Harris blasts his way to testimonial victory

BRITISH champion Chris Harris emerged a clear, if not unexpected winner of the Michal Makovsky testimonial at Shielfield on Saturday.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 31st March 2010, 11:13 am

'Bomber,' who broke Sean Wilson's ten year-old track record in winning the Bordernapolis at the end of last season, returned with a flawless display which saw him top of the rostrum ahead of another Elite League rider, Oliver Allen, and former Bandit Kevin Doolan, who is always a big scorer around the border track.

Harris made his intentions clear from the start with a super-fast time of 64.7 seconds in heat two, and in his first three races he finished the proverbial mile in front of the opposition.

From his point of view it was simply five starts, a couple of neat first and second bends and it was job done.

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Allen, after winning his first two rides, came unstuck third time out when he was beaten by Kenneth Bjerre and new Bandit Jade Mudgway, who impressed with his attitude throughout the meeting, as he was never far off the pace.

Doolan, meanwhile, only had two points after his first two rides, but bounced back in style, unbeaten in his last three.

On what looked like a slick surface most passing moves were performed on the first and second bends, with riders appearing to find plenty of grip coming off the second and fourth corners.

The only other real passing move of note was Carl Wilkinson's tremendous surge past both Ricky Ashworth and Craig Branney on the last lap of heat 12.

The top three won 11 of the 20 heats between them, but Josef France, Jason Lyons and Kenneth Bjerre each won two, with Kenni Larsen, Paul Cooper and Jason Doyle the others taking the chequered flag.

And what of the main man himself. Well, Makovsky had a quiet night by his standards out on the track with three second places and two thirds.

There were three late changes to the field with Cooper, Mudgway and Branney replacing James Grieves, Paul Clews and Ben Barker, but that did not detract from the night which went like clockwork.

A decent crowd, slick presentation and some exhibition rides from former world champion Sam Ermolenko and Makovsky's fellow Czech George Stancl to boot.

A social evening and auction followed in the Black and Gold, which all helped swell the coffers for the Bohemien Bandits' testimonial fund.

Scorers - C Harris 15, O Allen 12, K Doolan 11, J Doyle 10, K Bjerre 9, J France 9, J Lyons 9, A Rymel 8, M Makovsky 8, K Larsen 7, T Topinka 6, P Cooper 6, C Wilkinson 4, J Mudgway 3, R Ashworth 2, C Branney 0.

* BERWICK open their competitive season this Easter weekend with home and away meetings against Workington in the Premier Trophy.

The Bandits will race at Derwent Park on Good Friday, with the Comets making the return trip to Shielfield on Saturday.

In the absence of the injured Lee Complin Berwick will use rider replacement for both these meetings, with the management admitting there is every possibility that is a situation which will continue 'for the next few weeks at least.'

That's because the club has so far been unable to find a suitable replacement for Complin, who suffered a double fracture of his arm when he crashed in the opening meeting of the season against Newcastle in the Tyne-Tweed Trophy.

"We have spent a lot of time burning the midnight oil," said promoter John Anderson, "but the truth of the matter is we just cannot find anyone suitable to bring in this close to the start of the season."

Team manager Dave Peet added: "We have looked at home and abroad, but at this time of year riders already have their commitments, and we don't want to get into a situation like we had last year with riders missing so many meetings for us because they have to ride elsewhere."

Peet said they also wanted to wait 'for a week or two' to enable doctors to determine the full extent of Complin's injuries.

"At this stage it is simply too early to say how long Lee is going to be out of action for.

"I have heard comments that Lee himself is talking about being back on a bike after only four weeks, but I think that is a little optimistic. What we need to know is what the medical reports say.

"Once we know what the true situation is we will then know what direction we have to take."