SWINDON Speedway will not race in 2021 following uncertainties among the sport brought about by Covid-19, as well as building works that are set to take place at the Abbey Stadium.

The club say the decision to stand down from league racing was taken with both “regret and huge disappointment”, however, the Robins stated that the likely disruption of building works at Abbey Stadium have made it impossible for the club to effectively plan for the coming campaign.

After the 2020 season was cancelled due to Covid-19, Alun Rossiter’s septet had hoped to defend their league and cup titles this year, and all appeared to be running smoothly as Christmas came and went.

That dream is now over, and the Robins will turn their attention to returning to speedway in 2022.

In a joint-statement released by Swindon Speedway and Stadia UK, the operators of the Abbey stadium, Robins chairman, Terry Russell said: “The future for all spectator sports in 2021 is uncertain and in my opinion, UK Speedway is very unlikely to be able to function with a full complement of spectators through the 2021 season.

“The economics of the sport which relies so much on the paying spectator are not robust enough to take any downturn in revenue particularly after the cancellation of the 2020 season.

“Our government is not able to provide any indication of the timing or the steps of lifting the restrictions, which is not a criticism, just a fact. With this in front of us, it is impossible to plan and commit for racing at the Abbey in 2021.

“If we add to this the likely disruption to spectator facilities during the stadium rebuild, we have no alternative but to withdraw from the league this season and to come back in 2022 when we all hope the future will be looking much brighter.

“I ask for the understanding of supporters, sponsors, riders and all those involved with the Club. Our hope is that 2021 will allow these unprecedented conditions to be fully resolved and that we will see the Robins back racing in 2022.”

Clarke Osborne, Chairman of Stadia UK, said: “We have discussed with Terry over some time, looking for light at the end of this horrible tunnel. We respect his decision to withdraw from the league this year and understand his reasoning. I, like Terry, cannot see an end to the restrictions for many, many months.

“Our core promotion of greyhound racing has been severely affected by the restrictions, operating under strict bio security, without members of the public in attendance. I think this is likely to remain into the spring and even then, restrictions at some level will remain through the summer. For greyhound racing this is survivable, for speedway racing, clearly it is not.

“We hope to be starting work on the stadium redevelopment soon and to have our works completed by the winter.”

“The works are programmed so as not to provide any disruption to greyhound racing and both racetracks have already been re-set. We do not anticipate any public attendance until the new customer facilities are in place.”