Payne Named Colts Skipper

Lee Payne will return to the National Speedway Stadium for a second consecutive season with the Belle Vue Colts and has also been handed the honour of team captaincy for the 2017 campaign.

The 30-year old, Wigan-born rider spent much of his early speedway career with Stoke, completing three years with the club between 2013 to 2015 before joining Belle Vue's National league side last year.

As an asset of the Mancunian club, team manager Graham Goodwin states there was no question of whether to bring Payne back into the revamped Colts side and is delighted to see him return.

Goodwin said: "We're very happy with the way this year's team is coming together. We've tried to bring back as many of the riders from last year as we can and Lee was someone we really wanted.

"It was a tricky decision, picking out our captain for the year. It could quite easily have been Rob [Shuttleworth] or Andy [Mellish] but as we thought about it more, it just made sense for it to be Lee.

"He's available for all our fixtures this season, he's got a wealth of experience and he's someone whom all our riders get along with very well. I think he will do an excellent job as our skipper.

"He's a solid performer. The National League has such a wide variety of tracks, with two new tracks on the fixture list this year, and Lee is the kind of rider who can quickly adapt to anything."

Lee Payne

On the subject of his almost-complete 2017 side, Goodwin continued: "There's a healthy mix of experience alongside the incorporation of younger individuals into the side. It's what we wanted.

"You've got to remember that while every other National League club has been building their teams since before Christmas, we've had to tell our lads to be patient. Don't worry, it will come together.

"They've not been made aware until at least late February if they even have a team place this season, and it's all credit to their desire to want to ride for Belle Vue that they hung fire and waited.

"For myself and Steve [Williams] as team managers, it demonstrates a trust and loyalty in the club that they've been willing to wait all winter based on our word while not knowing what's happening.

"Those are the kind of riders we want at this club, riding for this club. Yes it has been a turbulent few months but now the pieces are coming together and I'm sure we're going to have a great year."

Payne has also confirmed his services for the reserve berth in the upcoming Peter Craven Memorial on Saturday April 1st.

Photo by Ian Charles

Monday 20th March 2017