ONE of the biggest nights in British speedway is looming as Belle Vue Speedway prepares to host the 28th Peter Craven Memorial on March 20 at the National Speedway Stadium.
A star-studded line-up of current and former world title contenders, as well as all six of the 2023 ATPI Aces, will lock horns in one of the fiercest battles for individual glory.
Amongst them is reigning Peter Craven Memorial champion Michael Palm Toft, who was the shock victor in last year’s competition after coming in as a late replacement for Norick Blodorn.
He said: “The Peter Craven Memorial is one of the biggest meetings in the UK, especially with all the big names in it. It’s prestigious, that's for sure.
“It’s one of my biggest achievements individually and I want to do it again. I don’t think people expected me to win and I’m in it to win it again.”
And 2017 world speedway champion Jason Doyle will be chasing a historic fourth win in a bid to shatter his own record of three consecutive triumphs on the bounce between 2018 and 2020.
British champion and returning Belle Vue number one Dan Bewley is also looking to add a second championship to his trophy cabinet after winning the event in 2021.
He said: “The Peter Craven Memorial is an historic meeting. It’s very important to Belle Vue and it’s my first meeting back so it’s a nice way to get the season underway.
“I’m looking forward to being back at this club. It was awesome to win this in 2021 and I’d love to get things off to winning ways but it’s a tough field of riders, so we’ll see what happens.”
Bewley’s fellow ATPI Aces team mates echoed his enthusiasm and are just as keen to get down to business after a long winter of preparation.
Norick Blodorn, who missed last year’s Peter Craven Memorial due to visa issues, but who competed in the 2021 meeting, is particularly excited to race.
He said: “I was so disappointed not to be able to race in last year’s meeting, but those problems are now behind me, and I’m really excited to be competing in this year’s event.
“It’s a tough line-up for sure but I’m very excited to be racing against guys like Chris Holder and Nicki Pedersen. They’re world champions so it’ll be cool to see how I measure up to them.”
And Charles Wright is more determined than ever to start his season with a trophy in the cabinet and says victory in the Peter Craven Memorial would be humbling on a personal level.
He explained: “After having shoulder surgery over winter, it’ll be a good test to see how man and machine measure up against some of the best riders in the world.
“I don’t feel there’ll be any pressure on me, but I’ll be giving it my all, after all Craven was a club legend and a close friend of my granddad, Jim Yacoby, so it would be a massive honour to win.”
Meeting tickets and race day hospitality are available to purchase online at bellevue-speedway.com.
Image: Ian CharlesBack