Speedway

Holder heads line-up for Newcastle Showground Speedway

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Former Australian speedway solo champion Chris Holder will head the line-up for this Friday night's (December 11) Johnnie Hoskins Plate meeting at the Newcastle Showground. Holder had his run of consecutive victories in the New South Wales Championship broken last Saturday at Tamworth when he was relegated to third place in this season's title meeting and contacted Newcastle promoter Graeme Boyd on Monday saying he wanted another outing prior to next month's Australian Championship series. After going through the heats unbeaten at Tamworth Holder seemed on course for a fifth consecutive title victory but he was relegated to third place in the final. New World Under 21 champion Darcy Ward of Brisbane took the honours at Tamworth, which in itself is not a totally surprising result, but Holder also lost out in the battle for second at the hands of young Newcastle rider Sam Masters. Friday's meeting, named in honour of the sport's founding father, will give Holder another shakedown run after a long season in Europe as well as allowing him to dial in on the track that will host the third and final round of the Australian Championship on January 9. The chance for revenge against Masters will also be a focus. Holder has never been a rider to underestimate any opposition and the result at Tamworth will be another reminder about how good the current crop of teenage riders in the sport are performing. Holder will be joined in Friday's line-up by several riders who have plenty of experience riding in the UK to call on. Jason Doyle is back on the track after a long layoff due to an injury suffered in last season's Australian Championship series. The injury forced Doyle to miss the entire European season and he too is desperate for track time after such a long lay-off. Jay Herne, who was a surprise winner of the Golden Helmet meeting at Newcastle last year, will also be keen to build on another season in the UK where he scored consistently. While the experienced riders like Holder, Doyle and Herne invariably are competitive in any meeting they contest it will be the younger brigade who are certain to attract as much of the attention on Friday night. Masters will be just one of a group of talented young riders, most still teenagers, in Friday's line-up who would like nothing better than to beat some of their more experienced rivals. Sidecars and flat track bikes are also part of the program for Friday night. Practice will be at 5pm, rider introductions at 6.30 pm and racing from 7pm.

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