The management of the Reading Racers Speedway team have regretfully announced that the team will not be participating in any official competition in 2020, and possibly won't be permitted to compete until they have a stadium of their own.
The announcement comes after the Racers were refused entry to the Midland & Southern Development League by the BSPA management committee, the sport's governing body. Emma Stevens, who initiated the Racers' revival nearly four years ago explained: "Every year that we use the Reading name, but are based elsewhere, we are asked to prove that we are making sufficient effort to find land to build a track in the Reading area. "We have a very competent retired property lawyer working on our behalf on these matters, and we supplied copies of emails showing conversations between him and people representing land owners, showing that not only are we looking for land, but also that there are serious discussions and meetings taking place with use of their land a real possibility. Unfortunately the BSPA judged that this wasn't sufficient and have barred us from racing under the Reading Racers name. They're in charge, but that's another team name gone from the sport again, at least for the immediate future".
Gene Carter, the co-team manager and treasurer continued: "All the "nomadic" clubs have to adhere to these rules and we have appealed their decision. The committee have a meeting next Tuesday but in honesty it's too late in the day. The season is almost upon us, we have already lost sponsors because we couldn't say we are definitely running, and we just cant fund it ourselves, so we've decided our own fate. If we run under any name other than Reading, sponsorship will be even harder to find, as it has all come from the Reading catchment area because of what we are trying to achieve. "We are obviously devastated about this after putting time, effort and personal expense into it. We have yet to be told what exactly would have met the Committee's requirements, or indeed what great harm we are doing by using the Reading name".
Andy Griffin, who worked at the club for 25 years and has also been involved in the revival from the beginning was equally mystified. "By running as Reading we have reignited some lapsed fans interest in Speedway, and some have come to Swindon to watch us which is a few extra entrance fees for the Swindon bosses. They themselves have been able to offer extra racing to their fans at no extra charge and the young riders who are looking to progress in the sport have been able to race competitively to hone their skills. Surely everyone's a winner, including the BSPA who take considerable league entry fees and licence fees from us and the riders. It seems to be another shot in the foot for Speedway".
The group say they will continue their quest to bring the sport back to Reading, and have not ruled out the possibility of some challenge matches during 2020 if the funding can be found. They have also decided to take their annual place at the WSRA Speedway Show at Paradise Wildlife Park later this month.
Disillusioned co-team manager Mat Stevens finished up by saying; "It's been great to be able to track a team for the last 3 years and we feel sorry for the riders who are now going to miss out on that track time, but hopefully we'll be back one day". The Reading management wished to thank all the riders, sponsors and fans of the last 3 years, and anyone else who has worked with them.