THIS week's oval track action at Ryde's Smallbrook Stadium will be important for two sets of competitors as the Wightlink Warriors welcome back the racers more used to grass than shale for Round 2 of the Island Masters Series tonight (Thursday).

Also, a group of eight riders will be looking to qualify for the grand final of the NORA British Upright Championship next month.

Star of Round One of the Island Masters was undoubtedly Arran Butcher, who rode unbeaten and back looking to keep the run going — but it won’t be easy as he comes up against last week’s Handicap Meeting winner (and Oxford Chargers team-mate) Henry Atkins.

Atkins comes into it fresh from his fourth win in the ACU British Grasstrack Championship at 250cc level last weekend.

Challenging their supremacy could be Chad Wirtzfeld.

The former Wightlink Warrior has been in sensational form — both on grasstrack and longtrack this season — and has been invited back to put his impressive form on display around Smallbrook once again.

In addition to the three riders already mentioned, others expected to line-up should include Luke Tuck, Harry Gent, Dave Hammond, Dean Cutler, Nigel Coates, Barry Coates, David Hollingsbee, Bill Haynes and Jon Freeman.

Turning to the Upright Championship, eight more hopefuls enter the arena.

Regular speedway and grasstrack followers will recognise many of those competing.

Although it’s hard to predict who the top four will be, former Oxford racer, Wayne Parker, has been to the Island on several occasions to assess and practice on the track, having targeted this championship as his 2022 priority.

The meeting will also see the return of Alex Chadd, who rode for Team GM last year, winning five out of six heats.

The riders for the Upright qualifying round are Graham Knowler, Chadd, Giles Dismore, Chris Mackett, Martin Stacey, Wayne Parker, Phil Spencer and Dave Hammond.

Warriors’ co-owner, Barry Bishop, said: “Bearing in mind the unusually hot conditions of late, both meetings will prove to be a rigorous test of man and machine, with an exciting night in store.

"We will be doing our utmost to offer up the best track conditions that we can, thanks to our magnificent band of volunteers and, with lots going on around the stadium, I know it will be a great family night out."

Gates at Smallbrook open at 5.15pm, with pre-meeting demonstrations on-track at 6.10pm, before the main event at 7pm.

All the usual stadium facilities will be available.