EUROPEAN PREVIEW - FIME U19 Pairs Championship

Round 9 of the PGE Ekstraliga takes place over three days this weekend and it could prove to be one of the most fascinating of the season so far.

Image courtesy of Steve Hone Photography

All four matches feature teams fighting in similar areas of the table and it may be an especially important weekend in the battle to avoid relegation.

The action kicks off on Friday evening with Wroclaw facing Czestochowa, in the only meeting taking place on the day due to Poland’s involvement in Euro 2024.

Wroclaw have dropped to third in the table after losing their last two matches, whereas Czestochowa have recorded a hat-trick of wins and sit level on nine points with the host club.

And after a draw when the sides met earlier in the season, three league points are available for the winners.

Tai Woffinden and Dan Bewley line up for Wroclaw, 24 hours after being on opposing sides in the Sheffield v Belle Vue fixture in the UK Premiership where Bewley racked up 16 points although Sheffield won 54-36.

They face Grand Prix rivals Mikkel Michelsen and Leon Madsen in the Czestochowa team, and the winners could end the weekend second in the table.

Saturday features a crucial meeting at the foot of the table for Leszno, who are bottom and are running out of matches to save their Ekstraliga status.

They have been badly hit by injuries this season but they could have Janusz Kolodziej back in the side for the visit of Torun, who are three points better off in fifth place but whose away record has been very disappointing.

Robert Lambert will look to maintain his stellar form for the Angels and the bonus point should certainly be in their hands after a 59-31 home win earlier in the season.

However, a Leszno home victory would pile the pressure on Grudziadz and Zielona Gora ahead of their meeting on Sunday, with the out of form home team currently only one point ahead of Leszno.

The visitors are two points better off than their hosts and also lead 48-42 from the reverse fixture – and they will know an away win would be a huge step towards preserving their league status.

Match of the round is the Sunday evening fixture as Lublin travel to Gorzow, and having rarely looked like being defeated in 2024, this meeting should at least present a challenge for the runaway leaders.

They won the reverse fixture 55-35 but Gorzow have been in strong form themselves to hold second place in the table, and they will look to the likes of Martin Vaculik, Szymon Wozniak and Anders Thomsen to overturn the defending champions.

There are four meetings this weekend in Metalkas 2. Ekstraliga, two of them featuring Ostrow who could find themselves top of the table with two wins, as leaders Rybnik do not race.

Ostrow kick off on Saturday afternoon at home to mid-table Poznan in a Round 7 fixture, and then face a trip to bottom club Gdansk on Sunday in Round 9.

The second of those fixtures also carries the bonus point, with Ostrow 57-32 up from the first meeting, and after being deployed in the No.8 berth for Gdansk last time out, Tom Brennan is named back in the main one-to-seven, with the coastal club now three points adrift at the foot of the table.

Elsewhere, Bydgoszcz and Krosno both have the opportunity to overhaul Rybnik as they meet on Sunday afternoon with the visitors having a six-point advantage for the bonus point. Both are currently on 11 league points with Rybnik ahead on 13.

Finally, Saturday afternoon also sees a Round 8 fixture between Lodz and Rzeszow, the two teams immediately above Gdansk in the table.

Both have won two of their seven matches so far, with Rzeszow taking the reverse fixture 54-36.

There is one meeting in the National Speedway League this weekend with Tarnow hosting Pila on Sunday evening.

It’s a meeting held over from the second round and Adam Ellis goes at No.1 for the visitors, with his opposition including current SEC rider Timo Lahti and his former Swindon and Sheffield team-mate David Bellego.

Meanwhile Great Britain’s appearance in the European Under-19 Pairs Championship on Saturday is set to be one of the last meetings for some time at Pila.

The club’s stadium is undergoing redevelopment and will be unavailable to them from July 1, meaning their remaining home fixtures are set to take place at an alternative venue, possibly one from a club racing in the league above.

Ashton Boughen, Luke Harrison and Freddy Hodder line up for Great Britain in a competition which will see them face Ukraine, Poland, Germany, Czechia, Sweden and Denmark.

Poland will start as favourites as they include the top two riders from last weekend’s SGP2 opener, Wiktor Przyjemski and Bartosz Banbor.