Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Bears Hope Harris Won't Hit Top Speed

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Bears Hope Harris Won't Hit Top Speed

Article excerpt

Byline: KEITH MCGHIE

REDCAR boss Kevin Keay is hoping former Grand Prix winner Chris Harris is slowing down with age as the Media Prima Arena track record holder returns to Teesside to lead a powerful Peterborough side tonight, 7.30pm.

Harris, now 34, remains the fastest rider ever around the 271-metre South Bank circuit after clocking a four-lap time of 52.2 seconds back in October 2009.

And if the SG Petch Bears thought their luck couldn't get much worse after the sports administrators denied them the right to re-stage last Thursday's controversial defeat by Glasgow, they now face a Panthers side who, less than a fortnight ago, signed arguably the top rider now racing in the second tier of British speedway.

Harris has ridden in 103 Grands Prix, more than any other Englishman, and was the last home-grown rider to win Britain's round of the World Championship, when he triumphed in front of 40,000 flagwaving fans at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium in 2007.

A decade on and the threetimes British Champion has decided to increase his workload by riding in two divisions, doubling up with Premiership Rye House and the Championship Panthers.

Keay, still angered by the Speedway Control Bureau's decision to award last week's league points to Glasgow in what he and many others feel is contravening their own rules, says the threat of Harris and co should be enough to divert minds from the frustration and disappointment.

"Peterborough will come here extremely confident as their marquee signing has strengthened them considerably.

"I hold Chris in high regard as he is not only an excellent rider but he has been a fine ambassador for Team GB.

"Hopefully he won't be as quick as he was and won't get anywhere near his track record."

The Bears were further annoyed as allowing the Glasgow result to stand - the Scottish side led 32-24 when racing was abandoned - has also deprived them the use of Workington's Matt Williamson as a guest for injured Danny Ayres for the second week running. …

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