Changes announced in Rebels line-up

SPEEDWAY - THE Somerset Sharp Rebels have made their first signing for the 2010 season, the rider in question being the young Australian prospect Sam Masters.

THE Somerset Sharp Rebels have made their first signing for the 2010 season, the rider in question being the young Australian prospect Sam Masters.

Eighteen-year-old Masters, who has already qualified to come to ride in the UK, has been signed by Somerset as a club asset, and will be living in the Somerset area for the forthcoming season.

Somerset won the race for Masters' signature ahead of five other clubs who were courting the youngster, despite being offered better personal terms than those being tabled by the Rebels.

His father, Peter, who will accompany Sam to the UK for the early months of the new season, stated that is was not a question of money, but instead what was best for Sam's career, future and welfare was the deciding factor.

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Somerset promoter Debbie Hancock was quick to praise Sam and his family over the way the negotiations were conducted;

"We are all over the moon to have Sam coming to Somerset and he is the first young rider the club has actually signed to its asset base for many years. His whole family's approach to the negotiations we had with them to ensure that Sam was going to the right club for his long term future and not just for any short term gains was certainly refreshing."

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With Somerset's team building for 2010 now under way, fans will not have to wait long before finding out who else will be donning the Rebel colours next season as Debbie Hancock explains: "We are planning to announce at least another two of our rider signings for the 2010 season at a charity evening being organised by the Somerset Riders Equipment Fund (SREF) at the Oak Tree Clubhouse on Friday, November 27, so I would urge Somerset fans to get their tickets and come along to find out who those riders are."

The club also announced that after two years away, Ritchie Hawkins will be returning to the Oak Tree Arena to ride for the Rebels.

A member of the historic 2005 Somerset quartet that won the Premier League Fours Championship, the Rebels first trophy at Premier League level, Hawkins last rode for Somerset in 2007, but although his name was first on the team roster for the 2008 campaign, serious injuries sustained while riding at an indoor meeting in Germany in the January put paid to his season before a wheel had been turned.

Hawkins joins the Rebels on a 4.52 average, which means that together with Masters, Somerset have now utilised 9.52 points of the 42.50 figure available to all Premier League teams for 2010 team building purposes.

After discussions with last year's skipper, Steve Johnston, as a result of which terms for next season could not be reached, the Rebels have released the rider to find an alternative club.

Steve was purchased last season as a Somerset asset, and a contract with the previous promoting company Somerset Promotions Ltd, was agreed for a further two years.

However, the new promotional company OTA Promotions Ltd could not come to agreement on personal terms with the rider.

Debbie Hancock Somerset's promoter has stated the Steve has done a wonderful job for us this season for which we are all extremely grateful, and has left the club on amicable terms, and would always be welcomed back to Somerset even if riding for the opposition.

The Rebels have announced their season ticket and admission prices for the new season that will commence in March, and the good news for Somerset fans is that these will be lower than for 2009.

New prices (with 2009 prices in brackets): Season tickets (proof of age or status may be required for certain categories): Adults, �290 (�300); OAP/students, �235 (�250); juniors, �90 (�100).

Adult and concession season ticket holders will also receive a free meeting programme and those purchased prior to January 1 will also receive the following benefits: 10% food and drink loyalty discount (race nights only); 10% discount on their first purchase of the season from the club track-shop; for one night only, season tickets will be honoured for a special Party on the Green event to be held during the summer (this event being subject to planning approval).

Rebel fans can purchase their season tickets from Somerset Speedway, Oak Tree Arena, Bristol Road, Highbridge, Somerset TA9 4AH, giving their full name and address, and enclosing an SAE with their application and cheque, the cheque being made payable to Somerset Speedway.

In a change to past years, applicants do not need to provide any photographic identification as the season tickets will be transferable in the event that the actual ticket holder cannot attend a meeting.

Season tickets will be valid for all Somerset Rebels home meetings, including the proposed 10 year anniversary meeting, but excluding any BSPA shared events and rider testimonials that may be held at the Oak Tree Arena.

General admission prices (proof of age or status may be required for certain categories): Adults, �13 (�13.50); OAP/students, �10 (�10.50); juniors (11-15 inclusive), �4 (�4); children 10 years and under free when accompanied by a paying adult.

In 2009 juniors were classed as those aged 5-16 years and only children aged under five years were admitted free. Match-day programme, �2. Car parking, �1.

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