Speedway latest - The 2020 season has been abandoned

PUBLISHED: 16:28 21 July 2020 | UPDATED: 16:41 21 July 2020

Action from the Somerset Rebels KO Cup 1st leg win over Belle Vue Aces. Picture: COLIN BURNETT

Action from the Somerset Rebels KO Cup 1st leg win over Belle Vue Aces. Picture: COLIN BURNETT

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Professional speedway will not be raced in the UK in 2020.

Somerset Rebels ridfer Jason Doyle leads Brady Kurtz, Josh Grajczonek and Aaron Summers in heat one of the meeting with Poole Pirates. Picture: COLIN BURNETTSomerset Rebels ridfer Jason Doyle leads Brady Kurtz, Josh Grajczonek and Aaron Summers in heat one of the meeting with Poole Pirates. Picture: COLIN BURNETT

That is the grim news for riders – and followers – of the sport following an announcement from British Speedway. The release reads: ‘It can now be confirmed with great reluctance and disappointment that professional league speedway in the UK has been cancelled for 2020.

This news comes following the announcements made by Prime Minister Boris Johnson last Friday which stated October as the target date for crowds to return to sporting stadia. This does not give enough time for a full season of league racing to be staged.

In the meantime work will continue on the grassroots level of the sport and clubs have been invited to gain the necessary permission from their local council to stage some form of racing before the end of October.

Rob Godfrey, Chairman of British Speedway Promoters Ltd, said: “We would like to offer our sincere appreciation for the supportive attitude shown to us from our broadcast partners Eurosport, they have been very understanding of this most difficult situation for the sport.

Somerset Rebels duo Jason Doyle Jack Holder celebrate a 5-1 in Heat 13 of the meeting with Poole Pirates. Picture: COLIN BURNETTSomerset Rebels duo Jason Doyle Jack Holder celebrate a 5-1 in Heat 13 of the meeting with Poole Pirates. Picture: COLIN BURNETT

“Promoters up and down the country have worked 24/7 to try and give themselves every opportunity to stage league racing this season and I take my hat off to all those who have shown a positive attitude throughout.

“We have never given up and it is only the announcement from the Prime Minister on Friday that has left us with no choice.

“It is also important for us to thank all the riders who have remained patient throughout all of this, they have been left in an extremely difficult situation and our thoughts are with them all.

“In addition, the loyal sponsors throughout the country must also be acknowledged , their support is much appreciated by clubs.

Somerset Rebels action from the meeting against Wolverhampton Wolves. Visiting pair Sam Masters and Jonas Andersen briefly lead home riders Aaron Summers and Jason Doyle. Picture: COLIN BURNETT.Somerset Rebels action from the meeting against Wolverhampton Wolves. Visiting pair Sam Masters and Jonas Andersen briefly lead home riders Aaron Summers and Jason Doyle. Picture: COLIN BURNETT.

“And we must also thank all supporters of this wonderful sport in this country. We must now embrace the future and look forward with a positive attitude as we look to grow British Speedway.

“I would also like to thank everyone for their support of the Monday night stream of past meetings and the Friday night quiz.

“We actively continue to keep the sport in the public eye in the build-up to 2021 and our social media channels will continue to engage with followers and provide regular content.

Jamie Steward, Senior Director of Production and Broadcast, Eurosport UK said: “Whilst very disappointing, we are fully supportive of what has been a difficult decision to make in these unprecedented times.

“We remain committed to speedway and we are already working in collaboration with the BSP Ltd to deliver the best possible viewing experience to passionate fans across all Eurosport platforms in 2021 and beyond.”

Further details of fixtures at those tracks which can and decide to stage meetings in August, September and October will be provided via the British Speedway website, media service and social media channels.’

Somerset Rebels were quick to release a statement that offers their supporters the opportunity of a full refund on any 2020 season ticket – or they say that supporters can, if they wish, ‘roll over’ the season ticket to be used in the 2021 season.

Speaking after the announcement of the cancellation of the 2020 season, Somerset Rebels owner Debbie Hancock said “I would like to thank all our supporters for their patience through these long arduous weeks of uncertainty but especially our season ticket holders who parted with their money before the lockdown. Likewise, our sponsors who have shown solid support for us, but my message to everyone is to stay alert, enjoy the rest of the summer and join us in March for a brand new season, one that hopefully we can all enjoy.”


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