Josh Bates
Josh Bates Born: Barnsley South Yorkshire 1st February 1996
Init CMA May CMA June CMA July CMA Aug CMA Sep CMA Oct CMA

Josh joined us from Swindon in 2014 when his uncle became co-promoter at Sheffield and the highlight of his season was winning the British U21 title at Wolverhampton. A winter in Australia set him up well for 2015 riding in all three Leagues for Wolverhampton, Sheffield and Birmingham, although he surrendered his U21 British crown, pipped at the post by Kyle Howarth who ironically became his new Tigers team mate in 2016.

Josh joined another of his Tigers team mates, Jason Garrity doubling up with Elite League Coventry in 2016 and he started for the Tigers in the no.4 race jacket with a personal target of adding another 2 points to his average. He failed, but even maintaining your average when stepping up to into the team should be considered progress and went he on to regain his U21 British title (albeit on his home track).

Josh was contemplating a change of track for 2017 until his uncle persuaded him that he was needed by the Tigers and just couldn't be replaced by a better prospect on his average...

He was selected as reserve for the Grand Prix in Cardiff and for the GB U21 side in Poland but missed several matches due to various nggling injuries.

Having increased his average by 0.65 Josh was again persuaded to stay with the Tigers for 2018 despite an announcement that he was retiring and then on the eve of the season he injured his back in a sledging accident!

Official average in 2018 = 6.54


photograph by: Geoff Ridsdale Fastest times at Owlerton in 2018: tba
in 2016: 60.4  14 July
Highest scores: Home tba Away tba
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Lasse Bjerre Jensen
Lasse Bjerre Born: Esbjerg Denmark 31 October 1993
Init CMA May CMA June CMA July CMA Aug CMA Sep CMA Oct CMA
8.32 8.32 8.18

Younger brother of Grand Prix rider Kenneth, Lasse has eight years experience of British speedway having first joined King's Lynn in August 2010 to replace the injured Joe Haines. His Owlerton debut came in 2011 for Ipswich when heat beat Shane Parker on his way to 7+1 and he doubled up with Elite league King's Lynn that year. He top scored when the Witches returned in September beating Ricky, but his highlight of the year would be lifting the Danish U21 crown at the ripe old age of 17.

When Leicester visited in 2012 Lasse scored a five ride 18 point maximum out of the Lions 37 point total and broke the minute barrier winning heat 3 in 59.9. He guested for Berwick at the end of August and his paid 13 return helped them to an away win at Owlerton.

Lasse top scored home and away for the Leicester Lions at the start of 2013, and again when they returned to Owlerton for the league match in September. He was Peterborough's top-scorer at Owlerton in 2014 and also had outings with both Leicester and Wolverhampton. He only scored 7 in the PLRC but beat both Craig Cook and eventual winner Simon Stead in the heats.

Riding for Redcar in 2015 Lasse top scored with 14+1 in the League Cup but missed the League match, ending the season with an average of 8.30. His form took a dip in 2016 and following incidents at the Fours final he found himself relieved of the captaincy. Although he spent the remainder of the year building his average back up he resolved to find himself a new club for 2017.

He settled straight in with the Tigers increasing his average by a massive 1.68 and won the Championship Best Pairs title with Kyle. He jumped at the chance to rejoin us going for back-to-back titles in 2018.

Current average from official fixtures in 2018 = 7.11

Maximums: Paid = 1 Home

photograph by: Geoff Ridsdale Fastest times at Owlerton in 2018: 61.87   24 May
in 2017: 61.1   13 July
Highest scores: Home 12+2 v Redcar (CS) Away 10 v Redcar (KO)
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Jan Graversen
Jan Graversen Born: Sallingsund Denmark 10th April 1987
Init CMA May CMA June CMA July CMA Aug CMA Sep CMA Oct CMA
n/a 5.27 4.93

Jan has had a long and varied British journeyman career riding for many clubs including Mildenhall, King's Lynn, Redcar, Stoke, Scunthorpe, Leicester, Birmingham, Coventry, Somerset and now Sheffield. His most successful season was 2009 winning the Premier League, Trophy and Knock-Out Cup with King's Lynn.
Jan joined the Tigers mid-season when Rob Branford succumbed to his shoulder injury. Along with youngster Georgie Woods he brought a solid foundation to the team who went from strength to strength. Jan swiftly became a firm favourite with the Sheffield fans.

Average from official fixtures in 2018 = 1.54

photograph by: Geoff Ridsdale Fastest times at Owlerton in 2018: 63.44 31 May
in 2017: 61.2 15 June
Highest scores: Home 6+1 v Redcar (KO) Away 6+1 v Redcar (KO)
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Kyle Howarth
Kyle Howarth Born: Ashton-under-Lyne Greater Manchester 11th February 1994
Init CMA May CMA June CMA July CMA Aug CMA Sep CMA Oct CMA
7.18 8.76 8.44

Kyle was an accomplished grass track and motocross competitor before turning his attention to amateur speedway in 2008. Previous clubs include Scunthorpe, Poole, Somerset, Edinburgh and Swindon but he has become an important part of the Wolverhampton Elite league team.

Kyle first doubled down with the Tigers in 2016. He soon settled in at Owlerton and after solving some machine issues in mid-season he stepped up to assume the captaincy and inspired the Tigers into the play offs, and all the way through to the final despite his team mates dropping like flies around him.

Kyle was voted 'Rider of the Year' by both the fans and track staff and was rightly the first name on the team sheet for 2017.

A fantastic season saw Kyle steer us to Championship success and the Championship Pairs title with Lasse. Having put an impressive 1.44 onto his average he intends to replace Josh Grajczonek as the Tigers No.1 but can expect stiff competition from both Lasse and Charles.

Kyle remains a Workington asset and they wanted him as a 'Comet' in 2018. When Kyle preferred another season as a 'Tiger' he initially had an unrealistic price tag but after a lengthy stand-off a loan fee was agreed. Workington fans were then shown what they're missing when Kyle finished in 3rd place behind new 'Tigers' team mate Charles Wright and Wolverhampton's Rory Schlein in their Cumberland Classic.

Official meetings average from 2018 = 7.59

Maximums: Paid = 1 Home

photograph by: Geoff Ridsdale Fastest times at Owlerton in 2018: 61.81  19 April
in 2016: 60.3  14 September
Highest scores: Home 14+1 v Newcastle (CS) Away 11+1 v Scunthorpe (CS)
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Todd William Kurtz
Todd Kurtz Born: Cowra, New South Wales Australia 4th November 1992
Init CMA May CMA June CMA July CMA Aug CMA Sept CMA Oct CMA
5.23 5.22 5.53

Todd's kid brother Brady is well known to Tigers fans as he has guested for us on many occasions in the last few years. Todd's Owlerton appearances have not been quite as spectacular and before joining us his highest score was 4+2 with Plymouth in 2016.

Todd was U16 New South Wales, and U16 Australian champion in 2008 before joining National league Newport in 2009. He rode in both Premier and National leagues for the Wasps in 2010 and after becoming Australian Long Track champion he returned to Newport and Coventry in 2011. He defended his Aussie Long Track title in 2012 before joining Plymouth, with whom he stayed in 2013.

He helped Somerset to a Premier Fours win in 2014 before returning to Plymouth, going on to claim another Fours win with the Devils in 2016.

Todd's best result in 2017 was a 5 ride paid maximum against Berwick and as a 'Driller man' ever since his Newport days he enjoys working closely with his sponsor, Sheffield co-promoter Peter Mole. In 2018 he is doubling up with Leicester 'Lions' in the Premiership, although the promoters and his team manager are the same in both leagues. The extra action seems to suit Todd and he is improving his average week by week.

Official meetings average from 2018 = 5.96

photograph by: Geoff Ridsdale Fastest times at Owlerton in 2018: 61.19  19 April
in 2017: 61.5  22 June
Highest scores: Home 10+3 v Scunthorpe (CS) Away 12 v Redcar (CS)
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James Shanes
James Shanes Born: Dorchester Dorset 17th March 1997
Init CMA May CMA June CMA July CMA Aug CMA Sep CMA Oct CMA
3.74 4.53 4.32

James has been competing on motorbikes since 2003 at the age of six. He is an accomplished competitor on the grass with championship wins in 2010, 2011 and was British U21 Champion in 2014, also winning the British Masters for the first time that year. He defending his Masters win in 2015 and added British Sand Racing Champion to his c.v. Another British Masters win in 2016 was joined with the European Championship title in Folkstone, which he defended in Hertingen (Germany) last year.

His speedway career started with Coventry Mercia in 2013, Devon Demons in 2014 and Kent Kings in 2015 & 16. He won the Elite League title with Poole last year when he also guested for the Tigers in both of the away wins at Peterborough. His summer grass and long track commitments precluded him joining the Tigers then, but he was happy to sign up for the 2018 season.

James qualified for the British U21 final with an 11 point return in the semi-final at Eastbourne but will not compete in the final at Berwick due to a prior commitment in Germany.

Current average from official fixtures in 2018 = 4.43

photograph by: Geoff Ridsdale Fastest times at Owlerton in 2018: tba
in 2017: n/a  
Highest scores: Home 8+1 v Workington (CL) Away 10+2 v Redcar (CS)
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Jackson Andrew Smith
Jack Smith Born: Stoke-on-Trent Staffordshire 17th December 1998
Init CMA May CMA June CMA July CMA Aug CMA Sep CMA Oct CMA
2.51 2.69 3.07

Young Jack hails from good speedway stock being the son of Andy and nephew of Paul. He's had a glittering start to his speedway career winning both the National Trophy and National League championship with Birmingham in 2016, and then both the National League championship and Knock-Out Cup with Belle Vue II last year.

Jack started his season in style top scoring with 14 points for the Colts against Coventry. In his home debut he encountered probaby the strongest reserve pair in the league, but made a fantastic start in his last ride and followed team mate Charles Wright home for a paid win ahead of Matt Wethers and Ashley Morris and the loudest cheer of the night.

Average from official fixtures in 2018 = 2.82

photograph by: Geoff Ridsdale Fastest times at Owlerton in 2018: tba  
in 2017: n/a  
Highest scores: Home 6+2 v Redcar (CS) Away 4+1 v Glasgow (CL)
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Charles Martin Wright
Charles Wright Born: Stockport Cheshire 26th October 1988
Init CMA May CMA June CMA July CMA Aug CMA Sep CMA Oct CMA
7.47 7.62 8.18

Charles is another rider from a family steeped in the speedway tradition. Many will know of his brother James, but he's also the grandson of ex Liverpool, Bradford but chiefly Belle Vue rider Jim Yacoby. Charles is another product of the Buxton set-up but has also got long associations with Workington, and more recently Somerset.

Last year with Redcar he came within a stones throw of the Championship Best Pairs title until an over exuberant last bend effort saw him skittle his best mate Kyle Howarth off earning him an exclusion.

Charles continues to double up with Somerset in the Elite but the new date arrangements should mean he has no clashing fixtures.

He got the season off to a good start with second place behind Rory Schlein in the Cumberland Classic at Workington and followed it with a sparkling six ride paid maximum in the home Shield match against Newcastle.

Average from official fixtures in 2018 = 9.05

Maximums: Paid = 1 Home Full =1 Home

photograph by: Geoff Ridsdale Fastest times at Owlerton in 2018: 61.66  5 April
in 2017: 62.5  8 October
Highest scores: Home 16+2 v Newcastle (CS) Away 15 v Redcar (CS)
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