EUROPEAN LEAGUE PREVIEW
Robert Lambert will be the first Great Britain rider to go into PGE Ekstraliga action this season, with the opening fixture for Dan Bewley and Tai Woffinden delayed.
Images courtesy of Taylor Lanning Photography
Bewley and Woffinden were set to make the trip with Wroclaw to champions Lublin on Sunday for what was clearly the standout match in Round 1 featuring the two title favourites.
However, the meeting was an early casualty of the weather and it has been re-arranged for Thursday April 27, which will give Lublin two matches in two days in that week.
Lambert lines up for Torun in their season opener at home to Gorzow, who take on a different look this year following the departure of Bartosz Zmarzlik.
The GB man takes the No.10 riding position in the meeting and will make his first appearance in Heat 4, where his opponents are Wiktor Jasinski and Mateusz Bartkowiak.
He will clash with GP rival Anders Thomsen in Heat 7 and race alongside Patryk Dudek against Szymon Wozniak in Heat 9, before a tasty-looking Heat 13 sees him team up with new signing Wiktor Lampart against Thomsen and Martin Vaculik.
The first match of the season features Grudziadz hosting Czestochowa, with Nicki Pedersen expected to take his place in the home side despite his crash last week, and Max Fricke making his debut – whilst Mikkel Michelsen joins his fellow countryman Leon Madsen with the visitors, who have also recruited Maksym Drabik.
The remaining fixture on Sunday sees Leszno host newcomers Krosno, meaning an immediate return to the Alfred Smoczyk Stadium for Jason Doyle who was expected to remain with the Bulls but instead switched to the side promoted from Division One.
Fellow Aussie Chris Holder is a new signing for Leszno whilst Grzegorz Zengota and Bartosz Smektala return after time elsewhere. Krzysztof Kasprzak will make his debut alongside Doyle for Krosno.
The opening weekend in Division One sees recent Ekstraliga clubs Rybnik and Zielona Gora meet at the Municipal Stadium, with the visitors having rebuilt over the winter to include Przemyslaw Pawlicki and Rasmus Jensen – but the recent injury to Luke Becker is a major blow. Debutants for Rybnik will include Brady Kurtz and Jan Kvech.
Relegated Ostrow begin life back in Division One with a trip to Gdansk, who have signed former Ostrow rider Nicolai Klindt. Tobiasz Musielak was amongst the winter signings for Ostrow.
Elsewhere, Bydgoszcz are tipped for a strong season and open up against Lodz with David Bellego and Kenneth Bjerre leading their challenge, whilst Poznan host Landshut on Sunday lunchtime.
There are two meetings taking place in Division Two with the opening fixture at Pila delayed until May.
The fixture between Rawicz and Daugavpils on Saturday (3pm) will be of particular interest to British fans as it features Scott Nicholls racing for the home side and Steve Worrall for the visitors.
The two are now team-mates in the Premiership in the UK with Nicholls signing for Wolves as a short-term replacement for Becker, having made a terrific start to the season.
Elsewhere in Division Two, Tarnow host Rzeszow at 1pm on Saturday.