28/12/2017 - 2018 Rider Announcement
As we all get ready to welcome in a new year, we at Reading Speedway would like to put some hope in your speedway hearts with a 2018 rider announcement!
We are very pleased that next season will see the return of Stephen Whitehouse to the Racers ranks.
At 18 years old, Stephen has now been riding for 4 years. Having previously ridden in the Midland Development League, he found that adding the Southern version with the Racers saw him make great strides during 2017.
We certainly felt that not only did his results improve as the season progressed, but both his confidence and maturity also grew as he got more racing under his belt.
Such was his progress, that having started 2017 struggling to score points, Stephen will go into 2018 looking to become a major player at Development League level, and will also welcome any NL guest bookings to help to take him to the next level.
Stephen joins Dan Gilkes as a confirmed Racer for 2018.
15/12/2017 - Racers announce main team sponsor for 2018
The Reading management would like to welcome back SBS EPOS as our main team sponsor for 2018 😎
Dave Stevens from SBS EPOS said he was proud to play a small part in the success enjoyed by the Racers in 2017 and is proud to continue the sponsorship supplied by SBS EPOS into 2018 with a view to even greater success and a track of their own.
2018 sponsorship is now available so please drop us an email for more information....
11/12/2017 - Dan The Man Set to Star For Racers.
Reading Racers have unveiled their first squad member for 2018, and there’s no doubting they have secured the services of a special talent.
Daniel Gilkes hails from Northampton and won’t reach his 16th birthday until May next year.
Dan started riding motorcycles at the age of 6 and did a few Moto-X and Grass Track events.
He has taken part in a handful of Young Lions Youth Speedway rounds – finishing on the podium each time – mostly at 125cc level, and had actually taken part in very few competitive meetings up until 2017 when he had what could be called his first full season of racing.
This will probably come as some surprise to anyone who saw him race this year. In his one match for the Racers in September, he scored 5 points and a bonus, this coming from just 2 completed rides! He also rode 4 matches for Halifax in the NJL and including bonuses scored 33 points from a possible 36.
This young man is definitely one to watch, and when he is riding regularly and gets into his stride, Dan is going to be a real handful at Development League level.
Needless to say, the Racers management are looking forward to working with him and his family, and sincerely hope that they can help him to make great strides in 2018.
The Reading Racers staged a Christmas Party and Presentation Night last night to celebrate their Southern Development League win.
The Racers’ 5 management team members were joined by 2017 squad riders Kyle Roberts, William O’Keefe, Luke Harris and Stephen Whitehouse. Their fifth team man Nick Laurence couldn’t be present, but the other 4 were all presented with trophies to commemorate their part in the Championship winning season.
15 year old Dan Gilkes , who made one appearance for the Racers this season also attended and was presented with a Reading Racers medal in appreciation of his contribution.
Co- team manager Mat Stevens then announced that Dan is the first rider to be confirmed as a 2018 Racers team member. A full story on this will be released soon.
The evening had opened with some light- hearted videos that management team member Lorraine McClellan had filmed during the season, showing the fun side of travelling with the team and also some of their fundraising events this year.
Co-promoter Andy Griffin then gave a run-down of the season on track, highlighting their successful run of results.
Lorraine took to the microphone to thank the many people who have helped the team this year, including sponsors SBS Epos and Tadley Pet Supplies who were both present, as well as Automotive Paint Supplies and Brian Willis. Speedway Portals and T2TV were also thanked for their work with the club, as well as the proprietors of 2 local pubs, The Old London Apprentice in Newbury and The Farriers Arms in Spencer’s Wood, Reading for allowing them to stage fundraising events on their premises.
Lorraine finished by presenting a bouquet of flowers to Promoter Emma Pike, who was the original instigator of the idea of re-launching the Racers and trying to bring them back to Berkshire.
Emma later presented flowers to Lorraine for the large part she had played in organising last night’s event as well as her very successful fundraising.
Co-team manager Gene Carter introduced the riders for Andy Hague of Speedway Portals to present them with their trophies. The highlight of the evening followed with Andy presenting the five riders with the brand new Southern Development League trophy.
The opportunity for photos with the riders and trophies was taken up by many of the fans and families present.
With a very successful first season behind them, the Racers now look forward to the 2018 season, and the planning has already started for what will hopefully be just as successful and enjoyable as 2017.
07/12/2017 - Racers Celebrate SDL win.
Reading Racers will celebrate their Southern Development League Championship win with the staging of their Christmas party and Presentation Evening this Friday December 8th at the Goals Complex in Woodley, Reading.
The Racers management team will be joined by the bulk of their triumphant squad, some of their team sponsors, fans and people who have supported their cause during this, their title winning year.
In the absence of an official SDL Trophy, Reading co-team manager Gen...e Carter has donated one in memory of his late father, who was a Speedway fan from the 1940s right up until 2010. This trophy has been approved by Speedway Control Bureau chief Neil Vatcher as the official SDL Trophy.
This and other trophies will be awarded on the night by Andy Hague, the mastermind behind the Speedway Portal website, where he runs media channels for the Racers, and other teams as well as many individual riders.
Andy is well aware of the history of Reading Speedway and was “truly honoured” to be asked to carry out these presentations.
In addition, the Racers’ first rider for the 2018 season is set to be introduced to those present.
There will also be a race jacket auction, opportunities of photos with the riders and trophies, a raffle, buffet, disco and a little surprise from members of the management team!
For those that can’t be present, the Racers would like to thank anybody who has helped them in 2017.
09/11/2017 - Management team say Thanks
With a very successful 2017 season now at an end, the Reading Racers management would like to thank and acknowledge all those who have made it possible for us to transform our dream of getting our beloved team back on the track, into a reality.
Firstly we are immensely grateful to our team sponsors, Tadley Pet Supplies, Automotive Paint Supplies, Mr Brian Willis, and lastly but by no means leastly SBS Epos, whose MD Dave Stevens has been not only a sponsor but also a constant source of advice and encouragement.
Thanks also go to our club members, who probably don't realise how invaluable their monthly contributions are. This is an expensive sport and every bit of financial support is invaluable, so anybody else who has sponsored a rider or chipped in or donated also get a tip of our proverbial hat.
A massive thank you goes to Ken and Cas at the Old London Apprentice in Newbury, and Pete and Karen at the Farriers Arms in Spencers Wood for welcoming us into their establishments to stage fundraising events. Again these are absolutely essential to us.
We were very grateful and delighted to be included in the Speedway Portal website, having our own channel is not something we expected in our first year back! All credit and gratitude for this goes to one Andy Hague, who again, has given us invaluable advice and insights into Speedway, as well as the excellent coverage we gain from his hard work.
To our media partners the Reading Chronicle (thanks Ant Smith!), your coverage and interest in our matches has been a pleasant and very welcome surprise. We would also like to thank BBC Radio Berkshire for talking to us on air on more than one occasion, which led to a spot on BBC1 Southern News (thank you Jack Winstanley).
We sincerely thank the Dugard family and everyone at Eastbourne Speedway for allowing us to race out of the Arlington Stadium this year. We honestly couldn't have asked for more genial hosts, with particularly Connor and Martin Dugard making it so easy for us. We know for a fact there are other amateur teams that are envious of our situation when it comes to home matches.
Obviously there are a certain group of people not yet mentioned ... namely the riders!!
We are so proud to have assisted an excellent group of young riders in developing their careers, and it's just a small bonus that they happened to bring home the Southern Development League title for us!!
Stephen Whitehouse, William O'Keefe, Luke Harris, Nick Laurence and Kyle Roberts can all take a bow, and a great deal of credit. Also of course, we would have been well and truly snookered without the help of the numerous riders who stepped in when we found ourselves in need of help, so thanks go to everyone who rode for us this season.
There is also a group of people without whom those riders wouldn't be able to take these opportunities... usually their dads, sometimes their granddads and indeed their whole families for allowing them to do what they do, so a huge thanks and amount of respect to them too. Paying for the privilege of sending your offspring out onto an oval track on a 500cc bundle of raw power with no brakes must be so rewarding!!
And a quick mention and thank you to David Berry of Ibis Hotel Reading for always looking to help us in any way he can.
Finally we would like to say a big big thank you to any Reading Speedway fan who has travelled to watch and support us this season. There have unfortunately been no short journeys but we hope it has been worth it to see that famous winged wheel on the tracks again, and ultimately lifting a trophy at the end. The spirit of our supporters was truly demonstrated when our match on the Isle of Wight was rained off at 9.30am but 2 mini buses full of fans still crossed the Solent with us and had an awesome day out!
So basically thank you to absolutely anyone who has donated, encouraged, helped or done anything else for us in 2017, we are already planning and enlisting help for an even bigger, better and more progressive 2018!
17/10/2017 - Racers 2017 Finale
The Racers head to Devon for the last match of their championship winning season this Friday night.
The new SDL champions complete their fixtures against the Plymouth Demons, as they seek to go unbeaten in 2017.
Stephen Whitehouse moves into the No.1 berth for the first time as he becomes the most regularly appearing rider in the team this year. He is joined by Stevie Anderson, who stepped in to ride for the Racers in their last appearance in Devon against Weymouth Wildcats.
Two new faces are given some track time as the regular squad members wind down with the close season virtually upon us. Midland born James Chattin has represented Birmingham at National League level as well as riding for Scunthorpe Stags in the Midland Development League and in 2nd halves at Wolverhampton.
And Welshman Russell Barnett, who also rides in the MDL, for Camarthen Dragons, comes in to complete the team as Reading look to button up their first season back in action with one last win.
Plymouth will also race against Weymouth on Friday night which will see all SDL fixtures completed for the season.
Reading Line Up:
Stephen Whitehouse, 2. James Chattin, 3. Stevie Anderson, 4. Russell Barnett.
Plymouth – To Be Announced.
10/10/2017 - New Date for Final Fixture.
Reading Racers have accepted a new date for their away fixture against the Plymouth Demons. The new SDL Champions will complete their 2017 matches on Friday October 20th at the St Boniface Arena as part of a double header, with the Demons also facing the Weymouth Wildcats as the new division is formally completed for this season.
A full preview and line ups will follow nearer the date.
30/09/2017 - Racers Run Wild!
Reading Racers extended their winning run last night at Plymouth in a truncated match against the Weymouth Wildcats. Time was called after 5 races as the curfew was reached with the newly crowned League Champions leading 21 points to 8 and just one heat left to run.
Both teams had encountered problems assembling a team, and while the Racers used the rider replacement facility and enlisted Eastbourne’s Tom Brennan, the Wildcats fell back on the inexperienced but enthusiastic duo of Mick Sutton and Ian Parsons to complete their line-up. Further problems beset the Dorset team when Craig Nethercott was injured in the preceding NL match, in which he was representing Plymouth Devils, meaning Weymouth also had to use r/r.
Brennan predictably sped away in heat 1 but slowed when he realised his team mate and captain Stephen Whitehouse was in 2nd place and sportingly let him cross the line first with Sutton and Chris Bambury in 3rd and 4th places respectively.
The Racers looked set for another 5-1 in the 2nd as Stevie Anderson and Whitehouse led Sutton and Parsons before Whitehouse slid off on the 3rd bend, resulting in a drawn heat and leaving the scores at
4 – 8.
Things went all Reading’s way in the next 2 races as Brennan partnered first Anderson and then Whitehouse to maximum heat wins as Parsons, Sutton and Bambury battled gamely in the minor placings.
Heat 5 required a rerun after Anderson locked up and fell on the 2nd bend of lap one and was disqualified from the restaging. Whitehouse then led Bambury and Parsons before the former suffered an engine failure leaving the race result a 3-2 in Reading’s favour.
With the stadium curfew upon them and the score standing at Wildcats 8 Reading 21, the match was officially halted by the referee before the sixth and final race, with the score line standing as a result.
Weymouth will race again next week against the Plymouth Demons, while the Racers also await a date against Plymouth.
Weymouth Wildcats 8: Mick Sutton 4, Chris Bambury 1, Ian Parsons 3+1.
Reading Racers 21: Tom Brennan 7+2, Stephen Whitehouse 9, Stevie Anderson 5+1
Ht.1 Whitehouse, Brennan, Sutton, Bambury.
Ht.2 Anderson, Sutton, Parsons, Whitehouse f.
Ht.3 Brennan, Anderson, Sutton, Bambury.
Ht. 4 Whitehouse, Brennan, Bambury, Parsons.
Ht.5 Whitehouse, Parsons, Bambury ef, Anderson fex.
26/09/2017 - Racers Clinch League Title!
Reading Racers won the inaugural Southern Development League title on Monday night with a win against their only remaining rivals for the championship, Kent Kestrels, at their Sittingbourne home.
In their first season back in Speedway since 2008, the Racers remain unbeaten with 2 matches still to race, and the pressure is now off as Kent lost both matches on the night, firstly to Plymouth, and then to Reading, by the same 16-20 scoreline.
On the night, captain Nick Laurence was far more impressive than his 5 points suggested, while Racer for the night Taylor Hampshire was the star of the show, the 16 year old scorching to a 9 point maximum.
Hampshire started by battling past Adam Portwood on the first lap in heat 1, while his team mate and fellow stand in Alex Spooner almost snatched second place from Portwood on the line, just falling short but still putting the Berkshire side into an early 2 point lead.
Laurence flew from the gate in heat 2 ahead of home hero Anders Rowe, with William O’Keefe holding 3rd and looking set for another heat advantage. But the 15 year old Rowe showed his outstanding potential by passing Laurence before O’Keefe surrendered his point to James Laker when his cut out got caught on his race jacket in a freak mishap.
With the scores level at 6-6, Portwood took his first win for Kent, but Laurence and O’Keefe settled in to share the race points ahead of Andrew Palmer and keep the scores even.
Heat 4 saw a tenacious first 2 bends from the two top boys Hampshire and Rowe, with the Racer winning the early exchange and keeping his composure to stay in front for the 4 laps. With Spooner again taking third place ahead of Laker to put Reading back in front at 11-13.
The pressure started to build with the 5th and penultimate race as Kent knew they couldn’t afford to fall further behind and Rowe continued his impressive form with a resounding win, but the Racers pair Spooner and O’Keefe again took the minor placings to keep their team in front going into the final and deciding contest.
With 3 points being enough for Reading to take the championship, Hampshire made no mistakes, outmuscling Portwood in the first few yards to storm out in front. As the travelling Reading fans started to celebrate, their skipper Laurence secured third place ahead of Laker and both riders held their nerve to earn their side a 4 point win and a first League title since 1997, after missing the last 8 years.
The victorious pair celebrated on the track in true style with wheelies and donuts, as their fans made their way to the pits to congratulate them and send them out on their victory parade.
The Racers are in action at Plymouth this Friday against Weymouth, and await a date to face Plymouth, also in Devon to finish their fixtures and round off their successful return.
Monday’s match details;
Kent Kestrels 16: Adam Portwood 7, Andrew Palmer 0, James Laker 1, Anders Rowe 8
Reading Racers 20: Taylor Hampshire 9 (max) Alex Spooner 4, Nick Laurence 5, William O’Keefe 2+2
Ht1. Hampshire, Portwood, Spooner, Palmer.
Ht.2 Rowe, Laurence, Laker, O’Keefe.
Ht.3 Portwood, Laurence, O’Keefe, Palmer.
Ht.4 Hampshire, Rowe, Spooner, Laker.
Ht.5 Rowe, Spooner, O’Keefe, Palmer.
Ht.6 Hampshire, Portwood, Laurence, Laker.
21/09/2017 - End of season / Christmas Party - Friday 8th December
Come join us and help us celebrate the return of the Reading Racers! Friday 8th December we are having an End of Season/Christmas Party. This fantastic night will include a Presentation of our 2017 Season, Riders Presentation, Bar, Disco and a Buffet.
Tickets cost £10.00 or £7.50 if you are a paid up member. All tickets need to be booked and paid for in advance.
The evening starts from 7.30pm and the venue is Goals, Woodlands Avenue, Woodley, Reading, RG5 3EU.
Please sent us an email: for more info or to purchase a ticket.
20/09/2017 - Racers Aiming For The Top
Reading Racers travel away to face top of the table Kent Kestrels this Monday Sept 25th knowing that a win will put them ahead of their main rivals for the Southern Development League title.
After their match against Plymouth Demons was rained off in Devon last Friday, the Racers still have 2 matches to race after their Kent visit, while the Kestrels race their last 2 matches on Monday – they face Plymouth directly before their clash with Reading.
With Racers captain Luke Harris sitting out of SDL racing, they bring in a top line replacement for their No.1 in 16 year old Taylor Hampshire, who top scored at the Kent track for his National League team Birmingham earlier this week.
Team regular Stephen Whitehouse is also unable to race, and having tried - but failed - to tempt squad member Drew Kemp, and Dan Gilkes (both 15) to step in, Reading will “borrow” ex Kent rider Alex Spooner who had already agreed to ride for Plymouth in the first encounter of the night.
Nick Laurence returns after missing the last two matches and takes over the Captain's role, and William O’Keefe makes his fifth appearance for the Racers in six matches this season, with both expected to score well in what looks to be a formidable outfit.
Kent bring in Isle of Wight NL rider Adam Portwood in place of Bradley Andrews, who had an operation on a broken finger this week, and will also include their 15 year old star Anders Rowe as they bid to fend off the Racers’ challenge, knowing that two wins on the night will mean they can only lose the league on points difference.
Monday’s Line Ups:
Kent Kestrels; 1. Adam Portwood, 2. Andrew Palmer, 3. James Laker, 4. Anders Rowe.
Reading Racers; 1. Taylor Hampshire, 2. Alex Spooner, 3. Nick Laurence (Captain), 4. William O’Keefe.
M W D L W D L F A Pts
1 Kent 6 2 0 0 3 0 1 138 76 10
2 Reading 5 4 0 0 1 0 0 115 63 10
3 Plymouth 3 1 0 1 0 0 1 49 59 2
4 Weymouth 5 0 0 2 1 0 2 68 108 2
5 Exeter 7 0 0 3 1 0 3 93 157 2
12/09/2017 - BIG AWAY DATE FOR RACERS
Reading Racers face their biggest test so far this season, as they travel to Plymouth this Friday night in the Southern Development League.
Sitting in second place to Kent Kestrels only on points difference, this will be their toughest match to date, as the Demons team includes three riders racing regularly in the National League.
The Racers however remain confident as they head into the match with an unbeaten record. With squad members Nick Laurence and Drew Kemp both unavailable for the trip, Reading have drafted in Birmingham rider Layne Cupitt. No.1 Luke Harris leads the team boasting an 11.67 average from 4 matches at this level, and he is joined by regulars, ex Plymouth rider William O’Keefe and Stephen Whitehouse, who scored a paid maximum in their last match.
The Devon side could still have a big say in the destination of the title, with matches in hand including one at Kent on September 25th, the same night as Reading go there for a top of the table clash with the Kestrels.
It has been a successful return to the track for the exiled Racers and while the SDL is primarily about giving young riders valuable racing experience, both riders and management are very pleased to be in a position to challenge for some silverware, and will be going all out to keep up their challenge for the title.
Plymouth Demons: 1. Henry Atkins, 2. Jordan Bull, 3. Jamie Halder, 4. Alex Spooner.
Reading Racers: 1. Luke Harris, 2. Stephen Whitehouse, 3. Layne Cupitt, 4. William O’Keefe.
03/09/2017 - Racers Pull Level At Top
Reading 28 Weymouth 6
Reading Racers rounded off their SDL home matches at Eastbourne on Saturday with a win over fellow nomad team Weymouth Wildcats. Whilst Reading were expected to continue their run of being unbeaten in 2017, Weymouth were beset by bad luck from the beginning, denying them any chance of keeping the scores close.
In the 1st heat Racers Luke Harris and 15 year old Dan Gilkes got away in front of their rivals, but then appeared to head for the same piece of track in the 3rd bend, resulting in Gilkes locking up and coming down. Close behind him Kenny Bowdery also fell, and while many felt this was as a result of the faller in front of him, referee Paul Carrington judged it to be two separate incidents and excluded both stricken riders from the rerun. At the 2nd attempt Harris sped from the tapes and defeated Luke Whitehead to give Reading a 3-2 lead.
Stephen Whitehouse also made a jet propelled start in heat 2 to lead Jamie Sealey, William O’Keefe and James Chattin. O’Keefe found his way past Sealey and settled in behind his team mate for a 5-1 to extend Reading’s lead.
Harris and Gilkes were much more aware of each other as they hit the front again in the 3rd race and took another maximum heat win to give the Racers a 13-4 lead at the halfway point.
Weymouth suffered more misfortune in heat 4, firstly when Bowdery took the lead ahead of Whitehouse and O’Keefe only to go into the 1st bend too hot on the 2nd lap and end up crashing into the air fence in an awkward looking fall. With Bowdery excluded from the rerun, his team mate Whitehead then fell, leaving the Racers pair to complete a 5-0 heat win at the 3rd attempt.
Whitehouse, having by far his best match of the season to date, followed Gilkes home for another 5-1 over Whitehead and Chattin in the 5th to make the score 23-5 with one to go.
With Bowdery feeling worse for wear after his crashes, and O’Keefe asking to stand down from heat 6 due to fatigue after a busy night in which he also rode for Eastbourne in the NL match, they were replaced by Whitehead and Whitehouse respectively.
With both Reading riders unbeaten, the odds were stacked in their favour, and when Sealey slipped off it left the Racers pair to complete another maximum over Whitehead.
With a final score of 28-6, Reading are now 2nd in the league to Kent only on points difference with a match in hand. Things now get tougher though as only away matches remain, against Plymouth, Kent and Weymouth as Reading head towards the end of their first season back with a chance of silverware.
While Luke Harris secured another full maximum, happiest man of the night was undoubtedly Stephen Whitehouse, with a 4 ride paid maximum on a track he struggled on earlier this season.
Luke Harris 9, Dan Gilkes 5+1, William O’keefe 5+1, Stephen Whitehouse 9+3
Kenny Bowdery 0, Luke Whitehead 4, Jamie Sealey 2, James Chattin 0
Ht 1. Harris, Whitehead, Bowdery f,ex, Gilkes f,ex
Ht 2. Whitehouse, O’Keefe, Sealey, Chattin
Ht 3. Harris, Gilkes, Sealey, Chattin
Ht 4. O’Keefe, Whitehouse, Bowdery f,ex, Whitehead f,ex
Ht 5. Gilkes, Whitehouse, Whitehead, Chattin
Ht 6. Harris, Whitehouse, Whitehead, Sealey f
pics: Stephen Whitehouse, Saturday's team, and Luke Harris.
29/08/2017 - Racers Look To Tame Wildcats
Reading Racers roar into action for a second consecutive weekend this Saturday when they entertain the Weymouth Wildcats in a SDL clash at Eastbourne.
Now lying just 2 points behind league leaders Kent Kestrels, the Racers have the chance to draw level if they can win this encounter with the team they raced against in their first match for 8 years last summer.
After triumphing against Exeter at Somerset last weekend Reading retain 3 regulars in their line up with Luke Harris, William O’Keefe and Stephen Whitehouse keeping their places while Dan Gilkes comes into the side just a few weeks after his 15th birthday. Dan is another product of the Young Lions project, and is highly regarded within the whole youth Speedway set-up. While Dan has ridden in the Midland version this will be his debut in the SDL, with Reading’s co- manager Mat Stevens having worked hard to get his man.
Weymouth give an extra outing to Exeter and National League Isle of Wight man Jamie Sealey, and will be hoping to cause an upset, with the under-estimated Kenny Bowdery leading the team as they look to move into 3rd place in the table.
If Reading can win this match they will be eying a very interesting run-in to the season with away matches to Plymouth, Weymouth and Kent during September. With regular riders nicely coming into form, they also have squad members waiting in the wings as the Racers bid to win the SDL at their first attempt.
Luke Harris, 2. Dan Gilkes, 3. William O’Keefe, 4. Stephen Whitehouse.
Weymouth Damers Blinds Wildcats:
Kenny Bowdery, 2. Luke Whitehead, 3. Jamie Sealey, 4. James Chattin.
pics: Dan Gilkes and Stephen Whitehouse
21/08/2017 - Racers on The Road To Somerset.
Reading Racers make another attempt to get their away matches underway this Friday against Exeter Falcons. After previous rained off matches, the Racers travel to Somerset, the Falcons’ adopted home track.
Sitting 2nd in the Southern Development League, the Reading management are hoping for a big display on the highly rated Oak Tree Arena circuit.
After league leaders Kent Kestrels triumphed at Plymouth last week Reading captain Luke Harris is determined to keep up the chase, and with fellow National League regular William O’Keefe relishing his first appearance at the circuit, the Racers will be looking to complete the double over their Devon rivals, after beating them at Eastbourne earlier this month.
Racers regular Stephen Whitehouse is again included, while Woking based 16 year old Jamie Bursill steps into the team for a debut appearance.
Reading have still to visit Kent on September 25th, and also have away fixtures against Plymouth and Weymouth to be rescheduled. They complete their home matches at Eastbourne a week Saturday against Weymouth.
Friday’s line ups;
Stevie Anderson, 2. Andrew Palmer, 3. Jamie Sealey, 4. Craig Nethercott.
Luke Harris, 2. Jamie Bursill, 3. William O’Keefe, 4. Stephen Whitehouse.
Southern Development League Table
Up to and including Friday, August 18.
M W D L W D L F A Pts
1 Kent 6 2 0 0 3 0 1 138 76 10
2 Reading 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 64 44 6
3 Plymouth 3 1 0 1 0 0 1 49 59 2
4 Weymouth 4 0 0 2 1 0 1 62 80 2
5 Exeter 6 0 0 2 1 0 3 80 134 2
26/08/2017 - RACERS TAKE AWAY WIN
Reading Racers finally competed in an SDL away match on Friday night, and took a morale boosting 10 point win against the Exeter Falcons at Somerset’s Oak Tree Arena.
The Racers had won all their home matches this season but remained untested on away shale up until this eagerly anticipated clash on the popular raceway.
The Reading team showed their intent in heat 1 when skipper Luke Harris and debutant Jamie Bursill hit the front ahead of Stevie Anderson and Andrew Palmer. Anderson overhauled Bursill on the 2nd lap but there was no catching Harris as the visitors took an early 4 – 2 lead.
Heat 2 was William O’Keefe’s first ride in a heat leader role for the Racers, wearing the No.3 race jacket, and he didn’t disappoint as he led from the tapes in what was also his first ever race on the pacey Somerset oval. Exeter’s NL star Jamie Sealey slotted in behind him while home rider Craig Nethercott relieved Stephen Whitehouse of 3rd place to draw the heat.
O’Keefe showed it was no fluke when he repeated his win in the third race, with Whitehouse this time passing Palmer for the 3rd place point while Falcons No.1 Anderson finished in second.
A second shared heat followed with the dominant Harris winning to show why he is the highest rated rider in this league. Bursill missed the gate and could make no impression on the Falcons’ Sealey and Nethercott, leaving the score at 14-10 in Reading’s favour.
Bursill made a lighting start in heat 5, only for both Palmer and Whitehouse to come down on the first bend, causing referee Christina Turnbull to halt the race and call all 4 riders back for a re-run. The Woking based youngster gated 2nd this time but it was his team mate Whitehouse in front of him, and he managed to fend off the efforts of Nethercott to secure a match winning 5-1 for the Racers.
With both Harris and O’Keefe unbeaten, Reading were looking for a big finish to the match, but while the captain streaked away in front, Sealey spoiled the party by relegating the Suffolk 16 year old into 3rd place, with Anderson coming in last.
The gathering of Reading fans on the back straight, which included Promoter Emma Pike and sponsor Dave Stevens of SBS Epos, were jubilant at their team’s 23-13 win, and the whole performance leaves the Reading camp in an optimistic mood as they look to the remainder of the season.
Reading entertain Weymouth Wildcats at Eastbourne next Saturday September 2nd in their final home SDL match as they bid to climb from 2nd to 1st in the league table.
Exeter “Chris Richards” Falcons:
Stevie Anderson 4, Andrew Palmer 0, Jamie Sealey 6, Craig Nethercott 3+2
Luke Harris 9, Jamie Bursill 3+1, William O’Keefe 7, Stephen Whitehouse 4
Ht 1. Harris, Anderson, Bursill, Palmer.
Ht 2. O’Keefe, Sealey, Nethercott, Whitehouse.
Ht 3. O’Keefe, Anderson, Whitehouse, Palmer.
Ht 4. Harris, Sealey, Nethercott, Bursill.
Ht 5. Whitehouse, Bursill, Nethercott, Palmer.
Ht 6. Harris, Sealey, O’Keefe, Anderson.
Pictures to follow.
Up to and including Friday, August 25, 2017
M W D L W D L F A Pts
1 Kent 6 2 0 0 3 0 1 138 76 10
2 Reading 4 3 0 0 1 0 0 87 57 8
3 Plymouth 3 1 0 1 0 0 1 49 59 2
4 Weymouth 4 0 0 2 1 0 1 62 80 2
5 Exeter 7 0 0 3 1 0 3 93 157 2
15/08/2017 - New Media Partner for Racers
Reading Racers Speedway are proud to welcome The Reading Chronicle as our new Media Partners.
The local newspaper has led the way in supporting us and gives unwavering coverage to the new era of the Racers.
On sale every Thursday, and constantly updated throughout the week at readingchronicle.co.uk, The Chronicle is the only place to find Racers’ match previews, reports and pictures every time we are in action, and we would like to thank them, and Anthony Smith in particular for their invaluable and ongoing support in 2017.
07/08/2017 - Thanks to our sponsors.
Reading Racers Speedway would like to thank their sponsors for Tuesday night’s National League Challenge match on the Isle of Wight. We are truly grateful to those who have stepped forward to contribute toward riders’ expenses.
No.1 Danny Ayres – sponsored by Tadley Pet Supplies.
No.2 Kelsey Dugard - sponsored by The Queen.
No.3 Ben Hopwood – sponsored by The Avon Fish Bar, Newbury.
No.4 Ryan Terry-Daley – sponsored by Diana Carter, Racers fan.
No.5 Alfie Bowtell – sponsored by The Old London Apprentice pub, Newbury.
No.6 Nick Laurence – sponsored by Mark Little, Racers fan.
No.7 Taylor Hampshire – sponsored by Tadley Pet Supplies.
Thanks also to Neil Carter Plumbing & Heating for contributing towards the cost of competing in this match, our first full 15 heat match since 2008!
07/08/2017 - Racers draft in Ayres and Bowtell.
Reading have been forced to make changes to their line-up for their National League Challenge match at the Isle of Wight this Tuesday night.
Mark Baseby broke his arm on Saturday night while his Eastbourne team mate Georgie Wood blew up both his engines, leaving the Racers 2 men short.
They have however moved fast to replace them, firstly bringing in Alfie Bowtell of Lakeside, who dropped just one point on his last visit to the island.
They have also drafted in top entertainer Danny Ayres of Cradley, who in his own words, loves the Ryde track.
The two replacements will ride at numbers 5 and 1 respectively, and the Reading management team would like to thank them both for stepping in at such short notice.
06/08/2017 - RACERS CONTINUE UNBEATEN RUN
Reading Racers kept the heat on SDL leaders Kent with another home win on Saturday night at Eastbourne against the Exeter Falcons.
Reading had to make a late change when skipper Luke Harris broke down en route, but were able to draft in Eastbourne’s 15 year old star Tom Brennan as a replacement, and as expected, he emulated Harris’ maximum in their last match against Kent.
While Brennan was tearing up heat 1, the Racers’ other stand-in, amateur rider Max Pankhurst, was challenging Falcons No.1 Jamie Sealey for 2nd place before Craig Nethercott fell at the back, causing referee Mick Bates to halt the race and award the result a 4-2 to the home team.
The early action was all at the start of the 2nd race, with Stephen Whitehouse sliding off in the 1st bend, while his team mate Nick Laurence won the battle for the lead heading down the back straight leaving Falcons Stevie Anderson and Andrew Palmer to take the minor places and draw the heat.
Brennan again tore away from the start of the 3rd, but it was unsung hero Pankhurst who wowed everyone by racing out of the start ahead of Anderson and Palmer and holding his position for the 4 laps, winning a maximum heat advantage for the Racers to give them a 12-6 lead.
Heat 4 saw the gap widen. As Laurence made a clean getaway, Whitehouse held 2nd place out of the first two bends. Sealey challenged hard for the first 2 laps before his efforts saw him fall, and Nethercott also failed in an attempt to pass up the inside on the last bend.
Whitehouse was again on the deck in the penultimate race when getting out of shape in a messy 1st bend, resulting in a heavy impact into the air fence. The 18 year old was unhurt but excluded from the re-run.
Anderson made his best start of the night, leading the restaging from start to finish, despite a big effort from Pankhurst on the run in to the line, after the Sussex man had passed Nethercott earlier in the race.
With the Racers holding a safe 19-11 lead going into the final heat, Brennan duly completed his maximum, while Laurence completed his 1st paid maximum for the Racers. Palmer, who had looked more impressive than his final 2 point tally, took 3rd place, with Sealey falling for a second time.
While Reading are proud to be unbeaten, they know that things will get much harder when their away matches finally come around. And despite Exeter’s poor result, team managers Alan Spencer and Rob Doran remain proud to be giving riders as many racing opportunities as possible.
The 2 sides meet again on August 25th in the return match at Somerset’s Oaktree Arena, following the Rebels match against Rye House.
Reading: Tom Brennan 9 (max), Max Pankhurst 5+1, Nick Laurence 8+1, Stephen Whitehouse 2+1.
Exeter: Jamie Sealey 2, Craig Nethercott 2, Andrew Palmer 2+1, Stevie Anderson 6.
Ht 1. Brennan, Sealey, Pankhurst, Nethercott (FX)
Ht 2. Laurence, Anderson, Palmer, Whitehouse (F)
Ht 3. Brennan, Pankhurst, Anderson, Palmer
Ht 4. Laurence, Whitehouse, Nethercott, Sealey (F)
Ht 5. (Re-Run) Anderson, Pankhurst, Nethercott, Whitehouse (FX)
Ht 6. Brennan, Laurence, Palmer, Sealey (F)
Pic; l-r Mat Stevens, Max Pankhurst, Nick Laurence, Tom Brennan, Stephen Whitehouse, Gene Carter.
The 5th rider to represent the Reading Racers next week will be Georgie Wood, who is the Championship’s newest reserve after recently joining the Sheffield Tigers. He is also of course our 2nd Eastbourne rider, and is now an established top liner at NL level.
Georgie, 23, is based in Maidstone, Kent, and started riding Speedway at 8 years old, but stopped racing while living abroad.
His progress since returning and resuming racing is proven by Sheffield putting their faith in him as they bid to reach the play offs, and we also have faith that he is the man to take our 3rd heat leader role and help us defeat the Isle of Wight in our first full match since 2008
We are very pleased to be able to include one of our very own SDL squad in next Tuesday’s NL challenge on the Isle of Wight, with Nick Laurence wearing the No.6 Racers jacket.
Nick is 26 and rides in the National League for Lakeside, recently having moved up from reserve into the main body of the team. He made his debut for Reading last month, helping to secure a last heat 5-1 to rescue the match, and he didn’t hesitate to accept when asked to represent the Racers at NL level.
A team player, Nick is looking forward to playing his part in the pits against the Warriors.
Our final rider is the youngest of our team on the Isle of Wight next week, with 16 year old Taylor Hampshire taking up the No.7 position.
Taylor started the season with Kings Lynn Young Stars NL team before they withdrew from the league, but was recently snapped up by Birmingham and has been impressive in hitting several double figure scores from the reserve berth.
He’s also been a popular choice of guest during 2017 as many team managers have recognised his potential and scoring power, and we’re confident he will do a good job for us in this National League standard challenge.
So Reading fans, we have our team – there are still rider sponsorships available at £60, so if there are any individuals or groups of fans that would like to support this event, we would love to hear from you.
We also have 2 full mini coaches and many more saying they are making their own way to Ryde.
We would like to thank those that have supported this so far, and also Barry Bishop and his team on the Isle of Wight for giving us this opportunity to race a full match at this level for the first time in far too long.
With our SDL match at Eastbourne this Saturday, we are doing our best to make these exciting times for Racers fans, and hope more and more of you will get behind us!
Give us an R!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
SPEEDWAY PORTAL, one of the sport’s leading online media outlets, are pleased to announce the launch of the official READING RACERS MEDIA CHANNEL.
The channel, which is now live, will aim to complement the Racers existing web presence, whilst promoting the Reading Racers brand to a wider audience. Using various multimedia sources, the Portal will be adding value to the ultimate goal of seeing the Reading Racers back on their own home shale.
SPEEDWAY PORTAL spokesman ANDY HAGUE said “We met some of the Racers management team earlier on in the season where we heard of the hard work being put into their goal of seeing the Racers back on their own race track.”
“Another meeting followed, resulting in the PORTAL forming a working relationship with the Racers organisation which we hope will be the start of something positive for them and British Speedway.” “We aim to assist the team not only by providing their media channel, but also in other areas where able. Looking to the future, there are many avenues and collaborations being worked on within the PORTAL, and having such a great historic club be a part of that is inspiring for our progression.”
One of the Reading management team, Lorraine McClellan said "We are really excited to be working with SPEEDWAY PORTAL to bring our supporters a multimedia channel full of all our latest items and video footage for our supporters to enjoy.”
Click the link below to gain direct access to the media channel.
02/08/2017 - Saturday 5th August SDL against Exeter
The Reading Racers take on the Exeter Falcons this Saturday in another home match as they seek to make up ground on league leaders Kent.
The Eastbourne based team have still to race an away match after their scheduled ties at Plymouth against the Demons and the Weymouth Wildcats were postponed due to rain last weekend.
They have however been in good form at home and are as yet unbeaten at the Arlington raceway. Reading go into the match in 2nd place in the Southern Development League, with Exeter sitting at the bottom of the 5 team competition, albeit only 2 points behind their hosts.
The Racers track their top 2 riders in Captain Luke Harris and Nick Laurence, while local amateur rider Max Pankhurst comes into the team as Reading continue to struggle with squad members unavailability due to injury and NL contracts.
Exeter include National League rider and Reading local Jamie Sealey in their team as they look to add to a lone victory in 5 matches so far this season.
Saturday’s Line ups:
Luke Harris, 2. Max Pankhurst, 3. Nick Laurence, 4. Stephen Whitehouse.
Exeter “Chris Richards” Falcons;
Jamie Sealey, 2. Craig Nethercott, 3. Andrew Palmer, 4. Stevie Anderson.
26 year old Championship League reserve Ben Hopwood takes the No.3 berth for the Reading Racers on the Isle of Wight next Tuesday.
The Salford based Newcastle Diamond is also riding for Kent in the National League, with a 2017 average of 8 points, and scored 10 paid 11 when guesting for the Warriors on the Island earlier this year. The Racers are hoping for another solid score from him next week when he forms part of the first 7 man team to represent them since 2008.
4TH RACER REVEALED!!
Ryan Terry-daley is the 4th rider to be named in the Reading Racers NDL Select for their challenge match on the Isle of Wight on August 8th.
The 23 year old moved to New Zealand with his family 14 years ago, but returned to England to race Speedway, and now plies his trade with Stoke Potters in the National League.
Ryan will be a vital cog in the middle order of the Racers team and is sure to wear the No.4 race jacket with pride in this landmark match, as the Reading Speedway revival continues!
If you would like to sponsor Ben or Ryan, please message us.
Next Tuesday August 8th will see the Reading Racers take part in their first full 15 heat match for nearly 9 years, when they take on the Isle of Wight Warriors at their Ryde track in a National League standard contest.
The man who will be riding at No.1 for the Racers in this historic tie is established National League heat leader Mark Baseby.
Mark currently rides for the Eastbourne Eagles but was an Isle of Wight rider last season, finishing the year in the No.1 race jacket.
Mark, 29, is averaging over 9.50 for his 2017 club, and is the ideal spearhead to lead the Racers into this exciting match, and we can’t wait to see him leading the way for us!
2ND RIDER ANNOUNCEMENT
Riding at No.2 for the Racers next week on the Isle of Wight, and taking on the captain’s armband will be ex Wightlink Warrior Kelsey Dugard.
Kelsey is an adopted son of the Island, having been taken to the hearts of the supporters after being in their team in 2016, and also for a short spell this season, before losing his place due to injury.
The son of former England international and world finalist Martin, and the 4th generation of Speedway riders from the Sussex dynasty, Kelsey is 19 years old and is thrilled to be named captain of the famous Reading Racers, who have had many close tussles with his grandfather’s club, Eastbourne in years gone by.
If you would like to sponsor Kelsey for this meeting, please message us.
29/07/2017 - Tonight's Matches Postponed.
The SDL matches in Devon against Plymouth and Weymouth tonight have been postponed due to a waterlogged track, along with a forecast of rain starting around noon and continuing throughout the day.
No new date has been agreed yet.
25/07/2017 - First Away Matches For Racers
The Reading Racers compete in their first away matches of their new era this weekend as they travel to Plymouth for a double dose of SDL action on Saturday. As well as facing the home Demons team, they also race against the Weymouth Wildcats - who have adopted the Devon circuit as their temporary home – in two 6 heat matches starting at 7pm.
The Racers find themselves without captain Luke Harris, and so promote William O’Keefe to the number one berth, and Nick Laurence takes over the skipper’s role for the night. With squad member Kyle Roberts sitting out due to injury, as well as the ruling preventing SDL teams from tracking more than 2 National League riders - O’Keefe and Laurence both ride in the higher league - Steve Anderson, a 19 year old from the west country with plenty of experience of the Plymouth track, steps into the team for both matches.
Reading managers Mat Stevens and Gene Carter have had selection headaches for recent matches as riders they named at the start of the season have been signed up by National League teams, showing the quality of the squad they unveiled back in March. With Harris, Laurence, Roberts and O’Keefe now all regularly riding in the NL, it has meant many hours spent on phone calls and messages looking for riders to represent the Racers.
Reading line up;
1 William O’Keefe, 2 Steve Anderson, 3 Nick Laurence (c), 4. Stephen Whitehouse.
Plymouth as yet haven't confirmed their team, but are expected to also include 2 NL riders in Henry Atkins and Callum Walker, meaning they will be a tough proposition regardless of their final line up.
Weymouth face the Racers in their first home match since mid May, but will be brimming with confidence after a surprise away win against Exeter a month ago.
Weymouth line up;
1 Kenny Bowdery, 2 Craig Nethercott, 3 Chris Bambury, 4 Andrew Palmer.
The Reading management accepted an invitation to sponsor a pairs meeting at the Isle of Wight speedway last week. While riders were drawn from a pool at random, Reading were somewhat ironically represented by James Cockle, who rode for the Racers in their Smallmead days, and Jamie Sealey, whose family looked after the Reading stadium and track for years, while his uncle Lance also rode for them.
Cockle scored an impressive 19 points, but Sealey was unable to add to this and the duo failed to reach the semi-finals.
Pictured: William O'Keefe and Nick Laurence
12/07/2017 - Reading NDL Select team head to the IOW
Come on Reading Racer fans, let's make this a night to remember, just like old times! We have now finalised details and cost of our travel/day trip to the Isle of Wight for our challenge match against the Isle of Wight Warriors, taking place on Tuesday 8th August 2017. The coach will be leaving Reading at approx 10am and will not be returning until approx 12.30am on the 9th. Please note price includes your return travel including ferry and a speedway programme only. Your entry fee into the speedway is not included, as prices for this vary, I will post a copy of IOW entry price in the comments for information purposes. Your day will include free time of approx 4 hours in the beautiful seaside town of Ryde, followed by an exciting evening of speedway.
Price per person £30.00
We have already had many enquiries about booking this trip, so if you don't want to miss out contact us and book your place ASAP
It’s a big week for two of the Reading Racers squad this week.
Firstly, William O’Keefe has been officially included in Plymouth’s National League team. William goes into the Demons team at reserve after guesting for them several times recently, with promoter and team manager Laurence Rogers deciding to give him a chance as a fully fledged team member. It’s the first time William has been included in an official NL 1-7 after guesting for many teams this season, including Eastbourne, Buxton and Mildenhall, as well as Plymouth. He also becomes the 4th member of Reading’s 5 man squad to be included in a National League team alongside Luke Harris, Nick Laurence and Kyle Roberts. It gives the Racers some selection headaches as they can only include 2 NL riders in their team for any SDL match – only Harris and Laurence were NL riders at the start of the season – but they maintain that the development leagues are all about helping riders move up into the NL, and insist it proves the quality of the team they named at the beginning of the 2017 season.
William makes his official Plymouth debut at Stoke this Saturday.
And on Thursday, Racers captain Luke Harris competes in his third British Under 19 final at Plymouth. Luke is looking to better his previous 5th place finish, and despite a quality field including Dan Bewley, Jack Smith and Zach Wajtknecht, he is setting his sights high.
“My form has been good and my gating has been good too, so while top 6 would be good, everyone will be looking to win, and so will I” Luke insisted.
Harris' form this year in the NL for Cradley has stepped up a gear, while he has been almost unstoppable for the Racers, and he will certainly be looking to continue this on the tight Plymouth circuit.
Dan Bewley, Jordan Jenkins, Callum Walker, Luke Harris, Kyle Bickley, Jack Parkinson-Blackburn, Luke Woodhull, Nathan Greaves, Jamie Halder, Tom Brennan, Ben Woodhull, Jack Thomas, Henry Atkins, Jack Smith, Joe Lawlor, Zach Wajtknecht.
Reading Racers moved into 2nd place in the SDL on Saturday night and are now the only unbeaten team in the division.
They faced league leaders Kent Kestrels, themselves without a loss, at Eastbourne, and triumphed 19 points to 17 despite trailing with one race to go.
Bradley Andrews was injured in the preceding NL match, leaving the Kestrels using rider replacement at no.4.
The 1st race was stopped after a close contact battle for 3rd between Racer Stephen Whitehouse and Kent’s James Laker resulted in Laker falling, with referee Chris Gay generously deciding not to exclude anyone from the re-run. In the 2nd staging Reading captain Luke Harris streaked from the tapes for a win from Kent no.1 Anders Rowe, while Laker passed Whitehouse for 3rd. Reading took the lead in heat 2 with debutant Nick Laurence taking the win from Laker (replacing Andrews) while behind them William O’Keefe and Andrew Palmer fell in separate incidents, both remounting to finish the race, O’Keefe crossing the line first.
Harris won from the outside gate in his second ride with Rowe and Palmer filling the minor places for a drawn heat. Rowe got his first win in race 4, defeating Laurence and O’Keefe to leave Reading still leading at 13-11.
Heat 5 was re-run twice, with Whitehouse warned for moving at the start first time around, then breaking the tapes at the second attempt, meaning he had to start from 15 metres for the 3rd staging. Palmer led from the start while O’Keefe and Laker passed and re-passed several times only for the Kent man to gain the advantage on the last lap and hold on for a 5-1 and put the Kestrels into a 16-14 lead going into the last race.
Reading’s big guns pulled out all the stops in the final heat, Harris and Laurence shooting out of the gate ahead of Rowe and Palmer to complete the skipper’s maximum and seal the win for the fledgling Racers team.
The Racers now look forward to their first away match at Plymouth on Saturday July 29th where they race 2 matches, facing both the Demons and the Weymouth Wildcats.
Reading Racers 19;
Luke Harris 9 (maximum), Stephen Whitehouse 0, Nick Laurence 7+1, William O’Keefe 3+1
Kent Kestrels 17;
Anders Rowe 8, James Laker 5+2, Andrew Palmer4+1,
Ht 1. Harris, Rowe, Laker, Whitehouse
Ht 2. Laurence, Laker, O’Keefe, Palmer
Ht 3. Harris, Rowe, Palmer, Whitehouse
Ht 4. Rowe, Laurence, O’Keefe, Laker
Ht 5. Palmer, Laker, O’Keefe, Whitehouse (15m)
Ht 6. Harris, Laurence, Rowe, Palmer
Above pic l-r; Nick Laurence, William O'Keefe, Luke Harris, Stephen Whitehouse, Kyle Roberts.
Reading Racers compete in their 2nd league fixture of their new era this Saturday at Eastbourne.
They host the Southern Development League leaders, the Kent Kestrels, and will be looking to move back into 2nd place after Weymouth moved ahead of them at the weekend on points difference. The Racers, the Wildcats, Plymouth and Exeter all sit on 2 points, with Reading having ridden the fewest amount of matches.
Nick Laurence makes his debut for the Racers, the Eastbourne local still celebrating a promotion in the riding order at his NL club Lakeside, and will be looking to impress with the rest of the season in mind.
Captain Luke Harris is in the middle of a busy spell, and was unbeaten in a Grass Track event at the weekend, as well as racing against the USA World Cup team in a warm up at Mildenhall.
With William O’Keefe busy with NL bookings recently, and Stephen Whitehouse being beaten just once in his last 6 races, the Racers are in confident mood.
Kent also arrive in fine fettle, with NL stars Bradley Andrews and Anders Rowe - allegedly named after Reading’s 70’s Swedish icon Anders Michanek - leading their charge. Regular member James Laker is joined by Andrew Palmer, who replaces Alex Spooner as he recovers from a collarbone injury.
Saturday’s teams (riding orders unconfirmed):
Luke Harris, Stephen Whitehouse, Nick Laurence, William O’Keefe.
Anders Rowe, James Laker, Andrew Palmer, Bradley Andrews.
pic: Nick Laurence
The Racers ended up drawing their challenge match against the Eastbourne Young Academy last night after a see saw affair in the sunny seaside town.
Reading were again beset by selection problems in the days leading up this fixture, as firstly William O’Keefe was called up by his MDL club Peterborough for a match at Stoke, then Kyle Roberts injured a shoulder on Monday riding for NL team Birmingham. With Nick Laurence busy riding for Lakeside, the Racers bosses called on twins Luke and Ben Woodhull to help them out.
It was always going to be tough, and Eastbourne’s NL no.1 Tom Brennan helped them take a lead in the 1st heat, leading home Racers’ skipper Luke Harris, his team mate Taylor Hampshire and Luke Woodhull. It was levelled in heat 2 when Ben Woodhull won from local amateur rider Max Pankhurst, and Stephen Whitehouse took 3rd place for Reading ahead of Kent rider James Laker.
Brennan won again in the 3rd, gaining a 4-2 with Hampshire over Ben Woodhull and Whitehouse. But in the 4th Laker fell and was excluded from the re-run, leaving Reading’s two Lukes to take a 5-1 over Pankhurst, and the lead in the match at 11-13.
Hampshire and Laker squared things up again with an advantage over Luke Woodhull and Whitehouse, before the unstoppable Brennan led home Harris and Ben Woodhull for a shared final heat to end the proceedings at 18 points apiece.
Eastbourne Young Academy:
Tom Brennan 9; Taylor Hampshire 5; Max Pankhurst 3; James Laker 1
Luke Harris 7; Luke Woodhull 4+1; Ben Woodhull 6; Stephen Whitehouse 1
Reading return to Southern Development League action on July 1st in a home match at Eastbourne’s Arlington stadium against unbeaten league leaders Kent Kestrels.
The Racers have confirmed a line up after again suffering setbacks leading up to their challenge match against an Eastbourne Select this Saturday night.
The match was arranged in order to get the team some extra track time, but first William O’Keefe was called up by his MDL team Peterborough for a League match, then Kyle Roberts injured his collarbone riding for Birmingham on Tuesday night.
With Nick Laurence riding for NL team Lakeside, Captain Luke Harris and debutant Stephen Whitehouse will be joined by Belle Vue starlets Luke and Ben Woodhull. At 15 years old, the twins are already making a name for themselves starring in the Belle Vue Colts NL team. While it may be a challenge, it is sure to be a keenly contested match, as Eastbourne are including their newly promoted No.1 Tom Brennan, and former King’s Lynn Young Stars rider Taylor Hampshire. This will be a good “run-out” to keep the ball rolling until Racers’ next league match at home against Kent on July 1st.
1. Luke Harris; 2. Luke Woodhull; 3. Ben Woodhull; 4. Stephen Whitehouse
Eastbourne (Order unconfirmed):
1.Tom Brennan; 2. James Laker; 3. Taylor Hampshire; 4. Max Pankhurst
Pic: Stephen Whitehouse
The Reading racers have accepted an invitation to race a full 15 heat match on the isle of wight against the Warriors on August 8th. The match will be national league standard and format and will be the 1st time since 2008 that Reading have had 7 riders representing them. The Reading management are working feverishly to assemble a full team to don the famous race jacket once again, while hoping to include as many of their SDL team as possible. They are also hopeful that they will have some strong support following them across the Solent. More information and rider news will follow shortly.
10/06/2017 - New Dates For The Racers
17/05/2017 - Racers roar into competitive action
Two new dates have been arranged for the Racers team in the coming weeks.
Firstly, in a bid to give the team some added experience on their new home track, a challenge match has been arranged at Eastbourne against a Select team put together by Eastbourne promoter Connor Dugard, on Saturday June 17th. The match will run under the standard SDL format following the Eagles v Belle Vue Colts NL match, and will be a good work-out for the Racers as Connor is sure to include some riders with plenty of experience of the Arlington oval.
Also, the SDL match against Kent "Codeclean" Kestrels, which was postponed last weekend, has been rearranged for Saturday July 1st. Reading are anticipating a tough match, but at this time look to be able to track their full team, so will go into the match confident of overturning the current league leaders.
More details on both matches will follow soon. Any enquiries about travel etc, please contact us via website or facebook.
Finally, the Reading Racers roar into competitive action for the first time in eight and a half years on May 27th, in their first match in the Southern Development League. The Racers will race at Eastbourne - where they will be staging their home matches this year – against the Plymouth Demons, in a “four man team, 6 heat” contest after the main Eastbourne v Plymouth National League match.
With Racers No.2 Nick Laurence riding for Lakeside in the NL the same night, and Niall Strudwick unavailable, 17 year old Stephen Whitehouse is drafted in to complete the line-up.
So come on Racers fans! It’s finally happening, we have an official team racing in an official league for the 1st time since 2008! While this league is about developing young riders, we’ve been tipped to be amongst the front runners and we certainly believe we have put together a team capable of winning matches, as well as containing riders who can go on to make a name for themselves in the higher leagues, and maybe even international stardom one day!
We have a mini bus booked to make the trip down, so please come along (email or message our facebook page) and support this team, all the boys have shown real enthusiasm and excitement about wearing the Winged Wheel race jacket. A good show of supporters this season will also show that there is an appetite for Speedway in Reading again, as our ultimate goal is to bring a team back to Reading! We have at least 8 matches this year, with the second being another home match on June 3rd.
Reading Racers line-up Saturday May 27th:
1. Luke Harris
2. Stephen Whitehouse
3. Kyle Roberts
4. William O’Keefe
09/05/2017 - 2017 Race Jackets
So here they are the 2017 Race jackets. Many thanks to our team sponsors, Tadley Pet Supplies, Automotive Paint Supplies, SBS EPOS and Brian Willis and an extra special thanks to JC Pro Race Wear for designing the new logo and producing the race jackets.
11/04/2017 - Completing the 2017 Racers Squad
We are pleased to welcome back Niall Strudwick. Niall is local to Eastbourne and rode for us there last season, as well as having been named in their National League squad in the past. He had a spell in the MDL in 2016 for Milton Keynes, and also made appearances for Belle Vue and Coventry, averaging 7.86 across all matches. Niall has successfully raced in America, and is well known in Speedway circles for riding as often as possible and going absolutely anywhere to do it! He has certainly showed us that he is keen to grab any opportunity to race for us this season to go alongside his return to the Milton Keynes team. You won’t find many keener to race and we are pleased to include him in our squad. You can find more info on Niall at www.niallstrudwick.com
Now it’s down to you to get behind this brand new Racers team! A fixture list will be released soon, once the final discussions have taken place, then we look forward to seeing some familiar (and maybe even some new) faces at our matches! Bring it on…
10/04/2017 - 2017 Team Complete
Completing the 2017 Racers “starting line-up” is Nick Laurence, whose previous experience includes riding for Bournemouth, Rye House and Mildenhall. This year he is starting the season at reserve for Lakeside in their 1st season in the National League. At 26 Nick is the “old head” in the Racers team but is keen to kick-start his racing career this year, and looks set to move forward. We are confident that his previous experience will mean he can give the younger team members some tips on away tracks that he has ridden before.
I'm really looking forward to being back racing in the National League this season for Lakeside Hammers, and also riding for Reading, I think this is a perfect opportunity to get Readings name back where it should be, there are some talented lads in the sides both at lakeside and Reading and I'm really looking forward to working with them all as the season progresses.
RSAG 3rd Rider announced
Kyle Roberts will be another familiar face to those of you who followed our challenge match against Weymouth last year, and returns to ride for us in this inaugural year of the SDL in 2017. Although Kyle is just 17 he has competed across Europe and is part of the Chris Harris Racing Team, carrying the #137 identity. He has already proved to us his desire to race for Reading, and you will rarely see anyone put in more effort on track! He also joined us for our Christmas drinks and his dancing was even more entertaining than his racing!!
Kyle is another rider who will be riding for Peterborough in the MDL this season and scored of 4+2 (and an ef), in helping them to win their first match. He also scored 8 from 3 rides in a mini individual at Wolverhampton earlier this week.
“I am thankful to Reading Racers for once again asking me to race for them in the 2017 season and represent the Winged Wheel once again. Hopefully good things will come for the team this year and we’ll be racing quite a bit and hopefully get Reading back on the speedway map. We have a strong team this year and hopefully we will be strong as a team and work together and make this happen. I can't wait to ride, let's get them engines started and the Winged Wheel flying high once again”
We think you are going to like Kyle…!
07/04/2017 - 2nd Rider announcement
Our 2nd rider announcement is every bit as exciting as the 1st! William O’Keefe has just turned 16 and is a member of the Young Lions Youth Championship run by SCB boss Neil Vatcher. He started on Grasstrack at 6 yrs old and was a British Championship runner up twice. Coming from Ipswich, William started Speedway aged 11 and our “very own” Jeremy Doncaster was a massive influence in his earliest riding days, Therefore William is very excited about representing the team that his mentor captained to 2 league titles! In fact he and his Dad Alan used to visit Smallmead regularly before its closure. William will also be riding for Peterborough in the Midland Development League and score a maximum in his only match so far this season. This is exactly the kind of rider the development leagues are set up for, and we are very excited to have him in Reading Racers colours, so please get behind him and enjoy watching his progress!
07/04/2017 - First Rider announcement
RSAG can proudly announce that our No.1 and captain for the 2017 season will be Luke Harris! Luke rode for the Racers in our challenge match at Eastbourne last summer, and hails from Hayes, just down the M4 from Reading. This season he has secured a National League team slot with Cradley Heathens, and has made a blistering start to the new season with scores of 8+1 (from 4 rides) and 9 (5) from the No.4 berth. Luke is 18 and this could be a breakthrough season for him in the NL which will mean he will be an invaluable asset as he leads the Racers!
I just want to say thank you for the Reading Promotion for asking me to ride for such a prestigious club. I know we have a team capable of beating anybody this season and I can't wait to get going, and to wear the Racers bib! I look forward to seeing and meeting everybody at our first home fixture and I am looking to guide the team for a win!
Following today's confirmation of the Racers becoming founder members of the Southern Development League, we are pleased to go into a little more detail. Plans are well advanced and you will be pleased to know that we have what we believe to be an exciting and talented squad of riders who have all shown great desire to wear the Winged Wheel in 2017 in what is truly the return of the Racers! We will announce this team over the next few days, and hope you will all agree we have gone for riders with great potential and aspirations. As previously stated we will be racing home fixtures at Eastbourne and our thanks go to the Dugard family who have been more helpful than we could ever have expected. Our fixture list is almost ready to be released so look out for that... we are keen to gauge how many fans are interested in travelling to matches, home and away, as we have the opportunity to arrange coaches, or mini buses. As I'm sure we have said before, even at this level of racing carries many costs for both us and the riders, so while we are fortunate to already have some amazing team sponsors on board, we are still looking for more, and as the season progresses we will be giving people the opportunity to sponsor individual riders so please help where you can! Finally we would like to say that while this is obviously not the 1st division of Speedway that Reading fans were used to in years gone by, please remember those last 8 years when we had nothing, and get behind us, as we see this as the 1st rung on the ladder to getting those glory days back for the Racers, and back in Reading. And not only that, these kids deserve your support! They are as keen as you will ever see, and are the very future of British Speedway!! Don't tell anyone but our season will hopefully be under way by the end of the month so we look forward to hearing from you, and seeing you there!
06/04/2017 - Breaking News - 2017 update
05/04/2017 - Southern Development League Approved
GOOD NEWS …… SOUTHERN DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE APPROVED FOR 2017 SEASON
Following much discussion the Southern Development League was approved by the SCB and will commence in April .
The SDL is to be run on the same format as the highly successful Midland Development League, who also received the rubber stamping to proceed for the seventh season .
There are potentially six sides who will contest the new league, which will run with four man 500cc sides over six heats home and away. Definite starters are Reading Racers (based at Eastbourne), Weymouth Wildcats (based at Plymouth), Exeter Falcons (based at Somerset), Kent Kestrels and Plymouth Demons. The sixth side awaiting confirmation are Iwade Crusaders .
The new league will be administered by Plymouth co-promoter Laurence Rogers, who has been the co-ordinator of the MDL for several years. He commented, “ We have patiently awaited the approval from the SCB on this new league. Initially there were moves to change the race format but this was rejected by both the MDL and SDL members. With my new involvement at Plymouth the MDL is being co-ordinated by Nigel Hinchcliffe at Scunthorpe whilst I will oversee the new league.”
“We are awaiting news from Iwade on their membership but will press ahead with the five teams we have confirmed and work Iwade into the fixtures if they are able to run in the league. I have a provisional fixture list drafted and we will release those dates once fully confirmed with all the clubs.”
“Each team is naming a squad of up to six riders and the league looks to be a competitive one with some new names in the squads declared . The MDL has done a great job giving young riders track time and involving them in a team situation in a structured league and now we can start to mirror that in the SDL. If you look at riders in the three main leagues and see where they started there is a long list of young Brits who cut their teeth at MDL level”
04/04/2017 - Automotive Paint Supplies join RSAG as sponsors for 2017
18/03/2017- Support From Local Tradesman
Wet 'n' Warm plumbing & heating engineers* give their backing to our cause. Chris, the business owner said he remembers the Racers and would love to see Speedway back in Reading.
*07575 121293 for enquiries
17/03/2017 - Welcome back Tadley Pet Supplies
We are delighted to announce that Tadley Pet Supplies will be joining us again as a sponsor for 2017.
Andrew Green from Tadley Pet Supplies said: I've supported the Racers all my life, my dad had a shop on the Basingstoke Road. I love the sport and smell 😁 I sponsored the Racers in their challenge match back in September and I'm glad to be back sponsoring the Racers during 2017.
08/03/2017 - 2017 Sponsor announcement
Dave Stevens from SBS EPOS said.
“I first went to watch the Racers in 1977 in the great days of Dave Jessup and John Davis and always visited at least once or twice a year until their sad closure a few years back. SBS EPOS have been involved in Speedway sponsorship for several years at both club and rider level and are proud to be sponsoring the Racers in their return to active racing. Hopefully this will be the first step to Speedway once again returning to what was once, and can be again a thriving Speedway centre and I look forward to the day that the Reading Racers once again have their own Speedway Track. ”
We are delighted to announcement that SBS EPOS will be joining us as sponsors for the 2017 season
05/03/2017 - Support from Local Business
We are looking for local businesses to show their support for getting the Racers back in Reading, and the guys at Caversham Plumbing Supplies were happy to be the first!
Nigel, the owner shown on the left, remembers the Racers way back in the 70s.
If you are a business in the Reading area and you would like your picture on our website, facebook page and instagram, email us on
Thursday 23rd February 2017
Exciting Developments For 2017!
With the 2017 Speedway season almost upon us and with reports out in today’s Speedway Star, we can confirm that we have been part of plans to run a Sothern Development League -or SDL- this year, and to include a Reading Racers team for you to support once again!
This was originally envisaged as being run along the same lines as the Midland model, which has been running for several years and been very successful in bringing riders from raw novices to National League standard. As per reports that are now being published, this hasn’t quite run to plan, but rest assured we are as certain as we can be that there will be a Reading Racers team competing on track regularly in 2017.
The only uncertainty centres around a disagreement between the clubs and the Speedway Control Board over the format to be used. While the SCB want each team to consist of two 500cc youngsters and 2 youth riders on smaller engines, both leagues preferred to run with the previous MDL format of four 500cc riders. A compromise was reached that kept the 4 (we didn’t approve of halving their opportunities to race), and added 2 youth riders to each team. The SCB though have now rejected this idea. The SDL and MDL are hoping that this isn’t a final verdict as every single club has said they cannot commit to a season under the SCB’s preferred format.
However if agreement can’t be reached over an official league, then the Reading Racers will be racing a series of challenge matches against a number of teams across the South – Plymouth, Weymouth, Exeter, Southampton, Iwade and Swindon were all interested in entering the SDL and are mostly committed to running challenge matches to ensure the next generation of British Speedway riders get as many rides as possible.
We are currently working hard at assembling a team of riders that will commit to riding a series of matches throughout the season in a Racers jacket, with our home matches at Eastbourne.
We will give you more concrete news as and when we have it, here, on Facebook and on twitter, but in the meantime we are happy to be able to say that we are 99% certain that Reading Speedway fans will have a team to support again in 2017!!
NB Any references in the article below suggesting that the BSPA are the party disagreeing with us are incorrect. It is the SCB who are involved.