EUROPEAN PREVIEW - PGE Ekstraliga
Great Britain’s three PGE Ekstraliga riders will all be on track at the Olympic Stadium on Friday (7.30pm BST) as Wroclaw take on Torun.
Image courtesy of Taylor Lanning Photography
Officially this is a Round 2 fixture but for Wroclaw it is their opening match as their scheduled trip to Grudziadz last weekend was postponed due to Covid cases amongst their hosts.
So this will be the first competitive action of the season for Tai Woffinden and Dan Bewley, whilst Robert Lambert will be racing for the visitors who opened their campaign with a home win over Zielona Gora.
Bewley and Lambert could well meet in the first race, assuming Lambert once again takes the rides allocated to Petr Chlupac for Torun, whilst Woffinden’s opening outing will see him partner Gleb Chugunov up against Adrian Miedzinski and Chris Holder.
Lambert enjoyed an outstanding meeting at Wroclaw when racing for Rybnik last season, twice defeating Woffinden, and the GB stars look set to clash in both Heat 8 and Heat 13.
Elsewhere on Friday, Zielona Gora bid to get off the mark when they host Grudziadz, who have Krzysztof Kasprzak and Norbert Krakowiak making their debuts – the latter against the club for whom he impressed at reserve last season.
Sunday’s schedule opens with Gorzow facing Lublin, with the hosts set to be unchanged from their impressive win at Leszno last weekend.
Last year they were taken to a last-heat decider in the equivalent fixture and needed Bartosz Zmarzlik to wrap up an 18-point maximum to secure a 47-43 victory.
But on this occasion the visitors have continued doubts over Jarek Hampel who has been struggling with the effects at Covid, although he is declared at No.1 for the fixture - and they are unable to track winter signing Dominik Kubera until later this month under the terms of his move from Leszno.
Meanwhile Bartosz Smektala is another rider to debut for his new club against his old side, as Czestochowa face Leszno.
Kacper Woryna also makes his bow for the home side, and Jonas Jeppesen is included in a new-look middle-order, whilst the reigning champions look to repeat a 49-41 victory in the equivalent fixture last August. Smektala scored paid-12 from five rides in that match.
Three meetings are scheduled for Division One, with stadium upgrade work at Krosno meaning their home clash with Bydgoszcz will take place in May.
On Saturday Lodz race for the first time this season against Tarnow, with USA star Luke Becker included for the home side whilst the visitors are without the injured Niels-Kristian Iversen.
Then on Sunday, last week’s winners Gdansk and Rybnik meet at the coastal venue, and the programme is concluded on Monday with the opening appearances of 2021 for Ostrow and Gniezno.