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BURZA DEFENDS AGAINST AN EVEN FIELD

NEWS Tuesday 31st July 2007, 9:00pm

by Mike Hunter

Friday night is a special date in the Armadale Speedway calendar as the track stages the Keyline Scottish Open Championship for 2007.

This event dates back to 1928 and this year's is the 55th staging ? as unpredictable as ever. Defending the title and the Jack Young Memorial Trophy which he won last year is Berwick's Polish star Stan Burza, and there are potential winners throughout the field.

LINEUP FOR THE KEYLINE SCOTTISH OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP AT ARMADALE ON FRIDAY 3rd AUGUST (start time 7.15, doors open 6.30) is:

Christian Henry (Newcastle & Australia), George Stancl (Edinburgh & Czech Republic), Kevin Doolan (Belle Vue & Australia), Daniel Nermark (King's Lynn & Sweden), Tai Woffinden (Rye House & England), Stan Burza (Berwick & Poland ? holder), Kalle Katajisto (Edinburgh & Finland), Shane Parker (Glasgow & Australia), Craig Watson (Glasgow & Australia), Kaj Laukkanen (Edinburgh & Finland), Matthew Wethers (Edinburgh & Australia), James Grieves (Redcar & Scotland), Derek Sneddon (Edinburgh & Scotland), Carl Stonehewer (Workington & England), Lee Complin (Stoke & England), Cameron Woodward (Eastbourne & Australia). Reserves Daniele Tessari (Edinburgh & Italy) and Andrew Tully (Edinburgh & Scotland).

MAIN CONTENDERS: Who might take the title from Burza?

Well for a start there are two riders who have scored maximums at Armadale this season ? James Grieves who has achieved that twice in victories for his team Redcar, and Daniel Nermark whose full score inspired a win for King's Lynn. Both know the track very well.

The Glasgow pair of Shane Parker and Craig Watson (both Aussies) have the ability and experience to win. Shane won the title in 1996.

The home challenge will be spearheaded by Kaj Laukkanen and George Stancl, both two weeks into the newest chapter of their careers with Monarchs. Stancl has twice been third in the meeting (2003 and 2005) but it is Laukkanen's first appearance.

The great Carl Stonehewer has been second three times in the Open and can never be discounted.

From the Elite League, Kevin Doolan and former Monarch Cameron Woodward will be hoping that racing at a higher level will give them the edge. This is Cam's first meeting at Armadale since breaking his wrist in the 2005 Scottish Open.

In the ?dark horse' or spoiler category come Newcastle's vastly improved Christian Henry, another former Monarch of course, and the teenage whizzkid Tai Woffinden who is riding at Armadale for the first time. And Monarchs' own Matthew Wethers could slot in here too, along with home captain Derek Sneddon.

Stoke's Lee Complin was largely responsible for Monarchs' win at Newport riding as a guest, and it is in recognition of this that he has been invited.

Inexperienced Kalle Katajisto will have another five heats against top opposition to continue his learning experience, and reserves Andrew Tully and Daniele Tessari are capable of anything. For Tessari it is his return from injury after 10 weeks on the sidelines.

ANDRE OUT: Andre Compton was originally announced in the field, but this was subject to final confirmation, and he hasn't been able to take up the booking. This gave Cameron Woodward the chance to come in having originally said he couldn't manage the meeting between his commitments at Swindon (Thursday) and Eastbourne (Saturday). It's quite a programme but he has decided he can handle it!

AARON GOES HOME: After riding for Monarchs at Mildenhall on Sunday, 19 year old Aaron Summers returned home. He has signed for Monarchs, the latest in a long line of Aussies to ride for the club, and he has gained many friends and admirers in his short first season in the UK.

SPONSORS ON FRIDAY: Keyline Broxburn are sponsoring the Scottish Open for the third time on Friday, having first backed the event in 2005

LAST WEEK'S MEETING: The Scotwaste Monarchs did well to beat Birmingham 48-44 in a Premier League match last Friday. Top scorer was Matthew Wethers with 17.

At Rye House Monarchs lost by a crushing 22-68, but at Mildenhall on Sunday they went down 41-51, winning the aggregate point.

NEXT WEEK'S MEETING: The Scotwaste Monarchs take on their old rivals Newcastle in a Premier League match at Armadale on Friday 10th August.

Before that they race at Newcastle (Sunday 5th), King's Lynn (Wednesday 8th) and Sheffield (Thursday 9th) ? indeed starting on Sunday the team have 5 meetings in 7 days!