Harris hoping to land British title for a fourth time

Chris Harris in action against Berwick. Picture: Steve Hone
Chris Harris in action against Berwick. Picture: Steve Hone
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New Panthers number one Chris Harris hopes to cap a hectic spell of racing with another British title.

Harris faces five meetings in as many days as he chases success on four different fronts.

His hectic spell begins today (Thursday) with a World Championship semi-final qualifier in Germany.

The 34 year-old needs a top-seven finish at Olching to advance to the SGP Challenge and keep his hopes alive of qualifying for a 10th campaign at the sport’s highest level.

Harris then dashes back to the UK to race for Panthers in their SGB Championship KO Cup clash against Scunthorpe tomorrow (Friday), before setting off for a Saturday engagement at La Reole in France, where he competes in the second round of the World Long Track Championship.

Harris will be swiftly back on these shores again for Panthers’ home league clash against Sheffield on Sunday before setting his sights on a fourth national title when competing in the British Final on Monday.

And he will head to the National Speedway Stadium in Manchester with high hopes of challenging for the crown.

“I’d love to be British champion again, but it is going to be a really tough meeting,” said Harris. “Everyone seems to like the new Belle Vue track and there will be a lot of people who believe they can win it.

“I’ve not been there yet this year so that might count as a disadvantage for me, but I’ll be giving it everything. I’m feeling good and the bikes are working well.

“It would be a great honour to be on top of the podium again especially as it is 10 years since my first British title.

“That meeting comes at the end of a really busy spell for me and that’s just the way I like. Hopefully I can get through to the SGP Challenge, do well in the Long Track and have a couple more good meetings for Panthers before I get to the British Final.”

Harris, who also won the British title in 2009 and 2010, was pleased with a 12-point home debut for Panthers as they beat Berwick 54-38 in the SGB Championship last Sunday.

He reeled off victories in his opening three races before adding a third in heat 13 and a second in the finale.

“I’m looking to be in double-figures in every meeting so 12 points wasn’t a bad start,” added Harris. “I’m confident I can be scoring like that on a regular basis and it gives me something to build on.”

Harris has been named in the 10-man Great Britain squad ahead of the World Cup early next month. He was not part of the side that won silver medals last year, but did help his country to a bronze in 2006.

Panthers will also be represented by Paul Starke in the British Final on Monday.

Starke has been snapped up by SGB Premiership side Poole this week, but Panthers retain priority over his services in the event of fixture clashes.