Dan Bewley heads into the biggest week of his career as favourite to become 2021 British Champion on his home track at Belle Vue on Monday.
The Aces favourite has enjoyed a stunning season and is in a rich vein of form at present, having won ten of his last eleven races around the National Speedway Stadium circuit.
Surprisingly the one defeat came at the hands of Peterborough youngster Jordan Palin, but the general consensus is that Bewley will be the man to beat in the British Final.
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The 22-year-old finished runner-up to Robert Lambert in 2018 before injury scuppered his hopes twelve months later, and last year he was absent from the behind-closed-doors event due to travel restrictions – but now he’s looking to reach the top step for the first time.
Bewley said: “I don’t look at it too much, but being favourite sounds good and we’ll see at the end of the night, hopefully it will still be the same!
“It’s my home track so there’s a little bit of extra pressure to do well, but there are positives too. I should be dialled in so that could be an advantage.
I think it’s going to be a good night and a lot of riders normally go well in that meeting, so it won’t be easy, but we’ll see how we go.
“What I remember from the meeting when I came runner-up is that it was a bit of a struggle! I barely got into the semi, but I felt good towards the end and it was good to get on the podium.
“More of the same would be good, but higher up! I’m feeling good so hopefully we can finish the year off with a bang.”
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Bewley is one of two riders in Monday’s line-up who also have a big date next weekend in the Grand Prix Challenge in Slovakia. Sheffield’s Adam Ellis is also only five rides away from the 2022 GP series – Lambert also competes in that event, but is not at Belle Vue – and Ellis’s excellent form for the Tigers makes him a serious contender for national honours too.
There are no fewer than six previous winners in the British Final with Wolverhampton skipper Rory Schlein defending the title he won in wet conditions last September, and going for the double in his farewell season in the sport.
Belle Vue’s Charles Wright enjoyed a memorable victory in 2019 but did not defend the title due to the pandemic, whilst ex-Aces rider Craig Cook triumphed in 2017 and now represents Premiership club Ipswich – who have another former winner in captain Danny King, the first rider to win the title at the NSS with a spectacular display in 2016.
Great Britain legends Scott Nicholls and Chris Harris, both of Peterborough, have a remarkable ten British titles between them, although the last of the seven wins for Nicholls came at Wolverhampton in 2012, whilst Harris won for the third and last time so far in 2010, also at Monmore. Neither have been on the podium since 2013.
The format of the event sees 20 qualifying races with all 16 riders having five outings. The top two scorers go straight to the Final, and are joined from the top two from the semi-final featuring those finishing third to sixth. The British title itself is decided on the winner-takes-all Final.
Full live coverage is on Eurosport2 from on Monday with the build-up getting underway at 7.15pm and racing action from 7.30pm.
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