IT’S just seven days until the new season begins for the Belle Vue ATPI Aces.
So with the build-up to the 95th anniversary campaign in full swing, Sun newspaper writer Phil Lanning has spoken to last year’s Peter Craven Memorial winner Michael Palm Toft.
SHOCK winner Michael Palm Toft wants to be the dark horse star of the Peter Craven Memorial once again.
The little Danish dynamo zipped underneath Tai Woffinden and Matej Zagar to win an epic six-rider final at the National Speedway Stadium a year ago.
Now MPT, 32, wants to repeat his glory in another star-studded field in Manchester and end his injury misery.
He revealed: “It’s one of my biggest achievements individually and I want to do it again. I don’t think people expected me to win and I’m in it to win it again.
“It was a tough final with Tai Woffinden and Matej Zagar. We were nip and tuck for the entire race and I came from behind to win it.
“I’m so pleased to be coming back to Belle Vue. I’ve had two days of practice in Germany.
“The Peter Craven Memorial is one of the biggest meetings in the UK, especially with all the big names in it. It’s prestigious, that's for sure.
“You just want a good starting position in the six-man final. But the track is so big, so you don’t think about the other five riders being more than usual.
“Matej and Tai were scuffling on the outside last year. I’d walked the track before the final and worked out a line on the inside and got it right.”
The King’s Lynn rider, nicknamed Palm Tree, also admits he wants to finally end the injury nightmare that ruined last season.
He added: “I had such a great start to last season by winning the Peter Craven. Then it went wrong with my injury and I didn’t race again after June. It was a weird injury.
“I just kept going round in circles to get my right shoulder fixed. I finally got to the right man to sort it out.
“The muscles in the shoulder went into spasms and affected my strength and movement. I went to four different guys and had an MRI scan.
“Luckily I spoke to another rider and I was told to speak to Great Britain’s physio Steve Williams. Within a week I could do a push-up and I was on the road to recovery.
“It was weird because I could sit at home and it was fine. But as soon as I got on the bike it was no good.”
Peter Craven Memorial, National Speedway Stadium, Monday, March 20, 7.30pm.
Full line-up: Matej Zagar, Jaimon Lidsey, Krzysztof Kasprzak, Michael Palm Toft, Tom Brennan, Max Fricke, Freddie Lindgren, Charles Wright, Brady Kurtz, Tobiasz Musielak, Norick Blodorn, Dan Bewley, Jason Doyle, Robert Lambert, Nicki Pedersen, Chris Holder.
Image: Taylor Lanning