Leon looking to go big in Brum

Published on 31st August 2022
Author George Dodds
Perry Barr call up for Bullets’ Ace Pijper but Kyle Bickley is a withdrawal. Picture: Nia Martin

Bandits’ sensation Leon Flint tonight bids to add the British under-21 to the Under-19 crown won in emphatic style last month, the action from Birmingham’s Perry Barr Stadium being streamed live in homes around the world via the British Speedway Network.

Since that title win he has cemented his position near the top of the Berwick averages, hit the Premiership points trail with Wolverhampton – including a match-winning 10+2 against Belle Vue on Monday night, scored as a track reserve at the British Grand Prix and secured a top eight place in the Cardiff SGP2 and, last Saturday, represented Great Britain in the European Pairs in Denmark.

Leon will start the meeting as favourite in many people’s eyes on a track where he began his senior career as a 15-year-old with the then National League Brummies in 2018, ending that debut season with an average fractionally under nine points.

One of his main rivals, defending champion Tom Brennan, is struggling to overcome back and rib injuries sustained in an untidy fall during the Premiership match at Monmore Green and will only decide later today whether he will take his place in the line-up.

Three-times Under-19 champion Drew Kemp – who along with Leon and Tom formed Great Britain’s bronze medal winning team at the Speedway of Nations2 in Vojens is also likely to be in the mix along with Redcar’s Jason Edwards and Leicester’s Thompson twins, Dan and Joe who will have the benefit of having raced regularly at Perry Barr this season both with the Lions and as guests.

A busy week in the red white and blue for Leon. Picture: Tony Burchell

Leon finished runner-up to Dan Bewley when the championship was staged behind closed doors at Shielfield Park and livestreamed around the world during the 2020 Covid lockdown but a wrist injury prevented him from bidding for back-to-back podiums last year.

While Leon was one of eight riders seeded through to the final his successor as Bullets captain, Kyle Bickley, qualified from a tricky semi-final at Mildenhall in May, finishing runner-up to Edwards with Henry Atkins completing the podium but he is unable to take his place in the meeting after jarring his neck.

Former Berwick Academy riders Harry and Sam McGurk also qualified from the West Row meeting while injuries to Jordan Palin and Ben Trigger among others have led to a call up for 15-year-old Bullets’ sensation Ace Pijper, initially as meeting reserve and then, mid-afternoon, as a replacement for Redcar’s Jordan Jenkins who had to withdraw after aggravating abdominal injuries on Friday. The call-up caps a truly remarkable first season in senior racing for the stylish Scot.

The under-21 final will be livestreamed on the British Speedway Network tonight with the first race scheduled for 7.30pm and their broadcast beginning at 7pm

watch.britishspeedway.co.uk

Meeting line-up (provisional): Vinnie Foord, Leon Flint, Max Perry, Jody Scott, Harry McGurk, Henry Atkins, Joe Thompson, Tom Brennan, Drew Kemp, Nathan Ablitt, Sam Hagon, Sam McGurk, Dan Thompson, Jason Edwards, Ace Pijper, Connor Bailey. Reserves: Jack Shimelt, TBA.

A busy week for Berwick’s sporting hero – which included a guesting role as Redcar secured their Championship play-off place with a victory at Plymouth last night – continues with Wolves at Sheffield tomorrow night before flying to Czech Republic to prepare for Saturday’s European Under-19 Championship at Plzen.

George Dodds
George Dodds

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