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Sarah Charalambous's picture

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Yes folks, the 2020 season is now upon us... and finally ALL the championship teams are complete, as Somerset have just finalised their line up – and IMO those jammy buggers down there have actually come out stronger for it!

Should I do a bit of a mini prediction/pre season run down? Oh, go on then!

Last year, I predicted Leicester from the outset to take the title... and it would be a silly person to bet against them this year, especially with the top 5 they have... but -- guess what? I will be that silly person!

I’ve got to say that I can’t see an all around better 1-7 then the Eagles of Eastbourne!

Starting with Drew Kemp at reserve alongside a very talented youngster in Jason Edwards and with the potential of the likes of either Tom Brennan or Kyle Newman to swap throughout the season... three very established riders in Edward Kennett, Richard Lawson and Lewis Kerr... the likelihood, IMO at least, is that this is a team that will dominate at home and has the potential to upset quite a few teams this season (I’m including us in that).

For wooden spoonists... unless the 2 new boys come up sparkling, then I’m gonna have to predict that it will be our “friends” 60 miles down the road with that honour! There will be a lot of pressure on Claus Vissing who no doubt will have the burden of expecting to ride like a no.1. James Wright has been out of action for a long time, Max Clegg will not have the benefit of being at reserve racking up the big points.. yeah, if I was a Diamond fan (yecch!) I’d be bracing myself for a difficult start to the league season!! Maybe, just maybe, we can creep in early again (mwahahaha)

When it comes to our beloved Black and Gold, I see us as a mid-order team -- and I wouldn’t be surprised if, now that there are 6 play off spots open, we end up finishing 7th... but then again, I wouldn’t be surprised to see us higher up either!

It is going to be interesting to see how differently our track rides with the changes now near finishing point......

There will be a bit of pressure on our top 5 to perform from the outset to remove any stress from our young reserve pairing (if my memory serves me well, the youngest I can recall us ever having in this league). It will be a big step back up for Coty into the top 5 but he seems to be having a fair season back home – Champion of all Argentina, no less!

We know the sort of performances we’ll be getting from Jye, Spud and NBJ but for me, the key to our season is Dany G. If he could transfer even an iota of his home form to away tracks this season, then we stand a big chance in challenging for -- and in --the playoffs!

Dark horses this season for me are the Redcar Bears. Regardless of the inexperienced reserve pairing they start with, being able to keep the same top 5 that brought them KO Cup success last year will certainly be a benefit. More good times coming for them, no doubt.

We welcome Poole and Kent into our league this season; Poole setting their stall with a power house top 4 to take the pressure off their unknown bottom end! If the newcomers pay off, they’ll be challenging for the league for sure!

Kent... hmmm... Their team line up is a pretty hard one for me to pick at! It reeks of Len Silver it does -- but at the same time, it looks like one set up to make sure it keeps a clean sheet at home. Many riders are going to be in for a shock going to tighter, smaller confines of Central Park, perhaps for the first time, this season and no doubt the Kings can capitalise on this. To counteract that though, I predict a few hard meetings for them on the road if one of their top 4 has an off day!

It was announced down in Somerset late last night that the Rebels have finally gone and replaced Bradley Wilson Dean -- and they’ve pulled a rabbit out of the hat IMO in signing American rider Luke Becker!

A very very exciting signing who we’ve already seen perform so well in the Speedway of Nations and in the other league with Wolverhampton. Will be very interesting watching him adapt to the many tracks in the 2nd division and to be honest, I believe he will be sitting with their no.1 jacket well before the end of the season!

A team that I don’t know what to make of is Glasgow. It underwhelmed me when announced! Cook... no doubt they’ve got a formidable no.1, but one man does not make a team! Take him out of the equation and it doesn’t seem that spectacular! The Facennas and their finger-pointing big manager have tried and continue to try to bring success to Ashfield but, sorry Weegie fans, I’m seeing another barren year!

Edinburgh... that top 3 is enviable! Hard call though on how to predict them, though....... 2 Unknowns to British shale and 2 enigmas in William Lawson and James Sarjeant at reserve! I don’t know......

Birmingham and Scunthorpe are my solid, but not spectacular teams! They’ll both fare relatively well at home, maybe a solitary loss.. they could easily pick a win up on the road too!

Sarah’s league prediction table

1. Eastbourne
2. Leicester
3. Redcar
4. Poole
5. Somerset
6. Glasgow
7. Berwick
8. Birmingham
9. Edinburgh
10. Scunthorpe
11. Kent
12. Newcastle

Play off winners- Eastbourne
Prediction for 4TT- Leicester
Prediction for Pairs- Edinburgh or Redcar
Predictions for KO Cup- I’ll curse them with this and say Redcar to retain!

Disagree with me folks?! Let’s hear it …..
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Feeling brave? Share your opinions and/or vent your wrath with Sarah at: berwicks_b1tch@hotmail.co.uk