Saturday November 09, 2019
LEICESTER expect to have their side to defend the Championship title next season in place by the end of the month.

The dust has barely settled on the Watling JCB Lions’ triumphant 2019 campaign, but plans are already being made to follow up that success in the New Year.

Co-promoters Stewart Dickson and Neil Machin will attend next week’s (Nov 13-15) BSPA AGM in Coventry, where the league structure and regulations for 2020 will be rubber-stamped.

Lions have been adamant that they will not reveal their intentions team-wise before that meeting, but they do expect a flurry of confirmations shortly after.

Dickson said: “We will be racing in the Championship again next season, and we as a club are looking for an increase from this year’s 38-point limit.

“I believe it served its purpose last season, but now I believe it needs to be over 40 - hopefully 41/42, as riders from 2019 have increased their averages with it being a slightly weaker league, with a few on inflated averages.

“We are anxious to see how many new teams will be welcomed into the Championship next season, with potential new entries being Poole, Kent and Plymouth (subject to acceptance).

“For me, Poole would be like the Manchester United of football playing in the Championship next year, and what an addition they would be. I’ve known (promoter) Matt Ford a very long time, and if accepted, I believe he will target success straight from the off.

“We have targeted our rider personnel for next season, and if there are no significant changes to what was agreed to at the pre-AGM we should be in a position to name the seven Lions within a week of the AGM’s conclusion.”

Dickson has also hailed British Speedway’s new long-term TV deal with Eurosport, and he is hopeful that some of the Championship’s big matches could gain exposure.

Lions were involved in several dramatic fixtures in 2019, not least in the play-offs when they edged out Redcar in a semi-final last-heat decider before their Grand Final triumph over Glasgow.

Dickson added: “I’m very excited about the new TV deal, and hopefully the Championship will be included next year.

“I believe our Grand Final against Glasgow home and away would have been terrific viewing, when it went to the
29th race before it was decided – it was a terrific Final.”

*KEEP in touch with and social media for reaction from the AGM and team news for 2020.

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