The opening weeks of the 2019 speedway season in the UK saw 27 Australian riders in action across the three league competitions.
All seven teams in the Premiership have at least one Australian in their line-up, as do nine of the 11 teams in the Championship. Those in the top level competition are Max Fricke, newcomer Jaimon Lidsey (Belle Vue), Jake Allen, Cameron Heeps (Ipswich), Ty Proctor (Kings Lynn), Rohan Tungate, Aaron Summers (Peterborough), Brady Kurtz, Jack Holder, Josh Grajczonek (Poole), Jason Doyle, Troy Batchelor (Swindon), Sam Masters, Nick Morris and Rory Schlein (Wolverhampton).
Again this year there are riders signed to teams in both the Premiership and Championship, five Australians doing double duty in 2019. Kevin Doolan, Jye Etheridge and Aaron Summers are at Berwick, Justin Sedgmen, Josh Pickering and Cameron Heeps at Edinburgh, Ryan Douglas at Leicester, Matthew Wethers at Newcastle, Jordan Stewart at Redcar, Jake Allen and debutant Jedd List were at Scunthorpe, another first-timer Zaine Kennedy and Ty Proctor at Sheffield, Rory Schlein and Todd Kurtz at Somerset.
Shelby Rutherford is back in the National Development League, at Stoke, while Josh McDonald has headed to the UK, seeking a team berth after the closure of Workington, but there will again be no UK league racing for Chris Holder.
Unfortunately 17-year-old List has already been dropped after just three meetings.
“Bringing in Jedd List was a gamble, and it’s become apparent that it’s a year too early for him,” Scunthorpe’s promoter Rob Godfrey said. “We will continue to take Jedd around with us and give him track time at every opportunity, because he’s a talent.
Riders to watch in 2019 – Brady Kurtz, Jack Holder and Jake Allen to hopefully continue their development, and our remaining debutants to lay a solid foundation for the future.
By Peter Baker