Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Stars Come out for Bears

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Stars Come out for Bears

Article excerpt

Byline: KEITH MCGHIE

STARS of different generations are expected to get rapturous receptions when Redcar entertain league leaders Edinburgh at the Media Prima Arena tonight, 7.30pm start.

Bears' Ben Barker came within a whisker of claiming a rostrum place at Monday's British Championship and was universally acclaimed as the outstanding thrill-maker on the night.

Also certain to be a target of centre green presenter Roy Clarke's roving microphone is Middlesbrough legend and "guest of honour" Steve Wilcock, who rode an incredible 15 seasons for the club, leading them to the National League title in 1981.

SG Petch Bears manager Jitnedra Duffill believes Barker deserves all the praise he will get, stressing: "Ben went into the British Final believing that he could win it and many people who haven't seen him race this year were surprised and didn't really appreciate how well he is riding.

"He was sensational - when he wasn't making starts he was passing good riders and was definitely the most exciting rider on the night."

Barker was joint second top scorer with 11 points in the qualifying heats then won his semi-final to reach the four-man final, only to be squeezed out by eventual champion Craig Cook, Steve Worrall and, somewhat controversially, Rory Schlein - a former Australian Under-21 Champion who switched allegiance earlier this year.

"Ben did Redcar proud and he would have been a deserving winner had he won the final."

Wilcock made no fewer than 557 appearances for Middlesbrough, scoring a record 5,214 points in two spells at the club between 1976 and 1991.

"It will be the first time in a couple of years that we have been to Redcar," said Wilcock, who has run a successful bouncy castle business since hanging up his leathers.

"Kevin (Keay) invited us up and we chose the Edinburgh meeting as friends of ours sponsor Max Clegg, who rides for the Monarchs."

Keay, the Current Bears promoter, explained: "Steve is an absolute legend on Teesside to a lot of people of a certain age, so we thought it was time to ask him and his wife Jacky along to sample the new atmosphere at the club. …

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