Sheffield Tigers speedway: Uncle Damien persuades Josh Bates to stay

Josh Bates leads Simon Stead , Brady Kurtz and Michael Palm
Josh Bates leads Simon Stead , Brady Kurtz and Michael Palm
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Sheffield young gun Josh Bates has revealed how club bosses persuaded him to stay with the club in 2017.

The 20-year-old has become the fourth member of the revamped Tigers’ side, joining returning favourite Kyle Howarth and new faces Lasse Bjerre and Jack Parkinson-Blackburn.

Barnsley boy Bates had considered leaving the club after a mixed 2016 campaign. But co-promoter Damien Bates, his uncle, talked him around to ensure he would be back for a fourth straight season. He’s also completed a new deal to remain in the Premiership doubling-up with Coventry.

He said: “I’m pleased to have my teams sorted for next year and I’m very happy to be back at Sheffield. It’s a fast track which I’ve enjoyed riding on and it should help me be more prepared for riding abroad, which is where I want to be eventually. There was a point when I didn’t want to go back to Sheffield, but Damien talked me around. “Being co-promoter, he told me that they needed me because my average is quite low. I think there is a chance this could be my last year with Sheffield so I need to make it a big year. It’s not always easy working with family, it can get a bit heated but that’s only natural. I understood they really wanted me back on my average, so I’ll do my best to show they were right.

“I put too much pressure on myself last year but this year I’m just going to enjoy riding and hopefully I can put a couple of points on my average. The team is looking good. It’s great to have Kyle (Howarth) back, Lasse Bjerre is a good signing and it’ll be interesting to see how Jack Parkinson-Blackburn does.

“We did a great job to reach the final last year, and if we can get a good No.1 in the team then we have a great chance to go all the way.”