PROMOTER Danny Ford confirmed Pirates would have to alter to their planned Championship one-to seven this season – because of British Speedway’s new ‘rising star’ policy.

Each team is now set to have a British youngster at reserve for the upcoming season, meaning at least one person from Pirates’ original 2020 septet will have to make way.

Ford told the club website: “It was agreed at the Annual General Meeting, which we held virtually, that both the two professional leagues will have to include one 'British rising star' at reserve, as part of the youth development policy that has been adopted as part of a new five-year plan.

“It will necessitate us having to invoke a team change which is a great shame, especially as the riders we intended to use have not had the chance to prove themselves.

“It will therefore be an even tougher call to decide which way to go.

“However, we hope to have further news as the identity of the incoming rider in the next week or so.”

Under the terms agreed, riders classified as 'rising stars' have been given a 'star' grading and SGB Championship teams can be built to a top-six strength of 39 points, plus a rising star graded two stars or below, or alternatively, a 38-point limit plus a three stars or below graded rider.

Following the withdrawal of Somerset the board are considering an application from Plymouth to join the SGB Championship, which if approved, will provide a fixture programme based around a 12-team league and Knockout Cup competition. The aim is to launch the SGB Championship on Saturday, May 1.

Ford added: "We trust that our supporters and sponsors are looking forward to the resumption of speedway racing as much as we are and as soon as we possibly can will release details of our fixtures.”