Chris Harris (speedway rider)

Christopher Calvin Harris (born 28 November 1982) from Truro, Cornwall,[2] nicknamed Bomber, is a Great Britain international motorcycle speedway rider from England.[3][4]

Chris Harris
Harris in 2017
Born (1982-11-28) 28 November 1982 (age 41)
Truro, Cornwall, England
Career history
Great Britain
1998St Austell
2003, 2017, 2020–2022, 2023Peterborough
2004–2010, 2012, 2014–2016Coventry
2011Belle Vue
2013, 2020–2021Birmingham
2017–2018Rye House
2018, 2023–2024Glasgow
2006–2007, 2014–15Rybnik
2010–11, 2017Rzeszów
Speedway Grand Prix statistics
SGP Number37
Finalist9 time
Winner1 times
Individual honours
2007, 2009, 2010British Champion
2007British Grand Prix Winner
2023Long Track World Championship silver medal
2022Long Track World Championship bronze medal
2003British Under 21 Grasstrack Champion
Team honours
2018Team Long Track World Championship silver medal
2023World Longtrack Team bronze
2005, 2007, 2010, 2018, 2021Elite League/Premiership Champion
2008, 2010Elite League Pairs Winner
2006, 2007Elite League KO Cup Winner
2000, 2023Premier League/Championship Champion
2007, 2008Craven Shield Winner
2023SGB Championship Pairs
2017, 2019SGB Championship Fours
2002Premier Trophy Winner
1998Conference League Champion
1998Conference League KO Cup

Career history edit

Early career edit

Harris began his racing career at the age of six and a half by competing in grasstrack events. His talent quickly became apparent when he began to win all of the junior age groups in the South-West area.[5] In 1998, aged 15, he turned to speedway racing for the St. Austell Gulls at Amateur Conference League level. The Gulls won the Championship and the Knockout Cup.

On his 16th birthday, Harris signed for the Exeter Falcons, who competed in the Premier League, the middle tier of British speedway's three-league structure. Despite the death of his father, who was his driver and mentor, he achieved his first notable individual success later that year, when he became Great Britain Under-16 Champion. He was also selected to ride for Great Britain at both Under-19 and Under-21 level.[6]

In 2000, Harris more than doubled his previous year's points total, being unbeaten by an opponent in several matches. The Exeter Falcons team finished the season as Premier League Champions and reached two cup finals and one semi-final. Harris moved clubs for the 2001 season, joining the Trelawny Tigers in Cornwall.[7] He soon became their top scorer and qualified for the 2001 Individual Speedway Junior World Championship as first reserve. He continued his form into 2002, being made club captain. Once again, he was top scorer for the club and under his captaincy Trelawny Tigers won the Premier Trophy.

Elite League progress and international debut edit

Harris riding for Coventry in 2007

Taking advantage of new rules introduced to assist young British riders, Harris also took the step up to ride in the Elite League in 2002, with the Peterborough Panthers. He progressed well during his debut Elite League season, moving up into the main body of the team. Individually, he progressed to the final of the British Speedway Championship and finished fourth in the World Under-21 Championship.

In 2003, Harris rode again for Trelawny Tigers in the Premier League and Peterborough Panthers in the Elite League. By the end of the season, he was an Elite League heat-leader. Off track, he was voted BBC South-West Sports Personality of the Year.[8]

However, it was on the individual front Harris was most successful. In the World Under-21 Championship, he won both his quarter and semi final rounds, progressing to the 2003 Individual Speedway Junior World Championship in Sweden where he finished runner-up, one point behind Jarosław Hampel.

His form during 2003 won Harris an invitation to take part as a reserve in the third round of the 2003 FIM Individual Speedway World Championship, the British Grand Prix, held at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

2004 saw Harris sign for the Coventry Bees. The following season, the Bees won the Elite League Championship, which meant Harris had won titles at all three levels of British speedway aged just twenty-two.[9] He also represented Great Britain in the Speedway World Cup.[citation needed] Harris continued to ride for Coventry until 2011.

International success edit

Harris in 2007

In 2007, Harris became British Champion. Harris was selected to ride as a permanent wild card in the 2007 Speedway Grand Prix series, riding at number 15. In only his fifth full Grand Prix meeting he won the British Grand Prix at Cardiff.[10] Winning the Grand Prix was considered to be the biggest event to happen in British Speedway for several years.[11]

Off track, he was again voted BBC South-West Sports Personality of the Year.[12] and was also voted BBC Midlands Sports Personality of the Year,[13] beating footballer Gareth Barry into second place.

Harris won the British Championship twice more in 2009 and 2010 and for the first time since 2004, Harris would not ride for Coventry after he moved on loan to Belle Vue Aces for the 2011 Elite League speedway season.[14] He continued to perform well in the 2011 World Championship including a 2nd-place finish in the Croatian Grand Prix. After another season with Coventry in 2012, he would join Birmingham Brummies for the 2013 season.[14] In 2014, he returned to Coventry until the end of the 2016 season.[14]

Despite Harris finishing his Grand Prix appearances he continued to impress in Britain. He finished his Grand Prix career with a record of 103 meetings, nine finals, one win and 608 points. He also decided to compete in both divisions of the British league for the first time in 2017, riding for Rye House Rockets and Peterborough.[14] He was part of the Peterborough team that won the SGB Championship Fours, which was held on 6 August 2017, at the East of England Arena.[15]

He continued to ride in both divisions and made debuts for Glasgow Tigers, Poole Pirates and Ipswich Witches in 2018 and Somerset Rebels and Berwick Bandits in 2019.[14] He won another fours championships, this time as part of the Somerset team that won the Fours, held on 23 June 2019, at the East of England Arena.[16]

In 2022, he rode for the Peterborough in the SGB Premiership 2022 and captained Berwick in the SGB Championship 2022.[14] He was named rider of the year for Berwick.[17] He also had a successful longtrack season winning a bronze medal at the 2022 Individual Long Track World Championship.[18]

In 2023, he signed for Leicester Lions for the SGB Premiership 2023[19] and made a return to Glasgow for the SGB Championship 2023,[20] where he won the league title and the Championship pairs.[21] Also in 2023, he also claimed a silver medal in the 2023 Individual Long Track World Championship[22] and a bronze medal at the 2023 Team Long Track World Championship.[23]

He signed for the Oxford Spires for the 2024 Premiership season.[24] and re-signed for Glasgow for the 2024 Championship season.[25]

Speedway Grand Prix results edit

Year Position Points Best Finish Notes
2003 46th 1 18th
2007 9th 91 Winner Won the British GP (Harris's first GP win).
2008 13th 58 6th
2009 14th 62 5th
2010 6th 107 2nd (Three times) Finished 2nd in the Croatian GP, 2nd in the Italian GP, 2nd in the Polish 2 GP and Finished 3rd in the Danish GP.
2011 11th 74 2nd Finished 2nd in the Croatian GP.
2012 12th 65 4th Finished 4th in the Danish GP.
2012 20th 7 10th Finished 10th in the British GP.
2014 15th 48 11th Finished 11th in the Czech, British & Polish II GP.
2015 13th 55 2nd Finished 2nd in the Polish GP.
2016 15th 40 3rd Finished 3rd in Czech GP

SGP Podium edit

  1.     Wrocław (12 May 2007) – 3rd place
  2.   Cardiff (30 June 2007)1st place
  3.   Copenhagen (5 June 2010) – 3rd place
  4.   Gorican (28 August 2010) – 2nd place
  5.   Terenzano (25 September 2010) – 2nd place
  6.   Bydgoszcz (9 October 2010) – 2nd place
  7.   Goričan (24 September 2011) – 2nd
  8.   Warsaw (18 April 2015) – 2nd place
  9.   Prague (25 June 2016) - 3rd place

SGP Finals edit

  1.   Copenhagen (9 June 2012)

Other major results edit

Individual Speedway Long Track World Championship

  • 2017 – 5 apps (8th) 50pts
  • 2018 – 5 apps (8th) 52pts
  • 2019 – 5 apps (7th) 50pts
  • 2021 – 2 apps (4th) 23pts
  • 2022 – 6 apps (3rd) 83pts
  • 2023 – 6 apps (2nd) 99pts

Team Long Track World Championship

European Grasstrack Championship

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Świat Żużla, No 2 (78) 2015, page 17, ISSN 1429-3285
  2. ^ Oakes, P.(2004). British Speedway Who's Who. ISBN 0-948882-81-6
  3. ^ Bamford, Robert (1 March 2007). Tempus Speedway Yearbook 2007. NPI Media Group. ISBN 978-0-7524-4250-1.
  4. ^ "ULTIMATE RIDER INDEX, 1929-2022" (PDF). British Speedway. Retrieved 26 June 2023.
  5. ^ Moore, Charles (26 June 2007). "My Sport: Chris Harris". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2 December 2007.[dead link]
  6. ^ "Two Decades in the Making". Berwick Speedway. Retrieved 29 September 2022.
  7. ^ "Trelawny 47 Newport 43v". Somerset County Gazette. Retrieved 29 September 2022.
  8. ^ "South West Sports Personality 2003". BBC. 15 December 2003. Archived from the original on 26 October 2004. Retrieved 31 October 2007.
  9. ^ Oakes, P (2006). Speedway Star Almanac. Pinegen Ltd. ISBN 0-9552376-1-0.
  10. ^ Aizlewood, John (1 July 2007). "Harris speeds to glory". The Times. London. Retrieved 31 October 2007.
  11. ^ "Pratt praise for champion Harris". BBC. 4 July 2007. Retrieved 31 October 2007.
  12. ^ "South West Sports Personality 2007". BBC. 26 November 2007. Retrieved 2 December 2007.
  13. ^ "BBC award for speedway champion". BBC. 3 December 2007. Retrieved 2 December 2007.
  14. ^ a b c d e f "British Speedway rider profile". British Speedway. Retrieved 29 September 2022.
  15. ^ "2017 Fours final" (PDF). British Speedway. Retrieved 9 July 2023.
  16. ^ "Speedway: Somerset win Championship Fours". Weston Mercury. Retrieved 8 July 2023.
  17. ^ "Bandits' potential". Speedway Star. 19 November 2022. p. 10.
  18. ^ "Roden: Flying Zach steals the silver". FIM. Retrieved 28 September 2022.
  19. ^ "Lions swoop for Bomber". British Speedway. Retrieved 20 November 2022.
  20. ^ "Harris in Glasgow return". British Speedway. Retrieved 11 December 2022.
  21. ^ "Tigers take title glory". Glasgow Tigers Speedway. Retrieved 14 October 2023.
  22. ^ "Home hero Smolinski races to 2023 FIM Long Track World Championship". FIM.
  23. ^ "24 September 2023 in Roden". Bahn Sport (In Dutch). Retrieved 25 September 2023.
  24. ^ "Magic news for Spires". British Speedway. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  25. ^ "Tigers complete for 24". British Speedway. Retrieved 16 December 2023.