Wednesday, 10 February 2016

King of the world

SO England's World Cup speedway team has finally been announced with Danny king the fourth member of the side.

We already knew Chris Harris, Scott Nicholls and Tai Woffinden were certainties but there was much speculation over who the last position would go to.

I said in this column last week that I would have given it to Ben Barker and I stand by that but I am sure manager Neil Middleditch has his reasons for picking King and Middlo’s experience probably make him a better team manger than me.

We will also have to hope Nicholls and Woffinden recover sufficiently from their respective injuries but we know how committed they are to their national side.

A semi final at King’s Lynn against Australia, Czech Republic and Germany is tough and looking at the teams on paper you would expect Australia to win but as we all know speedway isn’t raced on paper but shale.

You would also expect GB to go through to the race off in Malilla Sweden, and if they come through that it could give them some sort of advantage as the final will be held on the same track and against the best teams in the world we need any advantage we can take.

Looking at other teams the Poles are surely still strong even though they are likely to be missing world number three Jarek Hampel after he broke his leg but for me the Swedes have to be the favourites.

Not only do they have home advantage but a team consisting of Grand Prix stars Andreas Jonsson, Antonio Lindback and Freddie Lindgren just coming into form at the right time and possibly Thomas H Jonasson that is one heck of a line up.

Of course Australia will not be far behind with Jason Crump, Davey Watt and Chris Holder but it is unclear whether Darcy Ward will be fit to ride which would weaken them quite a bit if the precocious talent fails to recover from his broken hand in time.

WE all know speedway is renowned for its stupid rules and even some of the most knowledgeable fans don’t understand them.

Averages is one of those rules which can confuse fans and has caused two major talking points this week.

Since the rolling averages, which focuses mainly on last year’s results, were introduced last season there has been countless comments about how unfair they are.

It hampered the Comets quite a lot as we could not get a guest for part time Peter Kildemand.

They obviously guard against fixing averages but this year it has resulted in Ipswich not qualifying for the Premier League Fours.

That wouldn’t be so bad but the fact they are the current Four champions it does seem a bit ridiculous that they do not have a chance to defend their crown but to me I don’t see there is any other way round it.

You could always say they should get a place as holders but then you are bound to get complaints from whichever team qualified in eighth.

Thankfully the competition has returned to its spiritual home of Peterborough which should remove any home track team advantage.

I say that but the Comets have Richard Lawson and Rene Bach who both know the track well having both ridden for the Panthers in the Elite League this season.

Well I suppose we won’t complain if we have that extra advantage if it brings home the trophy and to be fair we deserve a bit of luck.

The second sticking point is that Richie Worrall is only a reserve for the British Semi Final.

If we took this year’s averages alone Worrall would easily have qualified as he has been setting the league on fire this season but as it takes a large chunk of last year’s scores, when he was still learning his trade he has currently missed out.

He will get a place if someone drops out which historically will be quite likely but surely he will have plenty more time to prove himself even if he doesn’t make it this year.

By Paul Crute
Published: July 5, 2012


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