[T]he start of the Comets twentieth season back on track since the sport was re-introduced to Workington is now just over a week away and will open at Derwent Park with the Cumberland Open Championship at 7:00pm on Saturday 31st March.
With thirteen of the sixteen riders taking part already named we can now complete the line-up by naming the final three competitors, starting with the all-action Ben Barker.
The spectacular and much-travelled Truro-based racer, who turned 30 years-of-age two weeks ago, will be aiming to go further up the rostrum this time after finishing third in last year’s season-opener with a 12-point score. Barker, who is again riding for Redcar in this season’s Championship, helped the Comets claim an away victory at one of his former tracks Glasgow in their final match of last season; when he raced to a 13-point score when guesting at number one, and he is always assured of a vociferous welcome at Derwent Park.
Also appearing here next week is the 33 year-old Aussie Rory Schlein who, for a second successive season, will be racing for Ipswich in the Championship and Wolverhampton in the Premiership.
Schlein, who was born in Darwin the Northern Territory, was based in Adelaide, South Australia when embarking on his speedway career and he was a regular at Derwent Park from 2001 to 2004 when wearing the colours of Edinburgh before making the step up into the top league with Coventry in 2005. While in the Elite League he was twice crowned Elite League Riders’ Champion (2011 and 2013) however a serious back injury sustained in Poland in May 2015 threatened to end his career. But, after missing the remainder of that season, he made a comeback in 2016 with his club King’s Lynn and remains as competitive as ever.
Completing the line-up is the fifth former Comet in the field, the popular Simon Lambert, who joined the Comets mid-way through the 2014 season and credits his time at Derwent Park for turning his career around following his time at Rye House where his average fell and a succession of injuries sapped his confidence. Only the distance involved, and the workload in the family business, prevented him from continuing with the Comets. Since leaving Derwent Park he has become a crucial team member at one of his local tracks; Peterborough – while last season saw him hold a successful testimonial meeting at his parent club King’s Lynn.
Club owner Laura Morgan said: “Now that the line-up is complete I can’t wait for the meeting, and of course the season, to get underway.
“In addition to our own seven riders there is a high quality about the field overall and, with five former Comets in the line-up there are plenty of riders that the fans can readily identify with.
“Then, when you also throw in the renowned talents of seven-time British Champion Scott Nicholls, two-time Elite League Riders’ Champion Rory Schlein, the thrilling never-say-die attitude of Ben Barker and hotly-tipped young Australian prospect Jordan Stewart; who is appearing at Derwent Park for the first time ever, then trying to pick a winner from all of those is far from easy.
“It certainly promises to be a great way to get the season up and running and an evening for everyone to enjoy.”
Supporters are reminded that if they are yet to purchase their Season Ticket for 2018 they are still available, as are the popular books of tickets.