PIRATES co-promoter Danny Ford says he is “over the moon” at Poole being accepted into next season’s SGB Championship.

Pirates chief Matt Ford confirmed last month the Wimborne Road outfit were looking to drop from the SGB Premiership to the Championship in 2020.

And the move has now been officially ratified at this week’s British Speedway Promoters’ Association AGM in Coventry, which concluded yesterday.

It is set to be the first time since 1990 Pirates have competed in the second tier.

Asked how pleased he was to see the move confirmed, Danny Ford told the Daily Echo: “I’m over the moon with the decision and the outcome of it. I’m really excited to start building our team and looking forward to the season now.

“It all went through as smoothly as we could’ve hoped for. Everyone was thrilled to have us there and it seems to be a great feeling in the room amongst the Championship teams. I’m really looking forward to the start of the season now.”

Kent have also been accepted into the Championship with Sheffield moving up into the Premiership.

It is hoped the Championship will feature 12 teams, although Newcastle’s position remains unconfirmed.

The league will be split into North and South sections. Poole will face Birmingham, Leicester, Eastbourne, Kent and Somerset twice home and away.

They will also face northern sides Berwick, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Redcar, Scunthorpe and, potentially, Newcastle once home and once away.

The top six clubs will move through to the end of season play-offs. 

Details for the KO Cup and Championship Shield will be revealed when the future of Newcastle’s position is resolved.

An application from Plymouth to join the league proved unsuccessful.

Poole’s home race nights will return to Wednesdays.

“We’ll play all the southern teams closer to us twice and only have to make the trips up north once during the regular season which obviously is a great benefit to us and the riders but it also gives our fans a nice change to visit some new tracks and get around the country a bit more,” said Ford.

“A massive thing coming from the (online club) survey was the fans felt the opposition was getting a bit stale. 

“Obviously some teams would be visiting you multiple times in consecutive weeks. 

“That was a massive issue for our fans and we completely understood that. 

“Having 11, potentially 12 teams next year in the league (instead of seven) is going to give them that variety of opposition and seeing new teams, new riders come to Poole and travelling to new places, it’s really exciting.”

Meanwhile, Scunthorpe promoter Rob Godfrey has been appointed as the new British Speedway chairman, replacing the outgoing Keith Chapman.

Godfrey said: “One message which has come out very strongly from supporters is that they don’t want things tinkered with, and we’ve taken that on board.

“These are challenging times to get everyone back to the table for next year, but this has largely been achieved and we hope Newcastle are able to confirm their position in the near future.”