EUROPEAN PREVIEW - SEC Championship / PGE Ekstraliga
Robert Lambert and Dan Bewley now know their full list of opponents for the 2021 Speedway Euro Championship which starts next month.
Image courtesy of Taylor Lanning Photography
Lambert qualified as of right as last year’s champion, whilst Bewley booked his place with a brilliant runners-up spot in last weekend’s SEC Challenge, meaning Great Britain have two riders in the Final series for the first time.
Organisers OneSport have now confirmed their five full-time wild card picks, which include Timo Lahti and Davd Bellego who both competed in the Challenge. Lahti lost a run-off to Patrick Hansen for the last automatic place, and impressed in last year’s main series, whilst Bellego finished ninth this year despite being injured in the final round.
Kai Huckenbeck and Vaclav Milik – who went close to the title in 2017 - have both been SEC regulars in recent years, whilst the remaining place goes to Leszno skipper Piotr Pawlicki who will be keen to advance his case for a GP return.
PGE Extraliga action reaches the halfway stage of the regular campaign this weekend with only three points covering the top five clubs in the league table.
Bewley and Tai Woffinden race on Sunday afternoon for Wroclaw, with a real chance to add further points on the road as they visit bottom club Zielona Gora.
Bewley in particular has happy memories of the circuit as it was in last year’s third-place play-off when he made the big breakthrough, scoring 12+1 from five rides which really set him up to prepare for 2021 as a fully-fledged team member.
The GB duo are paired together in Heat 8 when they are due to face Patryk Dudek and reserve Nile Tufft.
Wroclaw won their regular-season visit 49-41 in 2020 with Woffinden scoring paid-12, and victory will take them ahead of Lublin and Leszno, who meet in the Sunday evening fixture.
Prior to that, Gorzow could have reclaimed top spot depending on the outcome of the Friday evening match against Torun.
But after last week’s surprise home defeat to Czestochowa they will be keen to avoid another upset, with Torun themselves looking to get back on track after losing their last two.
Lambert is again set to take the No.8 position for the visitors which should see him involved from Heat 1 against Martin Vaculik and Szymon Wozniak – and possible clashes with Bartosz Zmarzlik in Heats 8 and 13 will also be keenly awaited especially as Zmarzlik dropped surprising home points last week.
The first fixture of the weekend features in-form Czestochowa going for a third successive victory against second-bottom Grudziadz, with the outside possibility that a big win could see them end the round in the top four.
In Division One, results from earlier this week saw Lodz edge out Rybnik 45-43 in a last-heat decider with Brady Kurtz winning the crucial race, whilst Gnieszno were 48-42 winners in Tarnow, who are still without a point from six matches.
This Saturday the bottom club face the challenge of leaders Krosno, whilst Rybnik are in second place ahead of their trip to Gniezno. On Sunday Bydgoszcz host Lodz, and Monday’s fixture is Gdansk v Ostrow.
Adam Ellis – who starred for Sheffield at Ipswich on Thursday with 16 points - will be in action in Division Two on Sunday when Rzeszow travel to Poznan, with both sides looking for their first win of the season. Early leaders Opole are at home to Daugvapils, whilst on Saturday Landshut visit Rawicz.