Friday May 21, 2021
BIRMINGHAM roar back into action on Saturday as they head to Berwick for their Championship opener (6.30).

It kicks off what will be a manic but exciting schedule with the Brummies holding high hopes for the season ahead.

They will, however, be without two of their new signings for the first meeting.

German star Erik Riss is competing in the Speedway European Championship qualifier while Valentin Grobauer is on standby for the same event.

Brummies bosses did try to get the fixture moved in order to track their full 2021 side, but have been forced to turn to guest selections instead.

And team manager Laurence Rogers wasted very little time in booking seven-times British Champion Scott Nicholls alongside American ace Broc Nicol.

Said Rogers: "We are beyond disappointed to have to race our first meeting of the season without our regular team.

"When we knew Erik and Valentin were going to be unavailable for Saturday we did request a switch of dates - but Berwick insisted everything went ahead as normal.

"We were eventually granted the guest facility and in Scott and Broc we've been fortunate to bring in two strong replacements.

"We know what both of those riders are capable of at Championship level and I'm sure they'll come in and do a job.

"It's still hugely disappointing to have two of our boys missing for the opener though and a far from ideal way to start the season.

"I obviously wanted an away win anyway, but now I really do want all four points trust me!"

Brummies hand a debut to Rising Star Jack Thomas at reserve and welcome back former Grand Prix star Chris Harris - who also takes over the captaincy from James Shanes for the 2021 season.

Said Rogers: "With James coming back from some serious injuries we thought he needed to concentrate on his racing and after discussions, he was more than happy to be our vice-captain for the year ahead.

"With the experience Bomber has, he was the ideal man to step up and captain the side but he and James will work together with the rest of the team chipping in and it will be a successful move all-round I'm sure."

Meanwhile, Brummies have confirmed that their press and practice event will be strictly behind closed doors on Tuesday at Perry Barr with no supporters allowed on site under the current restrictions.

In other news, tickets are now available for the first three meetings at the second city venue and can be purchased via:

BERWICK: Aaron Summers, Coty Garcia R/R, Jye Etheridge, Dany Gappmaier, Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen, Kyle Bickley, Leon Flint.

BIRMINGHAM: Chris Harris, Broc Nicol, James Shanes, Ashley Morris, Scott Nicholls, Paco Castagna, Jack Thomas.

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