With wins in the National Trophy and K O Cup home and away over the Isle of Wight, the Plymouth Devils aim to open their National League account with a win on Friday at the St Boniface Arena when Cradley visit.
The Heathens are tough opposition and a superb night of racing is anticipated with the Black Country team no doubt bringing a healthy following down the M5 and A38 to support their side.
They normally have a strong spearhead in the all action Danny Ayres, who doubles up in the top flight with Leicester and Tom Perry, who is in the SGB Championship this year with Glasgow but with Perry unavailable they have called in Isle of Wight’s Ben Wilson as a guest.
Backing them up are two former Coventry riders, who rode under Plymouth promoter Laurence Rogers in the Storm side the past few seasons as team mates of Devils No. 4 Callum Walker, in Dan Greenwood and Conor Dwyer.
Greenwood is a former British Under 15 Champion who retired from the sport but made a return at Newport under Laurence Rogers team management before joining Cradley, where he went on to win league honours.
Dwyer is a Coventry born and bred lad who joined his local side and made steady progress and with Coventry not running in 2017 was snapped up by Cradley.
Showing good form so far in 2017 is Luke Harris , a product of grass track where he has rubbed shoulders with most of the Plymouth team at some stage.
At reserve the Heathens have an exciting prospect in Joe Lawlor, who burst on to the scene last year racing in the colours of several clubs including Cradley. His reserve partner is a former moto-cross rider in Ryan Burton , who was seen in Buxton colours last year.
The Devils have had three riders racing to be fit to take their places in the side for Friday (7.15 start) in Steve Boxall, Benji Compton and Rob Parker.
Boxall burnt his hands at a BBQ at the weekend forcing him to miss the British Championship Semi-Final at Newcastle, Compton suffered a knee injury in the win on the Isle of Wight causing him to be declared unfit last Friday for the 2nd leg whilst Parker suffered an elbow injury last Friday.
All three have been receiving daily treatment and have been declared fit for Friday as the Devils aim for their first league points of the 2017 campaign.
Team Manager Laurence Rogers , who spent many years at Cradley when they were at Dudley Wood, is relishing this clash, “ Naturally with my past connections with the club it is one meeting I am looking forward to. They will , undoubtedly, be bringing a fair number of fans with them and I know from experience they are vociferous so it will a great atmosphere at the St Boniface Arena as our Plymouth fans are renowned for being loud in their support of their side.”
“It looks like our injured trio are all ok so we go into the clash with a full side in what I predict with a humdinger of a meeting as Cradley possess a strong septet . If any newcomers are thinking of giving speedway a try then this is definitely one to come to !! “
Plymouth Devils : 1. Steve Boxall. 2. Richard Andrews. 3. Lee Smart. 4. Callum Walker. 5. Benji Compton. 6. Rob Parker. 7. Henry Atkins.
Cradley Heathens : 1.Ben Wilson (guest for Tom Perry). 2. Conor Dwyer. 3. Dan Greenwood. 4. Luke Harris. 5. Danny Ayres. 6. Ryan Burton. 7. Joe Lawlor
First race 7.15pm.. Gates open 5.45. Adults £10. Child (10-16) £5. Under 10’s FREE. Family (2a+2c) £25. Programmes £2.50