World speedway champion Tai Woffinden has dealt British fans a blow by announcing he’s taking a year out of the world team championship in 2017.
Woffinden scored 19 of Team GB’s 32 points in this year’s final as they finished second and claimed their first medal since 2004.
Even with Woffinden in the side their chances of winning for the first time since 1989 would be relatively slim on foreign shale in 2017. But his decision to take a year off obliterates any hope of glory.
The 26-year-old has blamed behind-the-scenes issues for his decision, but says he remains committed to Britain and is not looking to switch his allegiance to Australia. Scunthorpe-born Woffinden was raised in Australia and has dual-nationality so could alternatively race for the Roos.
He said: “I wish Great Britain all the best for next year’s competition, but it’s time for me to take some time out.
“We’ll see where we are at in 2018 - who knows I may be back for that. I’ve enjoyed representing Great Britain and I can confirm I won’t be looking to switch nationalities and ride for Australia, that’s not part of my thinking.”
Woffinden was disappointed that Britain didn’t win the team championship this year and issued a plea after the final for more backing from the sport’s authorities. While he’s not said as much, it would appear Woffinden believes that support will not be forthcoming.
Meanwhile, the two-time world individual champion faces a battle if he's to take a third title this year. He's slipped to 12 points behind leader Greg Hancock after missing out on the semi-finals in the weekend's Swedish Grand Prix.
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