British Speedway’s Premiership roars back into action on Monday (May 17) – and Eurosport will be there every step of the way.
Live action features the mouth-watering contest between Roses rivals Belle Vue and Sheffield, two of the title favourites, and there will also be updates from the East Anglian derby between King’s Lynn and Ipswich.
Premiership racing was suspended throughout 2020 in common with so many other domestic sports, and there will be a change of overall winners this year with 2019 champions Swindon not competing as they await stadium redevelopment.
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That leaves six clubs vying for the top league prize – Peterborough and Wolverhampton have no fixture on Monday – and they race over a twice-home, twice-away schedule, giving 20 matches each in the regular campaign.
The top four then proceed to the all-important title-deciding play-offs, with the top-placed side having choice of semi-final opponents.
Monday’s opener in Manchester takes place at the magnificent National Speedway Stadium, which opened in 2016 and is renowned as one of the finest circuits in the world.
However, Belle Vue’s last league championship success came way back in 1993 and the Aces are desperate to put the record straight this season with a much-fancied team.
They are led by rapid Australian Brady Kurtz, former British Champion Charles Wright – who won the title on his new home circuit in 2019 – and fast-rising GB star Dan Bewley, with long-serving captain Steve Worrall optimistic about their prospects.
Worrall said: “It’s a good group of people, and away from speedway we get on and we’re all really friendly.
“Over the years if I’ve learnt anything from being part of the teams I have been, it’s about having fun and being with your friends, and that kind of environment is a good recipe for success.
“I feel like we’ve got a good mixture and a good balance, and fingers crossed it all works out the way I think it will.”
Opponents Sheffield are newcomers to the top league, having last competed at this level way back in 1988.
But the Owlerton outfit, managed by GB co-boss Simon Stead, have shown their ambition by recruiting Troy Batchelor – statistically the league’s top rider – and Adam Ellis from the inactive Swindon set-up, along with up-and-coming Australian racer Jack Holder.
Speedway Premier League riders
Image credit: Getty Images
Worrall said: “They’ve got a good group of lads, and the star rider for me is Jack – he’s been riding really well in Europe so far, and if he comes in and rides the way he has been doing, he’ll be the key man.
“But we’ve got strength in riders who’ve already been going, we’ve got Dan and Brady who have already been riding in Europe, so they should come and hit the ground running.
“It will be a good meeting. It’s a local derby, it’s on the TV, and it’s all set up well.”
Elsewhere, the King’s Lynn/Ipswich fixture sees the Stars hand a debut to former World Cup rider Lewis Bridger who has ended a three-year retirement.
And on the Witches side is speedway legend Jason Crump, who returns to the sport at the age of 45 having retired in 2012 after winning three World individual titles.
Join Abi Stephens and the team on Eurosport 2 from 7pm for a full preview of the season. Race action takes place from 7.30pm, and the show will also include full reaction and analysis.
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