EUROPEAN PREVIEW - SEC Challenge / PGE Ekstraliga
Great Britain’s Dan Bewley has the chance to qualify for the Speedway Euro Championship this weekend.
With Robert Lambert’s place in the series already assured following his victory last year, Bewley competes in the SEC Challenge which has moved to Pardubice and takes place on Saturday afternoon (3pm BST).
Bewley has been drawn at No.14 in a line-up which includes former World No.2 Patryk Dudek and 2017 SEC winner Andzej Lebedevs.
Five qualifying places are available for the four-round main series which starts in Bydgoszcz next month, and the organisers also have five picks to make in order to complete the line-up.
This weekend’s PGE Ekstraliga fixtures form a catch-up weekend, and assuming all matches go ahead each of the eight teams will have completed six matches by the end.
Bottom club Zielona Gora can only stand by and watch the others in action, whilst champions Leszno race twice as they have so far been most affected by call-offs.
Lambert is the first Great Britain racer into action on Friday as Torun visit his former club Lublin looking to recover from last week’s home defeat and regain ground on the top four.
But the home side have the incentive of going top of the table for 48 hours at least if they can secure victory.
Lambert helped Lublin move back through the leagues up to the top level before his departure to Rybnik in 2019, and his current side will hope he has the beating of Lublin’s top trio – Grigory Laguta, Jarek Hampel and Mikkel Michelsen.
Lambert goes up against Laguta and Hampel in a mouth-watering Heat 1, and he will also have to contend with his former World U21 rival Dominik Kubera, who has started well in home matches so far.
Elsewhere on Friday, Leszno race the first of two away matches in three days as they head to Grudziadz looking to consolidate their place in the top four.
The second of those road trips is undoubtedly the match of the weekend as they race at Wroclaw on Sunday evening with the home side still fired up from their impressive display against Gorzow last week.
With Tai Woffinden’s return date as yet unconfirmed, Wroclaw track an unchanged side with Bewley looking to take further top-line scalps.
He faces Emil Sayfutdinov and his former Belle Vue team-mate Jaimon Lidsey in the first race, and further interest in the meeting is provided by Leszno handing a debut to one of their big hopes for the future, Damian Ratajczak – on his 16th birthday!
Despite losing last Sunday, Gorzow go into the weekend on top of the table, even though they have only raced once at home so far. This week they face Czestochowa, who eased some pressure with their strong performance in winning at Torun last week, a much-needed result given that they have already suffered two home defeats.
The visitors have undoubtedly the most in-form reserve in the league with Jakub Miskowiak keeping up his great run by winning the Silver Helmet at Bydgoszcz on Thursday.
Krosno lead Division One after a paid maximum for Tobiasz Musielak led them to a 50-38 win at Gniezno on Monday, with Tuesday’s Gniezno/Lodz and Rybnik/Ostrow fixtures postponed.
This Sunday the leaders take on Tarnow, who are bottom of the table with no points from five meetings, although Rohan Tungate is due back in the side along with the recently returned Niels-Kristian Iversen – whilst a Monday double-header features Rybnik v Gniezno and Ostrow v Gdansk.
Division Two has been the subject of some confusion amidst the apparent re-instatement of Wittstock, with further talks and a re-drafting of fixtures set to take place on Monday.
This weekend Landshut host Opole on Friday, whilst Poznan take on Rawicz on Sunday. Adam Ellis is yet to race at home for Rzeszow this year, with their home match against Daugvapils now re-arranged for July 2. It was to have taken place this Sunday, but stadium renovation works have prevented any action so far.