Cook: “No Greater Honour”

Already it feels more like months, rather than days, since the excitement of the Speedway World Cup gripped the Manchester area. But as they always say, all good things must come to an end.

Now it’s back to business for the Belle Vue boys, and indeed for British Speedway, as the small matter of determining this year’s league champions picks up from where it left off over a week ago.

Before the World Cup break, the Rentruck Aces rounded off a duet of victories at both Swindon and Coventry by accumulating enough points to charge to the top of the Elite League table.

They hope to keep it that way on Wednesday when the fabled Lakeside Hammers return to the National Speedway Stadium, a handful of whom we saw in action for Saturday’s SWC Grand Final.

British No.2 Craig Cook says that appearing on his home track clad in his nation’s colours was an “unequalled honour”, the likes of which he hopes will rub off on his league racing going forward.

He said: “It’d be nice to have come away with the gold, but I’m so proud to have represented my country, I mean how many people can say they’ve had such an incredible opportunity?

“It’s a very select group of sportsmen, and I just hope this will inspire Team GB to do more next year. It’s been a revelation in so many ways and has really given us insight into the future.

“Riders like Chris Harris, like Scott Nicholls have been incredible ambassadors to the sport not only on track but off track too, and they’re both fantastic guys to have in your corner supporting you.

“Whether the choice to leave them out of the GB World Cup squad was correct, we’ll never know but we finished the night second with a young and ambitious team, and we couldn’t be prouder.

“I can’t thank all my team enough for everything they’ve done. It’s been a brilliant weekend and a brilliant team performance and I certainly wouldn’t be here today without the help of my sponsors.

“My Heat 16 race win meant more to me than competing in Cardiff. When you’re riding for yourself, it’s only yourself you let down but in a team you’re racing for everybody involved in that team.

“I didn’t want to let anyone down, none of us did so to go out there and get that heat win and chip in those vital points really felt good. I’m just a little bit disappointed I didn’t start the night like that.

“I’m happy with the way I finished the meeting though. I felt fast and I was riding the bike well, and that’s something I want to put back into the rest of the season to push on with my two teams.”

Words: Hayley Bromley
Image: Ian Charles