British riders to rev up rivals at Oreti Park

LOGAN SAVORY
Last updated 05:00 13/02/2013
Speedway tour
PETER MEECHAM/Fairfax NZ
INTERNATIONAL FLAVOUR: UK-based riders Ashley Birks, left, Jason Bunyan and Richie Worrall will be competing at the Oreti Park Speedway near Invercargill on Saturday night as part of the International Speedway Tour.

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Oreti Park Speedway president Warren Shuttleworth says Southland speedway enthusiasts are in for a treat.

The club has lured three big names in the sport to compete in its meeting on Saturday night.

They include Jason Bunyan, a former England under-21 international speedway rider, who rides for the Rye House Rockets in the well regarded professional British Premier League.

Richie Worrall is another English rider who will compete at Oreti Park on Saturday.

Worrall was last year a world under-21 finalist, the first British rider in three years to make the final.

The third rider in Invercargill for this weekend's meet is Ashley Birks, who rides for the Sheffield Tigers in the British Premier League.

The trio will ride in Invercargill as part of their International Speedway Tour which has seen them compete in meets in the North Island. They also compete in Christchurch next week.

Shuttleworth said clubs were sent a letter about the prospect of the world-class riders competing in New Zealand and Oreti Park decided to jump at the opportunity.

He said there was a cost to the club to bring them here but he believed it was a worthy exercise for the sport in Southland.

"It was a matter of either we want them or we don't, but we're trying to promote the sport so we got them," he said.

"It was matter of having some generous sponsors and we got them down."

Shuttleworth said it was a great opportunity for people to check out top level speedway action.

"As far as this sort of competition goes for spectators, unless you want to go to Auckland for the GP these are as good as riders as you'll get down here."

As well as the boost for spectators, Shuttleworth said having international quality riders competing would give Southland riders an ideal chance to test themselves.

The action will start at 5pm on Saturday night, brought forward from the usual start time in an attempt to attract more spectators.

With Teretonga hosting the Classic Speedfest on Saturday, Shuttleworth hoped that following their time at Teretonga people might venture across to the speedway track to watch the bikes.

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- The Southland Times

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