20/03/2019 - Sponsorship Appeal
As the Reading Racers embark on their third consecutive season in the Development League, we are beyond pleased to have brought you the news of our new home at Swindon for the 2019 season.
Hopefully being this much closer to home will help our cause to be more visible and be taken more seriously by local authorities. We also very much hope that this move will make us more attractive to potential sponsors both in the Reading and Swindon areas as we still need to raise funds to keep the team breaking even for the coming year.
All money raised is spent on running costs, or passed on to riders to help cover some of their expenses - at this level all riders are running at a loss as they pursue their dreams.
So we ask one more time before the action begins and we chase a second league win in 3 years, if you or your business, or anyone you know, would like to be associated with the Racers. We have sponsorship opportunities ranging from your name and/or logo on our website, to having it proudly displayed on a Racers race jacket for the entire season. You can even donate as little as £3 a month (or more if you want to) to do your bit for your club. If you have other ideas we are always flexible!
We continue to fundraise but will always welcome new sponsors, big or small, they are all important.
Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or private message us if you or someone you know can help!
Here's to 2019!!
11/03/2019 - Racers Move Closer To Home.
The air is full of excitement and methanol fumes as the Reading Speedway management team have made a shock last minute switch in their plans for the 2019 season.
The exiled Racers team will still take their place in the Midland & Southern Development League but will now race their home matches just down the M4 at Swindon after travelling to Eastbourne for the last two seasons.
Racers' Emma Pike contacted the Wiltshire club when there were rumours concerning the future of the Eastbourne raceway at the end of last season, but there seemed to be no chance of a move.
With Eastbourne continuing to race but moving the Development League matches to Sundays- where they would stage stand alone matches - the club were all set for another season in Sussex.
However a last minute offer from Robins co-promoter Lee Kilby proved to be too good to turn down for the bosses of the nomadic team.
Emma quickly asked team managers Gene Carter and Mat Stevens to contact the riders who had already committed to 2019 to ensure they could accommodate not only the change in venue, but also in race night. The Racers will stage six "home" league matches which will follow Swindon's Premier League contests on either Monday or Thursday nights.
Emma commented "While we remain ever grateful to the Eastbourne management for continuing to accommodate us, this was really a no-brainer. We're so excited to be able to offer all those Reading fans that have missed seeing their team for so long, the opportunity to travel just along the M4 to see the winged wheel on track again. Also we hope to take advantage by securing more sponsorship, which as an amateur club with no income, we rely on massively."
While Swindon is currently the closest the Racers can possibly get to racing in Reading, the management team haven't given up on bringing the club home and their fourth member, Andy Griffin, has been busy meeting people regarding the search for a suitable site.
With Kilby's addition to the promotional ranks at Swindon, the club agreed it is important to support the Development League level of the sport.
Lee stated "We're really happy to help the Racers get on track a bit closer to home, with the added bonus of giving the Robins fans some extra value for money. We'll be offering six extra heats of action at no extra charge on the gate at least six times during the season, which is great news"
Emma and her team wished to express their gratitude to Lee and rest of the Swindon management for facilitating this arrangement, as the clubs now confer on dates for the Racers matches, with full details to be released soon.
03/03/2019 - Laurence Returns For The Racers.
As the 2019 season approaches the Reading Racers are very pleased to announce that Nick Laurence will once again be a member of their squad in the Midland and Southern Development League.
Nick was one of the leading lights in the Racers' 2017 title win, and rejoined half way through last season.
With National League experience representing the likes of Kent, Lakeside and Eastbourne he is one of the more experienced riders in the division. This makes him invaluable in the pits, advising the younger riders around him on things such as bike set ups, starting techniques and especially on those tracks that are new to them. To this end the Reading management team were unanimous in naming him as captain for this season.
Nick still retains the ambition and desire to get back in the NL, and while he starts the year without a berth, it would be surprising if he isn't one of the first riders to be contacted when clubs look for replacements or suffer injuries in their reserve positions.
Nick himself is just as keen to learn new things, and this week heads out to France practising and testing with other riders including Eastbourne stars Eddie Kennett and Alfie Bowtell.
This should be the perfect preparation for Nick to lead the Racers into a productive and successful 2019, and like his team mates Jamie Bursill, Rhys Laker, Sam Norris and Jamie Couzins, the Racers new skipper is raring to go!
Pics: Tony Burchell & Elizabeth Leslie
26/02/2019 - Sponsorship Appeal
As the Reading Racers embark on their third consecutive season in the Development League, it has been well documented how the costs of competing have increased with the change of circumstances at our adopted Eastbourne home.
Outgoings for this season will average a five fold increase per match, a massive burden for a team run by volunteers, with no income from competing.
We took this task on and we will increase our fundraising efforts, but we feel it is important to stress that we now need sponsorship and new club members more than ever if the Racers name is to remain on track.
While our main ambition is to bring Speedway back to the Reading area, we have always felt that keeping the name in the public domain is crucial to that cause.
Sponsorship deals are available at £20, £50, £500 and anywhere in between or beyond. Hopefully this makes it possible for both businesses and individuals to "do their bit".
As well as this our club membership is available from as little as £3 per month (or more if you want) by standing order, an easy way to support your team.
Even the Speedway Control Board Co-ordinator recently expressed what a huge undertaking we are embarking on as a club, and while we are proud to be this determined, we are able to admit we need your help.
With the level of sponsorship secured for 2019 we will run at a loss. It is unlikely that we can sustain this loss for more than one season.
Email us on or private message us if you or someone you know can help!
Here's to 2019!!
24/02/2019 - Namesakes Join The Racers
The Racers' second new rider for the upcoming campaign is 2018 SDL winner Jamie Couzins, who raced to the title with the Kent Kestrels last year.
At 23 years old he comes from near Faversham and has National League experience with Lakeside and Kent. Only last season Jamie made the most of a temporary stint with the Kings, averaging well over 3 points a match including bonuses, with some saying he should have kept his place.
As with many riders Jamie is looking to utilise the Development League to put himself in the shop window and get the attention of the NL promoters and team managers. The Reading management see their latest recruit as a big hitter in the newly formed Midland & Southern division, while they hope they can help him to propel himself back up the Speedway ranks.
The Racers are also thrilled to welcome back one of last year's squad, Jamie Bursill, for a second successive year in the Development League, having started riding Speedway only 3 years ago.
Jamie joined the Racers at the beginning of 2018, after making guest appearances for various teams in 2017, and proved to be a passionate and committed member of the team.
The 18 year old made great strides during last season but is s rider who is never happy with his own performance and always commands more of himself. His faith in his own ability has been justified with a place with National League side Plymouth Gladiators for 2019,
It is hoped that being part of the Reading team will perfectly compliment his bid to establish himself in the higher division and the Racers management are looking forward to playing their part in another British rider finding his way up the ladder.
The two Jamies join Rhys Laker and Sam Norris in the Racers squad, with 2 more still to be named.
Above pics by Elizabeth Leslie & NikaArt
16/02/2019 - New Squad Members Revealed
Reading are proud to announce as their 1st new squad member for 2019, 15 year old Sam Norris, a member of the Young Lions set up and a rider fast making a name for himself.
Sam, who only turned 15 at the tail end of last year, has made rapid strides since first starting Speedway just a couple of years ago at Rye House. Also a Grass Tracker, the Cambridge youngster has been a recent runner up in the 250cc youth championships, while his Speedway experience has so far been restricted to the Lions plus 2nd half and pre-meeting races at Rye and Lakeside, due to his tender years. However, having now hit 15, he was quickly snapped up by Mildenhall as their 2019 No.8, showing the high esteem he is held in.
The Racers management are extremely pleased to have Sam in their ranks, and Sam and his family are both pleased and excited to be pulling on the Winged Wheel race jacket this season in the development league, with Sam simply saying "I can't wait to get started"
Reading's 2nd rider is a familiar face from last season in 18 year old Rhys Laker. who was almost an ever present for the Racers in 2018 , and is looking for more more progress this year.
Hailing from Canterbury, he spent 2 years as the Kent Kings mascot and has done most of his laps on the Iwade and Lydd circuits. The 2018 SDL was a big learning curve with almost every track being new to him, but his pledge for this term is to get to practice sessions on as many tracks as possible.
Rhys says; "I'm really pleased to be back with Reading, I've got new equipment and a new enthusiasm and I have to aim to be a top rider in this league".
Both of these riders fit nicely with one of the aims of the development league, as Reading continue to give chances to youngsters bidding to prove themselves.
14/02/2019 - All Change For Racers
It's all change on raceday for the Reading Racers this year, as they switch to Sundays and move away from racing alongside the Eastbourne Eagles. While they will still use the Eagles' Arlington raceway they will now stage their meetings themselves, following on from amateur events at the track.
With the new partnership running the Eastbourne team taking them up to Championship level, they have decided to solely stage senior meetings on Saturday nights, ending the arrangement with the Racers that has spanned the last two years.
Fears of late finishes and extra costs for match officials have fuelled the move, causing the Reading management to make some big decisions in recent weeks.
The stadium will be host to several Sunday amateur meetings and "Powerslide" days - where beginners can hire a bike and be supervised in their first laps of a track - and the Racers matches will take place after these sessions, running 2 matches on each occasion.
The changes mean a massive increase in expenditure for the club, with the cost of staging home matches increasing around 5 fold. Club boss Emma Pike said:
"We now have to pay for all officials including the referee and first aiders as well paying rent for the stadium each time. None of us can bankroll this, we survive purely on sponsorship, donations and fundraising, so we really need anybody who can help us to step forward, we have plenty of sponsorship opportunities".
The team will compete in the newly amalgamated Midland &Southern Development League, against Birmingham, Carmarthen, Milton Keynes, Plymouth and Isle of Wight while hope remains that Weymouth will still be able to take their place in the new set up. Reading are relishing another season working with the aspiring young riders as they look to help future Great Britain stars take their first steps into team racing. Co team manager Gene Carter said:
"This is a big step for us with the extra costings, and we thought long and hard about continuing. In the end we decided it's worth it to keep the Racers name and this next generation of riders on track. The development leagues have lost enough teams, these lads can't keep having their track time cut".
The Racers will reveal two of their 2019 squad this weekend, and will have a pitch at the Celebration of Speedway event at Hertfordshire's Paradise Wildlife Park on Sunday, with both riders present.
09/02/2019 - Development League Restructure.
Reading Racers are delighted to be part of a new redesigned development league for 2019, after the AGM of the Southern and Midland leagues last weekend.
With only 3 teams able to confirm their entry into each of the divisions, it was decided to combine the 2 leagues, giving each club a minimum of 10 competitive matches this season, with 2 more of last year's teams possibly confirming their entry soon.
The Racers are joined by 2018 opponents Exeter Falcons - who will now race under the Plymouth banner - and Isle of Wight Wizards, with Weymouth Wildcats hopeful of also entering. From the Midland section, Birmingham Bulls, Milton Keynes Knights and Carmarthen Dragons will race on while Peterborough Thundercats may still join the fray. Both leagues had definitely lost one club with both Belle Vue Colts and 2018 SDL victors Kent Kings electing not to run this time around.
Teams will once again name 6 man squads, with the race format also unchanged, as the attending managers agreed there was no need to change the basics of the competition. The work begins in earnest now with the Reading management team looking to complete their own squad, while they are ready to start naming those that have already agreed to wear the Winged Wheel for this season.
They will be keen to ensure they have a title challenging team again, to follow up the SDL win and runners up position of the last 2 years. They are also keen to work with the league ethos of helping young riders to expand their knowledge and experience, as they look to push their careers forward and movement into the higher leagues. In the last 2 seasons the Racers teams have included 6 riders who have gone on to gain National League places, with 3 of them, Luke Harris, Dan Gilkes and Jamie Bursill all starting 2019 in NL line ups.
Reading first rider will be announced soon, with the club website and facebook page the first places to get the news...
04/02/2019 - Sponsorship Opportunities
Our 2019 Sponsorship packages are now available, from racejackets to our website banner... Please drop us an email on or inbox us for more details .
16/01/2019 - Reading Speedway Update
With the Reading management team busy putting things in place for the 2019 season, we would like to assure people that we are still also active in other areas.
While everybody can witness the sterling work that is done to keep a Racers team on track in the SDL, the work to find a new home for the team in the Reading area often goes under the radar.
While we cannot yet report that we have found that new home, we are constantly looking for and investigating potential sites. We are fortunate to receive help in these matters from people with many years of experience behind them.
Some sites have already been eliminated, we continue to investigate the viability of others, and if these are eventually eliminated we will no doubt already be investigating others.
We will continue to strive to keep the name of Reading Racers alive whilst searching for that golden chalice that is a track of our own. Please keep supporting us, and keep believing!
24/12/2018 - A Little Christmas Cheer...
While we can't present each and every one of you with a gift this Christmas- as much as we'd love to - we hope we can add a little cheer with the news that, subject to there being no major changes to the Southern Development League for 2019, we will again be competing and running out of Eastbourne's Arlington Stadium.
We would like to thank new Eagles chief Jon Cook for allowing us to continue with this arrangement, in his first season back in charge. We hope to see the Racers fans come out in force next season, proving that we are a club worth having on board.
Racers Moving On Up
The Reading Racers management team are delighted at the news that two of their 2018 team members have secured National League team places for 2019.
With Dan Gilkes announcing his signing for Kent Kings a week ago, and now Jamie Bursill joining Plymouth Devils, this totally verifies the role of the Development Leagues.
While Reading's biggest aim is to get back in their own stadium and competing in the one of the 3 top leagues, Emma, Gene, Andy and Mat are thrilled to be able to give these young riders a helping hand along the way to realising their ambitions.
21/11/2018 - Season Review Pt 2
Reading Racers headed into the 2nd half of the 2018 season in 3rd place knowing they had a fight on their hands to retain their SDL title.
On August 1st they travelled to Birmingham for the 2nd leg of their inter league challenge, and with this match seeing the return of Dan Gilkes they were confident of another success. However both teams went into the match with only 3 riders and with the night cut short due to the curfew, only 3 races were actually completed – heat 4 was stopped after Gilkes and Tom Spencer came to grief as the Racer attempted to charge under the Bulls rider – with the score standing at 11-7 to the home side.
On August 16th the team crossed the Solent to the Isle of Wight for what was probably their most entertaining match. The Racers triumphed 21-15 as adopted Islander Bursill starred with 8 points, Laurence and Whitehouse scored 6 with Fellows worth more than his 1 point.
By this point Kent had already wrapped up the 2018 SDL title with 3 wins in 1 day at Iwade on August 12th. For the Racers though, when the 2 teams met at Eastbourne 3 weeks later, it was still an important match as they chased the runners up spot. With William O’keefe wearing the Winged Wheel for the only time of 2018 (he had been drafted into the Kent NL side by this time), they went into the match with the strongest line-up possible against a weakened Kestrels side.
It was still level though going into the last heat, and with O’keefe pulling out after an earlier fall Laurence stepped in to partner Gilkes to a match winning 4-2, as they became the only team to lower the new champions’ colours. Laurence’s 3rd place meant he ended on 8 points, while Gilkes took 2 wins and a fall, with Whitehouse and O’keefe scoring 2 and 1 respectively.
Reading then moved onto a rearranged home match with Weymouth, and were 17-7 up when the dreaded curfew stepped in again, with Gilkes and Laurence unbeaten, Bursill on 3+1 and Laker on 2. Skipper Whitehouse’s season was over after a crash on the Isle of Wight at the beginning of the month.
And so with one match remaining the Racers sat in 3rd place in the league table, with Exeter just 1 point ahead on points difference. The home match against Isle of Wight was twice rained off, and with the only 2 dates remaining not suiting the Wizards, the match didn’t go ahead. Fate eventually ruled that even if they had attempted the last possible date on October 26th, that too would have been called off.
League co-ordinator Laurence Rogers followed a precedent set in 2017 and declared the match a draw, awarding both teams 1 point. While this didn’t suit some – it took Reading past Exeter into 2nd place in the final table – the Racers camp could argue that without postponements and early finishes, they would almost certainly have at least secured the position on points difference.
While relinquishing their league title, the season has to be seen as another success for the Reading Racers, and team managers Mat Stevens and Gene Carter had no complaints about any of their riders. They now look forward to not only continuing the work in 2019, but also working alongside the Racers new “first lady” Emma Pike and Reading Speedway veteran Andy Griffin - aided by the valuable contacts they have made in the last 2 years - in the fight to bring the Racers back home to the Reading area in the future.
1 Kent 8 4 0 0 3 0 1 186 101 14
2 Reading 8 3 1 0 2 0 2 128 105 11
3 Exeter 8 3 0 1 2 0 2 151 127 10
4 Isle of Wight 8 1 0 3 1 1 2 102 149 5
5 Weymouth 8 0 0 4 0 0 4 93 178 0
20/11/2018 - Season Review Pt 1
With 2018 over – at least as far as Speedway is concerned - we can take a look back at how the campaign began for the Reading Racers as they looked to further re-establish themselves in the Speedway world.
There was early disappointment as the riders and management had to wait a month later than expected to start their season after the first match – a home challenge against MDL side Carmarthen – was rained off on March 24th. This was a double blow as the team had also arranged to join their hosts, the Eastbourne Eagles in a photo shoot and practice session preceding the match, but all of this was lost to the weather.
It was still a home match that kicked off their SDL Title defence, with a match against Exeter on April 28th. Despite having 15 year old Dan Gilkes lead the way with a flawless 9 point maximum, Reading made hard work of a 20-16 win over a team who all but lost their number one in a first race crash, Stevie Anderson taking one more ride but finishing pointless. For the Racers, Jamie Bursill made an impressive debut with 7 points..
An early change was made when Kyle Roberts announced he was going to remain out of the saddle for a while longer after a shoulder injury in 2017. Reading moved to recruit Eastbourne reserve Charlie Brooks, the 16 year old seeking more track time to aid his progress.
After another postponed match – at home against Kent – the Racers squeezed in a challenge against Weymouth on May 19th. The match was however beset by problems with rider availability and ended up a slightly shambolic 3 against 2 as the Racers lost to a team only actually including one Weymouth rider.
On June 10th the new Racers regime broke new ground with their first individual meeting, the Bob Radford Memorial, a tribute to the man who had been the team’s manager, press officer, announcer and countless other things during their days in the professional leagues.
Limited to 6 heats, the format saw Racers Whitehouse, Bursill, Laker and Brooks joined by ex NL rider Adam Sheppard and 2017 Racer Nick Laurence. It was Laurence who emerged successful, being joined on the rostrum by Sheppard and Bursill.
On a historic day for Reading Speedway they visited Kent Kestrels on June 17th, 50 years to the day after the very first match at the team’s initial Tilehurst home. The first part of a double-header, the match at Iwade saw Reading lose their unbeaten tag (official matches) that stretched back to the beginning of 2017. With Gilkes and Brooks not available that man Laurence was drafted in to lead the team, but the Kestrels flexed their muscles with a particularly powerful line up and but for falls, could have won by more than 6 as Laker, Whitehouse and Bursill struggled to match their counterparts. On this same day Gilkes suffered a shoulder injury riding for his MDL club Peterborough, which was to rule him out for the coming weeks.
As Brooks stood down from SDL duties without making a debut, Laurence was rewarded for his impressive performances with a recall into the squad, and lined up again in the “away” match to fellow Eastbourne lodgers Weymouth on June 24th. Racers returned to winning ways as Laurence went unbeaten and captain Stephen Whitehouse enjoyed his best night of the season with 7 points (plus a bonus). With Laker and Bursill chipping in nicely, the team ran out 24-11 victors as they strived to make up ground on front runners Exeter and Kent.
The end of June saw a challenge match against the Birmingham Bulls, and with an unchanged line-up, they secured another win, this time by 22 to 14.
Back to league action, the Racers travelled to Plymouth to face Exeter in a vital match as the Falcons sat 2 points ahead of them in the table. Reading were led that night by Buxton youngster Corban Pavitt who was there on NL duty, as they had only 3 of their squad available. Pavitt performed well with 2 wins before the curfew ended the match after 5 heats as the Racers lost 18-12, Whitehouse and Bursill scoring 3 each and Laker the 4th man.
So as the Reading Racers embarked on the second half of the campaign they sat in 3rd place in the SDL on 4 points and it was clear that this was going to be a very tight run in to the season with Kent unbeaten on 8, Exeter also on 8 (from 6 matches), Isle of Wight 2 and Weymouth yet to take a point.
Pics: Tony Burchell & G Carter
18/11/2018 - Thanks From The Management...
With the 2018 season well and truly behind us it's time to thank a few people for their help this year...
Firstly a big thank you to our sponsors, not only our race jacket sponsors SPS Epos, Tadley Pet Supplies, Automotive Paints, Christian Howell and Speedway Nut, but also our pit banner sponsors, our website "brick" sponsors and anyone who has sponsored any of our fundraising activities.
Thanks also go to the Dugard family and everyone involved in running Speedway at Eastbourne, for letting us run our matches and use their facilities to keep the Racers alive.
And of course a special thank you goes to the riders that have worn the Winged Wheel this year, particularly our regular 5, Jamie Bursill, Stephen Whitehouse, Dan Gilkes, Rhys Laker and Nick Laurence, as well as their families for their essential support.
And a quick mention for Tony Burchell our photographer, and anyone who has watched us from the terraces, especially Tony Kalisz who made many long journeys in following us this year.
We can only hope we get to work with as many great people again next year!
Bernie Leigh 8.11.44 – 9.11.18
For any Reading Racers fan of the 1970's, Bernie Leigh was “one of the family”.
Solid, dependable, loyal… and no slouch on a Speedway bike either. In a time when all the superstars rode in England, and every British League team had two or three of them for their fans to choose between to select their heroes, Bernie was that favourite “other” rider for Reading fans. As many people will tell you, back then you used to invariably see the same seven riders in your team every week, but even then Bernie seemed to ALWAYS be there, the perfect example of a club man. There were no flashy bikes or leathers, he was humble and down to earth (one of his biggest sponsors was a bakery called Spindlers), and you could stand on the terraces at Reading and feel like Bernie Leigh was one of your best mates.
Originating from Southampton, Bernie joined Reading in 1969 at the original Tilehurst track, and other than a year in Swindon’s colours in 1974, while the Racers waited for their shiny new home at Smallmead to be finished, he never rode for another British club, earning a Testimonial along the way. For those who witnessed the Racers’ 1980 championship year, Bernie will always be remembered for his partnership with Bobby Schwartz, the league’s most successful pairing that year, with many, many maximum heat wins to their name.
After the 1981 season, Bernie retired from Speedway at the grand old age of 36 (it seemed about the normal age back then, nobody has told Greg Hancock yet) while he was still holding down a solid 5 point plus 2nd string average, as he had done for the past 13 years.
Bernie’s other love was Grass Track, and he enjoyed many a success over the years, with a second place in both the European and British Championships in the early 80’s, as well as being almost unbeatable in the Southern Centre Championship between the mid 70’s and mid 80’s in the 250 and 500cc classes.
Some time in the late 70’s, at the age of 7 or 8, I “adopted” Bernie Leigh as my favourite rider. I had the race jacket bearing his number from the track shop and the Racers cap that I was sure I’d seen him wearing. As well as all those 5-1’s with Boogaloo, and many other heroic displays over the years, I remember that while he may have been humble and meek looking – there was always a smile or a word for the fans when it was required – not many riders messed with Bernie without regretting it. In a dangerous sport where “fisticuffs” between riders was more commonplace than it is today, there were a few who came off worse after tangling with him. One memory that sticks in my mind is seeing a crowd of riders, officials and track staff gathered around the pit gate watching Bernie and (I think) Vaclav Verner as they entered the paddock after what had been a particularly fiery race between the two of them. Seconds later, the crowd parted and the Czech rider exited the pits, virtually horizontal with his crash helmet still intact.
All Racers fans were saddened to see his ill health at the Farewell Meeting at Smallmead in 2008, and we all knew he had not been well for a long time, but that makes it no easier to hear the news that Bernie passed away on Friday, the day after his 74th birthday. Everybody connected with Reading Speedway, from 1969 right up to now will be feeling for his family at this time, and we can only hope that it is a small comfort to them that so many people will still remember Good Ol’ Bernie Leigh a long time from now.
25/10/2018 - Final Match Awarded 0-0 Draw
The Racers' final match of 2018 against Isle of Wight Wizards will not now go ahead and has been awarded as a draw by the Southern Development League Co-ordinator Laurence Rogers.
The match was originally scheduled for September 22nd at Eastbourne but fell victim to an early call off due to bad weather. It was then rearranged for October 6th, this time getting as far as the teams assembling at the Arlington Stadium, only for the rain to again spoil everybody's plans, forcing another postponement.
With the season coming to an end and Eastbourne themselves being involved in the latter stages of the major NL competitions, there were only 2 possible dates to run the match, neither of which fitted in with the Island team and their riders, despite extensive efforts to get teams together.
Laurence Rogers was then informed and followed a precedent set last year to declare the match a 0-0 draw and award both teams 1 point.The awarded point sees the Racers overtake the Exeter Falcons to finish in the runners-up position in the SDL, having been level with the Devon side on 10 points and 1 point behind them on points difference.
While it's not the way the Reading management wanted to claim second spot, they are confident that had the outstanding fixture taken place, they would have secured the match points, having been unbeaten around the Eastbourne track this season. They also pointed to the fact that the Reading v Weymouth match was abandoned with two heats remaining on a night when they were extending their lead with each race, and would therefore have passed the Falcons on points difference had the match finished.
So the season finishes with the Reading Racers sitting in a second place that they feel is a fair reflection of their season, with Kent Kestrels having proved themselves the top team in the league when wrapping up the title back in August.
The 2018 team will meet up one more time to reflect on the season and their efforts, after which the management will start to look to 2019 and their continued efforts to find a way of bringing Speedway back to Reading.
A full review of the season will follow in the near future.
04/10/2018 - Final Act Of 2018
The curtain comes down on the 2018 speedway season for the Reading Racers this Saturday when they contest their final Southern Development League match against the Isle of Wight Wizards.
There is the small matter of the runners up position in the league to race for, and the team will be keen not to slip up against a side they beat on the holiday island back in August.
With captain Stephen Whitehouse sidelined until next year and fellow regular Jamie Bursill unavailable, the Racers draft in youngster Bailey Fellows - who impressed when helping out in the last clash with the Wizards - to fill the fourth team spot.
Nick Laurence retains the captaincy he has held since Whitehouse’s injury. And is partnered this week by Rhys Laker, who swaps from the no.2 berth to no.4, with Fellows riding at 2 alongside Dan Gilkes.
The Racers will be keen to make the most of the track time, with the season now reaching it’s conclusion, and racing opportunities beginning to dry up, especially after last week’s encounter with Weymouth was halted early meaning all riders had one less ride than usual.
The Isle of Wight bring Berkshire born Jamie Sealey to lead their side with his National League experience, with Chris Watts, James Luckman and native Islander Morgan Williams completing their team.
There is no doubt all riders will be looking to impress not only their own managers but anyone else who is watching, as everyone’s thoughts now begin to turn to next year, with National League as well as Development League team places to be filled for 2019.
1. Dan Gilkes, 2. Bailey Fellows, 3. Nick Laurence (c), 4. Rhys Laker.
Isle of Wight Wizards:
1. Jamie Sealey (c), 2. Morgan Williams, 3. James Luckman, Chris Watts.
Pics by Top Notch Media & Elizabeth Leslie
30/09/2018 - Racers Run Continues👊
Reading Racers headed off the Weymouth Wildcats by 17 points to 7 in a truncated Southern Development League match at Eastbourne on Saturday night.
Only four heats of the usual six were completed after reaching the Arlington Stadium curfew due to several delays to both the SDL match and the National League match between Eastbourne and Kent, including a major ruckus involving most of the riders and many other people in the pit area.
Reading went into their match with a strong line up and confident of taking a victory over a patched up Wildcats side that started the proceedings on the bottom of the table and a rider short.
When the SDL encounter got under way, Racers' Dan Gilkes took a predicted tapes to flag victory, while everything went on behind him. Jacob Fellows slotted into second place for Weymouth, while his team mate Andrew Palmer struggled at the back behind Rhys Laker. Laker himself was looking uncomfortable and was passed on the second lap, only to see the two Wildcats repeatedly get precariously close to each other. On the second bend of the last lap Palmer slid off, and with Fellows laying his bike down to avoid a collision, the race was stopped and awarded as a 4-2 to Reading, Palmer being disqualified for his fall.
Heat 2 was less eventful with Nick Laurence - on a very sick sounding motor - and Jamie Bursill making the gate and holding on to a 5-1 race win, although James Laker kept Bursill very honest throughout the four laps.
The third race took four attempts to run, with Dan Gilkes moving at the start first time around, the ref putting on the red lights and warning the 16 year old. In the re-run Laker slid off in an innocuous looking crash while lying second to Gilkes, causing another stoppage and an exclusion for the stricken rider. Third time out and there was a malfunction of the starting tapes as they only went up on the outside, again forcing the referee to bring them all back.
At the fourth attempt Gilkes sped away for his second win, and while his team mate Laker was fast away from the tapes, he still looked to be struggling to get around and was passed by the faster Fellows, resulting in a second 4-2 to the Racers and an eight point lead.
Heat 4 belonged to Nick Laurence, and again his partner Bursill was in second place from the start, but this time Laker - in the race to cover the missing fourth man- got just reward for his persistent efforts and passed Bursill on the very last bend to grab an extra point for his team.
With the time at 10.15pm and Weymouth unable to catch the Racers, a halt was called, with the Arlington circuit's "loose" 10 o'clock curfew having long since passed.
While the match completed a difficult 2018 season for the Wildcats, the Racers go again next week in their final match against the Isle of Wight Wizards, still knowing that another victory will see them finish second in the Southern Development League. They now sit level on points with the Exeter Falcons, but just one point behind on points difference. The Reading side of the pits will feel that if the Weymouth match had finished, their lead would have been extended, therefore moving ahead of the Falcons.
The Racers are now determined to put things right next week and will go into the match with the Wizards looking for a big performance to take a 7th win out of 8 league matches this year. No doubt the riders will also be looking to impress as the Racers bosses wrap up the campaign and start to move one eye to 2019.
Dan Gilkes 6, Rhys Laker 2, Nick Laurence 6, Jamie Bursill 3+1.
Andrew Palmer 0, James Laker 3, Jacob Fellows 4.
Ht 1. Gilkes, Fellows, R Laker, Palmer fx.
Ht 2. Laurence, Bursill, J Laker, Fellows.
Ht 3. Gilkes, Fellows, R Laker, J Laker fx.
Ht 4. Laurence, J Laker, Bursill, Palmer.
Above pics by Top Notch Media
26/09/2018 - Match-Up With Weymouth
Reading Racers face the Weymouth Wildcats this Saturday September 29th as they continue their quest for runners up spot in the league.
The Racers will track the same quartet that were set to race last weekend against the Isle of Wight before the weather intervened. Nick Laurence will wear the captain's armband in the continued absence of Stephen Whitehouse, who continues to recover from his season ending injuries, sustained at the beginning of the month.
Dan Gilkes heads the team fresh from his debut at National League level at Kent, where he rode in a challenge match for a Lakeside Select team, storming to 11 and a bonus from 5 rides. The whole of the NL now seem even more excited at the prospect of him stepping up a level next year.
Jamie Bursill missed the team's last completed match back on September 1st but is raring to go as he looks for a couple of big scores to finish the season.
Rhys Laker will be looking to emulate the last match against the Wildcats, when he had his best night of the season, scoring 4+1.
Weymouth themselves have endured a season long struggle with rider availability and injuries, and with more riders taking knocks the longer the season goes on, they go into this weekend missing a rider once again. Squad member Jacob Fellows is joined by Andrew Palmer and James Laker, with all 3 eligible to take an extra ride to cover the 4th team spot if required.
With last week's washout meaning there are still two matches to race, Reading will be in action at Eastbourne 2 weeks running, the Isle of Wight Wizards having agreed to come back on October 6th to wrap up the SDL fixtures for 2018.
Reading Racers: 1. Dan Gilkes, 2. Rhys Laker, 3. Nick Laurence (c), 4. Jamie Bursill.
Weymouth Wildcats; 1. TBC, 2. Andrew Palmer, 3. James Laker, 4. Jacob Fellows.
📷 Dan Gilkes & Jamie Bursill by Tony Burchell & Elizabeth Leslie
17/09/2018 - Spell Binding Date With The Wizards
Reading Racers head into the penultimate match of their 2018 season this Saturday September 22nd at Eastbourne against the Isle of Wight Wizards.
It's the last match of the season for the islanders, who will finish 4th in the league regardless of the result. Reading however will pull level with Exeter in second place if they win, with a match still to go as they attempt to finish just 2 points behind winners Kent.
Reading will be without captain Stephen Whitehouse who is recovering from facial, rib, abdomen, spleen and leg injuries sustained, ironically on the Isle of Wight earlier this month.
It means Reading have little choice in selecting their line up with only 4 squad members available and will for one of the rare occasions this year, track both of their top two in Nick Laurence and Dan Gilkes. Jamie Bursill and Rhys Laker both return to the side after missing the victory over Kent at the beginning of September.
The Wizards bring the experienced Berkshire born Jamie Sealey, backed by the capable Chris Watts. They are joined by rookies Morgan Williams and James Luckman.
The match will follow the NL match between Eastbourne and favourites for the league title Mildenhall Tigers.
Reading Racers: 1. Dan Gilkes 2. Rhys Laker 3. Nick Laurence (c) 4. Jamie Bursill.
Isle of Wight Wizards: 1. Jamie Sealey (c) 2. Morgan Williams 3. James Luckman 4. Chris Watts.
📷 Tony Burchell Images
09/09/2018 - Racers Captain Injured
Reading captain Stephen Whitehouse took a serious fall on the Isle of Wight on Thursday night whilst taking part in their season finale extravaganza.
Stephen was dicing with Chris Watts when he crashed on the last lap, and immediately knew he'd done some damage.
He was taken to hospital on the island with a suspected broken femur, but fortunately this was later ruled out.
Stephen remains in the hospital and faced an operation on Sunday afternoon to investigate a suspected hernia and a damaged spleen.
As well as the severely bruised leg, he also took a heavy knock to his knee, suffered damage to his eye, and internal bruising to his abdomen.
The Isle of Wight promotion and riders have been doing their best to cheer him up and he is in good spirits considering his discomfort.
All of Stephen's racewear was cut off by paramedics as is standard procedure and he has already received donations from the Warriors public and management to help him replace it. If there is anyone else who would like to help Stephen out, please email us at
02/09/2018 - Racers Remain On Course
Reading Racers carved out a 19-17 win against the new Southern Development League Champions Kent Kestrels at Eastbourne on Saturday night.
The Racers tracked a strong team as they attempted to become the first side to defeat the Kestrels. However they made hard work of it despite the new Champs being weakened by the loss of two of their regular top scorers. Alex Spooner in particular was a big miss, being unbeaten in 21 races in the league this year. Pulling in Max Pankhurst and Chris Watts to plug the gaps, the Kestrels knew this would be a tough match but stuck to their task and took the Racers to a last heat decider.
Heat one started exactly as Reading were hoping as Dan Gilkes led from the start with team mate Stephen Whitehouse behind him looking for a maximum heat win. Whitehouse though got into trouble on the 4th bend, hitting some grip and launching himself into the air fence. The re run was a tapes to flag win for Gilkes ahead of Pankhurst and Andrew Palmer.
The second race also looked like being a 5-1 to Reading, with Nick Laurence and William O'keefe leading the way until the latter was passed by Jamie Couzins on the 2nd lap. It did however give Reading a 2 point lead.
Heat 3 saw a ragged first two bends, resulting in Gilkes having little room and colliding with the fence and coming down. He remounted to give chase but his bike was damaged and he failed to finish. Couzins took the win ahead of Whitehouse and Watts to level the scores at 9 apiece.
Another possible 5-1 was lost in the fourth when Laurence and O'keefe led after Pankhurst had started from a 15m handicap for breaking the tapes. O'keefe slid off on the second bend of the second lap, and although Palmer laid his bike down to avoid him, he did manage to remount and follow his team mate home to share the points.
Laurence again led all the way in heat 5 but the race of the night ws going on behind him. Whitehouse and Watts swapped places several times as the home man stuck to the outside line, and looked to have sealed it going into the third bend of the last lap only to drift out and again crash into the fourth bend fence.
With the scores level at 15-15 and one race left, O'keefe withdrew complaining of pain in his knee from his earlier crash. Laurence replaced him and led the race from Gilkes as the Racers looked to wrap up the win. Gilkes moved ahead of his team mate and Couzins eventually relieved a tiring Laurence of second but the 4-2 was enough to take the league points at 19-17.
While Kent will no doubt be disappointed to lose their 100% record, the Racers maintain their push for runners up spot in the league. They now need to win their last two matches, both taking place at Eastbourne this month.
Reading; Dan Gilkes 6, Stephen Whitehouse 2, William O'keefe 1, Nick Laurence 10.
Kent: Max Pankhurst 4, Andrew Palmer 3+3, Jamie Couzins 7, Chris Watts 3.
Ht 1. Gilkes, Pankhurst, Palmer, Whitehouse fx.
Ht 2. Laurence, Couzins, O'keefe, Watts.
Ht 3. Couzins, Whitehouse, Watts, Gilkes ef.
Ht 4. Laurence, Pankhurst, Palmer, O'keefe f.
Ht 5. Laurence, Watts, Palmer, Whitehouse f
Ht 6. Gilkes, Couzins, Laurence, Pankhurst.
Pics; Racers' top scorers Nick Laurence & Dan Gilkes (by Andy Griffin)
28/08/2018 - Racers Tackle New Champions
Reading Racers are in action this Saturday as they take on the Kent Kestrels, their successors as Southern Development League Champions. The Iwade based side clinched the title last month when they completed a hat-trick of wins in one day to put themselves on an unnattainable 14 points, and also remain unbeaten in the league in seven matches this year, with only this weekend's tussle with the Racers still to come. Reading were themselves unbeaten in their own Championship winning campaign last season and will be keen to put one over the new Champs.
There are doubts over the fitness of Kent’s leading man Alex Spooner after a big smash last week, but if he lines up the match will throw together two major forces in the league. Spooner and the home team's Dan Gilkes are both unbeaten in SDL competition this season, although Gilkes has only competed in two matches whereas his counterpart has won a remarkable 21 consecutive races, leading his side in all their seven contests so far. Spooner has used the league to good effect, finding the extra track time along with the confidence gained from such a run the perfect back up for his racing in the National League, where he has successfully made his mark in 2018.
Gilkes meanwhile has resisted offers to race in the NL this season while he has finished his schooling, but is widely expected to enter the higher league in 2019, and is regarded by many experts to have a bright future in the sport.
It will be the first time this year the Racers have been able to put their two big guns in the team together as Nick Laurence lines up alongside Gilkes.
With Jamie Bursill unavailable and after several attempts, Reading are finally able to include squad member William O'keefe in their team for his 2018 debut in their colours. A regular in the winged wheel race jacket last year, William has been either racing in the NL or laid up with injury each time the management have tried to include him this season.
Kent are at this point unsure of their team’s make up, as they await news on Spooner, and also on the availability of Jacob Clouting, who has also starred for them on many occasions this year. They have however confirmed Andrew Palmer and Jamie Couzins, who have both played their part in the Kestrels’ title win.
A win in this match will keep the Racers' target of finishing league runners up a possibility, with two more home matches to come against Isle of Wight Wizards and Weymouth Wildcats before the season ends.
The action against the Kestrels this Saturday will take place after the NL match between Eastbourne and Kent's senior team, the Kings, at the Arlington raceway.
1. Dan Gilkes, 2. Stephen Whitehouse, 3. William O'keefe, 4. Nick Laurence.
1.TBC, 2. Andrew Palmer, 3. Jamie Couzins, 4. TBC.
Pics; Dan Gilkes & Nick Laurence (by Top Notch Media & Elizabeth Leslie
21/08/2018 - Racers Go Wild For Weymouth
Reading Racers go back into home action this Saturday with a match against the Weymouth Wildcats at Eastbourne’s Arlington Raceway.
Coming off the back of an away win on the Isle of Wight last Thursday, the Racers are looking to go unbeaten in their final three matches of the season as they bid to finish as runners up in the Southern Development League, after claiming the title last year.
They have already been victorious over Weymouth this season and are confident of another win against the yet-to-win Dorset nomads.
After a slight re-jig of the line-up on Thursday seemed to be successful, Stephen Whitehouse will remain at No.2, with Rhys Laker moving to No.4. Club senior Nick Laurence sits this one out as unbeaten 16 year old Dan Gilkes comes back determined to further master the Sussex track.
Wildcats’ No.4 Bailey Fellows stood in for Reading on the island, winning some new admirers along the way, looking far better than his single point return.
Reading’s next battle will be with the new and undefeated Kent Kestrels on September 1st, with their outstanding match against Isle of Wight on September 22nd, both matches being at home.
Reading Racers: 1. Dan Gilkes, 2. Stephen Whitehouse, 3. Jamie Bursill, 4. Rhys Laker.
Weymouth Wildcats: 1. TBC, 2. Martyn Smith, 3. Jacob Fellows, 4. Bailey Fellows.
Pic: Dan Gilkes & Jamie Bursill by Tony Burchell
17/08/2018 - Racers back On Song
Reading Racers returned to winning ways in the Southern Development League on Thursday night with a win on the Isle of Wight.
The Racers took a 21-15 win over the Wizards with Jamie Bursill starring for them after racing for the Island's senior team in the preceding National League match. The 17 year old dropped just one point for Reading as they maintained their chances of finishing 2nd in the league.
Nick Laurence led from the gate in heat 1 but it was tight behind him as Stephen Whitehouse kept the throttle open to round Ben Ilsley after they exited the 2nd bend side by side, to follow his team mate home for a 5-1 heat advantage.
In the second Bursill made the gate ahead of Jamie Sealey, Chris Watts and Racers' guest rider Bailey Fellows, the order remaining unchanged for a drawn heat.
Bursill came back out for heat 3 to lead all the way once more. Fellows had an eventful race as he pressed Ilsley for 2nd place, while defending third from a persistent Rob Watts behind him. The 4-2 heat win stretched the Racers' lead to 12 points to 6.
In the fourth race Whitehouse trapped and held his nerve around the first 2 bends, resisting the challenging Sealey while Chris Watts tried to hold off Laurence. The Reading No.1 found a way past on the 2nd lap, while Sealey was rewarded for his efforts when getting past Whitehouse on the 3rd, the second drawn heat of the match maintaining Reading's 6 point lead.
Whitehouse capped a good night when winning heat 5 ahead of Chris Watts and Ilsley, although Fellows kept the home pair honest for much of the race, deserving more than his 1 point total for the night.
In the sixth and final race, track specialist Bursill was at it again, jetting from the tapes and leaving Sealey and Laurence scrapping for 2nd place. Sealey shook his opponent off to chase the race leader and eventually overhaul him to take the win. With the race being shared it left the final score at 21-15 in favour of the visiting Racers team, in a match that was hard to predict before the start.
The win leaves the Racers on 6 points with 3 matches left, all at home, 4 points behind Exeter who have completed their matches. Wins in all 3 would see them finish 2nd behind Kent, who have already sealed the title win.
Reading's next match is at Eastbourne against basement team Weymouth on August 25th.
Isle of Wight Wizards 15;
Rob Watts 0, Ben Ilsley 4+1, Jamie Sealey 8, Chris Watts 3+1.
Reading Racers 21;
Nick Laurence 6+1, Stephen Whitehouse 6+2, Jamie Bursill 8, Bailey Fellows 1.
Ht 1. Laurence, Whitehouse, Ilsley, R Watts.
Ht 2. Bursill, Sealey, C Watts, Fellows.
Ht 3. Bursill, Ilsley, Fellows, R Watts.
Ht 4. Sealey, Laurence, Whitehouse, C Watts.
Ht 5. Whitehouse, C Watts, Ilsley, Fellows.
Ht 6. Sealey, Bursill, Laurence, R Watts.
Pics; Jamie Bursill celebrates, and Nick Laurence and Stephen Whitehouse warm up.
13/08/2018 - Away Day For The Racers
Reading Racers travel to the Isle of Wight this Thursday to face this season’s new Southern Development League team the Wight Wizards.
It’s the first trip across the Solent for Reading since their resurrection and entry into the junior league last year. A National League standard challenge match between the two sides last season fell victim to bad weather, meaning they haven’t crossed swords for over 12 years.
The Wizards rode at the weekend, losing to the Kent Kestrels as the Iwade based team clinched the 2018 league title with 3 convincing wins in one day.
The Racers will be missing the back from injury teenager Dan Gilkes, but will have their other top man Nick Laurence leading the team. He is backed by Jamie Bursill, who is something of a track specialist, appearing regularly at the Ryde track. Captain Stephen Whitehouse continues to be an ever-present this year, but fourth regular Rhys Laker is unavailable. Sixteen year old Bailey Fellows steps in as cover for Laker.
Having used a team of relatively raw novices – including blooding some riders from their own training school – for the majority of their matches this season, the Wizards have opted for a much more experienced line-up to take on the outgoing League Champions. Their former National League reserve Jamie Sealey leads the team and is backed by accomplished Grass Track rider Ben Ilsely, and brothers Chis and Rob Watts.
The return match at Eastbourne on September 1st has been the victim of a fixture amendment and that date will now see the Racers face their successors Kent Kestrels, as they bid to be the only team to beat the new Champions.
Isle Of Wight Wizards;
Rob Watts, 2. Ben Ilsley, 3. Jamie Sealey, 4. Chris Watts.
Nick Laurence, 2. Stephen Whitehouse (c), 3. Jamie Bursill, 4. Bailey Fellows.
Pic: Bailey Fellows
02/08/21018 - Hard Night's Work For Racers
Reading Racers endured an evening to forget last night in their trip to Birmingham for an inter-league challenge match against the Bulls, losing 11-7 in a curtailed affair at Perry Barr.
The Racers had won against the Bulls at Eastbourne in June and were confident of putting on another good display, but with both teams missing a rider due to late withdrawals, the omens were there that this was a match that wouldn’t run smoothly.
The start of the preceding National League match between Birmingham and Cradley Heath was delayed due to lack of a suitable ambulance at the track, and with a few of the standard falls and delays, the development League match was always going to be struggling to finish before the 10pm curfew.
Dan Gilkes (above) made his return from a shoulder injury for the Racers and in heat 1 looked like he had never been away, streaking from the tapes to lead the race throughout. Bulls’ Jamie Sealey and Bailey Fellows filled the minor places ahead of Rhys Laker for a drawn heat.
Dan was out again in heat 2 taking the replacement ride for the absent Jamie Bursill and was joined at the front by his team skipper Stephen Whitehouse in the early stages. But while Dan went on to another win, Stephen succumbed to the pressure from firstly Tom Spencer and then Bailey Fellows. Whitehouse did make a brave move to pass Fellows going into the first bend on the final lap, only to be repassed as they exited the bend.
As the third race began the scored were level at 6 apiece, but the Bulls looked to be taking a 2 point lead as Spencer led from Whitehouse, Sealey and Laker. However, the Reading captain slid off into the fouth bend air fence, leaving his opponents to take a 5-1 heat advantage and a four point lead overall.
With time already running out, it looked like the fourth race would be the last of the six to take place with the tapes rising at 9.56pm. Gilkes appeared again, but this time, on a spare bike due to clutch problems with his favoured machine, he was beaten from the gate by Spencer. With Laker trailing at the back Gilkes chased his rival determinedly, but while this bike looked visibly slower than the last, he found some extraordinary speed as he dived up the inside of Spencer going into the first bend of the second lap. In truth it never looked like he would come out of the bend upright, and when the inevitable fall occurred, Spencer came down with him. While Gilkes was excluded from the race, there was no time for a re-run and the result was called at 11-7 with three heats completed.
Development League Speedway is designed to be a learning curve for budding riders, and this match was certainly an education for them, particularly the Reading camp, and proved that the life of a Speedway rider is not always a glamorous one! While they will likely want to forget this one, these days are as important as the good ones and its fair to say they all learned something.
Racers go back into SDL action on August 16th on the biggest track in the country on the Isle of Wight.
Birmingham Bulls 11: Jamie Sealey 4+1, Tom Spencer 5, Bailey Fellows 2+2.
Reading Racers 7: Dan Gilkes 6, Rhys Laker 1, Stephen Whitehouse 0.
Ht 1. Gilkes, Sealey, Fellows, Laker.
Ht 2. Gilkes, Spencer, Fellows, Whitehouse.
Ht 3. Spencer, Sealey, Laker, Whitehouse (f).
Racers Look For 2nd Win Over Bulls
Reading Racers travel to the Midlands on Wednesday for an inter league challenge match with their MDL counterparts Birmingham Bulls.
The Racers go into this on the back of a league defeat to Exeter at the weekend, so will be looking to get back to winning ways, particularly after beating the Bulls in the home leg back in June.
Both teams go into the match a rider short after suffering late withdrawals. Despite the respective team managers contacting many riders to step in, at this level where riders hold down day jobs, or depend on their parents for transport, it proved to be too short notice.
This match sees the return of Racers' highly rated 16 year old Dan Gilkes, who has missed the last 7 weeks with a shoulder injury.
Both teams will operate the rider replacement facility meaning each of their 3 riders will get an extra race.
1. Jamie Sealey, 2. R/R, 3. Tom Spencer, 4. Bailey Fellows.
1. Dan Gilkes, 2. Rhys Laker, 3. R/R, 4. Stephen Whitehouse (c).
28/07/2018 - Racers Defeated In Deepest Devon
Reading Racers went down to a six point defeat at the hands of Exeter Falcons last night in the Southern Development League.
The match, held at Plymouth's St Boniface Arena, was an entertaining and eventful affair before it was halted after the fifth heat due to the curfew, with the score standing at 18- 12 to the home team.
While Reading brought in Buxton 15 year old Corban Pavitt to fill their vacant No.1 spot, the Falcons were forced into a change of their own when their No.3 Macauley Leek was injured in the preceding National League match. Exeter's managers moved quickly to ask Buxton's Sam Wooley to step in.
Home man Adam Sheppard gated first in heat 1 but was passed by Pavitt at the end of the opening lap, while Rhys Laker trailed Max Pankhurst making it a drawn heat.
The second saw a good start for the Racers as captain Stephen Whitehouse led from the start with team mate Jamie Bursill behind him. Wooley however worked his way past them both before encountering some scary moments as he struggled with bend 2 on the last 2 laps, almost letting Whitehouse back in.
With the scores still level at 6 apiece, the Racers skipper again gated well but found himself in third place behind Sheppard and Bursill as they finished the first lap. Pankhurst then forced his way past as they entered the second, and made ground on Bursill. On the second bend third time around Whitehouse collided with the airfence, and with Pankhurst passing a visibly slowing Bursill as the red lights came on the referee awarded a 5-1 heat advantage to the Falcons making the score 11-7.
Bursill protested that he slowed because he saw the red lights, and later produced a photo showing that he was still in front of Pankhurst after they came on.
In heat 4 Woolley made the start but was soon passed by the determined and impressive Pavitt who went on to his 2nd win. At the back, Sutton scored his first point by keeping Laker, on his first visit to the track, in fourth place for a 3-3.
Whitehouse completed a hat-trick of excellent starts in heat 5 but again couldn't make it count as Pankhurst passed him and went to his first win. Sutton also got the better of Laker for a second time to stretch the lead to 6.
When heat 6 began, the Falcons duo Sheppard and Wooley streaked into the lead, but entering the third bend Sheppard came to grief causing Pavitt to lay down his machine and Bursill to take evasive action giving the referee no choice but to stop the race. With only one minute left to the 9.45pm curfew, there was no chance of staging a re-run, leaving a final score of 18-12.
Although a disappointing loss for the Racers, the match showed the Exeter quartet to be solid and very capable on the small Plymouth track. With this win cementing the Falcons’ second place in the table, the Racers can afford few more mistakes if they are to challenge for a second successive title win. They move onto a challenge match at Birmingham this Wednesday August 1st when Dan Gilkes makes his return from injury against another solid team.
Adam Sheppard 5, Max Pankhurst 6+2, Sam Wooley 5, Mick Sutton 2+1
Corban Pavitt 6, Rhys Laker 0, Jamie Bursill 3, Stephen Whitehouse 3+1
Ht 1. Pavitt, Sheppard, Pankhurst, Laker.
Ht 2. Wooley, Bursill, Whitehouse, Sutton.
Ht 3. Sheppard, Pankhurst, Bursill, Whitehouse (f)
Ht 4. Pavitt, Wooley, Sutton, Laker.
Ht 5. Pankhurst, Whitehouse, Sutton, Laker.
Above pics: Jamie Bursill & Stephen Whitehouse by Gene Carter
24/07/2018 - Racers Look To Raid Falcons' Nest
Reading Racers travel to Plymouth this Friday to take on the Exeter Falcons, and include a new face in what is likely to be a one-off for the club.
With top riders Dan Gilkes and Nick Laurence both unavailable, the Racers' management have moved to draft in Corban Pavitt, the highly rated 15 year old from Maryport in Cumbria for this Southern Development League match. Corban was racing in the 125cc class of the British Youth series just last year but attracted a lot of attention with his performances and was quickly snapped up to race in the National League with Buxton this season.
With Buxton racing at Plymouth on the same night as the Racers, it's probably the only time the young Cumbrian will be seen in the Southern section of the Youth Development Leagues.
The Racers line-up remains otherwise unchanged as team captain Stephen Whitehouse (19), the tenacious Jamie Bursill (17) and improving Kent youngster Rhys Laker (17) all enjoy an extended run in the team, each of them being ever-presents for the Reading club in 2018.
Exeter are led by 18 year old NL rider Macauley Leek, and include former Reading fan Adam Sheppard (24), from Surrey, alongside senior riders Mick Sutton and Max Pankhurst.
It's a tough away match for the Racers quartet, who have an average age of just 17, but this season has seen a growing team bond among their riders, who all aspire to reaching higher levels within the sport, and the management are confident this will keep them in the hunt for a second successive league title.
The Racers currently sit third in the SDL table behind Kent Kestrels and Exeter themselves. They suffered their first SDL loss to the Kestrels last month and will look for revenge when they face them in a home match at Eastbourne on a date to be confirmed. They will also look to take advantage of having two matches in hand over Exeter.
1. Adam Sheppard 2. Max Pankhurst 3. Macauley Leek 4. Mick Sutton
1. Corban Pavitt 2. Rhys Laker 3. Jamie Bursill 4. Stephen Whitehouse
Above pics; Corban Pavitt & Rhys Laker by Jennifer Charlton & Tony Burchell
10/07/2018 - Racers In Round 2 With The Wildcats
Reading Racers face Southern Development League rivals Weymouth on Saturday night for the second time in 3 weeks.
The Racers came out on top the last time around by 24 points to 11, but it is likely to be a very different prospect this weekend.
Reading will go into the match at Eastbourne with a line-up unchanged now in four matches, which has resulted in a very settled set of riders with a growing team spirit and a not unimpressive set of results behind them. The club’s managers will however have decisions to make in August with Dan Gilkes determined to be available again after breaking his shoulder at Peterborough in mid-June.
Sixth squad member William O’keefe has had injuries of his own, resulting in losing his National League team place at Stoke, but has recently signed for Kent. He remains a Racer as far as the SDL is concerned although he has still to make his 2018 debut after helping them to the SDL title last season.
Weymouth bring a very different team for this encounter, tracking four squad members, a seemingly simple feat that has unfortunately not proved straightforward for them on many occasions so far this year. The Wildcats may be seeking their first win of the season, but this is almost certainly their best line-up, and should be a real challenge for a Racers team who themselves know that a big win would put them on top of the league on points difference.
All this will mean that this could be one of the closest SDL match-ups of 2018, with the added spice of both teams using Eastbourne as their home track this year, and being desperate for bragging rights.
1.Nick Laurence, 2. Rhys Laker, 3. Jamie Bursill, 4. Stephen Whitehouse (c).
1.Luke Barnes, 2. Jordan Bull, 3. Bailey Fellows, 4. Connor Fletcher.
Pics: Jamie Bursill & Saturday's Racers team. By Elizabeth Leslie & Tony Burchell.
01/07/2018 - Racers Triumph Over Midland Rivals
Reading Racers triumphed 22 - 14 in an inter-league challenge match with Midlands Development League team Birmingham Bulls at Eastbourne on Saturday night.
They went into the match with a team unchanged now in 3 matches, while Bulls' boss Laurence Rogers drafted in Peterborough's Tom Spencer and amateur rider Martyn Smith to complete his side.
Racers No.1 Nick Laurence took an early lead in heat 1 ahead of Bulls' Rachel Hellowell, while her team mate and NL rider Arran Butcher made hard work of passing Rhys Laker for third place before his bike failed him on the 3rd lap to give Reading a 4-2 heat advantage.
In heat 2 Racers's skipper Stephen Whitehouse made an audacious cut under everyone on the first bend to lead briefly but was passed by Spencer and fellow Racer Jamie Bursill. Bursill buzzed around behind Spencer for 4 laps without ever really getting the chance to strike.
Spencer looked quicker in the next, making the gate and leading Laurence for over a lap before relinquishing first place to the local rider. Behind them Laker took another point, keeping his cool to lead Smith home and give his team an 11-7 overall advantage.
Butcher was more lively in the 4th, winning the race to the first bend but succumbing to an inside swoop by Bursill to take a lead he held until the chequered flag. Whitehouse rode a steady race to hold 3rd place place ahead of Hellowell to stretch his team's lead to 6 points.
Out again in heat 5, Whitehouse gated well and led from start to finish, while Laker and Hellowell had an early battle around the first 2 bends, resulting in the Bull locking up and retiring from the race. Smith was settled in second place, ensuring Laker didn't get close enough to challenge.
With Reading already assured of the win, heat 6 was nevertheless a hard fought encounter. Butcher made the start ahead of Laurence and Bursill. While Laurence gave chase for the lead, Spencer closed in on Bursill as they crossed the line to enter the 3rd lap. They tangled in the next bend, both coming down in an untidy heap causing the race to be stopped. Referee Paul Carrington adjudged that the Birmingham rider had run into the back of his opponent, and awarded the race a 3-3 drawn heat.
While the Reading camp admitted that the 8 point winning margin was more than they had expected, it reflected not only the growing confidence of 17 yer old Laker around the Arlington oval, but also the steady return to scoring of Whitehouse who had endured a difficult start to the season. This together with the ever reliable Laurence and Bursill always being in the thick of the action, is making the Reading outfit a difficult team to beat on their home patch.
Racers return to league action in 2 weeks with a home clash against Weymouth Wildcats on Saturday July 14th.
Reading Racers 22
Laurence 8, Laker 3, Bursill 6+1, Whitehouse 5+1.
Birmingham Bulls 14
Butcher 5, Hellowell 2, Spencer 5, Smith 2.
Ht 1. Laurence, Hellowell, Laker, Butcher ef.
Ht 2. Spencer, Bursill, Whitehouse, Smith.
Ht 3. Laurence, Spencer, Laker, Smith.
Ht 4. Bursill, Butcher, Whitehouse, Hellowell.
Ht 5. Whitehouse, Smith, Laker, Hellowell ef.
Ht 6. Butcher, Laurence, Bursill, Spencer ex.
Above pics: Racers fan Tony Kalisz gets a surprise snap with the team while Jamie Bursill watches heat 3 with interest. By Andy Griffin.
26/06/2018 - Racers Up For A Bull Fight.
Reading Racers take a break from league action to stage their first challenge match of the season this Saturday, after their season opener against the Carmarthen Dragons was washed out by rain.
The Southern Development League Champions will face Midland League team Birmingham Bulls at Eastbourne in an inter-league match that looks to be a stern test for them.
The Bulls are run by experienced promotor and SDL co-ordinator Lawrence Rogers, and he brings Birmingham’s National League rider Arran Butcher to spearhead his team. Also lining up is one of the few female riders in league racing Rachel Hellowell, racing on what will be her 24th birthday.
Reading go with a familiar line-up as they track the four riders who have represented them in their last two matches, with last Saturday’s maximum man Nick Laurence leading the way.
Rhys Laker, buoyed by his best performance to date in the match against Weymouth, returns to partner Nick, while Skipper Stephen Whitehouse, another looking to continue a return to form, partners 17 year old Jamie Bursill to make up the other pairing.
Challenge matches have been encouraged by the Development Leagues’ hierarchy, in a bid to give the young riders experience on a wider variety tracks as well as more time on their bikes. The Racers will revert back to league racing on July 14th when they face Weymouth again in the return match, again at Eastbourne.
1. Nick Laurence, 2. Rhys Laker, 3. Jamie Bursill, 4. Stephen Whitehouse (c).
1. Arran Butcher, 2. Rachel Hellowell (c), 3. TBC, 4. James Spencer.
Pics; Rhys Laker & Stephen Whitehouse. By Tony Burchell
24/06/2018 - Racers Back With A Win Against Wildcats
Reading Racers took the spoils in a Southern Development League clash with Weymouth Wildcats at Eastbourne last night.
While both teams are using the Sussex track for home matches this year, this one was the away match for the Racers and they went into it on the back of an away defeat to Kent last week. They lined up with same four riders, their other 2 squad members Dan Gilkes and William O’keefe both being on the injured list.
Weymouth were looking for their first win of the campaign, and had their own selection problems, including injuries and other commitments such as the British Youth Championships, but brought in the capable Max Pankhurst and Luke Whitehead to fill the gaps.
It was a tight affair in the early stages, Nick Laurence winning heat 1 comfortably for the Racers but with his partner Rhys Laker running last it looked like a share of the points until Jacob Fellows fell on the 3rd bend of the second lap, gifting the “visitors” an advantage.
Heat 2 took four attempts to get underway, firstly with Reading captain Stephen Whitehouse breaking the tapes and being penalised 15 metres. Then the race was pulled back twice due to Fellow Racer Jamie Bursill moving at the start, resulting in the 17 year old being disqualified from the race. When they finally got away Whitehouse made short work of catching and passing James Jessop, but couldn’t gain any ground on Pankhurst. It was heading for a levelling of the scores until Jessop slipped off on the last bend, again gifting the Racers, as it meant a 3-2 heat win for Weymouth rather than a 4-2.
With Weymouth trailing by a point, Whitehead became the third of their riders to fall, coming to grief in heat 3 while leading. In the re-run Bursill emerged from the second bend with the lead, and Whitehouse dived through the big gap left by Fellows as they entered the third, leaving Reading 11-6 up and Weymouth cursing their luck.
Racers’ top man Laurence took another win next time out with Pankhurst a comfortable second. Behind them Laker recovered from a very nervous initial ride to win his first competitive point as he got the better of Jessop at the back.
Laker was back out in heat 5, and was now clearly enjoying things more, following Whitehouse home for a 5-1, despite the attentions of the ever-pressing Fellows behind him. Whitehouse himself had been struggling for form and was more than pleased with his 7 point return.
With Reading now in an unassailable eleven point lead it looked like they were going to finish with a maximum in the sixth and final heat until Pankhurst passed Bursill for second place, while Laurence was at the front completing his own maximum.
A final score line of 11-24 left Weymouth manager Martin Peters reflecting on his team’s lack of luck against the Racers, and knowing that the defeat could have been by a narrower margin. While the Reading management were happy to take a deserved win and gain ground on league leaders Exeter.
Reading are in home action next week with an inter league challenge against Birmingham Bulls, while their next league match is the return against Weymouth on July 14th.
Weymouth Wildcats 11;
Luke Whitehead 2, Jacob Fellows 2, Max Pankhurst 7, James Jessop 0.
Reading Racers 24;
Nick Laurence 9, Rhys Laker 4+1, Bursill 4, Whitehouse 7+1.
Ht.1 Laurence, Whitehead, Laker, Fellows f
Ht.2 Pankhurst, Whitehouse, Jessop f, Bursill ex
Ht.3 Bursill, Whitehouse, Fellows, Whitehead fx
Ht.4 Laurence, Pankhurst, Laker, Jessop
Ht.5 Whitehouse, Laker, Fellows, Jessop
Ht.6 Laurence, Pankhurst, Bursill, Whitehead
Pic by Tony Burchell
21/06/2018 - New Racer Lines Up Against Wildcats
Reading Racers head into Southern Development League action again this Saturday with a clash against their fellow “lodgers” Weymouth Wildcats, and a new - though familiar - squad member lining up at No.1.
Like Reading, the Wildcats are using Eastbourne as their home track this season as they continue the fight to bring Speedway back to their home town. This first clash of the season between the two nomad teams will be the home match for the Dorset club, with the sides meeting again at the same venue on July 14th.
With recent addition Charlie Brooks standing down from the Reading squad without making his SDL debut, the management team moved quickly to bring back 2017 team member Nick Laurence. Nick is a popular figure in the Racers camp, having helped them to the League title last year, and also guested for them last weekend when they suffered their first official defeat since the beginning of 2017 in an away match to Kent Kestrels.
Reading will field the same line up, a somewhat rare feat in Development League racing, but go into the meeting confident they can bounce back against a Weymouth side that have failed to win a match so far this season.
With an inter-league challenge match against MDL side Birmingham Bulls on Saturday June 30th, it’s a busy period for the Racers, and the ideal opportunity for the riders to develop their skills on the bikes.
Reading Speedway will also have a stall at the day long Berkshire Motor Show on Prospect Park, Reading on Sunday July 1st.
1.Luke Barnes, 2. Jacob Fellows, 3. Max Pankhurst, 4. James Jessop.
1.Nick Laurence, 2. Rhys Laker, 3. Jamie Bursill, 4. Stephen Whitehouse (c).
Pics by Tony Burchell and Andy Griffin
17/06/2018 - First Defeat For Racers
Reading Racers slipped to their first defeat in an official match since their revival and entry into the Southern Development League at the beginning of last year as they were outgunned by Kent Kestrels, losing 21 points to 15.
The match, taking place at the Iwade training track, was always going to be a tough one for the SDL Champions, who were missing their top 3 riders, any 2 of which would have been eligible for selection.
Despite finding an excellent stand-in with ex Racer Nick Laurence top scoring, they were in truth well beaten but dug in to keep the score respectable.
The Kestrels dropped several points through riders falling while well placed but Racers team manager Gene Carter insisted it was to Racers' credit that most of the fallers were from the Kent ranks.
"I told the boys the most important thing was to finish races. I guessed there would be some falls and wanted it to be us being gifted points rather than than the other way around".
Kent started strongly, with Jacob Clouting and Andrew Palmer making the gate ahead of Laurence. The Racer-for-the-day got past Palmer, before the Kestrel fell. He remounted to chase for 3rd place but Rhys Laker held his composure well to share the heat.
The Kestrels again held a 5-1 advantage in heat 2 with Alex Spooner leading before James Laker slid off, Jamie Bursill and Stephen Whitehouse doing well to avoid him. Whitehouse himself then fell, letting the remounted Laker take 3rd place.
A 2 point lead became 6 in the third race, with Kent gaining a 5-1 after Bursill and Palmer had passed and re-passed each other behind Clouting, showing you can get a high standard of racing at any level.
Laurence and Spooner served up another good race in heat 4, the Racer looking to be in control until Spooner switched to the inside going into the 3rd bend last time around for the win. Behind them, James Laker fell while ahead of namesake Rhys, throwing away another heat advantage.
With the scores at 15-9 and two heats to go, Kent had their top pair out in heat 5, Spooner and Clouting leading Whitehouse and Laker before Clouting fell. However the shared heat still secured the match points for the home side
The sixth and final race had to be restarted with Palmer sliding off in the first bend and all four being called back. The Racers pair made the gate, as they had at the first attempt, but both Laker and Palmer found their way past Bursill to follow Laurence home for a 3-3 and a final score of 21-15.
While knowing they were beaten by the better side, the Racers took the positives out of a 6 point loss to a team far more familiar with the 250 metre circuit than their own charges. They now look forward to what will be a very interesting return match at their own home track at Eastbourne, for which a date has still to be set.
Kent Kestrels 21
Andrew Palmer 3+2, Jacob Clouting 6, James Laker 3, Alex Spooner 9
Reading Racers 15
Nick Laurence 7, Rhys Laker 3+3, Jamie Bursill 3, Stephen Whitehouse 2
Ht 1. Clouting, Laurence, R Laker, Palmer f
Ht 2. Spooner, Bursill, J Laker, Whitehouse f
Ht 3. Clouting, Palmer, Bursill, Whitehouse
Ht 4. Spooner, Laurence, R Laker, Jamie Laker f
Ht 5. Spooner, Whitehouse, R Laker, Clouting f
Ht 6. Laurence, J Laker, Palmer, Bursill
pic: Stephen Whitehouse looks forward to the match while Nick Laurence prepares for his first ride (by Top Notch Media)
16/06/2018 - Historic Day For The Racers
Reading Racers head into SDL action tomorrow (Sunday) on the 50th anniversary of the first Speedway match in the town (info courtesy of Arnie Gibbons).
Its also a first for the club as they face the Kent Kestrels at the Iwade training track, a venue the team have never raced at before.
This could also be the toughest match of the season as Kent line up with a strong team, and are no doubt keen for revenge after being pipped for the League title by the Racers last year.
Half a century after the Racers opening night at their original home track at Tilehurst, captain Stephen Whitehouse will be looking to return to form and lead his team to what would be an important win even at this early stage of the season. It will be the Kestrels’ second outing of the year, with Exeter having already stolen a march with three wins out of four – their only defeat coming at the hands of the Racers -taking them to the top of the table. Reading themselves have only raced that one match this season and will look to consolidate second place in the 5 team league.
Nick Laurence appears for his former team as Reading find themselves with Dan Gilkes, Charlie Brooks and William O’keefe all unavailable, while Kent track a full team, all four of their riders being squad members, although Jacob Clouting will be racing in only his second match after an injury lay off.
Kent Kestrels; 1. Andrew Palmer. 2. Jacob Clouting, 3. James Laker, 4. Alex Spooner
Reading Racers; 1. Nick Laurence, 2. Rhys Laker, 3. Jamie Bursill, 4. Stephen Whitehouse
pic: Jamie Bursill in full flight (by Elizabeth Leslie)
10/06/2018 - Laurence Triumphs In Memorial Meeting
Nick Laurence won the inaugural Bob Radford Memorial Meeting last night at Eastbourne, as his rivals failed to match his gating and consistency.
The currently unattached Sussex rider used his experience of the Arlington track to keep himself out of trouble and in contention as his rivals all faltered at some point in the night.
The first race was stopped when Racers captain Stephen Whitehouse fell on the first bend and found himself excluded.
Laurence made the start in the re-run but was passed by Eagles' reserve Charlie Brooks as they entered the back straight. Adam Sheppard followed them home in third place.
The two early pacesetters were back out in heat 2, but while Laurence made the gate again, and this time held onto it, it was Jamie Bursill who was following him into the 3rd bend, with Brooks in close attendance. However Brooks found unwanted dirt as he tried a brave outside attack and came to grief, with Rhys Laker unable to avoid him and coming down himself.
Laurence again triumphed in the re-run with Bursill 2nd and Laker struggling at the back.
Sheppard, on the comeback trail after 2 years on the injury list, made the gate in heat 3, while behind him Whitehouse and Bursill threw everything at each other until Whitehouse slipped off, leaving a 2 man finish, with Laker having sat the race out while checking a shoulder he hurt in his heat 2 fall.
Heat 4 was called back twice with Bursill moving at the start on both occasions, the 17 year old subsequently being given a 15 metre handicap. With Whitehouse continuing his nightmare with another fall, Bursill caught up with Sheppard only to fall himself while attempting to execute a pass. Meanwhile Laurence was all but writing his name on the trophy as he won the heat untroubled.
With Brooks withdrawing from the meeting due to his earlier fall, Laurence sealed the win by leading Sheppard home again with Laker still struggling with shoulder and finger injuries.
As another 3 man race began in heat 6, Whitehouse adopted a do or die attitude, throwing the bike into the first bend looking for some reward... typically considering his luck on the night, he finished in the air fence with a very painful knee, leaving Bursill to grab his first race win over the determined-to-finish Laker.
And so the Bob Radford Memorial Meeting finished as eventfully as it began, with each rider ending the night with either a smile or the odd grimace as reward for their efforts, but certainly with no doubts about the commitment shown.
Nick Laurence 11, Adam Sheppard 8, Jamie Bursill 7, Rhys Laker 4, Charlie Brooks 3, Stephen Whitehouse 0.
Ht 1 Brooks, Laurence, Sheppard, Whitehouse fx
Ht 2 Laurence, Bursill, Laker, Brooks fx
Ht 3 Sheppard, Bursill, Whitehouse fx
Ht 4 Laurence, Sheppard, Bursill f, Whitehouse f
Ht 5 Laurence, Sheppard, Laker
Ht 6 Bursill, Laker, Whitehouse fx
📷 (by G Carter) Nick Laurence celebrates with Adam Sheppard (left) and Jamie Bursill.
07/06/2018 - Bob Radford Memorial Preview
This Saturday Reading Speedway stage an individual trophy meeting for the first time since their reincarnation last year.
The club stage the Bob Radford Memorial meeting at Eastbourne following the main National League match.
It will take the form of a six man six heat format, with 4 of the Racers squad taking part, plus two very useful competitors.
Bob Radford was associated with many clubs in a long career in Speedway, but was highly revered at Reading, where he managed them to their first league title in 1973, and returned in the 80’s for a long association, during which he brought Swedish icon Per Jonsson to the club.
Current team captain Stephen Whitehouse comes on the back of some NL appearances and will be looking to put in a good performance at this level.
Team mate Jamie Bursill will be keen to prove his rapid improvement is continuing and would love to take the scalps of some of the more fancied riders in the line-up.
Nick Laurence is certain to be a contender, having starred for the Racers last season in their SDL winning campaign, and having not only National League experience, but also plenty of laps of the Arlington oval under his belt.
Racer Rhys Laker had a troublesome start in his first match for the team last month so will want to impress and show what he can do.
Adam Sheppard is included in Exeter’s SDL squad this season, but is literally only returning from a two year injury lay off this month. The former Kent National League rider was highly rated before a complicated break of his ankle in 2015, and is now looking to get back where he was and start climbing the Speedway ladder again.
Finally Charlie Brooks, the Eagles reserve takes the final berth. Charlie joined the Reading squad a month ago but as yet hasn’t been able to take advantage of extra track time in a Racers jacket. Charlie also took a knock last week and has been resting in order to be ready for the Eagles match this weekend.
While Reading aren’t yet in a position to stage a full 20 heat meeting with the traditional 16 rider line-up, they hope that the effort and enthusiasm shown by these young riders will provide a fitting tribute to a man who loved his Speedway at all levels.
Pic at top: Bob with 1973 league winning Racers team. (Taken from Speedway Star archives)
pics: Jamie Bursill (by MSR Photography) and Adam Sheppard (Elizabeth Leslie)
01/06/2018 - Latest Riders For Radford Memorial
Riding in the Bob Radford Memorial on June 9th will be Racers squad member Jamie Bursill and former National League rider Adam Sheppard.
Jamie has made massive strides in his short time in the sport and has gone from a fresh faced newcomer to Development League racing this time last year, to looking like a quality rider in his first 2018 appearance for the Racers in April. He was No.8 for the Isle of Wight last year and has recently started picking up NL guest bookings.
Adam Sheppard is from Walton on Thames and was a regular spectator at Reading in the mid 2000s. He rode NL for Kent in 2015 and was highly rated before a complicated ankle break ruled him out for 2 years, and he is only now making his comeback.
The 5th and 6th riders to be confirmed are squad members Rhys Laker and Charlie Brooks.
Rhys joined the Reading team at the start of 2018 and is looking to make an impression in his first season of SDL racing after learning his craft mainly at the Iwade training track.
Charlie, at 16 is an accomplished grass track racer and secured the No.7 spot in Eastbourne's NL team before joining the Racers squad last month, although he has yet to ride for them.
They join Stephen Whitehouse, Nick Laurence, Jamie Bursill and Adam Sheppard as confirmed starters.
Sponsorship is available on riders for this meeting, please email us at email@example.com.
pics: Rhys Laker (by Matt Hales) and Charlie Brooks
30/05/2018 - Whitehouse & Laurence Named
The first 2 riders for the Bob Radford Memorial Meeting at Eastbourne on June 9th will be our 2018 skipper Stephen Whitehouse, and a member of last season's championship winning squad, Nick Laurence.
Stephen (pictured on bike) will be looking to hit form on the night, having shown what he can do last season with a four ride unbeaten performance in an SDL match against Weymouth.
Nick has started picking up some National League bookings again this year and has been scoring some good points. He's a star performer at development level and will start as one of the "men to beat"!
If you would like to sponsor one of these riders for this very worthy meeting, please email us at and we will get right back to you.
pics by Tony Burchell & Dave Armstrong
29/05/2018 - Bob Radford Memorial Meeting
Reading Racers are to stage an Individual meeting at Eastbourne on Saturday June 9th in honour of one of the club’s most loyal servants, the late Bob Radford.
It will be a 2nd half, eight man contest over 6 heats, and Racers fans will have the chance to get involved.
Bob Radford was Reading team manager when they won their first League Championship in 1973, managed them again in the early 80’s, and was still involved as announcer at Smallmead when they won their last First Division title in 1992.
He was the man who brought Per Jonsson to Reading in 1984, and led the fundraising for the 1990 World Champion in 1994 after his life-changing injuries.
Bob was also involved in managerial, administration and announcing roles at Swindon, Newport, Eastbourne and Oxford, as well as across Europe and in the 1981 World Final at Wembley. He managed all this while being one of Speedway Star’s most accomplished contributors.
After his death in May 2017, a victim of cancer, the Reading management felt there should at the very least be a meeting to honour his memory and bearing his name.
The names of the riders competing will be announced during this week, including some of the current Reading SDL squad, and Racers supporters are invited to come forward and sponsor a rider for£50 to help meet the costs of competing. Each sponsor can have their name or company name published if they wish, and will have the chance of a photo with their rider before the meeting.
First 2 riders names tomorrow (Wednesday) evening..!
20/05/2018 - Racers Go Down To Weymouth Select
Reading came off second best on Saturday in a proposed Challenge against Weymouth that turned into a run-out with a Select team.
After accepting the challenge to give both sets of riders some extra competitive track time, the Weymouth managers found that none of their squad were available for varying reasons. Not to be deterred, James and Martin scoured the country for willing riders, and with a little help from Reading’s Emma Pike, managed to bring ex NL and Reading rider Nick Laurence and local amateur racer Max Pankhurst to the tapes.
Reading had their own woes as Rhys Laker was advised by medics not to race due to a non-Speedway knee injury.
So it was 3 against 2 but at least the riders who were present got plenty of rides as they stepped in to fill the gaps in as many races as possible!
For Racers, Dan Gilkes had another good night winning his first 2 rides before experimenting with his 2nd bike and falling off it. Due to this fall he failed to make the 2 minute time allowance in the following heat and was prevented from starting from the customary 15 metre handicap by the referee.
Jamie Bursill was steady, having already competed in the preceding Eastbourne match, he took a win and 2 third places before giving his final ride to his captain Stephen Whitehouse.
Whitehouse himself had his usual eventful night, with an engine failure, a fall, a second place and a third. He, like Gilkes, also fell foul of the ref’s interpretation of the rules after he missed the 2 minutes in his second ride.
Weymouth’s riders for the night were also kept busy, with Laurence taking 10
points from 4 rides and Pankhurst 8 and a bonus from 4.
Reading 16; Gilkes 8, Bursill 5, Whitehouse 3.
Weymouth18; Laurence 10, Pankhurst 8+1.
16/05/2018 - Challenge Is On For Racers
Reading Racers take on Weymouth Wildcats this Saturday in a hastily arranged challenge match at Eastbourne.
Both teams are calling the Arlington Stadium home this year, and after rain had caused 2 of the Racers' first three matches of the season to be postponed, the management were keen to get their riders on track for some competitive action.
Reading will be the home team and will track the same quartet that successfully represented them in their only match so far this year.
Stephen Whitehouse will lead Dan Gilkes, Rhys Laker and Jamie Bursill in what is sure to be a keenly contested match up, despite there being no league points at stake.
New squad member Charlie Brooks will ride in the main Eastbourne match, as will Jamie Bursill. William O'keefe has still to make his first appearance this year as he finds himself busy with his National League side Stoke on most Saturday nights.
Weymouth have yet to announce their team, but it would seem likely that they will be using at least a couple of replacements rather than their usual riders due to the last minute nature of the match.
Reading Racers: 1. Dan Gilkes, 2. Rhys Laker, 3. Jamie Bursill, 4. Stephen Whitehouse (c)
Weymouth Wildcats: TBA
08/05/2018 - Big Test For Racers
Reading Racers head back to the coast this Saturday May 12th for their second Southern Development League home match at Eastbourne against the Kent Kestrels.
Kent finished runners-up to Reading last season after the teams clashed at the Kestrels’ Sittingbourne home in September with the visitors coming away victorious.
Its early days in the 2018 season with only 2 matches having been completed – Reading and Isle of Wight being the two winners – but Kent have certainly come back strong with a team looking very rich in talent. They will however be looking for a late replacement as 18 year old Jacob Clouting broke his foot in a National League fixture on Monday.
Racers stick with three of their triumphant team from 2 weeks ago with skipper Stephen Whitehouse looking to improve on his two point score this time. Rhys Laker will also be looking for a better night after struggling with what turned out to be a clutch problem last time out, but has been far happier in practice since. The former Kent mascot will be looking to show what he can do against his local team.
One rider who can’t do any better is 15 year old Dan Gilkes who scored maximum points against Exeter and is also unbeaten in 2 Midland and Northern League matches.
Reading welcome Charlie Brooks who is making his debut for them although he’s a familiar face at Arlington, having secured the Eagles’ reserve position at the start of the season. The Grass Track rider from Norfolk will welcome the extra rides as he battles to consolidate his position as one of many promising 16 year old Brits.
Kent manager John Sampford tracks his own NL team member Alex Spooner alongside 2017 squad member James Laker and 2018 recruit Andrew Palmer, with Clouting’s replacement to be announced.
Reading Racers: 1. Dan Gilkes, 2. Rhys Laker, 3. Charlie Brooks, 4. Stephen Whitehouse (c)
Kent Kestrels: 1. Alex Spooner, 2. Andrew Palmer, 3. TBA, 4. James Laker
04/05/2018 - Reading Name New Squad Member
Reading Racers have been forced into changing one of their squad members, but are confident they have made a good choice in their replacement.
Kyle Roberts has asked to step down while he sorts a few issues, and possibly takes a break from Speedway for a while.
The Reading management quickly contacted a rider who was mentioned to them before the season began, and are pleased to announce Charlie Brooks as Kyle’s replacement.
Charlie, 16, hails from Norfolk and was already an experienced Grass Track rider before taking a reserve slot with Eastbourne in the National League for 2018.
Reading’s Emma Pike said: “It was mentioned to us in the close season that Charlie might benefit from SDL racing but we already had our 6 man squad sorted and weren’t looking to change it.”
Charlie’s racing is overseen by his uncle Adam Shipp, also a Grass Tracker, who admitted that the youngster needs extra track time.
The addition of Charlie brings the average age of Reading’s squad down to 16.67 years, and while he has an NL spot, the club feel that he is well within the remit of the Development League ethos, and hope the extra racing experience and confidence he will gain will compliment his obvious talent and set him on his way to a successful career.
29/04/2018 - Opening Win For The Racers
Reading Racers took a first match win against the Exeter Falcons, but weren't assured of victory until the last heat as lady luck turned her back on both teams at some point during this SDL match.
Reading had the man of the match in 15 year old Dan Gilkes but Exeter had a trump card in local amateur rider Max Pankhurst.
While Gilkes made a clean getaway in heat one, both Exeter riders fell in separate incidents, with Stevie Anderson clearing the track, but Pankhurst remounting and passing Rhys Laker for 2nd place.
Reading skipper Stephen Whitehouse failed to get on track in time in heat two and so started from a 15m handicap, but did manage to overhaul Falcon Mick Sutton while fellow Racer Jamie Bursill tried in vain to catch James Chattin at the front.
With a slender 2 point lead Gilkes took his second win ahead of Sutton, but Chattin's bike failed while in a comfortable 3rd place, gifting Laker a point and Reading a 4-2 heat win.
Bursill come out of a tight first corner with the lead and Whitehouse behind him, but the determined Pankhurst managed to relieve the Racers skipper of second placeto restrict the damage.
With Reading leading 15 to 9, Pankhurst and Sutton took Exeter's first heat advantage although the latter almost caught Bursill for 2nd place as the 17 year old struggled to finish the race. He was later examined by the medical team complaining of sudden excruciating pain from a shoulder he hurt some weeks ago.
The Falcons needed a maximum heat win to force a draw but with Gilkes lining up in red the Racers held the upper hand. Pankhurst replaced Anderson, who was experiencing machine problems before the race.
The final heat was started 3 times, with Whitehouse firstly receiving a warning for moving at the start, and then an exclusion for touching the tapes. For the second time he started 15 metres behind the other three and this time couldn't make up the ground. Gilkes however duly completed his 9 point maximum with Chattin second and Pankhurst third for a final score of 20 - 16 to Reading.
The Racers were thrilled to get their first match completed and to get a win under their belts. There is plenty of confidence that both Whitehouse and Laker will have better nights than this, and the team spirit was notable considering the average age of the 4 riders was under 17 years.
Reading now look to their next match on May 12th when the visitors will be last year's SDL runners up Kent Kestrels.
Gilkes 9, Laker 2, Whitehouse 2+1, Bursill 7.
Anderson 0, Pankhurst 8+1, Chattin 5 Sutton 3.
Ht 1. Gilkes Pankhurst Laker Anderson (f).
Ht 2. Chattin Bursill Whitehouse Sutton.
Ht 3. Gilkes Sutton Laker Chattin (ef).
Ht 4. Bursill Pankhurst Whitehouse Anderson.
Ht 5. Pankhurst Bursill Sutton Laker.
Ht 6. Gilkes Chattin Pankhurst Whitehouse.
24/04/2018 - Reading Race Into Title Defence
Reading Racers go into action for the first time this year on Saturday – and begin the defence of their SDL title.
The Racers will face Exeter Falcons in a home match at Eastbourne, after their home challenge match against Carmerthen was postponed due to rain a month ago.
Last season the Racers won the inaugural Southern Development League after eight years with no Speedway team, due to the proposed development of their former home in South Reading. It was an impressive return for the team, clinching the trophy at the home of their nearest rivals Kent, and going on to complete their season unbeaten.
Reading will track four of their six strong squad on Saturday, with newcomers Jamie Bursill from Surrey, and Rhys Laker from Kent (both aged 17) lining up alongside the returning - and newly appointed captain - Stephen Whitehouse. Also making his debut is 15 year old Dan Gilkes, who has been earning rave reviews from many people in the sport and goes straight into the first match at No.1.
Exeter will name their line up tomorrow (Wednesday 25th).
The Racers two most experienced riders, William O’keefe (17) and Kyle Roberts (18), who both rode for the team in 2017 as well as having spells in the National League, will sit this match out, hoping to get the call for their next contest on May 12th.
Reading are confident this will be another good year while acknowledging that last year’s unbeaten record will be difficult to replicate. With a team full of enthusiastic teenagers, the management are looking forward to working with them and watching them progress.
Saturday’s Line Ups:
Dan Gilkes 2. Rhys Laker 3. Stephen Whitehouse 4. Jamie Bursill.
16/04/2018 - Racers Break Into British U21s 🏁
Stephen Whitehouse lined up at reserve last night at the British Under 21s semi final at Birmingham.
He had to wait until heat 18 for a taste of the action, then suffered a puncture on the 3rd lap, having been forced onto his 2nd bike when his preferred machine failed to start.
In an eleventh hour change, his fellow Racer William O'keefe took the other reserve slot, taking one ride in heat 13 and beating Kieran Douglas for a point.
Other Racers have been involved in the competition this year as Rhys Laker was a very last minute reserve at the first semi at Eastbourne 2 weeks ago - while Jamie Bursill was lined up to join him before injury ruled him out.
Hopefully this won't be the last we see of these riders in National competitions.
16/04/2018 - Racers Skipper In Semi Final Call Up.
Racers 2018 Captain Stephen Whitehouse, has been invited to appear at the British Under 21 semi final at Birmingham this Wednesday, April 18th.
Whitehouse will take one of the reserve berths at Perry Barr, in what will be his first experience at U21 level. Its another step in his progression this year, as he hopes 2018 will see him knocking on the door of a National League team place.
All at Reading Speedway wish him the best of luck!
30/03/2018 - O'keefe Secures NL Spot!
It's big Congratulations to Racer William O'keefe, who has been announced as the 7th rider in the Stoke Potters National League team for this season.
William had a spell riding for Plymouth in the NL last year and was keen to get another chance in the division.
He was obviously excited to get another opportunity in 2018 and the Reading management not only wish him well, but will also help him in any way they can to take his chance.
William makes his debut for the Potters on April 8th against Coventry Bees.
19/03/2018 - New Sponsorship For Racers
Reading Speedway would like to thank their heat sponsors for 2018.
In every "home" match this season, each race will carry a company name or logo in the match programme.
This is a new form of income for the Racers in the SDL era and promoter Emma Pike was also keen to thank the Eastbourne management for making it possible.
The Racers take to the track for the first time this Saturday at Eastbourne in a challenge match against Camarthen Dragons.
12/03/2018 - Big Opening Night For The Racers
Reading Racers have a big day lined up on Saturday March 24th as they roar into the 2018 season, culminating in a first ever meeting with the Camarthen Dragons.
The Racers will start with a team.photo shoot, after which they have been invited to take to the Eastbourne track for a practice session in the afternoon.
The Reading team of teenagers will get the chance to blow away the cobwebs after what has been a frustrating close season, with almost every planned practice session across the country called off due to inclement weather conditions.
All six of the 2018 SDL squad are planning to take advantage of the track time afforded them by the Eagles management, as they get prepared for the more serious racing in the evening.
The main match of the night will be a warm up for this year's Eastbourne team, as the face up to a side consisting mostly of former Eagles. However Reading teamsters Kyle Roberts and Jamie Bursill will be filling the reserve berths as they pit themselves against the NL stars.
Following soon after will be a challenge match featuring the other 4 Reading youngsters racing against their MDL counterparts Camarthen.
Captain Stephen Whitehouse will lead William O'Keefe, Dan Gilkes and Rhys Laker into battle, making the most of some extra racing as they head towards the start of their Southern Development League matches in April.
The afternoon practice session will also be open to the public, making a full day out for any Racers fans hankering for a fix of Speedway action.
04/03/2018 - Sponsorship News
With the 2018 season just around the corner, Reading Speedway are reflecting on a successful close season with regards to sponsorship.
With SBS EPOS moving from a 2017 race jacket sponsor to sponsoring the teams media channel on Speedway Portals, the management have once again secured 4 companies (Tadley Pet Supplies, Speedway Nut, Automotive Paints and Christian Howell Carpentry) to put their names to the team bibs.
As well as this there has been an excellent response from people and businesses taking the opportunity of having their name on the teams new pit banner, which will be displayed at each match and used for interviews and photographs.
Meanwhile the revolving wall on the club's website continues to grow with companies like Plumbers World and Fairy Dust taking advantage of the extra advertising space. Bricks are still available at just £15 for 12 months.
There are now just a couple of opportunities remaining to be a race sponsor at the Racers' home matches this season. These are priced at just £50, for which your name, company name or logo will appear next to a race in the match programme in each of the 8 Reading matches this year.
With the business side of things having gone so well, it will soon be time for the Racers to hopefully emulate this again on the track, with the first match on March 24th against Camarthen Dragons....
Let's go racing!!!
26/02/2018 - Former Rider Sponsors The Racers.
The 4th and final team and race jacket sponsor for the Racers 2018 season will be a familiar name to many Reading Speedway fans - as Christian Howell was a Reading junior rider and actually rode 2 matches for the Racers in their all conquering 1990 season.
Christian was a regular for the Reading Rivets in 1990 and 91 before retiring after suffering serious injuries at Swindon.
He is still based in Reading and now owns a building and carpentry business, and is taking up the chance to renew his connection with his former club.
All at Reading Speedway are immensely grateful and proud to have Christian back on board, and hope he will join us at one of this year's matches.
17/02/2018 - Racers Fixtures Released
Sat. 24-03 Home Reading v Carmarthen Challenge
Sat. 28-04 Home Reading v Exeter SDL
Sat. 12-05 Home Reading v Kent SDL
Sat. 09-06 Home Reading open
Sat. 23-06 Away Weymouth v Reading SDL At Eastbourne
Sat. 30-06 Home Reading v Birmingham Challenge
Sat. 14-07 Home Reading V Weymouth SDL
Fri. 20-07 Away Exeter v Reading SDL At Plymouth
Wed. 01 Away Birmingham V Reading Challenge
Thu. 16-08 Away IOW V Reading SDL
Sat. 25-08 Home Reading open
Sat. 01-09 Home Reading V IOW SDL
Sat. 08-09 Away Carmarthen V Reading Challenge At Stoke
Kent Away TBC
All Home Matches At Eastbourne
14/02/2018 - Automotive Paints Return To Sponsor Champions
Reading Speedway would like to express a warm welcome back to one of our 2017 race jacket sponsors Automotive Paint Supplies.
The Newbury based company had never been involved in Speedway sponsorship until last year, but were happy to get behind a good cause. And after their 2017 experience, business owners Tim and Andy could see the benefits of staying involved for 2018.
Automotive Paint Supplies are a leading name in their marketplace, supplying a full range of paints to retail and the automotive and associated industries, from primers to top coats. For full details visit automotivepaintsupplies.co.uk
We are obviously pleased to have their backing and proud to be associated with another successful locally based company and hope they will enjoy success alongside us again this coming year.
07/02/2018 - Racers Announce New Captain
As Reading Racers head into their second year of Southern Development League racing, they have selected Stephen Whitehouse to lead them into the season and their defence of the League trophy.
Having finished announcing their squad last week, Stephen has been given the captaincy in view of the improvement he showed in 2017, as well as his commitment to the team on their long road trips to away matches throughout the season.
The 18 year old was thrilled to be offered the role and has already stepped forward with some suggestions for 2018.
Also in the six-strong squad are fellow returnees William O’Keefe and Kyle Roberts, who both had spells in the National League last year and are looking for further opportunities during the coming campaign.
Newcomers to the ranks Dan Gilkes, Jamie Bursill and Rhys Laker are all looking to build on the experiences they gained riding for various clubs in the development leagues in 2017.
The Racers’ fixtures will be released very soon, and both the club and riders are raring to go, with the first match likely to be less than seven weeks away.
Sponsorship is still available, with companies and individuals able to have their name in match programmes, on race jackets or simply on the Racers website. Please enquire at
03/02/2018 - O’Keefe Returns For 2018
Returning to complete the Reading Racers official 2018 SDL squad is teenager William O’Keefe.
Suffolk born and based, William rode in the majority of the Racers matches in their victorious return to the track last year. At just 16 years old (he turns 17 in March) it means Reading’s 6 man squad is made up entirely of teenagers as they tackle the Development League for a second time.
William started on Grass Track and was once under the wing of former Racers captain Jeremy Doncaster. After winning a team slot with Plymouth in the National League for a spell last season, he is keen to get back into the 3rd tier and continue his progress up the Speedway ladder. He also made numerous guest appearances at that level in 2017, gaining experience of most tracks, which will stand him in good stead for the 2018 SDL as he looks to impress the senior league promoters.
So Reading head into the season with not only a squad full of youngsters, but with no National league riders as they seek to replicate last year’s success with a team which is low on experience compared to 2017, but packed full of potential and enthusiasm.
The management team are both excited and confident about their line up, and are sure that while it will be almost impossible to repeat last year’s unbeaten run, this team will certainly be in contention for a second consecutive league win.
30/01/2018 – Racers Add Hot Prospect Bursill
Reading Racers are very pleased to be able to add Jamie Bursill to their Southern Development League squad for the 2018 season.
Jamie started racing 3 years ago on 150cc bikes, after seeing Speedway on television. Last year was his first on a 500cc, and he was soon named as number 8 for the Isle of Wight National League team, giving him some great early experience. He also made numerous appearances in the SDL, including one for Reading against Exeter at their adopted home in Somerset, scoring 3 and a bonus, which included a 5-1 heat win with Stephen Whitehouse.
Jamie is relishing the challenge of riding home matches for Reading at Eastbourne, saying “I feel it’s the best track for me to learn on as it’s a tricky track but once I get the hang of it, it will be sweet!”
And having invested in machinery for the new season, he shares the ambition of his new team mates, saying “I can’t wait for the season to start and go for the title”.
Jamie only turned 17 last November and while he’s still one of the less experienced riders around, he has certainly shown enough talent to be given a team berth for 2018 and a proper shot at the SDL with the reigning champions.
25/01/2018 - Rider No.4 For Racers
Reading Racers’ 4th squad member for 2018 is a familiar name… as Kyle Roberts rejoins after a 2017 SDL season that barely got started.
A protégé of Great Britain international Chris Harris, Kyle raced in Reading’s first match last year - scoring an impressive 7 plus a bonus – before injuring his shoulder whilst racing for his National League team Birmingham and barely getting back on a bike for the rest of the season.
He is now raring to go again saying;
“I can’t wait to get back on the bike and get back to doing what I love. Hopefully the season will bring really good things for myself and for Reading, and we can do the same again and get another title under our belts”.
Kyle will be looking to utilise the SDL to impress those in the league above as he is currently without an NL berth for 2018. While obviously disappointed not be back with the Brummies, he added;
“I am really happy to be working with the people at Reading again because all they do is make you feel welcome and don’t put any pressure on you, all they say is do your best”.
We are confident that Kyle’s best will serve the Racers well in 2018 as we look to help him take the next step in his career.
22/01/2018 - Mysterious New Sponsor For Racers.
Mystery and intrigue surround our latest team sponsor announcement…
Reading Racers will this season carry a new name on one of their race jackets. But the benefactor wishes to remain anonymous!!
The “Speedway Nut” logo has been seen on the racing livery of riders at development league and 250cc level, as well as the Young Lions series itself.
The unnamed sponsor has got behind the Racers for 2018 after being impressed by the team, the management and their objectives during last season.
We are as ever, very grateful for the backing of Speedway Nut as a team sponsor, and we hope we can continue to impress this very generous racing fanatic!
16/01/2018 – Sponsor Returns For 2018
We are pleased to welcome Tadley Pet Supplies as a returning team sponsor for the coming 2018 season
Proprietor Andrew Green has been a Racers supporter for years, and along with his father Joe, was sponsoring riders back in the Smallmead days.
Tadley Pet Supplies have become one of the leading pet companies in Hampshire, with decades of experience behind them.
Andrew was so pleased to be involved in 2017 that he was the first to pledge to have his brand name on a Reading race jacket this year.
We are extremely grateful to Andrew and his team for their commitment to our cause, and look forward to seeing some of them during what we are sure will be a successful and exciting season for the Racers.
12/01/2018 - Reading Racers are pleased to announce our first “new” rider for the 2018 season.
Rhys Laker has mostly been associated with Kent, but approached the Reading management in search of more competitive rides.
Rhys, who is from Herne Bay and turns 17 next month already has links to the Racers as his Dad Gary was Dave Mullett’s mechanic back in the ‘90s.
Having started riding in 2015 on a 125cc at the age of 14, he was the Kent mascot, and was also trained and sponsored by Russell Paine and his Powerslide Speedway School.
Rhys moved through the 125 & 250cc classes onto a 500cc and competed in amateur meetings at Iwade, Rye House and King’s Lynn.
He is looking forward to meeting his 2018 team mates and everybody else at Reading Speedway.
“I’m very proud and excited to become a Reading Racer in 2018, to be part of an iconic club such as Reading is an honour. Dad and I have spent time getting two bikes ready as well as building a third for winter practice so as to hit the ground running. I have a new Kevlar suit and can’t wait for the season to start”.
Rhys is an enthusiastic and well mannered young lad with a good attitude, and we feel that we have another squad member who embodies exactly what the development leagues are intended for.
03/01/2018 - New Sponsorship packages now available
Help support the Racers during 2018 by becoming a sponsor. We have 2 new packages available but spaces are limited.
Package 1: Pop up banner.
Advertise your name or company on our new pop up banner, this will be used at all promo, fundraising events & the back drop for our interviews/ photographs during 2018. We'll also add you details to our website. £50
Package 2: Racers wall
Sponsor a brick on our Racers wall which will be displayed on our website during the 2018 season. This can be a short personal message, name or company logo. £15 per brick.
If you would like to help us out during 2018 please drop us an email or feel free to inbox us on here.