Speedway: Birks hoping for chance to impress at British semi-final
STOKE number one Ashley Birks starts a busy spell of four meetings in as many days tonight when he takes his reserve place at the British semi-final in Sheffield.
The 22-year-old, who doubles up with Premier League Scunthorpe, then has a home fixture for the Scorpions against Newcastle on Friday.
Come the weekend, he's in action for Stoke – racing against Isle of Wight at Loomer Road on Saturday before taking on Mildenhall in East Anglia on Sunday. But Birks, pictured, is making sure his immediate attention is on tonight's date in his home town of Sheffield.
He said: "I'd love to get a ride or, even better, have the whole meeting if someone pulls out.
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"Just to be part of it is a big thing for me, but I would really love to test myself against some of the big names in the sport. Seven riders go through to the final at the end of the month in Wolverhampton, and the way I have been riding at Sheffield lately I'd quite fancy my chances.
"I had a season with Sheffield last year and learned so much about riding the place. But I think my form as a whole has moved on a bit this season with Scunthorpe and Stoke. I've never enjoyed my speedway as much as I am doing now.
"I think that is part of the key – enjoyment and having good people around you. I have Peter Carr doing my engines, his brother Louis has been behind me since day one telling me how to ride, and then I have my brother Johno and Danny as mechanics. It all works really well.
"I'm enjoying being with Stoke and it was good to get a second maximum last week in the win over Scunthorpe.
"That's the sort of form I expect from myself, but you can't take anything for granted.
"Any rider is capable of jumping out of the start, and if they get on the right line in the sort of heavy conditions we had last week at Stoke, then getting beaten is a real possibility.
"You have to be 100 per cent sharp all night."