LEICESTER Lion Cubs head to Belle Vue for a Good Friday showdown with the Colts in the opening meeting of the 2024 WSRA National Development League (1pm).

It’s an early start in every sense for the Lion Cubs, who were league champions in 2019 and 2022 and topped the standings last year before being in edged out in what turned out to be a one-off Grand Final at Oxford after the weather played havoc with the closing stages of the season.

This year’s title battle will be fought out over league matches only, with no play-offs, so there is little margin for error, and aggregate points will be crucial.

Both the Lion Cubs and the Colts have made a number of changes under the heavily reduced points limit, with Arran Butcher, Luke Crang and Sonny Springer all making their Leicester debuts at the National Speedway Stadium.

Crang is expected to be one of the top reserves in the league in the early weeks, and that may also be the case for Belle Vue’s Harry McGurk who returns to the Manchester club after a torrid season at Workington last year and he too has the potential to score big in that department.

Both sides are without one rider due to Championship commitments, with Max James missing out for the Lion Cubs as he is required for Edinburgh’s season launch events. Oxford’s Jody Scott comes in to guest in the No.5 berth.

Meanwhile Belle Vue No.1 Sam Hagon is absent as he is racing for his senior club Poole, and the Colts bring in former Lion Cubs rider Ben Trigger to guest.

Lion Cubs manager Dave Howard said: “Obviously it’s a very different season with the points limit, but I’m happy with the team that we’ve got, and we’ll give everything we can to push as hard as we can in every single meeting.

“We want to do what we did last year, because if it had just been the league last year, we would have won it!

“As well as winning home matches you’ve got to get some points away as well to look to challenge for the league.

“Everybody likes riding at Belle Vue, so we’ll be giving it all we’ve got, and let’s see what we can do!”

BELLE VUE: Ben Trigger, Chad Wirtzfeld, Matt Marson, Luke Muff, Freddy Hodder, Jack Shimelt, Harry McGurk.

LEICESTER: Joe Thompson, Vinnie Foord, Tom Spencer, Arran Butcher, Jody Scott, Luke Crang, Sonny Springer.

Next Home Meeting

Leicester Cubs V Scunthorpe Stags / Sheffield Prowlers
May 19, 2024

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