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 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 Saturdays nights, ending the arrangement with the Racers that has spanned the last two years.
Fears of late finishes and extra costs for the 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 folds. 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 7 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.