SPEEDWAY: Proud Danny determined to be the King again as he bids to defend British title crown

Huntingdon speedway rider Danny King celebrates his British Final success last year. Picture: JEFF D

Huntingdon speedway rider Danny King celebrates his British Final success last year. Picture: JEFF DAVIES - Credit: Archant

Huntingdon star Danny King is sure he can handle the pressure of defending his British title tonight.

The 30 year-old enjoyed the finest triumph of his career when capturing the national crown last year - and 12 months on he is hoping for a repeat performance.

King is one of 16 riders who will battle for glory at the National Speedway Stadium in Manchester - the same venue where he prevailed in 2016 - live on BT Sport.

“I look back on what I achieved last year with so much pride,” said King. “It is the best thing that has happened to me in speedway and a night that I will never forget.

“I’ve ridden in an era where three riders - Scott Nicholls, Chris Harris and Tai Woffinden – have dominated the British Final and I was starting to think I might never get the chance to win it.

“But my victory last year shows that good things can happen if you keep working hard and always maintain the belief.

“The final used to be held at Wolverhampton and that didn’t really help my chances. It’s a tight track and not my cup of tea, but the National Speedway Stadium is the sort of big, fast place I love.

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“Hopefully I’ll be able to ride well again this year. Loads of guys who will turn up with a chance of winning it, but I’ll be doing all I can to keep the trophy.

“The fact I’m defending champion won’t faze me. I used to put a lot of pressure on myself, but I’m more relaxed these days.

“I’ll just treat it as a normal meeting.”

King has been delighted with his form for clubs Leicester and Ipswich in recent weeks, although he could certainly have done without being involved in a crash when riding for the latter club last Friday night.

King suffered a shoulder injury in a spill during an SGB Championship meeting at Edinburgh, but has undergone intensive physiotherapy during the weekend to ensure he can race tonight.

“Nothing is going to stop me racing in the British Final,” added King. “I’ve loved having the trophy for the past year and I desperately want to be bringing it home again tonight.”

The British Final winner is rewarded with a wildcard spot in the British SGP at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff - an experience King loved last year.

King has also been named in the 10-man Great Britain squad ahead of the World Cup early next month. He helped GB win silver medals last year.