Fans can help us upset Speedway World Cup ‘favourites’ Australia, says GB skipper Harris
PUBLISHED: 10:47 09 July 2012
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Captain Chris Harris is refusing to accept Australia will stroll to victory as he prepares to lead Great Britain into tonight’s Speedway World Cup clash at King’s Lynn.
Harris returns to the Norfolk Arena days after he rode there for Coventry and insists the hosts can upset the Aussies – even if he believes they deserve their pre-tournament favourites tag.
The Grand Prix ace says Team GB are focusing on qualifying for Saturday’s final by winning Event Two, rather than thinking about finishing second or third and triumphing in Thursday’s race-off.
Harris said: “On our day we can beat anyone because we’ve got some good riders. Tai (Woffinden) has come back from injury and he is looking sharp.
“As long as Scott’s (Nicholls) shoulder can hold out there’s a track here we all love riding. The fans played a part last time we were here and they will again.
“They’re our extra man and we will need it because the Aussies are a strong side and they are favourites. But we’re going in it to win it.
“We’re not just looking at getting second. We want to get straight to the final because I believe this year could be anyone’s.”
Harris gave a determined display during his Bees’ side’s 46-44 Elite League defeat at Saddlebow Road on Wednesday scoring nine, paid 10.
But the Truro-born rider has struggled in the Grand Prix series this campaign and admits the disappointment of sitting 15th in the standings – and fear of missing out on next year’s competition – will fire him up this evening.
Harris said: “I’ve had a very disappointing season so far to the high standards I set myself but I’m definitely going to put that disappointment into aggression and show everyone what I’m capable of doing –- everyone knows how good I can be.
“I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a great honour to represent your country and an even bigger honour to be captain of it. I can’t wait to lead the boys out there and hopefully we can get a win.”
Wolverhampton’s Woffinden (scaphoid) and Nicholls have been forced to shake off injury problems in the lead up to the meeting at Saddlebow Road.
But GB are not the only side suffering from fitness problems with Aussie ace, and former King’s Lynn Stars rider, Darcy Ward admitting he is “touch and go” after breaking his left hand a few weeks ago.
The Poole Pirates star is likely to be replaced by Troy Batchelor if he fails to make the meeting.
Outsiders Czech Republic will rely on the experienced Dryml brothers Lukas and Ales to inspire their side while Stars rider Kevin Wolbert will be expected to use home-track advantage to lead Germany to success.
The winners of the meeting will join hosts Sweden and Event One winners Russia in Saturday’s final.
The second and third placed teams will join Poland and Denmark in Thursday’s race-off, with the winners progressing to the last four.
Great Britain (White): 1 Chris Harris, 2 Scott Nicholls, 3 Tai Woffinden, 4 Danny King. Germany (Red): 1 Martin Smolinski, 2 Kevin Wolbert, 3 Max Dilger, 4 Tobias Kroner. Czech Republic (Blue): 1 Lukas Dryml, 2 Ales Dryml, 3 Josef Franc, 4 Matej Kus. Australia (Yellow): 1 Jason Crump, 2 Chris Holder, 3 Darcy Ward, 4 Davey Watt.
n Call the Norfolk Arena on 01553 771111 for ticket information. Gates open at 5pm. Racing starts at 7.30pm.