JOSH Bates will defend his British Under-21 Championship title at Coventry on Tuesday April 14.The Sheffield and Wolverhampton youngster won the Cradley-staged event last season and has now been named as one of seven seeded riders for the Final of this year’s competition.Bates will be joined at Brandon by 2014 runner-up Adam Ellis along with current and former British Under-19 Champions Oliver Greenwood and Stefan Nielsen.The seeds also include Kyle Howarth, who rode for Coventry last year, teenage sensation Robert Lambert (subject to confirmation) and Ashley Morris, who missed the second half of last season due to injury.The remaining nine places will be decided at the semi-final at Mildenhall on Sunday April 5 with a trio of home riders looking to make it through.Fen Tigers regulars Connor Coles, Connor Mountain and Jack Kingston are all assured of plenty of support at West Row, whilst Cradley and Kent both also have three riders in the field and nearby King’s Lynn have two.The meeting will also feature comeback man Darryl Ritchings, who qualified for last year’s Final only to miss out due to a season-ending head injury – although one youngster who remains on the sidelines is Liam Carr, who hopes to be back racing in May.GB Youth boss Neil Vatcher said: “The list of seeded riders is very impressive, and they already have no fewer than six British titles between them at Under-21, Under-19 and Youth levels.“I’m sure the battle to join them will be intense, and one of the most pleasing facts of this semi-final is that all sixteen riders have achieved a National League average, whereas in previous seasons the line-up has included a number of three-point riders.“I believe this shows that the standard is increasing, and this is sure to be a very competitive meeting to try and qualify for a British Final appearance.“The Final itself carries plenty of prestige, not only for the opportunity to become British Champion but also for places in the 2015 FIM World Under-21 semi-finals.”
BRITISH UNDER-21 FINAL (Coventry, April 14) SEEDED RIDERS: Robert Lambert (TBC) (King’s Lynn/Peterborough), Kyle Howarth (Swindon/Workington), Adam Ellis (Lakeside/Birmingham), Stefan Nielsen (Belle Vue/Ipswich), Ashley Morris, Josh Bates (Wolverhampton/Sheffield), Oliver Greenwood (Peterborough).
BRITISH UNDER-21 SEMI-FINAL (Mildenhall, April 5): Connor Coles (Mildenhall), Connor Mountain (Mildenhall), Jack Kingston (Mildenhall), Ben Morley (Kent), James Shanes (Kent), Danno Verge (Kent), Max Clegg (Cradley/Edinburgh), Nathan Greaves (Cradley/Workington), Luke Harris (Cradley), Tom Stokes (King’s Lynn), Josh Bailey (King’s Lynn), Danny Phillips (Stoke), Ryan Terry-Daley (Stoke), Darryl Ritchings (Coventry), Marc Owen (Eastbourne), Adam Kirby (Birmingham).
SOMERSET’S Charles Wright has completed a full transfer to the Rebels from Workington.Wright first joined the Oaktree Arena side on loan from the Comets in the final stages of the 2013 season and achieved a 6.64 average last year as they went agonisingly close to retaining the Premier League title.He said: “Somerset is a great club to ride for, the promotion and management team here are superb, as are the fans.“The club have shown a lot of faith and belief in me since I first joined them on loan, even more so by now signing me as a full asset and I hope to be able to continue repaying that faith in the season ahead as we look to make amends for that one-point defeat in last year's Championship Grand Final.”
KYLE Hughes is set to return to the sport with Rye House in the National League this season.Hughes started the 2014 campaign with King’s Lynn before announcing his retirement, but his move to the Raiders means he rejoins a club he previously represented at Premier League level.Rye House boss Andrew Silver said: “I first got to know Kyle in 2010 when he became a Rocket, and there was lot I liked about him as a rider. I was recovering from an injury at the time so I was unable to help or work with him as intently as I would have liked. “Since then I have seen him put some impressive performances together - usually as a member of the opposition regrettably – so I am very much looking forward to being part of the same team again. Kyle has way too many skills to be out of the spotlight for long and I have no doubt he'll bounce back and become a dominant force once again.”
SHEFFIELD are refusing to press the panic button in their search for a new signing.Australian ace Taylor Poole was last week ruled out for the new season and club bosses have spent the past few days weighing up their options.Co-promoter Damien Bates said: “I know supporters are keen to know what’s going on but there is nothing definite to report at this stage.“Obviously losing Taylor was a spanner in the works as we thought we had a settled side but it wasn’t to be. As a club we will do what we believe is right and we need to be absolutely certain we have the right man in place. We will then make an announcement accordingly.”