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