PREVIEW: Killeen receives the green light to race at Plymouth

Luke Killeen has received the green light to make his competitive speedway debut tonight when Oxford Chargers visit Plymouth Centurions in the National Development League.

The 17-year-old Australian has been absent from Chargers’ squad since landing in the UK in February due to a delay in receiving a British passport.

Killeen was chasing the situation daily and finally secured the document required to race competitively ahead of this evening’s trip to south-west Devon.

He has been putting the additional time to use, though, by tapping into the brain of experienced mechanic Tim Sharples, who has provided some invaluable tips concerning bike preparation and maintenance.

“It’s been a frustrating period, but to finally get the green light to go racing is a great feeling,” said Killeen. “There’s been a lot sitting around and waiting for paperwork to be finished but I’ve made sure to put the time to use.

“Tim’s been really helpful in developing my knowledge of how to look after and maintain my bikes – our conversations will allow me to get the best out of my equipment.

“In Australia my experience of racing speedway is essentially as a hobby, whereas in the UK it’s a profession. It’s why learning from the guys with experience is important to me if I’m to hit the ground running and make a good start to my British career.”

Measuring 216 metres, the Plymouth Coliseum is home to one of world speedway’s smallest tracks.

Killeen is confident he will not be thrown by the unique conditions though and pointed towards his upbringing at Perth’s Pinjar Park where he learnt how to slide a bike on the 142-metre circuit.

“It’s a unique track, but I one I feel will suit me,” said Killeen. “I grew up racing at Pinjar Park in Perth where the old circuit is only 142-metres long.

“Racing at Pinjar Park quickly taught me how to turn the bike, so Plymouth’s tight and technical track should not be a barrier for me. It doesn’t even feel real that I’m about to make my competitive debut.

“It’s been my goal and dream ever since I was a kid and first starting out in the sport. I’m not putting too much pressure on myself, but hopefully I can go out there and do a job.”

Tapes-up at the Plymouth Coliseum is at 7pm.