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  • Rob Dyer

Preview: Upright Final Featuring Gordon Kennett This Week


Gordon Kennett, World Pairs speedway champion alongside the late Malcolm Simmons, will be centre stage this Thursday (11th August) as he takes to the Smallbrook Stadium shale in pursuit of the first ever NORA British Upright Speedway Championship sponsored by Freelance Installations.


Using a machine powered by the traditional style of upright engine as opposed to the ‘laydown’ version that is favoured today, Kennett (pictured) will be joined by a host of other Upright specialists from the very vibrant Upright scene many of whom are national champions in various categories, including former Wightlink Islanders Dean Felton from Wolverhampton and Mark Simmonds from Cornwall. Championship co-ordinator Lee Coleman has reported that is an open secret that many of the riders have been preparing assiduously, both mechanically and physically, for this event and for which finding a favourite is almost impossible.


Run over the long-standing individual 20 heat formula, each rider gets five rides and the Champion will be the highest points scorer from those five rides with a run-off should scores be tied. With high temperatures forecast it will undoubtedly be a severe test of both man and machine in what promises to be a close-run affair.


The riders in draw order are: 1. Gordon Kennett 2. Shaun Bickley 3. Wayne Parker 4. Nigel Flatman 5. Keith Cornell 6. Darren Phillips 7. Tim Curnock 8. Mark Simmonds 9. Dave Johnson 10. Wayne Broadhurst 11. Nigel Coates 12. Tony Atkin 13. Dean Felton 14. Graham Knowler 15. Chris Mackett 16. Alex Chadd


In addition to the 20 plus heats of speedway, the Wightlink Warriors management have invited back the Flat Track racers for their second visit of the season, again under the stewardship of Anthony Brown, and this time they are planning on bringing nine riders who will all compete in three, six-lap races and one ten-lap Grand Final. It promises to be harum-scarum and very exciting.


Wightlink Warriors co-owner Barry Bishop said, “Seeing how well the Upright guys coped in their two qualifying rounds I’m sure we are in for a superb night of racing with a new British Champion being crowned at the end. Add in the Flat Track and we’ve got a least 24 races to whet anybody’s appetite.


As usual we’ll open at 5.15 pm, fans can listen to the rider briefing in the pits at 5.45 pm before our youth rides compete in their demonstration races from around ten-past-six. Our rider parade at 6.45 pm will proceed the main racing which will be at 7.00 pm. The Retreat snack bar and Premier Lounge will be open for drinks and refreshments and I can’t wait to welcome supporters old and new to enjoy the facilities and experience our value for money, family friendly evening of entertainment.”