Speedway: Somerset Rebels ready to host Best Pairs
PUBLISHED: 14:15 20 September 2019 | UPDATED: 14:15 20 September 2019
Somerset Rebels' Oak Tree Arena plays host to the cream of the SGB Championship as they battle for the honours of being crowned the league's Best Pair on Friday night.
It is the first of three big events this weekend, as Saturday sees the British Grand Prix take place at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff in the penultimate round of the series, before the National League Riders Championship at Leicester, a meeting which includes Rebels' reserve Nathan Stoneman.
But first all eyes will be on the fortunes of Rebels duo Nick Morris and Rory Schlein who are targeting that Best Pairs title, last won by a Somerset combination back in 2016.
Rebels' fans will be hopeful that the rule of three applies again, as that 2016 success came three years after the club's first ever Pairs triumph in 2013.
Club owner Debbie Hancock said: "I am really looking forward to this meeting. It is a lot later in the year than we are used to but the weather looks set to behave itself and so hopefully we can have a good turnout with fans from all the Championship clubs, together with the other leagues too, backing their favourites for what promises to be a good meeting.
"If you look at the field then there are strong cases to be made for a lot of the clubs, but I have faith in Rory and Nick to do the business. I know that Nick will be hoping for better luck this time around than that he suffered in the 2014 final, and we do seem to have to wait three years between successes in this competition. I hope that is an omen!"
Sheffield however will be looking for a different rule of three, having won the title back-to-back in 2017 and 2018 so triumph at the Oak Tree would make it three in a row.
Since the competition was first launched in 1997 only Workington have won the title three years on the bounce, with Carl Stonehewer winning it for the Comets in 1999 with Brent Werner, 2000 (Mick Powell) and 2001 (Peter I Karlsson).
If the Sheffield Tigers were to pull that feat off this year it would be a hat-trick of honours for Kyle Howarth.
This year's event will see 22 heats of qualifying, with each club riding four heats, with the top four pairs progressing to the semi-finals, the winners of which will contest the Grand Final which means 25 heats of racing. Turnstiles will open at 5pm with the meeting getting underway at 7pm, and the admission prices have been set at adults £20, concessions £15, junior (5-15): £5 and under-fives free.
Line-Ups - BERWICK: Tomas H Jonasson, Jye Etheridge; BIRMINGHAM: Adam Ellis, Tero Aarnio; EASTBOURNE: Richard Lawson, Lewis Kerr; EDINBURGH: Sam Masters, Cameron Heeps; GLASGOW: Craig Cook, Rasmus Jensen; LEICESTER: Scott Nicholls, Ryan Douglas; NEWCASTLE: Steve Worrall, Lasse Bjerre; REDCAR: Erik Riss, Jordan Stewart; SCUNTHORPE: Ben Barker, Jake Allen; SHEFFIELD: Danny King, Kyle Howarth; SOMERSET: Rory Schlein, Nick Morris.
Previous winners - 2018: Sheffield (K.Howarth/C.Wright), 2017: Sheffield (K.Howarth/L.Bjerre), 2016: SOMERSET (J.Grajczonek/R.Tungate), 2015: Ipswich (D.King/R.Tungate), 2014: Edinburgh (M.Fricke/S.Masters), 2013: SOMERSET (J.Doyle/J.Grajczonek), 2012: Workington (A.Roynon/R.Bach), 2011: Glasgow (J.Screen/J.Grieves), 2010: Sheffield (R.Ashworth/J.Auty), 2009: Birmingham (J.Lyons/T.Piszcz), 2008: Workington (D.Nermark/K.Nieminen), 2007: Isle of Wight (C.Holder/J.Bunyan), 2006: Glasgow (S.Parker/D.Bird), 2005: Glasgow (S.Parker/G.Stancl), 2004: Reading (P.Morris/D.Bird), 2003: Workington (C.Stonehewer/S.Stead), 2002: Isle of Wight (A.Shields/D.Bird), 2001: Workington (C.Stonehewer/P.I.Karlsson), 2000: Workington (C.Stonehewer/M.Powell), 1999: Workington (C.Stonehwer/B.Werner), 1998: Peterborough (G.Cunningham/B.Werner), 1997: Long Eaton (C.Stonehewer/M.Dixon).