Hours of planning and preparation are coming together in readiness for a very special speedway event that will be held at the Wightlink Warriors Smallbrook Stadium in Ryde this Thursday (11 July).
After successful trials in Poland last year, the Nice Challenge moves overseas for the first time as a result of an ambitious proposal to the series organisers from Warriors co-promoter Barry Bishop. He explains,
“Over the past ten years or so the cost of running and repairing a speedway engine has escalated as riders seek higher performance from heavily tuned motors. Critics have been quick to suggest that simply having the fastest bike has eroded the raw skill and guts required by the riders to race elbow to elbow and wheel to wheel with their opponents and so to create a mechanically level playing field, the Nice Challenge has been developed based on standard equipment for all competitors.
For our meeting all twelve riders involved will be provided with a two valve Jawa engine supplied and maintained by Nice, the event sponsors. A ballot will take place a couple of hours before the meeting and the rider will mount the engine he has drawn in the ballot into his own frame. Tyres, fuel and oil are also provided to allow as much equality as possible. All riders are the allowed some free practice time ahead of the meeting proper which takes the form of an individual championship with twelve qualifying heats, two semi-finals and a final.
I have to say that the level of interest that I have received has been amazing and taken me by surprise. I have had riders, supporters and other speedway officials all getting in touch and fine tuning the possible start list has been no easy task, however we have tried to create a balanced programme that covers all levels of experience and we are thrilled to be able to introduce Tomasz Orwat, who won the first staging of this meeting in his home country, to British fans. He will be joined by GB international Steve Worrall, Ben Barker and Paul Starke who we rarely get to see on the Island plus of course most of our Warriors and other National League favourites.
I should also like to thank Peter Waite, the former Berwick Speedway promoter for the introductions, the Nice organisation and their directors for presenting this meeting with us and we will be delighted to welcome their representatives on the night.
This test meeting could have influence on the future of our sport and I will be looking forward to receiving the feedback of the riders, sponsors and supporters who I am sure will be in for a compelling night of action”.
The line-up in draw order: Danno Verge (IOW), Ben Barker (Scunthorpe), Steve Worrall (Belle Vue), Tomasz Orwat (Bydgoszcz), Danny Ayres (Mildenhall/Scunthorpe), Paul Starke (Glasgow), Georgie Wood (IOW/Eastbourne), Ben Morley (IOW/Eastbourne), Chris Widman (IOW), Jason Edwards (Mildenhall), Connor King (IOW), Scott Campos (IOW).
This week, for ANYONE aged 30, it is free admission as part of the weekly age incentive being run by the club. Proof of age is required at the turnstile to benefit from this promotion. Otherwise, the usual pricing and admission arrangements apply with gates opening at 5.30 pm practice around 6.15 pm with the first race scheduled for 7.00 pm.