Harkess heaps praise on ‘home’ of speedway

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BRITISH Speedway Chairman Alex Harkess has hailed Sheffield as the perfect venue for the Premier League Riders’ Championship (PLRC).

Owlerton hosts the showpiece event tomorrow (5pm) where Tigers duo Ricky Ashworth and Shane Parker will be going for glory against a host of Premier League big guns.

There is the annual debate over perceived home-track advantage in such meetings, but the reality is that whenever the PLRC has moved to an alternative venue it has failed to capture the public imagination in the way it does at a packed Owlerton. Highlights down the years have included the dramatic clash between Andre Compton and Simon Stead in 2004 and Tai Woffinden’s 2008 success.

Harkess said: “There is a very fine line between the commercial aspect and the argument regarding a neutral venue. But I think most of my promoting colleagues in the Premier League now acknowledge that Sheffield is the ‘home’ of this event after such a successful staging for many years.”

Ashworth and Parker are unlikely to have things all their own way with star names such as Ben Barker, Jason Doyle, Joe Screen and Charlie Gjedde in the line-up.