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Dudley Heathens riders head to Oz

Dudley | Sport | Published:

Dudley Heathens riders Ashley Morris and Tom Perry are heading down under on the speedway trip of a lifetime.

Dudley Heathens riders Ashley Morris and Tom Perry are heading down under on the speedway trip of a lifetime.

The teenagers have both been selected for places on the prestigious Darren and Sharon Boocock Speedway Scholarship and will fly out to Queensland, Australia next month.

The non-profit organisation, administered by former rider Marcus Williams, helps young British riders gain experience in the fiercely competitive Australian solo scene.

It honours the Boococks, behind-the-scenes workers with Sheffield speedway, who were killed in July 2008 when their motorcycle and a lorry collided.

The scholarship, in its third year, is expanding constantly. Kyle Newman – who had a short spell with Dudley as injury cover this year – travelled in 2009.

Last year saw four riders involved – Josh Auty, Adam Wrathall, Brendan Johnson and American Gino Manzares, a late replacement for the injured Newman.

But this year the venture features a complete seven-man team – with Morris, 17, and 18-year-old Perry in the ranks.

Morris said: "I've just booked my flight! We go on October 30 and come back on December 24.

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"I have to pay for my flight, pay for spending money and obviously my racing clothing.

"They supply the rest – where we stop, the bikes, everything. There's Kyle Howarth, Kyle Newman, Tom Perry, Ritchie and Steve Worrall brothers and Josh Auty.

"It should be good. It's not just speedway, there are other activities. I think it's one or two meetings every weekend, racing against the likes of Wolves' Ty Proctor and people like that when I'm out there.

"There are no pushovers."

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Australia is currently sending waves of promising youngsters to the British leagues and the standard of competition facing Morris, Perry and the rest this winter will be high.

Morris said: "They could make Premier League standard teams with just their young riders. It's a challenge."

The riders will be based in Townsville, a city on the north-east coast with a population of around 160,000.

Morris said: "We'll do team meetings and individual. It's good experience. Where I'm stopping, they have the keys to a track.

"So I can use that whenever I want as well."

By Tim Hamblin

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