Speedway: Josh Bates happy to stay at Sheffield Tigers despite Premier interest

Sheffield Tigers' Josh Bates
Sheffield Tigers' Josh Bates
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Josh Bates has rejected interest from several rival Premier League clubs to stay with Sheffield.

And the Barnsley boy insists he’s not just doing it to keep it in the family after doing a deal with co-promoter Damien Bates, his uncle.

Bates is in for a busy season riding for Tigers and also Wolverhampton in the Elite League after he was selected by the West Midlands side in the draft system last week.

The British Under 21 Champion is current in Australia where he is spending time on the bike preparing for next season.

And he said: “I’m delighted to be back with Sheffield, but it’s not just because of the family connection, I wanted to go back there purely as a speedway rider.

“I feel I’ve got a point to prove, I know I can improve and there were other clubs who asked about me I’m told.

“But staying with Sheffield was always the best option for me and I want to underline to people that I have what it takes to become a very good speedway rider.

“Sheffield is a great venue and a great track and I hope to get better and better as the season progresses. It’s going to be an exciting season, I’m so excited about riding for Wolverhampton as well and hopefully in between matches I can get some more regular training and testing in.

“Of course it’s nice that members of my family are involved at Sheffield but I always said I want to prove what a good rider I can be without that pressure and I’m looking forward to it.”

Damien Bates, who is preparing for his second season with the club after a late winter takeover, wants to ease the pressure on his nephew.

“We had a long chat with Josh about the family thing and riding at Sheffield and it’s no big deal,” he said.

“Believe me, we haven’t just handed the lad a team place because of his surname, we saw good progress in his riding last year and of course he won the British title which was great.

“He’s got an exciting style and I’m sure he will get better as the season goes on. Wolverhampton are delighted to have him on board in the Elite League and so are we in the Premier.

“We are hoping for more rider news in the very near future.”