Sunday March 11, 2012
BIRMINGHAM favourite Ben Barker made a marvellous start to the season with victory in Sunday’s Ben Fund Bonanza at Perry Barr.

Barker got the better of a host of top names in the prestigious event raced in front of a bumper crowd, and fought off the challenge of fellow Cornishman Chris Harris in the Final with team-mate Daniel King in third place.

And it was a meeting which will offer huge encouragement for the Selco Brummies in the build-up to the new Elite League season, as all of their representatives were in the thick of the action throughout.

King dropped just one point in his qualifying rides, new No.1 Bjarne Pedersen won his first two outings and Josh Auty – a late call-up for the unavailable Scott Nicholls – provided some of the best racing of the day with a string of passing moves.

Barker had to come through the semi-final, doing so by following Nicki Pedersen home as he saw off the strong challenge of Rory Schlein.

In the Final it was Barker who managed to break clear as the other riders diced for position, and when Harris had moved from fourth to second he closed in – but Barker rode a perfect final lap to hold on for a big win.

He said: “It was always going to be a tough race in the Final especially with two Grand Prix riders in it, and I’m delighted to win it.

“It’s looking good for Birmingham, Danny was going really well and Bjarne and Josh had good meetings too, and I really think we’re going to have a good year.”

SCORES: Daniel King 11, Chris Harris 10, Rory Schlein 10, Nicki Pedersen 9, Ben Barker 9, Josh Auty 9, Bjarne Pedersen 8, Kenneth Bjerre 8, Niels-Kristian Iversen 6, Ryan Fisher 6, Hans Andersen 5, Lee Richardson 5, Adam Shields 4, Patrick Hougaard 4, Ty Proctor 4, Nicolai Klindt 3, Richard Hall 3, Adam Roynon 2, Andrew Tully 2, Lukasz Sowka 1.

SEMI-FINAL: N.Pedersen, Barker, Schlein, Auty.

FINAL: Barker, Harris, King, N.Pedersen.

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