Bomber the toast of British speedway
CHRIS Harris was the toast of British speedway today after a sensational victory in the British Grand Prix at Cardiff on Saturday night.'The Bomber', as he is nicknamed, produced one of the rides of not just this season's GP series but of any series, coming from last to first in a thrilling final, pipping American Greg Hancock on the line by half-a-bike length.
By Mike Bacon
CHRIS Harris was the toast of British speedway today after a sensational victory in the British Grand Prix at Cardiff on Saturday night.
'The Bomber', as he is nicknamed, produced one of the rides of not just this season's GP series but of any series, coming from last to first in a thrilling final, pipping American Greg Hancock on the line by half-a-bike length.
It was fairytale stuff from the Coventry Bees rider and, apart from boosting his standings in the series, also raised the profile of the sport in this country.
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He was also the first-ever British rider to win at the Millennium Stadium.
“This was more than I dared dream about,” said an emotional Harris. “It still hasn't sunk in. I am just so pleased and so happy.”
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In front of a near 42,000 crowd, Harris was in fine form all night and was second highest qualifier for the semi-finals behind former Ipswich star Hans Andersen who, with three successive wins, looked sharp.
Fellow Danes Nicki Pedersen and Bjarne Pedersen were also among the early leaders but, while Bjarne faded, Nicki battled his way to the semis, as did former Witches skipper Scott Nicholls.
However, the two semi-finals turned into a nightmare for the Danes.
Andersen fell on the first turn of his semi but was fortunate to see the referee allow him back in the rerun. At the second time of asking, Jason Crump and Hancock kept Andersen at bay and, despite a frantic four laps, Nicholls again missed out on a place in a final, despite putting in his best GP performance of the series so far.
In the second semi, Nicki Pedersen also fell on the first turn but this time the referee was not so lenient and excluded the championship leader.
Leigh Adams led from the start but Ipswich-asset and Poland's Jarek Hampel looked as though he would deny Harris a place in the final until the Cornishman stormed through to second.
In the final itself Hancock made all the early running but Harris first shot past Crump and then out-witted Hancock on the final bend to race through to the chequered flag. Adams was fourth.
Nicki Pedersen still leads the 2007 Grand Prix championship race with 86 points but Adams has closed the gap to 11 with Hancock and Andersen tied on 67. Harris, who collected 20 points for his Cardiff win, is now fifth on 56.
FIM Meridian Lifts British Grand Prix
C Harris (Great Britain) 20, G Hancock (USA) 17, J Crump (Australia) 15, L Adams (Australia) 14, H .Andersen (Denmark) 13, N Pedersen (Denmark) 12, S Nicholls (Great Britain) 9, J Hampel (Poland) 8. A Lindback (Sweden) 7, B Pedersen (Denmark) 7, R Holta (Poland) 5. M Zagar (Slovenia) 5, A Jonsson (Sweden) 5, D Howe (Great Britain) 4, T Gollob (Poland) 3, W Jagus (Poland) 0.
N Pedersen 86, L Adams 75, G Hancock 67, H Andersen 67, C Harris 56, J Crump 53, A Jonsson 38, T Gollob 36, J Hampel 34, S Nicholls 30, W Jagus 29, B Pedersen 28, R Holta 27, M Zagar 25, A Lindback 22.
IPSWICH'S Mark Loram can count himself part of the Chris Harris British Grand Prix success story.
The injured Witches rider has 'loaned' his mechanic and manager Norrie Allan to Harris for the rest of the season.
And it is no coincidence that Harris' form has escalated tremendously since the start of the campaign.
Loram is out for the speedway season with a broken thigh but expects to be back with the Witches again in 2008.