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WOFFY EYES ANNUAL PERTH TESTS

Triple world champion Tai Woffinden hopes to make Lions’ trips Down Under an annual event after they completed an Aussie double in Perth.

18 / 01 / 2020, 12:50

Triple world champion Tai Woffinden hopes to make Lions’ trips Down Under an annual event after they roared to a second straight win over Australia in Perth on Saturday.

Woffy raced to his second maximum in 24 hours, topping the GB scorechart on 15 points as they recorded a 54-36 victory over the Roos.

These kids you see here racing are the future for Great Britain. It’s cool to come out and do something. At this time of year, they are sat in a house in the UK in minus two degrees, not really doing anything.

Tai Woffinden

The SGP star was brilliantly backed up by 12 paid 13 points from Lions Under-21 ace Dan Bewley, who has been on red-hot form throughout the Australian summer season. Jack Smith bounced back from a tough test on Friday with a very strong 11 paid 12.

Australia’s SGP legend Jason Crump racked up 10 points for the Roos, with Cameron Heeps weighing in with nine paid 10.

GB won Friday’s meeting 50-39 on Pinjar Park’s 142-metre track, which Tai’s late father Rob Woffinden had a huge hand in building. Saturday’s racing took place on the recently-constructed 350-metre track, which is far more similar to those riders race on in Europe.

With the Lions and Aussie young guns gaining priceless experience, Woffy is keen to see the mini test series staged again in 2021.

He said: “These kids you see here racing are the future for Great Britain. It’s cool to come out and do something. At this time of year, they are sat in a house in the UK in minus two degrees, not really doing anything.

“What a great opportunity to get out here. They are all young; some of them haven’t even got driving licences.

"They have just been getting by and enjoying it. They have no parents out here; they’re just living their lives and that’s what it’s all about. Hopefully this is an annual thing and we can do this every year.”

Woffinden, Bewley and Smith were joined by Drew Kemp, Jason Edwards and Leon Flint in flying the GB flag Down Under, with new joint boss Simon Stead managing the national side for the first time this weekend.

Woffy joined forces with Pinjar Park president Marshall McDiarmid to stage the series and paid tribute to everyone involved in bringing the Lions to Western Australia.

He said: “It all started about a year ago. Marshall and I were throwing ideas around and I said ‘why don’t we try and get GB out here and do some test matches?’ Six months down the line, we hadn’t really got it nailed and we were just waiting for the Speedway of Nations in Russia to be done and out of the way.

“But we made it happen. ATPI has flown all the guys out here and we can’t thank them enough, along with all the sponsors of GB.”

Crump’s return to the shale generated huge interest and gave the youngsters a priceless opportunity to rub shoulders with one of the sport’s all-time greats. Woffinden hailed his old rival for coming out of retirement after a number of riders withdrew from the meetings.

“You don’t know what was going on behind the scenes,” he said. “Last week two guys from the east coast pulled out.

“Some of the boys here and Crumpy flew out at a week’s notice to make it happen. I say massive congratulations to those guys for coming out. Hopefully the old boy will come out and cut some laps next year!”

Woffinden is happy to be involved in arranging the test matches again next year, but isn’t sure whether he will compete in them at this stage.

He said: “I’m coming back next year, but I don’t know if I am riding yet. I have done the last two years here since the track has been built and I normally don’t ride when I am in Aussie.

“I think I am due a four-month break, so I am looking forward to that. But I will definitely be involved, boost it and help get the riders here to make sure we have a good event to put on for the fans.”

Woffinden is certainly ambitious for a club which holds special memories for him and his family. With Pinjar Park’s larger circuit up and running, he would love to take on the FIM Speedway Grand Prix elite there one day.

He said: “I don’t know if it’s going to be in the near future, but the target is to run a World Championship round here.”

Photo: Taylor Lanning

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