontus Aspgren.
Another one to watch is Max Fricke a trialist who will be riding for Coventry. Max delivered a dazzling performance on his first appearance on a British track last month in the Matthew Wethers Testimonial Meeting. The Australian took to the track and finished ahead of Kevin Doolan and Magnus Karlsson in his opening ride. It was the first time that Max had ridden a 500cc speedway bike in a competitive race and just to prove that it was no lucky ride he then beat James Grieves, Joe Screen, Charles Wright and Matthew Wethers. Such a baptism has him being watched by a number of clubs and Max who is being courted by Coventry has been practicing at Brandon and the Bees have no qualms about giving the newcomer a team place in the Midlands Fours’.
Joining Fricke in the Coventry team is Michal Szczepaniak and this will be his eighth appearance for the Bees since joining the club. Michal made his debut for the Bees in the home fixture against Swindon last month and achieved his best score in the defeat at Birmingham a week later when the twenty-nine year old ended the evening with ten points. The remaining two team members are still to be confirmed.