Riss blow scuppers 2021 team plans
Following the release of today’s BSP Ltd announcement, it is with sadness and disappointment that the Redcar Speedway promotion have to break the news that Erik Riss and Joe Lawlor will not be a part of the 2021 Bears team. This is a change that has been enforced upon the Redcar Promotion, but not by the new Rising Star system, which ironically would have allowed them to track the same 1-7 they had intended to use.
Promoter Jitendra Duffill explained, “Erik called on the day of the AGM to inform me that he would not be racing in the Championship League in 2021 as he has now signed a contract to race in Sweden. The new ruling from Poland’s governing body that restricts people racing in more than 2 other leagues has forced him to choose between the Championship in the UK and Sweden, as he also has contracts with Wittstock and Kings Lynn. It’s a decision he has thought long and hard about, but his decision was based upon the fact that Sweden will race behind closed doors, whereas Redcar, along with every other club in our league, are not in a position to be able to do that should they have to.”
Duffill continued, “It’s simply a decision based upon his own analysis of the risks due to Covid-19 and although we as a promotion are absolutely gutted by this news, we respect the reason for his decision. He was upset to break the news, as he loves racing for Redcar and was looking forward to coming back – I know Erik well, he’s a really good guy and I know this wasn’t easy for him. His commitment to us last year saw him trapped in the UK whilst waiting for the season to start, so I understand why he is nervous about the situation after his experience in 2020. He told me that his decision is final and giving him time to reconsider wouldn’t change anything, unless I could guarantee beyond all doubt that the British Government will allow Redcar Speedway to come to tapes in May. Unfortunately, no matter how hopeful we are that a May start will happen now that a vaccine is being rolled out, nobody can give him that guarantee.”
Riss leaves a big hole in Redcar’s team and one that is difficult, if not impossible to fill. The promotion wasted no time in contacting several potential signings after receiving the news, but their attempts have been unfruitful. Duffill explained, “Somerset’s decision to sit out 2021 meant that a few riders became available to the Championship, but any rider that could have been a direct replacement for Erik had already signed elsewhere before the AGM. I can’t dress this up – we’re now in a bad situation as rider availability at this point is poor. It’s a huge blow after putting together such a strong side and we will struggle to get near the 39 point limit allowed with a 2 star reserve, which both Joe Lawlor and Jordan Jenkins qualify to be.”
“At this point, we are looking at all of the options available to us, but we are starting to accept the reality that we are going to have to make 2 team changes or face coming in 4-5 points under the limit. There just isn’t anybody available to make a like for like replacement. We have to build a competitive team for our fans and sponsors and we are far too ambitious to come in that far short; it just isn’t feasible for us to do that, so we have had to make the heart-breaking and reluctant decision to release Joe Lawlor. It’s awfully hard on Joe as he is the innocent victim in all of this, but we cannot see any other option but to release one of our reserves and bring in 2 higher averaged riders to get us closer to the points limit. We made the decision to release him now as we hope it gives him a better chance of getting fixed up elsewhere, which we sincerely hope he will as he has done nothing wrong.”
Whilst keeping his cards close to his chest, Duffill reassured fans that the promotion would do everything possible to field a side capable of challenging for silverware. He added, “I’d like to apologise to everyone that was expecting us to name an unchanged side following today’s BSPL announcement. This news has come as a big surprise to the promotion too and I hope you all understand that this change is out of our hands. We are far from the only club to lose a rider as a direct result of Covid and Poland’s new regulations – our situation is simply circumstantial. However, we remain positive and are still very much looking forward to the 2021 season. There will be a big smile on my face when we come to the tapes this year, that’s for sure, and that still remains as our main objective. I think we proved last year that we are not a promotion that is happy to settle for 2nd place, so I can promise our sponsors and supporters that we will look at every option available to us and will field the strongest team possible. Our plans for success have not changed”.
The Bears promotion confirmed that they hope to be in a position to reveal some more team news in the next few days.