World U-21 Qualifying round
Belle Vue, 22nd May: 3pm
Sixteen riders involved from around the world. The top four go through to the semi-finals. All eyes will be on James Wright (Belle Vue's number 8) who is hoping to compete after recovering from a broken scaphoid. Also in the line up is former Belle Vue rider Rory Schlein, Grand Prix rider and Poole Pirate Krzysztof Kasprzak and Martin Smolinski. Youngster Chris Harris is also attracting interest at just 17 years old.
Full line up at Belle Vue is: Kaj de Jong (Holland), Daniel King (GB), Chris Holder (Australia), Andrew Bargh (New Zealand), Jan Jaros (Czech Republic), Matthew Tresarrieu (France), Tobias Kroner (Germany), Brian Yarrow (US), Rory Schlein (Australia), Gabriel Dubernard (France), James Wright (GB), Pawel Hlib (Poland), Martin Smolinski (Germany), Richard Hall (GB), Senko Serhiy (Ukraine), Krzysztof Kasprzak (Poland).
There's also three other qualifying rounds taking place the day before on Saturday. Qualifying round 2 is at St Johann im Pongau (AUT), Qualifying round 3 is at Pardubice (CZE) and the Scandinavian qualifying round is in Elgane (NOR). Belle Vue rider Kenneth Bjerre will be taking part in the meeting in Norway. It's his last year to ride in the competition (now at age 20) and he'll be looking to go one better this year, after finishing second in the championships last season.
The two semis will take place on June 18th - one in Lonigo (ITA), the other in Tarnow (POL). The final takes place at Wiener Neustadt (AUT) on September 17th.
BELLE VUE ACES: latest
In a complete turn around in fortunes, the Aces have remained at the top of the Elite League all season. They were only overtaken by Poole on Wednesday following their win against Peterborough. But Poole are only one point in front and BV have two meetings in hand.
Belle Vue have an unblemished home record and have won three out of seven away meetings in the Elite League (at Wolverhampton, Coventry and Arena Essex). Their biggest defeat of the season was against Peterborough away on May 4th, when they lost 52-39. Their biggest win of the season was against Arena Essex on May 9th winning 63-30.
This week, they became the first club to book their place in the semi finals of the Knock Out Cup, following their aggregate win against Oxford. Jason Lyons suffered a slight hand injury, although it's not thought to be too serious.
There's been a few changes in the team since the beginning of the season. Reserve Steve Masters was dropped last month after struggling to find form in the top flight. He's now been snapped up by Premier League side Reading. In his place, Premier League riders Rusty Harrison and Krister Marsh will share the number 7 spot, although Marsh is yet to appear in the Aces bodysuit.
Following the release of the new averages, Joe Screen dropped to reserve and Andy Smith was moved up to the main body of the team. Screen admitted he thought about dropping down a league or even retiring, after struggling with his bikes. But he will hopefully be the sting in the Aces tail.
Defending World Champion Jason Crump came third in the first round of the Grand Prix in Poland and won the second round last weekend in Sweden. It puts him two points behind Tony Rickardsson, who's leading this year's standings so far. Kenneth Bjerre also made it to the semi-finals of the GP in Sweden, after being called up to replace injured Jarek Hampel.
British Champion Joe Screen will defend his title on July 10th at Oxford. Simon Stead will also feature in the line up, but Andy Smith was given permission to withdraw from a qualifying round in Newcastle, after stating he wanted to concentrate on his club commitments.