BIRMINGHAM favourite Ben Barker was a popular winner of the Ben Fund Bonanza in front of a bumper crowd at Perry Barr.Barker, who rides for the Brummies in the Elite League and Plymouth in the Premier, held off the challenge of Grand Prix star Chris Harris in the Final with the top four completed by home skipper Daniel King and ex-World Champion Nicki Pedersen.Barker said: “It was always going to be a tough race in the Final especially with two Grand Prix riders in it, and I’m delighted to win it.“It’s looking good for Birmingham, Danny was going really well and Bjarne (Pedersen) and Josh (Auty) had good meetings too, and I really think we’re going to have a good year.”
BERWICK have made two changes to the line-up for Saturday’s Fence Fund Challenge – the first meeting with their new Polyfoam fence at Shielfield Park.Polish duo Tomas Piszcz and Borys Miturski have now been ruled out but their places have been taken by former Bandits man Tero Aarnio and Glasgow newcomer Mason Campton.Berwick commercial manager Phil Newton said: “Unfortunately, the two Polish riders who had offered to come won’t be appearing, but for a meeting of this nature for such a good cause, there has been no shortage of willing replacements.“Our old friend Tero Aarnio will replace Piszcz, and for Borys’ race-jacket we are delighted to have Mason. This will in fact be his first racing appearance in the UK this year, and we’re expecting quite a few curious Tigers fans will be tripping down to check out his form.”
RETURNING Coventry star Scott Nicholls says he can’t wait to get started once again at Brandon this season.Six-time British Champion Nicholls spent three hugely successful years with the Bees in 2005-07, leading the club to five major honours, and now returns after spells at Eastbourne, Ipswich and Swindon.Nicholls said: “I had three fantastic seasons here and it was a shame when I left, but you can’t change what happened and I had some good times on my travels too. “Coming back is nice, the fans are brilliant here, I’ve always had a good reception and good support and we have some good British riders in the team which I know the fans like.”
RYE House Raiders have completed their line-up for the National League season with the signing of three new riders.Luke Chessell, Nick Lee and Tom Braddock will all race for the Hoddesdon club, who were recently forced into a change of plan due to Lee Strudwick’s enforced withdrawal.Chessell rode for the Isle of Wight and Dudley last year but also made an impressive guest appearance for Rye House in 2010, whilst Lee returned to the sport two years ago with Weymouth after a six-year break from racing.Braddock has impressed club bosses after recently switching to speedway from enduro racing, and has made a rapid improvement at their weekly training schools over the winter.
THURSDAY MARCH 15:ANGLIAN CUP 1st leg: Ipswich v Rye House 7.30NORTHERN CHALLENGE 1st leg: Redcar v Newcastle 7.30
FRIDAY MARCH 16:BRANDONAPOLIS: Coventry 8pmCHALLENGE 1st leg: Scunthorpe v Leicester 7.30
SATURDAY MARCH 17:ANGLIAN CUP 2nd leg: Rye House v Ipswich 7pmFENCE FUND CHALLENGE: Berwick 7pmMAGNUS KARLSSON TESTIMONIAL: Leicester 7.30
SUNDAY MARCH 18:NORTHERN CHALLENGE 2nd leg: Newcastle v Redcar 7pmBOB KILBY MEMORIAL: Swindon 6pmSHANE PARKER FAREWELL: Sheffield 5pm