EUROPEAN PREVIEW - SEC Round 1
Great Britain’s Adam Ellis begins his Speedway Euro Championship campaign with Round 1 of the series taking place in Czestochowa on Saturday.
Image courtesy of Steve Hone Photography
Ellis received a permanent wild card for the full four-round competition after being unlucky to crash out of his qualifier when he was well placed – and it gives him a second opportunity at the SEC after making his debut in the event last year.
Leon Madsen is the defending champion and both he and his Czestochowa team-mate Mikkel Michelsen are looking to become the first rider to win the SEC for a third time.
The two Danes are favourites for the series and their biggest challenge may well come from Patryk Dudek, with Dominik Kubera definitely ruled out of the first round and major question marks surrounding the fitness of last year’s runner-up Janusz Kolodziej.
After Saturday’s opener, the series moves on to Gustrow, Germany on August 5, then Bydgoszcz, Poland on September 9 and Pardubice, Czech Republic on September 22.
This weekend’s action in the PGE Ekstraliga kicks off in Leszno on Friday with the hosts facing second placed Lublin, who are virtually guaranteed the bonus point as they won the reverse fixture 65-25.
Meanwhile Madsen, Michelsen, a third SEC regular in Kacper Woryna and SEC Wild Card Maksym Drabik all race for Czestochowa at Krosno, who include SEC riders Vaclav Milik and Andzejs Lebedevs. The visitors are 56-34 up from the reverse fixture.
Leaders Wroclaw travel to third-placed Gorzow in the stand-out fixture of the round on Sunday, which also gives Dan Bewley and Tai Woffinden some track knowledge ahead of the Grand Prix at the same venue next weekend.
They go up against GP rivals Anders Thomsen and Martin Vaculik in what may be one of Wroclaw’s toughest tests of the season, holding a 49-41 advantage for the bonus point.
The round is completed by Grudziadz trying to get off the bottom of the table against Torun, which they will definitely do if they can overturn a 52-38 deficit from their earlier meeting. Robert Lambert lines up for the visitors against the likes of Max Fricke, Nicki Pedersen and Peterborough newcomer Vadim Tarasenko.
In Division One, the top fixture sees leaders Zielona Gora host fourth placed Landshut on Sunday, with the Mickey Mouse side currently four points clear at the top.
Bydgoszcz lead the chasing pack as they head to Gdansk, whilst the round opens up with third placed Rybnik hosting current basement side Poznan.
The fixture between Lodz and Ostrow has been postponed from Saturday to July 16 due to Timo Lahti’s call-up for the SEC.
In Division Two, Ellis will move on from the SEC to Opole on Sunday where the league leaders take on Rzeszow in a top of the table clash with just one point between the sides.
Saturday’s meeting sees Pila host Daugavpils with plenty of British interest as Dan Gilkes and Steve Worrall are declared in the respective line-ups, whilst the other clash on Sunday sees Tarnow host Gniezno.
In Sweden’s Bauhaus-Ligan on Tuesday, Bewley’s Dackarna side got the better of Lambert’s Smederna with a 48-42 win at Eskilstuna. Bewley scored 12+2 from five rides, dropping his only point to Lambert in Heat 7, whilst Lambert himself enjoyed a good night with 13+3 from six.
Woffinden notched 11 from six rides but Vastervik were beaten 54-36 at Piraterna, whilst Indianerna eased past Rospiggarna with Jason Doyle scoring 14.
In the Under-24 Ekstraliga, Leon Flint played a key role in Ostrow’s 47-43 win at Torun, with the visitors recording 5-1s in the last two races to turn the match in their favour. Flint scored 7+1 and was involved in the Heat 14 maximum.
Elsewhere, Grudziadz won 50-40 at Wroclaw with Jason Edwards scoring 6+1 for the visitors, whilst Connor Bailey picked up eight points for the hosts.
The other results saw Krosno defeat Lublin 54-36 whilst Gorzow beat Leszno 52-38.