Berkshire

Revived Reading speedway team announces first fixture

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Media captionThe Reading Racers attracted thousands in the 1980s

A revived speedway motorcycle racing team has announced its first fixture.

Reading Racers will compete against Weymouth Wildcats in Eastbourne in a one-off meeting in September.

The Racers disbanded in 2008 when their Smallmead stadium closed, to make way for a redeveloped stadium and casino which was never built.

Campaigners are attempting to find land for a new stadium and are raising funds in the hope of putting together a team for next season.

Image caption In the team's glory days Reading Racers motorcyclists, including John Davis, had a huge following

Sam Simota, who previously rode for Reading Racers for three years, said: "It was an amazing time for me here, and it's a shame that speedway racing has gone from this town."

Andy Griffin, of Reading Speedway Action Group, said the long-term plan was "to get Reading Racers back in the national league" by 2018.

Until enough backers are found for a new stadium the club hopes it can share one with another team.

Image caption The club won the league in 1980, 1990 and 1992

Former match day presenter for Reading Racers, Paul Hunsdon said: "When I was growing up in the town reading speedway was absolutely huge.

"In the early 80s the crowds were massive - when Reading won the league in 1980 there were over 6,000 people in the stadium every week."

The club also won the league title in 1990 and 1992.

Image caption Former match day presenter for Reading Racers, Paul Hunsdon (right) and Andy Griffin, of Reading Speedway Action Group, hope the team will return to the national league by 2018

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