Mike Bacon: My speedway Premiership predictions for 2020. And who will finish in those top 4 play-offs!
© Copyright Stephen Waller
It’s not long now until the start of the Premiership speedway season and Ipswich Witches will be looking to go one better than last year when they lost in the play-off final. MIKE BACON takes a look.
Now, before I get my teeth into this 'tour de force' of a 2020 speedway Premiership preview, let me just remind you that I actually got the play-off top four correct last season.
And no, I'm not talking about getting them right in September. I actually, for the first time in my speedway writing/guessing/predicting career, got Wolves, Ipswich, Poole and Swindon in my top four before a wheel was turned in 2019.
Well, probably luck.
I say all this, because although it was more heart than head predicting the Witches a play-off place on their return to the Premiership , at least I stuck my neck out and said they would! Many didn't!
So, now I've praised myself up to the hilt... (If I don't, no-one does, I can assure you), let me take a look at the Witches 2020 and their six Premiership opponents.
And I'll give you my play-off four, so you can get down to the bookies and put money on it - or probably not.... #whenthefunstops!
1. JASON CRUMP
Well, what's not to like? Three-time world champion, winner, winner, chicken dinner.
He only knows how to be successful. OK, yes the prime racing days are over. But he would never in a million years make a comeback after eight years if he didn't think he could a decent job.
2. CAMERON HEEPS
Leaner, meaner and in great shape last season, Cam took it to another level in 2019. Will learn so much off Crumpy.
He knows Foxhall like the back of his hand. A welcome return.
3. DANNY KING
Came back from injury last year and got better as the season progressed. Skipper, captain, great coin tosser! Always goes heads, BTW!
Great to have him back. Watch him improve his average in 2020... And if he does...
4. JAKE ALLEN
Witches rider of 2019 for me. He will improve again after a terrific season with the Witches last year.
Like Heeps, will relish Crumpy's influence.
5. NICOLAI KLINDT
Has come alive the last couple of seasons, with his gating especially potent. Rode Foxhall in Poole colours as good as a Witch last year.
Big signing for Ritchie Hawkins' boys in 2002. Belief is all.
6. NICO COVATTI
Starting at reserve, the popular Nico has the the chance to pile up the points early doors.
Trump, trump card... Ace of aces and a top, top racer.
7. DREW KEMP
No pressure just might be what he needs. Because he won't be under any. Local, talented, popular, young.
If he gets his confidence up and doesn't overthink it, could be quite a season for young Drew.
REST OF THE PREMIERSHIP
BELLE VUE ACES
B Kurtz, P Kildemand, J Lidsey, J Etheridge, D Bewley, S Worrall, C Wright.
If Kildemand flies on his return to GB speedway, the Aces will be decent, especially at home. It's on their travels that will make or break them.
KING'S LYNN STARS
L Kerr, T Jorgensen, R Lambert, T Proctor, E Riss, C Cook, M Hartel.
Much will depend on Riss, who was excellent last season. Can Lambert and Cook at last get that heat-leader pairing purring consistently?
M Palm-Toft, C Harris, H Andersen, R Tungate, NK Iversen, S Nicholls, U Ostergaard.
There are more GP appearances, British, Aussie and Danish titles than you can throw a kettle at in this team! Potentially play-offs.
K Howarth, N Pedersen, J Grajczonek, J Holder, T. Kurtz, A Morris, R Lawson.
Be tough to beat at Owlerton when they are all dialled in. Great to have Pedersen back in British speedway. But how he goes on away tracks will be key.
J Doyle, T Batchelor, R Jensen, E Perks, A Rowe, J Stewart, A Ellis.
If Jensen and Perks improve their averages, the rest of the league can go whistle, because the champs will retain their title. If they don't... well...
R Douglas, R Schlein, B Nicol, N Morris, J Thorssell, L Becker, S Masters
Made the play-offs last season, but will do well to do so again. Big year ahead for Morris and Douglas. They will need to click.
MY FINAL TABLE
(top 4 in play-offs)
1. Swindon Robins
2. Peterborough Panthers
3. Belle Vue Aces
4 Ipswich Witches
5 Wolverhampton Wolves
6 King's Lynn Stars
7 Sheffield Tigers
REMEMBER: I was right last season.
WARNING: It was the first time in 23 years!