‘Here’s my winner!’ Scott Nicholls looks at the British Final field at Ipswich
- Credit: Archant
It’s speedway’s British Final at Belle Vue on Monday night. Who better to cast their eye over the runners and riders than seven-time champion and Ipswich-born Scott Nicholls. MIKE BACON spoke to him
Scott Nicholls admits he gave riding in the British Final alot of consideration.
But in the end, having decided many months ago he wasn’t going to race in 2020 Nicholls, the seven-time record champion, won’t be in the field.
However, he is more than happy to take a look at those who are gunning for the crown and, in riding order. But who does he think can win the title?
“It’s a very open field because so many riders haven’t had much track time,” Nicholls said.
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“The semi-final and winner-takes-all final means it is very hard to pick a winner as riders can improve as the meeting goes on, scrape into the semis, then the final, then pull out a championship-winning ride.
“It’s a shame there are not fans as 1,000 would have made a decent atmosphere.
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“But still, to be British Champion is a goal of every rider. I’ll go through all the riders and let you know my winner at the end!”
Here are Scott’s thoughts on each rider - in riding order.
1. LEWIS KERR: He’s got a chance of making the final, certainly the semis. He’s a good gater, one of the best on his day.
2. DREW KEMP: He will mix it up and surprise a few. Possible semi.
3. DANNY KING: Can gate, can pass, quick out front. Must surely make the final.
4. CHRIS HARRIS: If it’s got a Union Jack on, he will want to win it. Like Danny, he’ll be right up there as one of the favourites.
5. STEVE WORRALL: Like all ex-moto-X riders, fast from the start. Really impressed me in recent years with his fitness, diet, etc. Semis at least.
6. JOSH AUTY: He’ll be spoiler, Josh is fearless and won’t be afraid to get among the favourites. And he could surprise.
7. RICHIE WORRALL: Loads of ability. Hard to pass when he hits the front.
8. JOSH BATES: Injuries hit him last season. Just be good for him to be back on a bike. And again, he will mix it with the best.
9. JASON CRUMP: Hasn’t been on the bike much in recent years, but he’s 3x world champion, that says it all. Won’t be easy for him, but it would be a fool who says he can’t win.
10. JOE THOMPSON: A late replacement for Kyle Bickley, this is a great learning curve for young Joe. He’ll take it all in.
11. RICHARD LAWSON: Another ex-moto-x rider, he can gate. If he gets going could be a real threat. Semis at least and should be looking at the final.
12. TOM BRENNAN: Like Drew Kemp, this is good meeting to learn much in. Will only gain experience from it.
13. BEN BARKER: You know what you get with Ben! Plenty of entertainment and he’ll give it his all. Depends which Ben turns up, because he’s capable.
14. EDWARD KENNETT: Again, like Ben, depends which Edward turns up. He can gate and pass and if he does, could be a big surprise packet.
15. PAUL STARKE: Had injuries last season but is a solid rider. Might need a bit of luck to get into the final, but he’s had good meetings at Ipswich.
16. RORY SCHLEIN: Loads of experience. Can be very quick, he’s got to be up there with the favourites.
Top two after all the heats goes straight into the final, the next four into a semi-final, where the top two also go into the final where the winner is crowned British Champion.
“Well, if I have to go for anyone in what is a really interesting field, I’m going for a home favourite win... DANNY KING.”
MEANWHILE, Ipswich Witches captain Danny King is looking for a second British final victory.
The skipper, who like most has not raced competitively since March, managed to get some practice laps in at Foxhall this week as well as Thursday night’s challenge match at Belle Vue ahead of the showpiece event on Saturday.
“Speedway wise, we are ready to go,” said King. “The bikes have been ready since press day and I did have a spin with Poole at Leicester when we were hopeful that the season was going to start in August. Obviously since then nothing has happened, so I have been off the bike 2-3 months I suppose until this week. We’ve been rushing around trying to get some practice in which hasn’t been easy with these local lockdowns but we will be ready and raring to go.”
King won the title in 2016 at the National Speedway Stadium and is hoping that he comes out on top again in the different circumstances.
“It is tricky, everyone is in the same boat. It is not normal circumstances but then it is not normal for anyone. I will go there prepared the best I can be as always and hopefully it will be my night. This is speedway though and anything can happen certainly when you haven’t done much riding.”
CHRIS Harris is hunting down a fourth British title on Saturday – and the Peterborough and Birmingham man insists the time is right.
Said Harris: “I’d love to win another title. My last one was 2010 and it’s a long time ago, so it would be great to add a fourth to my CV.”
BRITISH Under-19 Champion Drew Kemp says riding in Saturday’s British Final at Ipswich will be a great learning experience.
Kemp was handed his Premiership opportunity with his hometown club in 2020 but has been left frustrated at not being able to get out on track in Britain.
However, the 18-year-old has been riding more than most in recent weeks and secured his second successive U19 title at Scunthorpe last weekend.
Kemp said: “It was going to be a big year for me, being my first year in the Premiership for Ipswich.
“I’ve just been doing a lot of European meetings really; they haven’t gone as well as I expected of myself to be honest, but there are still positives to take away.
“I’m looking forward to racing at the British Final. It’ll be the first opportunity for us all to really race on the tracks that we will be racing on next year, so it’ll show what I need to work on for next year.
“It’ll be tough, but a great opportunity to learn from some of the best in the UK and who knows what can happen!”
LEWIS Kerr is already counting down to 2021 to realise his dream of leading King’s Lynn into action.
Kerr was handed the captaincy last winter when Robert Lambert was happy to hand it over to focus on his own busy schedule, and Kerr now focuses on Saturday’s British Final after an impressive display at Belle Vue on Thursday.
He said: “It was a proud moment when I realised I would be the only Lynn representative in the meeting and again made more special by my local links.
“The British Final is a prestigious event as a national Final and I would never want to miss a meeting like that.
SHEFFIELD winter signing Richard Lawson is determined to make up for past disappointment in Saturday’s British Final.
Cumbrian racer Lawson is the Tigers’ sole representative with Kyle Howarth still recovering from shoulder surgery, and he will also be one of several members of this year’s planned Eastbourne septet to compete.
Lawson believes he has a chance of winning the title.
He said: “I’ve been disappointed with my result in some Finals for sure. I think I could have done better and that’s what’s disappointed me. I know I can do well and I feel confident about Monday.”
Current British Champion CHARLES WRIGHT is not racing. The meeting starts at 7.30pm.
To stream the British Final live head to sportcentral.tv