PIRATES promoter Danny Ford insisted he was “gutted” the club’s new SGB Championship era had been put on hold until 2021.

The Wimborne Road outfit had been set to compete in the second-tier of the league structure this season, before COVID-19 halted league racing days before the start of the campaign.

British Speedway Promoters Ltd today announced professional league racing in the UK been axed in 2020 after Prime Minister Boris Johnson set a target of October for fans to return to stadiums – meaning there would not be enough time to run a speedway campaign.

Speaking on the decision, Ford said: "No one can be more gutted than I am that we have had to pull the plug on the season.

“I was really looking forward to a far greater role within the club and have been itching to see some racing and working with the boys, but unfortunately it is not to be.

"We have been fighting hard to try and get an abridged season together but we needed to be able to have some public presence in the stadia and, as things stand, that is currently not the position and time has run out on us.

“However, we will take the positives from the buzz that has been around our new chapter in the sport with a new team and new league and build on that to make the 2021 season an even greater occasion.

“As a club, we will continue to bring exciting content through our social media channels over the 'longer' winter and concentrate the countdown to 2021."

Ford also addressed the club’s fans who had purchased season tickets for the 2020 campaign.

"We would also like to advise all season ticket holders that we will be in touch in the very near future to arrange the best way forward,” he added.

“Finally, I would like to express my sincere thanks to all the sponsors who have been waiting patiently with us and hope that we will be able to continue to work together when the new season comes around."