Ritchie Hawkins added to rearranged Somerset Rebels Christmas Cracker speedway meeting
Former Somerset Rebels star Ritchie Hawkins will return to the Oaktree Arena next Friday after being confirmed as a replacement rider in the rearranged Christmas Cracker speedway meeting.
The Salt Express-sponsored meeting was postponed on December 28 due to a waterlogged track at Highbridge, but the Rebels are hoping it will be second time lucky on January 18.
Not all of the original 16-rider line-up can get to Somerset for the rearranged date, so meeting coordinator Garry May said some reshuffling has been needed.
“Obviously it would have been great if all of the original 16 riders were able to ride in next Friday’s re-staging of the meeting, but that just wasn’t to be as work and other commitments for some of the original field meant that we had to find some replacements," said May.
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"It was no easy task, but after making what seemed to be a never-ending number of phone calls and sending countless text messages, we have now completed the field and it is all systems go for January 18."
Hawkins is one of the riders added to the line-up, returning to the club where he won the Premier League Fours in 2005.
“Ritchie took a break from racing partway through last year, but is now fully refreshed and may be looking to get a ride somewhere this year, and saw the Cracker meeting as a way of possibly putting himself in the shop window,” said May.
Turnstiles for next Friday's Christmas Cracker will open at 5.30pm, with heat one due to start at 7.30pm. A rider parade will take place at around 7.10pm.
The 16 riders will then compete in 20 heats, with the top four points scorers advancing to a grand final.
May said: “The ‘Men In Black’ were due to have their vintage bike races during the natural breaks in the main meeting when a rider had two rides on the trot, and that will continue to be the case in next week’s restaging.
"But while unfortunately we will not be having the collector’s fayre, we still hope to have the start-line simulator there on the night for fans to have a try out on.
“An added attraction is that we are hoping to extend the pit-bike racing into a full ‘demonstration’ event prior to the main meeting getting under way, probably at around 6.30pm with them running something like eight races or so, but because of that, the pits will be closed to the public from 6.20pm."
REVISED SALT EXPRESS CHRISTMAS CRACKER LINE-UP
Ricky Ashworth, Ben Barker, Lewis Bridger, Ryan Fisher, Richard Hall, Ritchie Hawkins, David Howe, Lewis Kerr, Simon Lambert, Ashley Morris, Kyle Newman, Lewis Rose, Jacob Thorssell, Steve Worrall, Charles Wright, James Wright, Brendan Johnson (res).