Edinburgh Monarchs last night agreed terms to track Josh Bates in their team until the end of the season – but only as a guest stand-in for the injured Mitchell Davey.
Monarchs were keen to sign Bates on a permanent basis, but the 17-year-old ace, who rides for Mildenhall Fen Tigers in the National League, was reluctant to commit himself having just started out in the sport.
However, it’s clear that if Bates continues to make a good impression with Monarchs, then he could be a shoe-in for a reserve berth in 2014.
Bates had agreed to ride for Rye House Rockets against Monarchs on Friday as cover for their broken leg victim Jason Garrity. However, Garrity, who has been sidelined since May, is expected to return to the saddle, releasing Bates to line up for Monarchs now.
Monarchs team manager Alex Harkess said: “It’s perhaps understandable that he doesn’t want to sign [permanently] for us at the moment. He has only just begun riding speedway and Armadale is a long way from his home.
“And while he enjoys riding at Armadale, there are a lot of other tracks in the Premier League he doesn’t know and it would be unfair to expect miracles from him. He will continue to ride for Mildenhall but it doesn’t look as if there will be any fixture clashes.
“After his display against Somerset, we are delighted he will be racing for us until the end of the season. He is just a young lad, he’ll do his best and that’s all we ask. We hope he will enjoy his time with us and we hope he gets a feel for Edinburgh. And we are confident if we give somebody like that a chance then they’ll want to be with us in the future.
“We are obviously looking ahead to next season, and to get a three-point rider in at reserve is a pretty big step forward.”
Bates said: “I’m happy to ride for Edinburgh until the end of the season, I enjoyed myself last Friday, and hope to put more points on the board, and that’s all I’m thinking about at the minute.”