Great Britain will crown a new National Speedway Champion in Manchester on Monday night when Belle Vue’s National Speedway Stadium welcomes the highly prestigious British Final to the city.
Sixteen of the country’s top riders have battled hard to qualify for this year’s event and each has his eye trained on the coveted title, held for the last three seasons by World No.1 Tai Woffinden.
As an added incentive, the winner will also earn the right to compete in the British SGP on July 9th as the wild card provided he doesn’t currently hold a permanent berth in the Grand Prix series.
That honour has gone to Rentruck Aces heat leader Craig Cook since 2014 and with Woffinden opting out of this year’s Final, the bookies are heavily tipping the Cumbrian for the outright win.
The change in venue from its typical destination at Wolverhampton has invoked a sense amongst the riders that 2016 will see the most challenging, hotly contested meeting in recent memory.
The National Speedway Stadium’s circuit, being almost brand new, has been described by almost the entire field as “a true leveller”, with not one individual taking any advantage into the evening.
For Belle Vue bosses David Gordon and Chris Morton, the staging of the British Final brings to life their long-held dream of bringing such major events, once synonymous with the club, to the area.
Gordon said: “In the early days of this project one of the prerequisites of Manchester City Council stated that if a new speedway venue was to be constructed, it had to be granted national status.
“This in turn led onto the second most important requirement, which was that if the venue was granted national status it had to sustain the ability to attract both national and international events.
“We saw no reason why we couldn’t deliver on those requests because after all they were paralleled with the very aspirations we’d had for such a stadium since we first spoke about it.
“The British Final is without question the biggest meeting on the national calendar and Belle Vue Speedway is highly honoured to be hosting such a significant match right here in the city.
“As a club we’ve always had a close association with the British Championships that extends back to our golden years at Hyde Road, so to return this event to Manchester is a very proud moment.
“The competition increases exponentially from one year to the next, and the two recent qualifiers have yielded a very strong line-up which guarantees we will see racing of he highest calibre.
“Four of the club’s own riders will be taking part. That’s a quarter of the field taken by a Belle Vue man which is a tremendous achievement, and we hope the fans turn out in force to support them.”
BRITISH FINAL – MONDAY JUNE 13TH
MAIN FIELD: Josh Bates; Steve Worrall; Craig Cook; Danny King; Josh Auty; Simon Stead; Ben Barker; Richard Lawson; Scott Nicholls; Paul Starke; Richard Hall; Robert Lambert; Chris Harris; Richie Worrall; Jason Garrity; Kyle Howarth
RESERVES: Charles Wright: Lewis Kerr