SHEFFIELD Tigers owner Neil Machin reckons Plymouth star Ben Barker is one of the hot favourites for the Premier League Riders’ Championship at Owlerton next month.
Barker will get a sneak preview of the Sheffield track when he visits with the Devils as Tigers resume their Premier League schedule tonight.
And it’s inevitable he will qualify for the showpiece event on September 25 as he is head and shoulders above his team mates in the Plymouth averages.
Machin said: “Ben has been scoring well in the Elite League with Birmingham as well as scoring consistently for Plymouth.
“We are talking about a rider who represented Great Britain in the World Cup over two meetings in July and didn’t disgrace himself. He is a top rider and he will be a real danger tonight.
“I’m looking forward to his clashes with our top boys. He never knows when he is beaten and he could be worth the admission money alone!
“I expect Ben to be pushing for a maximum tonight but our lads will have something to say about that.
“They are a different side to the one we thrashed here previously after bringing in Ricky Wells to double-up from Wolverhampton.
“He made a few appearances here as a guest last season and knows the track very well and he has been scoring well for Wolverhampton in recent weeks so I expect us to face a tougher meeting tonight.
“But having said that our target is all three points and there is no reason why we cannot go out and do that.
“We haven’t raced as a team for nearly a month so the lads are raring to go.”
Sheffield are at full strength but Plymouth are without Czech Republic star Hynek Stichauer who is on the injured list and they will operate the rider replacement facility. It’s the first meeting in a busy spell for Tigers withy nine, possibly 10, outings planned before the end of September as the Sheffield outfit look to secure a top three Premier League finish.
SHEFFIELD: Josh Auty, Hugh Skidmore, Ricky Ashworth, Emiliano Sanchez, Shane Parker, Simon Lambert, Ashley Birks.
PLYMOUTH: Ben Barker, Hynek Stichauer R/R, Lee Smart, Jesper Kristiansen, Ricky Wells, TBC, Gino Francetti.