Friday January 17, 2020
SHEFFIELD boss Simon Stead took charge of Great Britain overseas for the first time on Friday - and saw his side secure an impressive win over hosts Australia.

Pinjar Park played host to the first of two International Friendlies between the countries with GB hero Tai Woffinden leading his side to a 50-39 victory.

Stead said: "That's a great result for the lads who all adapted themselves very well to a track which is pretty alien to what they are used to.

"They were led impeccably by Tai Woffinden who was brilliant and the team spirit in the pits was fantastic to see with everyone going about their business with a smile on their face.

"I'm proud of what the boys did and they were all proud to represent the GB Speedway Team - now we have to do it all again on the bigger track tomorrow."

Stead was also full of praise for his friend and Australian legend Jason Crump, who retired at the end of 2012 but made a return for the tests.

"He's still got it," said Stead.

"He's class. He looked like he had never been off a bike and he's such a class act."

Three-time World Champion Woffinden starred for GB cruising to a paid-maximum - partnering his teammates to three 5-1s along the way.

Woffinden was ably backed up by Belle Vue star Dan Bewley and British Under-19 Champion Drew Kemp - scoring 10+1 and 9+2 respectively.

Heat 1 saw Woffinden get the better of the resurgent Cameron Heeps with Kemp seeing off young Aussie Dakota Ballantyne for an opening heat advantage.

Aussie skipper Crump then partnered Kale Ballantyne to a first maximum of the night with Bewley unable to find a way through in third.

Woffinden and Kemp then teamed up for another heat advantage - a resounding 5-1 maximum over Crump to retake the early lead.

Arguably the race of the night followed with Jason Edwards and Daniel Winchester exchanging places twice on the final lap for a share of the spoils.

Team GB then threatened to pull away from their Aussie counterparts with two 5-1s and a 4-2 in the following series of races - including another Woffinden and Kemp maximum.

However, it wasn’t all plain sailing for Stead’s side with Crump rolling back the years alongside (Kale) Ballantyne to reduce the deficit to just two-points.

The Aussie comeback was brief as Woffinden produced a stunning ride to join Edwards for yet another 5-1 in the following heat.

Victory was all-but secured in Heat 13 when both Aussies hit the deck leaving Edwards and Flint to coast to a 5-0.

Woffinden then completed his paid-maximum in the final race of the night - with Kemp taking third ahead of Crump.

The two teams meet again on Saturday (January 18) night, competing on the larger of the two Pinjar Park circuits.

AUSTRALIA 39: Cameron Heeps 10, Kale Ballantyne 9+2, Jason Crump 9, Daniel Winchester 8+1, Fraser Bowes 2+2, Dakota Ballantyne 1.

GREAT BRITAIN 50: Tai Woffinden 14+1, Dan Bewley 10+1, Drew Kemp 9+2, Leon Flint 9, Jason Edwards 8+1, Jack Smith 0.

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