RIDER NEWS: Coventry snap up Junior World Champion

Shane Bentley, the World junior champion, has signed for Coventry Cycle Speedway club in a signing which was concluded three hours ahead of last Sunday`s transfer deadline.

The 18-year-old Australian becomes the clubs third winter signing, following the acquisitions of Polish World junior number two Michal Sassek and English teenager Adam Watson from Sheffield in the past month.

Bentley, from Adelaide, won the World Junior Final in terrific style last summer. He scored 18 points, one ahead of Pole Sassek and third placed Matt Hill of Great Britain.

Shane Bentley

Shane Bentley

He joins the Hearsall Common based club as a fully owned Coventry asset. Club officials were involved in a last minute transfer deadline scramble to officially register his signing with just hours to go with the sport’s governing body, British Cycling.

Bentley, who is currently two years into his Australian apprenticeship, is currently arranging with his employers when he may be released to travel to the UK and he is keeping Coventry officials fully up to date with progress.

Coventry team manager Lee Marsh initially concluded agreement with Bentley within hours of his World final triumph. Talks continued all winter, resulting in last weekend’s successful outcome.

Bentley said, “I raced at the Coventry track in the final Great Britain V Australia Test match last August. I was amazed with the terrific promotion of the match and the very large crowd. It was an amazing experience.

“The Coventry club were very welcoming and friendly towards all the Australians that day. They organized a Civic Reception with the Lord Mayor and took us all to dinner. They could not have done more for us. I thought then that I would like to race for the club”.

Shane Bentley (knelt down) meets Coventry riders, fans and officials

Shane Bentley (knelt down) meets Coventry riders, fans and officials

Boss Marsh said, “We welcome Shane to our colours. It’s a tremendous honour to sign a reigning World champion in any sport and we are delighted. We hope to hold our own in the Elite league and Shane will help us try to achieve that”

Bentley will become the third World champion to race in Coventry colours. He follows in the tyre-prints of Leicester based three times World senior champion Dave Hemsley and Coventry`s very own Ray Oliver, who won the World crown in 1988.

Coventry are on the verge of concluding arrangements with a further ten signings, with three due to be released to local media next week and one on Saturday 13th February.

The 2016 Cycle Speedway Elite League season races into action at Hearsall Common on Sunday 3rd April, when Ipswich are the visitors. The club are gearing up to mark their entry into the Elite league with a promotional bang and further details will be announced shortly.

For more information on Coventry Cycle Speedway club, please go to: www.coventrycyclespeedway.co.uk