TRANSFER NEWS: Johnson and Smith to Birmingham

Reigning U19 British Champion Ricki Johnson has signed for Birmingham Monarchs from Wednesfield Aces on a full transfer with East Park’s Matt Smith also joining the Midland League champions.

Both riders are set to remain at Wednesfield Aces on Elite League licenses for the 2015 campaign. The move was confirmed at the Birmingham AGM last night and it will add strength to Birmingham’s already strong title winning squad. Smith’s move does further weaken East Park’s offence, with Brandon Whetton and Lee Kemp also choosing to race elsewhere.

The Midland League is shaping up to be competitive this year. Birmingham have a solid top 6 of Elite League quality riders and Wednesfield Aces always have similar strength and depth. Leicester welcome back Phil Howells, who will be a much welcomed addition to their squad, as the East Midland Monarchs struggle to find a middle generation of riders. Coventry’s youngsters have another year under their belt and with news of their latest signing imminent, could turn a few heads after missing out by a few points on many occasions last season.

We’re yet to see who the Wednesfield Dragons have racing for them this term, the young team notched some good wins in 2014 and are going from strength to strength. East Park will struggle to replace their two heat leaders in Smith and Brandon Whetton, however, they do still have Jamie Ball, David Ball and Jamie Whetton to call on. It also paves the way for the ever popular Josh Hill to cement his place in the first team. Jamie Ball will no doubt play a pivoting role in galvanising his young wolf pack for the season ahead.