Chance for strugglers to shine in cup

IT may be early in the speedway season, but make no bones about it, the next 48 hours will keep either Ipswich or Oxford's seasons alive.It may sound a bit dramatic, but quite simply, unless both sides up their game considerably in the months ahead, the KO Cup is both side's only realistic hope of any silverware this season.

By Mike Bacon

IT may be early in the speedway season, but make no bones about it, the next 48 hours will keep either Ipswich or Oxford's seasons alive.

It may sound a bit dramatic, but quite simply, unless both sides up their game considerably in the months ahead, the KO Cup is both side's only realistic hope of any silverware this season. And even that is going to be difficult.

The Witches and Cheetahs have made unimpressive starts to their seasons, neither helped by injuries.


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Ipswich have lost Mark Loram for the year and have yet to win an Elite League meeting, while the Cheetahs have made hard work of their opening five meetings, winning only once against Belle Vue, admittedly with a full side.

Since then however the team has taken a real battering on the track in more ways than one.

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Coventry thrashed them at Cowley in front of the Sky cameras and Ales Dryml then suffered a broken collar bone, while former Witch Pepe Protasiewicz injured his knee in a crash on Sunday while riding for Zielona Gora in Poland, leaving Cheetahs owner Colin Horton to describe the Easter weekend as disastrous, with Dryml out for three weeks and Protasiewicz for two.

So the Witches are not going to have a better chance of a home win and more importantly they have a real chance of an aggregate victory to progress further in this year's KO Cup competition.

Scott Nicholls is guesting for Ipswich in place of Loram at Foxhall tonight, while David Norris is Loram's replacement at Oxford.

Nicholls' Coventry team-mate Rory Schlein guests for Protasiewicz tonight, while Peterborough's Niels-Kristian Iversen is the Pole's replacement at Cowley.

Oxford will use rider replacement for Dryml both nights, with every rider in their team able to have an extra ride.

All in all it is a tie both sides will think, and will want, to win.

Witches team manager Mike Smillie said: “The cup gives each rider the opportunity to progress and earn at least two more meetings to ride in.

“Oxford have Jesper (Jensen) who is genuinely heat leader class at Foxhall.

“We however, have Robert (Miskowiak) who enjoys the Cowley track and Tobi (Kroner) who used to ride for them. I am sure that the aggregate score will be close.”

Tonight's teams

Ipswich: 1 S Nicholls, 2 K Jansson, 3 C Louis, 4 M Rempala, 5 R Miskowiak, 6 Z Suchecki, 7 T Kroner

Oxford: 1 J Jensen, 2 A Smith, 3 R/R for Ales Dryml, 4 S Johnston, 5 R Schlein, 6 F Eriksson, 7 E Andersson

IMG, the world's leading sports, entertainment and media company, has announced it has acquired BSI Speedway, transferring the promoting rights of the FIM World Individual Speedway Grand Prix Series (SGP) and FIM Speedway World Cup (SWC) from BSI Speedway to IMG.

The existing BSI Speedway management team - including current chief executive John Postlethwaite and managing director Paul Bellamy - will take up their new roles at IMG with immediate effect.

George Pyne, president of IMG Sports & Entertainment, said: “We are very excited by this acquisition which adds to our existing motorsports involvement in events such as the Lexmark Indy 300, Clipsal 500 and Sandown 500 races in Australia.

“The FIM Speedway Grand Prix Series and FIM Speedway World Cup have come a long way in the last seven years under BSI's management. We feel confident we can add the significant resources that are required to take the two world championships to the next level using IMG's capabilities across all areas of commercial rights and our international network of offices.”

BSI chief executive John Postlethwaite commented: “I'm delighted all the hard work we have put into growing world championship speedway as a team has been noticed by a company of IMG's stature.

“Myself and the team are extremely excited about realising some of our future growth plans that would not have been possible if we had continued independently.”

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