May 17 is date for season to start PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Walsh   
Wednesday, 24 February 2021

speedway start.pngBRITISH Speedway bosses have welcomed the government roadmap to recovery which means the new season can start with fans on May 17.

Under the plans revealed by Boris Johnson on Monday evening, fans can return to sporting venues from that date - and that means the green light for speedway clubs.

Rob Godfrey, Chairman of British Speedway Promoters Ltd, says it's great news but more patience is needed to ensure the date is successful.

"Subject to no further delays, we are going racing from May 17," he said. "Naturally we all hope there are no further issues but the government will continue to study the data so we must continue to do the right thing to get us back to our tracks on that date.

"It will be a massive moment when the first league racing takes place after everything everyone has gone through.

"We continue to offer our sincere condolences to anyone who has lost a family member to this pandemic and our thoughts go out to them.

"It is now time for us all to remain patient a little longer but we can now start making concrete plans to start the season in May.

"The fixture lists for the Premiership and Championship were put together from May 1 but there is flexibility within to account for starting on May 17 and not May 1.

"We know how important sport is to people, meeting up with friends and enjoying the racing, speedway is a great occasion and I think we have all realised how much we have missed it.

"There will be a lot of friends getting together for the first time since their last meeting of the 2019 season and that's something to look forward to."

BELLE Vue have confirmed their major new signing of last winter Brady Kurtz is returning to the side this year.

The Australian star will be joined in Manchester by club asset Richie Worrall, who last rode for the Aces in 2016, and now joins up with brother Steve, former British Champion Charles Wright and young reserve Tom Brennan.

Kurtz said: “I was always hoping to be back with Belle Vue this year. I’m really looking forward to it and the positive news coming out of the UK means we hopefully will get to see some action this season.

“I’m really looking forward to it. I think the time was right for me to leave Poole and expand my horizons, but I had some amazing seasons with the club which I’m sure will benefit me in Manchester.”

Worrall added: “When the opportunity came up for me to come back to the Aces, it didn’t take much convincing on my part; I knew I had to go for it.

“I’ve put a lot into my preparations for this year. The Richie Worrall people can expect to see will be totally different, for the better, from the one that rode for Belle Vue in 2016.”

SHEFFIELD bosses have welcomed the prospect of crowds returning to sporting venues from May 17.

The Owlerton side saw their elevation to the Premiership delayed by a year when the 2020 season was cancelled, and they have so far named Troy Batchelor, Jack Holder, Kyle Howarth and Josh Bates in their line-up.

Club co-promoter Damien Bates said: “This news is what everyone has been hoping for and it looks like we are going to see the return of racing to Owlerton Stadium.

“It’s always been of paramount importance for speedway tracks to re-open this summer, and we have been hopeful because of the general improvement in the situation around the country.

“The success of the vaccine rollout has been good to see and I know how important it will be for all our supporters to get back to seeing their team in action.

“Sport is so important for people’s mental health. January and February were always going to be tough for people with freezing weather and lockdown, and there’s still some more patience needed throughout March, but we are heading in the right direction.”

WOLVERHAMPTON bosses are counting down the days to the return of racing at Monmore Green.

And club owner Chris Van Straaten has also urged fans to ‘keep doing the right thing’ with hopes high that the new season can kick off with crowds in attendance from May 17.

Van Straaten said: “This feels like the final lap in the race to get us all back together. But we’re not there yet. To ensure we are racing on May 17 we need everyone to keep doing the right thing, so the roadmap targets can be met successfully.

“I was so lifted by the news because May 17 gives us the opportunity to get a full season in with 10 league meetings plus, of course, more should we reach the play-offs which is our aim!

“We’ve all still got to stick to the rules and we’ll get there. All the riders are raring to go and I cannot wait for the green light to go on for Heat 1 of our opening meeting – I’m sure there will be a lot of emotional people at Monmore Green that night.”

BRITISH Speedway’s National Development League will have seven clubs this year with the possibility of an eighth.

Berwick, Eastbourne and Newcastle have successfully applied to join the league which will be aimed towards encouraging new riders to come into the sport.

Belle Vue Colts will look at the fixture schedule at the National Speedway Stadium before confirming their position.

Sadly, Isle of Wight have declined the opportunity to enter the competition this year.

There will be a points limit of 35 for teams to build up to and as all clubs have fixtures at Championship level apart from Mildenhall, the league will be one home and one away meaning 12 league meetings in total – or 14 if Belle Vue confirm. There will be no play-offs or cup competitions due to the late start to the season.

British Speedway Promoters Ltd Chairman Rob Godfrey said: “The purpose of the league is to go back to the traditions of the old Conference League and we want to see new riders coming into the sport.

“We’ve often said there is talent out there in motocross and on the grass and it would be good to encourage some to try their hand at speedway.

“We realise it’s not ideal for Mildenhall to only have six home meetings but we will do what we can to help them get extra fixtures as and when required.

“Isle of Wight declining to enter is a sad moment but we must respect their decision and hope to see the sport return to Smallbrook Stadium in 2022.

“We hope to see some fresh faces coming into the sport as part of the pathway up the levels in British Speedway for younger riders and those with limited experience.”

CONFIRMED TEAMS: Armadale, Berwick, Eastbourne, Leicester, Kent, Mildenhall, Newcastle. TBC: Belle Vue Colts. 

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