British Champion Craig Cook is relishing the target on his back ahead of the 2018 British Final and says he expects a fierce battle when the top 16 descend on Manchester tonight.
He has tipped this year’s field as “one of the strongest ever” and says he’ll need to step up his game two-fold if he’s to retain his status as Britain’s top dog for a second consecutive season.
His Belle Vue team mate Dan Bewley hopes to ruffle some feathers when he makes his British Final debut and is looking forward to taking on some of British Speedway’s most iconic names.
The British U-19 champion has already established quite a reputation as one of the UK’s most promising prospects and is ready to put himself to the test at the National Speedway Stadium.
And Steve Worrall has sparked a frenzy of excitement among fans across the country following confirmation he will take the place of injury victim Eddie Kennett in the battle of the Brits.
The 26-year old has been side-lined with a broken leg since April after crashing at Scunthorpe and has been undergoing a variety of physiotherapy treatments in his bid to return to fitness.
Cook said: “The sense of national pride is always strong among the riders in the British Final. It’s not just another individual meeting, it’s 16 countrymen battling to call himself Britain’s best.
“There’s no such thing as an easy race, especially this year. There’s no one individual there to make up the numbers. It’s a strong field and everyone competing in it has earned his place.
“I expect nothing less than a close match. Between four riders, there are 12 British titles and amongst the rest there is ample talent and potential. I’m really looking forward to this one!”
Words: Hayley Bromley,Images: Ian Charles
The 2018 Sports Insure British Final gets underway Monday, June 11 at 7:30pm. Tickets available now at www.bellevueaces.co and at the stadium box office on race night.