Berwick Bandits have confirmed their first three signings for the 2017 season.
And there was a major surprise with one of the riders in the shape of Lewis Bridger.
The 27-year-old is a two-time British champion at U18 and U21 level and he has spent most of his career racing in the top flight of British speedway.
Bridger, who has previously had spells with Eastbourne, Peterborough and Coventry, raced for Lakeside in the Elite League (now the Premiership) last season.
He is regarded as a naturally talented rider who should star in the newly-named Championship league and gives the Bandits a solid spearhead as they go about naming a reshaped team to fit within the new points limit.
He will be joined by two riders who represented the club last season in Kevin Doolan and Liam Carr.
Doolan will return as captain with Carr filling one of the lower-end berths.
Promoter Scott Courtney said: “Since the AGM we (Courtney, brother Jamie Courtney, co-promoter Dennis McCleary and team manager Gary Havelock) have been working tirelessly to put together a team to represent the Bandits in 2017.
“Significant progress has been made and the first three names on the team-sheet can now be confirmed.
“Bridger will be making his second tier debut with the Bandits. With natural talent in abundance and an impressive track record in the Elite League, this gives Lewis major box office appeal.
“He is no stranger to Shielfield Park, and has embraced the circuit in a Grand Prix qualification round only a couple of seasons ago when he was nothing short of spectacular! As we welcome one new Bandit into the side, we also welcome back two of the most popular riders in recent memory.
“In his testimonial season, Kevin Doolan will proudly lead the team as our 2017 skipper.
“Kev has been a sensation for the last three seasons on and off the track.
“And of course, no Berwick side would be complete without the inclusion of our local hero Liam Carr.
“Liam’s progress in 2016 was astonishing, to put almost two points on his starting average and progress to the level of threatening any rider in the league on any track really established him as a legitimate professional speedway rider.”
Courtney and co are continuing to work on their team-building plans for the club’s 50th anniversary season and says further announcements will be made in the near future.