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COMING TO YOUR SCREENS...Wroclaw, who are led by possibly the best top three in world speedway this year – Tai Woffinden, Maciej Janowski and new signing Artem Laguta.

for a few years, but then when Birmingham reopened, I started working there.

“I got into commentating through some local stock-car stadiums that I used to work at. I started off as a print journalist and progressed on to become a commentator at those.

“I commentated at Birmingham and Wolverhampton for the DVD producers who film there. I do a lot of speedway DVD work for a few companies and Premier picked me up when they started doing the Swedish league.”

While SGP and SGB Premiership commentary team Nigel Pearson and Kelvin Tatum have each other to bounce off throughout a live meeting, Goddard just has his microphone for company.

That would seem like a huge challenge, but Goddard admits: “By and large, I have always commentated solo in my career. The only time I find problems is when there is a long delay for weather or for an accident.

“Filling in the time can get difficult. I can call the studio in Dublin and say ‘can we cut to a break for a few minutes?’. But the breaks are only short.

“What I tend to do in that situation is put out a question on air, which fans can answer on social media and I’ll read out some of their responses.”

Goddard enjoys interacting with his viewers and frequently reads out their views and messages posted on Twitter to his @MidSportsMedia account. His fans serve as that second voice when he finds himself with time to fill. “That’s how I like to do it and I like them to feel involved as well,” Goddard insisted.

While UK fans were able to watch Polish racing on Fridays and Sundays in 2020, only the Sunday meetings will be covered this year.

Goddard revealed: “Last year, we saw racing on Friday and Sunday because there wasn’t a lot else to cover at the time – international sport hadn’t really woken up at the time when the Polish league got going. So we were able to show everything.”

With Polish broadcaster Canal+ given first choice when it comes to live matches and holding the rights to both Sunday meetings, these should be the pick of the bunch.

The main question going into this weekend’s Ekstraliga action is whether any of Leszno’s rivals can deny them a fifth straight league title.

While the Bulls have lost young guns Bartosz Smektala and Dominik Kubera to Czestochowa and Lublin respectively, they snapped up Doyle to join Sayfutdinov, Janusz Kolodziej, Piotr Pawlicki and World Under-21 Champion Jaimon Lidsey in a power-packed top five.

“Leszno looks strong,” Goddard said. “It’s going to be tough to knock them off the top I reckon.”

Some serious competition could come from their near neighbours

In addition to that scoring might, they have Great Britain shooting star Dan Bewley in their ranks – eligible to fill the new under-24 position introduced by Polish clubs for 2021.

“Dan struggled last year and was dropped for a while by Wroclaw,” Goddard said. “But he was brought back in and I think his main success came because he was on Tai Woffinden’s machinery for the last few matches when Tai was out injured. He showed Wroclaw what they had been missing and that’s what he will be hoping to emulate this year.”

With just eight under-24 spots in the Ekstraliga, UK fans will be heartened that two of them could be filled by British stars. European Champion Robert Lambert has been snapped up by newly-promoted Torun and looks set to have a huge hand in their play-off hopes.

“It’s great that the Brits have been recognised by those Polish clubs,” Goddard said. “It’s great to see them given the opportunity.”

And we’re off! The new European season is underway following a handful of warm-up meetings in Poland last weekend. Robert Lambert (blue) top scored for his new club Torun in their home and away challenge matches against Bydgoszcz. Here,

he leads David Bellego and Dimitri Berge with team-mate Adrian Miedzinski at the back.

Picture: JAREK PABIJAN

Woffinden, Lambert and Bewley aren’t the only Brits set to feature on Premier Sports’ speedway coverage this year.

Adam Ellis takes to the shale for Swedish side Piraterna. He was their first 2021 signing after impressing hugely during two meetings last August, only for his season to be cut short by a back injury suffered at the GP Challenge in Gorican on August 22.

More of the sport’s big names are set to race regularly in Sweden this year, with Zmarzlik signing for Vetlanda, Artem Laguta competing for Vastervik and Doyle in Dackarna colours along with long-term Malilla man Maciej Janowski.

With last year’s Elitserien schedule cut in half by the pandemic, Goddard can’t wait to cover a full calendar this year.

He said: “It wasn’t strictly a league last year – it was more of a knockout competition. I think the teams that finished fifth and sixth in the table ended up contesting the final – Masarna and Indianerna.

“Masarna ended up winning it, but of course they have to defend it without Antonio Lindback. He has retired.

“There are quite a lot of unknown quantities in the Swedish league. There are a lot of new riders from Denmark I have noticed. Of course there is British interest too with Robert Lambert staying at Lejonen and Adam Ellis at Piraterna.”

Goddard believes Dackarna has a great chance of landing their first Elitserien title since 2007.

He said: “They have Jason Doyle, but they also have Rasmus Jensen, Maciej Janowski and Jacob Thorssell, and Luke Becker has signed for them as well. They would be one of my tips for the title. Vastervik looks good as well.”

n Fans can subscribe to Premier Sports to enjoy 74 live speedway meetings this season, plus football, rugby, NHL coverage and more from £10.99 per month. Visit PremierSports.com for further info or see their advert on page 22.

April 3, 2021 speedway star 3

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