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FRIENDLY RIVALRY

Coventry star Scott Nicholls says he has buried the hatchet with long-time foe Chris Harris as they prepare to join forces at Brandon.

04 / 11 / 2011, 14:16

Returning Coventry star Scott Nicholls says he has buried the hatchet with long-time foe Chris Harris as they prepare to join forces at Brandon again in 2012.

It’s no secret that the Team Great Britain internationals have been anything but the best of friends in recent times.

So when new Coventry boss Mick Horton announced Nicholls would be joining the Cornishman in Bees colours next year, many will have expected the pair to form a grudging partnership at the top of the team.

British champion Nicholls says he will still battle the SGP star for the right to be called the nation’s top rider. But the Ipswich-born man says their frosty relationship has thawed dramatically since Harris made sweeping team changes over the summer, which saw manager Norrie Allan and mechanic Ted Midgley leave his camp.

A lot of water has passed under the bridge and I think it’s fair to say the relationship between myself and Bomber is 100 percent better than it was a short time ago.

Scott Nicholls

Nicholls said: “A lot of water has passed under the bridge and I think it’s fair to say the relationship between myself and Bomber is 100 percent better than it was a short time ago.

“Bomber has a lot of work going on in his camp to get things more stabilised there. And I think a lot of the influential people on him, who affected the relationship between him and myself in a negative way, are not there anymore.

“Straight away, myself and Bomber have got on a lot better at the meetings we’ve been at.

“There is a rivalry there. Of course there is. We both want to be the best rider in Britain. But that can only be a positive thing for the club.”

Nicholls returns the Bees for the first time since his brief spell at Brandon in 2009 on a bargain 7.83.

The six-time British champion endured a nightmare year at Swindon as the Robins languished at the foot of the Elite League.

But Nicholls admits his struggles have proved a blessing in disguise as his low average made him a man in demand.

He said: “I think I was in quite a fortunate position for the wrong reasons. I had more options than I normally have.

“Coventry own me so the correct procedure was to speak to them first anyway. Going there was one my first choices in the respect that I want to have a fantastic year in 2012. I perform well at Coventry; I like the track and I like the people.

“It’s the wrong thing to say but, because of a bad season, I was in a better position than I had probably been in for 10 years.

“But it’s nice for me to be able to take advantage of a negative situation. It meant I could get a deal done early. I go into the winter knowing where I am and I can get organised and prepared.

“Hopefully I’ll have a much more successful year than in 2011 and it looks like Coventry are doing the best they can to construct a competitive side as well.”

Whether or not Elite clubs are limited to one rider with an average over 8.00 next year, the Bees know they have a powerful spearhead as well as plenty of points to form a rock-solid lower order.

“Let’s be honest; if the rules stay as they are, Coventry have a massive opportunity to build an amazingly strong side,” Nicholls said.

“Even if the rules allowed teams to have two over 8.00, which I know a lot of clubs will be pushing for, that doesn’t really matter.

“Everyone knows myself and Bomber are better than 8.00 riders. That’ll give us some strength in depth, which will be a definite strong point for Coventry in 2012.”

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