Sheffield speedway: Competition will be hotter than ever this season says Simon Stead

Simon Stead, Sheffield Tigers
Simon Stead, Sheffield Tigers

Sheffield team boss Simon Stead reckons British Speedway’s second tier is stronger than it’s ever been.

The 34-year-old, who rode for the Tigers for eight years before retiring, believes that Owlerton regulars are in for even more of a treat in 2017 following a re-branding of the leagues.

Stead feels that his side can be major contenders for honours and admits he would love to help guide the Tigers to the league title.

“It’s been a winter of change for British Speedway and there has been a pretty big shake up for the top two leagues,” Stead said. “I feel we have benefitted in the Championship though and for me our league looks more competitive than it’s ever done. You only have to look around the team line-ups and that tells you just how strong all the teams are this season. “Glasgow, Ipswich and Peterborough stand out - but we’re definitely in that bracket with them.”

Stead added: “We’ve been fortunate enough to keep a good backbone of the team in Kyle (Howarth) and Josh (Bates) and the promotion have done brilliantly to add some real quality to the team as well.

“We’ve got a 1-7 full of capable speedway riders and if we can stay injury free for most of the season then I’d like to think we’ll be up there in the mix.

“It’s not going to be easy though - we’re going to have to fight for every point and every single meeting, both home and away, is going to be a battle.

“There’s no weak looking sides this year and I think that’s an added bonus for the public and our supporters because it should mean we’re in for even more entertaining race meetings.”

Tigers stage their Press and Practice at Owlerton Stadium on Thursday, March 23 before getting their season underway a week later (March 30) when they host Somerset in a challenge - a meeting which the club will be offering free admission to all supporters.