PIRATES will not race competitively in 2020 after the professional British speedway season had been confirmed as being cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

British Speedway Promoters Ltd announced this afternoon their “great reluctance and disappointment” by the decision.

But they insisted following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement that crowds would only be permitted into stadiums before October – the sport was left with no time to run a campaign.

A statement from British Speedway said: “It can now be confirmed with great reluctance and disappointment that professional league speedway in the UK has been cancelled for 2020.

“This news comes following the announcements made by Prime Minister Boris Johnson last Friday which stated October as the target date for crowds to return to sporting stadia.

“This does not give enough time for a full season of league racing to be staged.

“In the meantime, work will continue on the grassroots level of the sport and clubs have been invited to gain the necessary permission from their local council to stage some form of racing before the end of October.”

Rob Godfrey, the chairman of British Speedway Promoters Ltd, said: “Promoters up and down the country have worked 24-7 to try and give themselves every opportunity to stage league racing this season and I take my hat off to all those who have shown a positive attitude throughout.

“We have never given up and it is only the announcement from the Prime Minister on Friday that has left us with no choice.

“It is also important for us to thank all the riders who have remained patient throughout all of this, they have been left in an extremely difficult situation and our thoughts are with them all.

“In addition, the loyal sponsors throughout the country must also be acknowledged, their support is much appreciated by clubs.

“And we must also thank all supporters of this wonderful sport in this country. We must now embrace the future and look forward with a positive attitude as we look to grow British Speedway.”