KING: GB CAN OVERCOME WOFFY ABSENCE
British champ Danny King insists the Lions are determined to defy Tai Woffinden's absence and reach a second straight Monster Energy Final.
02 / 02 / 2017, 11:07
British champion Danny King insists the Lions are determined to defy the absence of double world champion Tai Woffinden and reach a second straight Monster Energy FIM Speedway World Cup Final.
GB start the 2017 competition in Event 1 at King’s Lynn on July 1, where they face Australia, Czech Republic and the USA, with the winners joining hosts Poland plus the Event 2 and Race Off winners in the Final at Leszno on July 8.
The Lions produced their best SWC result since 2004 last summer, finishing second to the Poles in the Final at Manchester’s National Speedway Stadium.
It would be nice to get to another Final this summer. Obviously it will be tough after Tai ruled himself out. That doesn’t stop us. We still need to get on with what we’re doing.
Woffinden had a massive hand in an heroic result, scoring 19 of his country’s 32 points. But he has opted out of this year’s Monster Energy SWC due to behind-the-scenes problems which he declined to make public.
King admits reaching the Leszno Final will be tougher without the Lions’ former skipper.
But he insists Woffy’s exit should spur GB on to prove they can still make it through at the Adrian Flux Arena.
He said: “It would be nice to get to another Final this summer. Obviously it will be tough after Tai ruled himself out.
“That doesn’t stop us. We still need to get on with what we’re doing. We have a lot of top riders coming through, especially Robert Lambert. I feel he’s going to go from strength to strength.
“If I can carry on my form and Cookie (Craig Cook) can do the same, that’ll be great and we have a few others. Scotty (Nicholls) and Bomber (Chris Harris) are there and we have the youngsters coming through.
“Tai’s decision does spur us on; of course it does. It’s sad. He’s a two-time world champion and he has been GB’s best rider for a while. It’s sad when he doesn’t want to represent his country.
“But that’s his decision and we have to respect that. We certainly won’t dwell on it. We have to step up and prove GB still has talent.”
The Lions haven’t won a world team title on foreign shale since England picked up the old World Team Cup at Wroclaw in 1980.
King admits a lack of experience on the continental tracks is an issue for his compatriots and he believes staging a foreign test series is the answer.
He said: “What would be ideal is running test matches – proper test matches in Poland and Sweden. Not many of our riders have had that experience on the continent. Woffy is the last one and Scott and Bomber have done it.
“Robert has clubs out there and needs to push on. I think he will do and that will be the next step in his career. We need to encourage other youngsters to take that step out there and learn. If they want to be a Grand Prix rider, they need that experience.”