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MASTERS: GRAFTING FOR AUSSIE GOLD

Sam Masters admits his 2016 Australian Championship agony inspired him to graft his way to glory last year as he launches his title defence.

05 / 01 / 2018, 12:34

Sam Masters admits his 2016 Australian Championship agony inspired him to graft his way to glory last year as he launches his title defence at local track Kurri Kurri on Saturday.

The Newcastle-born racer heads to the Hunter Valley circuit, before racing round two at Undera on Wednesday. The series moves to Mildura on Friday, before ending at Gillman on January 14.

Masters is determined to make it two on the trot after securing silver behind now world champion Jason Doyle in 2015 and being pipped to gold in controversial circumstances by Brady Kurtz in 2016.

I pretty much said I was going to win in 2017 and it worked. I trained hard and I have come home and trained hard again, especially after the shoulder injury I had last year. I’m training harder than I ever have and I want to keep the title.

Sam Masters

The Poole star was excluded from the A Final for touching the tapes at the last round in Mildura, but was still awarded a point, which was enough to hand him his first national senior title in his debut series.

Masters admits that cruel blow inspired him to bounce back and win the crown last year. And he insists he has worked hard again since returning Down Under for the Aussie summer.

He said: “Last year I came home and trained a fair bit. After what happened in 2016, I think I got ripped off a little.

“I wanted to win really, really badly. I pretty much said I was going to win in 2017 and it worked. I trained hard and I have come home and trained hard again, especially after the shoulder injury I had last year. I’m training harder than I ever have and I want to keep the title. It would be good.”

Masters faces huge competition from the likes of Kurtz, former World Under-21 champion Max Fricke, Jack Holder and Rohan Tungate.

Asked who he rated as his main threat, Masters replied: “They’re all pretty hard and tough to beat. Rohan is riding well, Brady is always good in Australia and Max is a good rider. Jack is riding well too. Everyone can beat anyone. It’s speedway; anything can happen.”

Masters has become an expert on some of British speedway’s more technical tracks after years with Edinburgh in the SGB Championship and more recently with Wolverhampton in the Premiership.

He believes this could work to his advantage on the smaller circuits in this year’s Aussie Championships.

“I like Undera because no-one else likes going there,” he said. “It’s a bit like Edinburgh I think. It’s tiny and it’s pretty technical, so that’s my favourite round. Mildura I don’t mind as well.

“My dud round is usually Gillman, so I have to work on that one. That’s the last one, so hopefully I can go into that with a few points under my belt. We’ll take it as it comes, but I’m due a good one at Gillman – that’s for sure.”

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