The Isle of Wight ‘Wightlink Warriors speedway fixture this Thursday (10 May) will see a return to National League action as the home side host the Coventry Bees at the Andrew Younie Smallbrook Stadium in Ryde. Gates open at 5.30 pm with the first race starting at 7.00 pm.
The sad demise of the once famous Brandon Stadium on the outskirts of Coventry – the result of ownership, neglect and planning wrangles – has left the East Midlands side homeless so in an attempt to keep the famous club alive, speedway promoter Mick Horton has struck a deal to operate a third tier side from the Leicester track in 2018 whilst strenuous attempts are in place to make good the problems back at Brandon.
The visitors arrive on the back of an away win at Buxton last Sunday and their solid side will be led by British under 21 silver medallist Connor Mountain. He will be supported by evergreen veteran Jon Armstrong and Danny Phillips who returns to action after missing most of last year with injury. The two Luke’s, Ruddick and Harris complete their top five with Jamie Halder and Scottish prospect Ryan MacDonald at reserve.
Warrior’s recent form has been an unexpected worry and they know that they will need to up their game for this meeting; however preparations are being hindered by the injury problem to Ben Hopwood (pictured). The Warriors skipper peeled off the track before the end of heat 15 last Thursday having been hit on the knuckle by an object thrown up from the track. Manchester based Hopwood has been receiving specialist help over the past week and is desperate to ride, but that decision is unlikely to be confirmed until the morning of the match. If Hopwood is ruled out, the rider replacement facility is the only facility available to the Warriors.
Asked for his thoughts ahead of the meeting Head Warrior Barry Bishop said, “This is our second league meeting and for the management it is a must win meeting. We have to keep pushing to put ourselves in the best position we can and everyone is expected to perform. Coventry have assembled a very handy outfit this year and have done well so far, so we should be under no illusion that they will not look at our recent form and expect to win. The Warriors know what they have to do and can do, now it’s time to do it.
And Warrior fans can continue to help by giving lots of vocal encouragement to the boys when they are out on track which seems like a good moment to mention the new ‘introduce a mate or family’ initiative that allows fans to bring guests with complimentary admission. Please see our website and Facebook page for all the details. I’m sure it will be a winner”.
Warriors: Ben Morley, Danno Verge, Scott Campos, Chris Widman, Ben Hopwood (or Rider Replacement), Shaun Tedham, Adam Portwood.
Bees: Connor Mountain, Luke Harris, Jon Armstrong, Luke Ruddick, Danny Phillips, Jamie Halder, Ryan MacDonald.