Speedway boss lauds crowd jump

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British Speedway chief Alex Harkess is expecting the upward trend in attendances to continue at Sheffield on Sunday (5pm).

Owlerton once again hosts the showpiece Premier League Riders’ Championship and Harkess, who is approaching the end of his sixth season as Chairman of the sport’s association, has revealed how crowds are up for major events.

The Premier League Pairs and Four Team Championships at Somerset and Peterborough respectively pulled in numbers slightly up on 2014.

And Harkess said: “It’s great to see crowd numbers on the increase for the major events and I expect that to continue at a fine venue like Sheffield. The venue has such a great reputation and people enjoy going there. I’m sure there will be fans from throughout the UK making the trip for the biggest meeting on the Premier League calendar.”

And whilst Harkess is making no promises over the allocation of events in 2016, he admits Sheffield and the PLRC are a good fit.

“We are delighted to be staging the PLRC at Sheffield. I have written in all my programme columns this year that no track is assured of hosting an event the following year, but where the Premier League is concerned there is little doubt in my mind that Sheffield is the ‘home’ of the PLRC.

“Much like Somerset has grown to become the home of the Pairs and Peterborough the Fours, we are very pleased with the venues.

“That said, there are clubs who have ambition to host major events and the door is not closed on them – far from it.”

Tigers are represented by Jason Garrity who is aiming to repeat Simon Stead’s achievement of last year when he won in front of the Sheffield fans.

Stead has been denied the chance to defend the crown because of serious injuries sustained in April but Garrity has stepped up to the No.1 slot in the Sheffield side in impressive style.