DECISIONS, DECISIONS FOR ROSCO
GB team manager Alun Rossiter admits former SGP stars Chris Harris and Craig Cook are both in his thoughts as he selects his SON squad.
20 / 04 / 2019, 12:15
Great Britain team manager Alun Rossiter admits former SGP stars Chris Harris and Craig Cook are both in his thoughts as he selects his Monster Energy FIM Speedway of Nations squad.
Rosco will soon have to name his five-man squad featuring three seniors and two under-21 riders for the tournament, as well as selecting which two seniors and under-21 star will compete at Race Off 2 in Manchester on May 11.
Triple world champion Tai Woffinden is tipped to lead the side with British senior and junior champion Robert Lambert red-hot favourite to take the under-21 berth – giving Rossiter the option to track him in every race if he wishes.
We have a couple of options. We’ll make a decision shortly. We have to think what is best for our team and play it like that.
Should Lambert occupy the junior spot, the Lions can select one more senior man in their starting line-up and that’s where Rosco has a tough call to make, with former SGP duo Harris and Cook both catching his eye.
Harris has been sidelined since crashing in Somerset’s trip to Eastbourne on April 13, reportedly sustaining wrist and knee damage. Meanwhile, Cook’s schedule has been fairly quiet after losing his SGB Premiership spot with Peterborough following a contract dispute.
But both are no strangers to mixing it on the world stage. With Harris continuing his red-hot end-of-2018 form into this year and Cook vastly experienced around Manchester’s National Speedway Stadium, Rosco has some big decisions ahead.
He said: “Until he got injured, Chris was having a good start. You can’t go against age and experience and he is certainly catching the eye.
“Craig hasn’t done many meetings, but he has had a good start. We have a couple of options. We’ll make a decision shortly. We have to think what is best for our team and play it like that.”
GB will battle it out with Australia, Denmark, France, Finland, USA and Latvia for three places at the Monster Energy SON Finals in Togliatti on July 20 and 21.
While it will be a new track for many riders, Cook showed his class there in 2017, finishing fourth at the GP Challenge to qualify for SGP 2018.
Rossiter admits “we can’t take that out of the equation” as he weighs up his selection decisions.
But should the Lions progress, Rossiter admits every member of the squad will be vital as the competition reverts from being contested over one week to the Finals being staged over two months after Race Offs 1 and 2.
He said: “Normally it’s all over one week, but now we have a two-month gap. You’ll be like a cat on hot bricks, hoping and praying your riders stay in one piece. With the fact it’s in Russia, we need to make sure we have a plan B. You won’t get a visa if someone drops out at the last minute.”
After managing the Lions to silver last summer, Rossiter has gold in his sights this time around.
With GB topping the scorechart over the two days only to lose out to Russia in the grand final, Rosco would love to take revenge in the world champions’ most famous speedway arena.
He said: “It would nice to reverse the result on the Russians. We won outright over the two days, in my opinion. But we knew the rules and they got it.
“There’s no good complaining about it. What’s done is done. It was a fantastic performance. Hopefully we can replicate it and make sure we’re in the final in Togliatti.”