Former British Under-21 Champion Bates has moved back to his local club Sheffield for their first season back in the top flight.
Apart from one appearance in the British Final last October, Bates hasn’t raced competitively since July 2019 when his season ended with a crash riding for Peterborough.
But he’s back and feeling fit ahead of his return with several practice sessions planned.
He said: “I’m really excited about it, I have missed it so badly, it’s like riding speedway is in my blood.
“On the first day back on a bike at Leicester I had excited butterflies all day leading up to it but after my first lap or two it felt like I’d never been off the bike.
“It’s great to be back and I’m confident of doing a job for my clubs. I personally feel this is a big season for me but I’m not going to put myself under any pressure, I’m going out there to enjoy it.”
And Bates insists he’s banished any thoughts of quitting the sport.
“I’ve had those thoughts when I’ve been injured but not a chance now,” he said. “I’ve had some bad moments dealing with injury, but my mind is clear and I feel a lot more mature and I know the time away from the sport last year made me realise just how much I miss it.
“I’ll keep working hard in preparation and see what I can do in the season. Everyone knows I’ll be giving it my all as I always have done.
“I want to thank everyone who has continued to support me during the tough times, family members, friends, sponsors, fans, it means a lot and I can’t wait to see fans back trackside.”