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NORTH BRISBANE SET FOR DARCY WARD INVITATIONAL ON SATURDAY

Aussie icon Darcy Ward believes fans could witness “potentially the biggest speedway event in Australia” this summer at North Brisbane.

27 / 11 / 2020, 10:41

Aussie icon Darcy Ward believes fans could witness “potentially the biggest speedway event in Australia” this summer as the Darcy Ward Invitational returns to North Brisbane on Saturday.

With the Australian Championship postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Ward is determined to keep the wheels turning Down Under and has assembled a star-studded field for his meeting.

Triple world champion Jason Crump headlines a line-up which also features former Australian World Cup riders Josh Grajczonek, Nick Morris and Dave Watt, who comes out of retirement for the night. British league regulars Ryan Douglas, Jake Allen, Zaine Kennedy, Josh Pickering, Josh MacDonald and Zac and Ben Cook are also in action.

It’s a stacked field. We’re just trying to give all these kids a chance to come and ride and be part of potentially the biggest speedway event in Australia. I look forward to it.

Darcy Ward

The racing isn’t limited to speedway solos, with two-time X Games gold medallist Corey Creed taking on multi-time Australian Supercross and motocross champion Dan Reardon in a special head-to-head showdown. There will also be speedway sidecar action.

While a number of Australian speedway’s top names are stranded in Europe due to travel restrictions, Ward is pleased with the line-up for a huge day of racing in Queensland, which gets started with the qualifier at 1.30pm local time, with the main event at 5pm.

He said: “It’s a solid line-up. Some of these boys are just breaking into Britain and are really young. But our level in Australia is really high.

“It will be a good day. We have the qualifier during the day, when six qualifiers go through to join the 10 seeded riders.

“It’s a stacked field. We’re just trying to give all these kids a chance to come and ride and be part of potentially the biggest speedway event in Australia. I look forward to it.”

Ward had hoped to bring some of Poland’s finest to North Brisbane, but his plans were dashed by the current travel restrictions.

He said: “With what’s going on with the world now, they are not able to come. Some of the top boys are also stuck over in Europe at the moment and they are not coming home.

“It has opened the doors for these kids to come and have a chance to ride. It was hard to pick 16. It’s quite a level playing field, besides some of the top boys like Crumpy, Dougie and Morris.

“That’s why we threw on a qualifier – to give these boys a chance to come up and ride against the best that are here at the moment. Hopefully that gives them a push to learn a bit more, dig a bit deeper and make it into Europe just like the boys who are seeded.”

Ward can wait to see Crump back in action. The Aussie great retired at the end of the 2012 season, but was set to make a UK comeback with Ipswich Witches this year until the global pandemic forced the cancellation of the British season.

Despite that setback, Ward believes Crump could be in for a busy summer Down Under.

He said: “Who doesn’t want to see Crumpy spin some laps?! It’s a privilege to have him here. We have a great relationship.

“I believe he’s still going to ride a fair bit this summer and do a couple of things. He has his fingers on where the meetings are going to be. He’s keen to keep riding.

“Hopefully we will get to see him come back to Britain next year. After all the hype this year, he was unlucky not to race. I’m sure fans will want to see him and I’m sure he will want to do what he missed out on this year.”

Ward is delighted to have brought Creed and Reardon together for their first taste of speedway action.

He added: “It’s exciting to get these guys to come and jump on our discipline. They found it hard and respected us quite a lot. After having a practice, they said they thought it was quite ballsy to ride at full throttle sideways around a corner with no brakes.

“It’s awesome for them to come and it’s something different we can offer to put on a show and bring some fun to the sport here in Australia.”

For more information about the event, visit the Darcy Ward Invitational page on Facebook.

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