Speedway

Young guns throw out challenge for Johnnie Hoskins Plate

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The final line-up for this Friday night's (December 11) Johnnie Hoskins Plate meeting at the Newcastle Showground Speedway has confirmed that it will be a battle between the experienced brigade and some of the state's most promising young riders. While the likes of former Australian and New South Wales champion Chris Holder and Jason Doyle warrant favouritism for the meeting, much of the attention will fall on two teenagers from the Hunter region who have recently signed contracts to head to the UK in 2010 for their first full season of league racing. Both have been impressing in domestic competition in recent months and are looking to this prestigious meeting in their home town to continue their recent good form. Particularly impressive since last summer has been Sam Masters, who won the Winter Series at Nepean and then the New South Wales Under 21 Championship at Tamworth. Masters' most stunning effort came last weekend in the New South Wales Championship meeting where he finished second behind World Under 21 champion Darcy Ward, and ahead of Chris Holder. That form was enough to secure Masters a berth among the ten seeded riders for next month's Australian Championship series. Masters has been signed to ride for the Somerset team in the Premier League in the UK for next year. Alex Davies is other local headed for a UK debut next year, also heading for the Premier League where he will ride for Kings Lynn, one of the teams his father Stephen rode for during his long and successful career. Davies was runner-up to Masters in the state under-21 showdown and qualified for the B Final in the senior state title so that form will keep him under notice on Friday. Although not seeded to the Australian Championship Davies will get his chance to qualify in a meeting at Mildura on December 30 from which the top six will qualify to the championship series. Michael Penfold and Mason Campton are two other Hunter Valley youngsters out to impress, while from further a field Todd Kurtz from Cowra and Taylor Poole from the Central Coast will be looking to build on the experience they each gained from short spells in the UK this year. There will even be a touch of youth versus experience in the supporting sidecar and flat track classes. The rapidly improving duo of James Hinton and passenger Blake Cox will be among the challengers for Darrin Treloar / Justin Plaisted and Grant Bond / Glen Cox in the sidecars while teenager Jackson Jeffrey takes on the experienced Kurri Kurri connection in the Twin Cylinder class. The Johnnie Hoskins Plate will be staged over 20 heats and then a B and A Final, with the sidecars and Twin Cylinder classes each having five rounds. Practice will be at 5pm, rider introductions at 6.30 pm and racing from 7pm.

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