The Astley & Tyldesley club will be staging the Over 40 and Over 60 British Individual Championships at the Gin Pit circuit on Saturday 13 July.
Although the number of entrants is less than usual, there is no shortage of quality on view and spectators can look forward to some real cut and thrust racing, with two British titles at stake.
First up at 2 pm is the over 60’s final, where Birmingham's Bob Prince aims to make it a hat trick of victories. However, he faces tough competition from a field which includes twice British champion, Colin Wheeler of Southampton, who has also won the over 60’s title four times before, in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010.
The only other winner of this event was Edinburgh’s John Murphy in 2009 and he too is amongst the nine rider field.
Mick Aris of Wednesfield was second in last year’s final, Bury’s John Whiting was third in the 2008 Final and second in the 2009 Final, whilst Edinburgh’s Dave Baxter was third in the 2010 Final. All three riders will be looking for at least a repeat performance.
Pedalsport’s Fred Rothwell is the principal organiser of the Euro Vets series and along with Edinburgh’s Ian McKinlay has been a stalwart of veterans events over the past two decades.
Fred won the British over 50’s Individual title at this track in 2004. Making a return to competitive cycle speedway is Manchester legend John Watchman, three times British Champion in the 1970s and 80s, wearing the colours of the ABC Centreville cycling club of Heywood.
Following on at approximately 3.15pm is the over 40’s final, where last year’s champion, Chris Turner of Sheffield, returns to defend his title.
There are a whole host of strong challengers. Most notable are former world champion Steve Harris, of Poole, three times winner of this final, Wednesfield's Mark Griffiths, third in 2009 and 2010 and Stockport's Terry Norman, third in 2011 and a former British champion, all confirmed Gin Pit track specialists.
Making his first visit to Gin Pit is Exeter’s Andrew Stone, who rode to an impressive fourth place in last year’s final and he is joined by fellow finalists Dave Meanley of Wednesfield and Sheffield’s Mick Knowles, a former Astley & Tyldesley rider.
Edinburgh’s Lee Lawrence has been a regular visitor to Gin Pit and he took second place in the recent over 50’s final. Southampton’s Pete Chant makes the long trip from the South Coast, looking to use his experience from a Euro Vets meet in 2011.
The Gin Pit circuit will be a fresh challenge to Norwich’s Paddy Wenn, Swindon’s Martin Glover and Hull’s Richie Pawson, who all have little or no experience of racing here.