Covid forces change of plan for Glasgow Tigers
Glasgow Tigers have been forced to tweak their team plans for the 2021 speedway season - as the Covid-19 pandemic forces one of their riders to sit out.
Teenager Connor Bailey, currently in his native Australia, has told the Ashfield Stadium-based club he will be unable to take his team place due to logistical issues posed by the pandemic, including international travel restrictions.
Returning to the UK would also cost Bailey's family thousands of pounds, as relatives would be forced to go into managed quarantine.
Tigers have now snapped up former rider Jack Smith as the club's designated 'Rising Star' for the coming campaign.
Speedway bosses hope to be able to get the season under way in May, if restrictions on crowds in stadiums ease.
The club's Peter Facenna said: "I was pretty disappointed when Connor broke the news to me, but I can fully understand and appreciate the predicament he and his family are in.
"Connor will continue his development in Australia and will be back in the UK at some point in the future.
"I'm sure this won't be the last we've seen of Connor as a Tiger."
Smith, 22, last raced for the club in 2017. He is one of a number of youngsters taking part in the Rising Star initiative to develop British talent.
Team manager Cami Brown said: "Jack has bags of talent, superb equipment as well as a great team around him.
"His father was a multiple British speedway champion and he will be there with Jack, so it'll be great to have someone of his experience in the pits."
Smith said: "I felt overwhelmed when I got the call. I'm just so happy because I've been working so hard behind the scenes to get a Championship spot again, and it couldn't have come from a better club or at a better time."
"I've come a long way since my last time at Glasgow. I'm older, more mature, fitter and mentally stronger than ever. I'm not the finished product but I’m confident I can put in a strong shift for the team week in, week out."
It completes Glasgow's line-up for the new season, which includes Great Britain international Craig Cook, Americans Ricky Wells and Broc Nicol, Danish riders Ulrich Ostergaard and Sam Jensen, and Australian Justin Sedgmen.