Prize up for grabs as Tigers skipper sets sights on top three spot

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DAVID Hoggart feels tomorrow’s Premier League Riders Championship is as open as it has ever been.

The Sheffield promoter and British speedway events coordinator feels the biggest prize in second-tier speedway, which gets underway at 1pm, could go to any one of 16 riders, especially given recent changes to the lineup. Lasse Bjerre and Ben Barker, both considered among the favourites for the title, have pulled out due to prior racing commitments but Craig Cook and Rene Bach have taken their place.

That, Hoggart feels, opens up the field: “Ben and Lasse were both likely to be fighting for the title and perhaps were a cut above the rest, and the inclusion of Rene Bach and Craig Cook blows it wide open. Craig scored a faultless maximum here earlier in the year and Rene is excellent at Owlerton.

“There are no former winners in it and no clear favourites, but plenty of spoilers. Right down the lineup you can see riders who are capable of springing a surprise and I think this will be the hungriest field we’ve ever had. We have 16 guys who desperately want to take home the title for the first time, it should be an outstanding contest.”

Sheffield are represented by skipper Richard Hall, whose excellent recent form means he will start as a contender for the main prize.

His team manager Hoggart says the Northallerton racer has as good a chance as anyone else.

He said: “Richard has been riding very well lately, he’s had some spectacular races and has been very reliable for us. Richard’s personal target is a rostrum place and, with the way he is going at the moment, that is more than achievable.”