Andre Compton is set to make an emotional return to speedway with Sheffield.
Compton, a title winner with the club back in 1999, saw his season ended last year in front of the Sky cameras when he was knocked out cold.
But he’s been back on a bike at Scunthorpe and did enough to come through the session enough to prove his fitness for the new season.
Compton will replace Taylor Poole who doesn’t meet the criteria needed for a new work permit – and promoter Damien Bates insists he never had any doubts.
“Andre looked fast, it’s the first time he’s been back on a bike since last July and he enjoyed it,” said Bates.
“He dropped the clutch and did eight laps and immediately I knew he was up to the challenge, we are delighted to welcome him back.
“On his average and in his position within the team I believe there is no better rider in the Premier League. The only reason he wasn’t in the original plan was because of the numbers game, we had promised a team place to Taylor but once that situation was ruled out we were very fortunate to have Andre available to us.
“I don’t believe it makes us any weaker. He’s particularly fast around Sheffield and we have signed a very, very good rider.
“I’m delighted to have him on board and the way the team is shaping up we will be hard to beat, particularly around our own track.”
Compton joins Simon Stead, Ashley Birks, Arthur Sissis, Josh Bates and David Bellego in an exciting Tigers line-up with the future of Australian star Ty Proctor still to be resolved with UK Visa and Immigration.
It means the team has four British riders in the side for the new campaign which begins on Thursday March 26 against Scunthorpe in a League Cup clash.
“Andre was very nervous at first but as soon as he dropped that clutch he looked like he had never been off the bike,” said Bates.
“I expect him to provide excellent support to the likes of Simon Stead at the top end of the team and we look particularly powerful.”
Compton and his team mates will be at the club’s press and practice on Thursday March 19.