Peterborough Panthers star quits GB speedway after he learnt of an axing on the internet

Chris ‘Bomber’ Harris has called time on his international speedway career, but has vowed to go for gold again next year after missing out on the World Long Track championship crown.
Chris Harris: Photo: David Lowndes.Chris Harris: Photo: David Lowndes.
Chris Harris: Photo: David Lowndes.

Harris has told Great Britain bosses Oliver Allen and Simon Stead to count him out after he was dropped from this weekend’s European Speedway Pairs Final in Opole, Poland.

The Peterborough Panthers skipper claims he was promised he would be in the three-rider squad, which also included Panthers’ teammate Jordan Jenkins, after he was joint top-scorer in the semi-final in Finland in July.

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Veteran Harris only discovered he had been left out when he read the full line-up for Sunday’s meeting on the internet.

Harris said: “All three riders who went to Finland were told they would be riding again in the Final.

“I was planning and organising things, but I read on the internet that I was not going!

“That was the final straw, I’ve been involved with the national team since 1999 when I rode for the Under 21s and I have always given my all to my country.

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“I have been proud to wear the colours of Great Britain and I have enjoyed it. I have had my ups and downs, but it’s time to call it a day after what happened.

“I’m 40 now and I was never going to be an automatic choice, but I have never turned down the chance of riding for my country.”

Despite asking not to be considered for the national squad at speedway, Harris is hoping to race for GB in the Long Track Speedway of Nations after helping them to third place in this year’s final last weekend.

He added the bronze medal to the silver he won earlier this month in the individual Long Track series when he suffered heartache in the sixth and final round in Germany.

Harris admitted: “I just wasn’t quick enough.”

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Harris led by a single point going into the last of the six rounds but knew he had lost his chance of his first world crown when he could only finish third in the last chance race from which only the first two went into the Grand Final.

It left him watching as his former Coventry teammate Martin Smolinski took the points he needed to win his second title in six years.

Harris dropped vital points in his third race when he stopped and revealed: “The carburettor on my bike came off, I don’t know why because two of my mechanics checked it and made sure it was on tight before the race.

“Everything was double checked and treble checked and I don’t know if it was the force when I got hit with the roost from riders who were in front of me.

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“Sometimes the force of the shale splits the rubbers and I was running fourth and then with the force of the shale hitting my arms, I could see why it could come off. My whole body is black and blue from being hit by the shale from other riders’ back wheels.

“Even if I hadn’t stopped I think I would have been in the Last Chance heat, in which I finished third so didn’t go into the Final. The big difference is I would have had a better choice of starting position, because I didn’t get any points from that race I had the last pick of gate.”

“I’ve been fourth, third and second now in the last few years and I’ll be trying for that next step again next year.

“I definitely always go for the win, but as my wife says a lot of people in the world haven’t achieved what they wanted to achieve and didn’t live out their dream. A lot of people have never been second in the world, but I always want more and I want that gold so there is more to achieve.

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“We are already in next year’s championship and as soon as the meeting finished on Sunday, my sponsor Shaun Harvey of Northeast Demolition UK Limited, and the team, who were as disappointed as me, said they are already planning for next year and they are all going to be back. They are as hungry to win as I am.”

Harris won two of the six rounds, was second and also third but missed out on the title because of two poor meetings, the first and the last.

He added: “The first one was bad and the last one was as well, I started off rubbish and finished pretty bad so we have got to make a better start next year and finish better.”