BEES will have a British feel to its squad this season after Lewis Bridger was confirmed as the club’s sixth British rider for the eagerly anticipated 2015 Elite League campaign.
Bridger joins Bees after previous signing Cameron Woodward was forced to withdraw from the team after finding out he had broken his femur.
Woodward picked up the injury after suffering a crash last September and he has been told by a surgeon in Brisbane that he will be out of action until at least the middle of the year.
This forced the Bees back into the rider market and they responded by bringing in Bridger who has already tasted success at Brandon.
The 25-year-old was won the Elite League title four years ago having joined the club part-way through the 2010 season and he was part of the team which pulled off an incredible Grand Final win against Poole.
Since then Bridger has spent the last two seasons with Lakeside and appeared set to take a year out of the sport before the dramatic change of plan.
Bridger’s arrival means the Bees will boast six British riders out of seven this season, with No.1 Hans Andersen (Denmark) the only exception.
“I don’t think we saw the best of Lewis last season but he still achieved a 6.72 average, and looking at the stats most of that was achieved as a heat-leader,” said Bees promoter Mick Horton.
“Everyone knows Lewis has an abundance of talent, and I believe he’s in a stronger team this year. With him riding at No.4 I think it makes us at least equally as strong as we were before we lost Cam.
“Lewis had another offer, but he was desperate to ride for us, he’s spoken to myself and Havvy (Gary Havelock) at length and he’s convinced us that this is the fresh start his career needs.
“Having six British riders is fantastic, we’re going to have a great team spirit again and I’m really optimistic about the season.”
Horton also paid tribute to Woodward who requires a bone graft, adding: “Cameron is one of the gentlemen of the sport, and I have so much respect for him.
“He rang me and was absolutely gutted that he was letting myself, the club and the fans down, but I said he just has to get himself fit and who’s to say we can’t talk again when it comes to 2016 – it’s such a shame for him because he’s one of the nice guys of speedway.”
Bees 2015: Chris Harris (c), Hans Andersen, Danny King, Lewis Bridger, Stuart Robson, Jason Garrity, James Sarjeant.