WELL it’s been a while since I wrote a column for the Argus but with Newport staging the only outdoor speedway meeting of the close season on Bank Holiday Monday, January 2, I thought I had better give my views.

Our co-promoter Nick Mallett and general manager Laurence Rogers have worked hard on putting together a superb line-up for the meeting, and for some fans they must be wondering, ‘where’s Leigh Lanham?’ I have been a regular at the New Year Classic but this year I will be thousands of miles away across the Atlantic in New York when it is on, visiting the Big Apple, so I can’t do the meeting. Looking at that line-up perhaps I am glad I am!

The line-up oozes class and with me missing, young Anders Mellgren carries the home hopes. He ended the 2011 season on fire and he will be looking to carry that form on and dent the hoped of the array of number one’s and past champions.

Good luck to him from me. I think some fans forget he is only 19 and still very much learning it all and he wouldn’t have broken the Danish domination a few years back when he became World 80cc champion if he doesn’t have potential.

The lad is a class act in the making and I will be rooting for him whilst in America and trying to find a computer link to see how he does in the Classic.

The line-up has Ricky Ashworth (unattached); Steve Boxall (Plymouth); Kevin Doolan (Ipswich); Andre Hertzberg (unattached); David Howe (Scunthorpe and Kings Lynn); Mark Lemon (Newcastle); Anders Mellgren (Newport); Chris Schramm (unattached); Lee Smart (unattached); Andrew Tully (Edinburgh); Carl Wilkinson (unattached); James Wright (Somerset). Can you predict a winner from there? I certainly can’t and the classic is a great leveller and when you look at the results from the past few years who would have said beforehand that Steve Boxall would win it in 2010 on one of Nick Mallett’s bikes or Lee Smart last year? All I can predict is that it will be a superb meeting and I hope the place is full and that this spills over to March when we open our 2012 season with almost the same team we ended 2011 so strongly with. We have one new face in Cory Gathercole and he has taken his state title in Australia recently and will be looking to have a good year with the Wasps as we aim to continue our success that brought the KO Cup to Queensway Meadows and put in a strong challenge for the league title – more on that nearer the season though.

For now enjoy the New Year Classic and I wish you all a happy and successful new year.