LEICESTER have added another top British racer to their ranks for 2023 with the signing of track specialist Richard Lawson.

The 36-year-old joins the Watling JCB Lions after an excellent season with King’s Lynn, where his form in the second half of the campaign was especially impressive.

He joins Max Fricke and Chris Harris on the team sheet to give the Lions three riders who are firmly established as Premiership heat-leaders as they prepare to make the step back up to the top level.

Having been a regular high scorer at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena over recent years in the Championship, where he has also made several guest appearances for and against the Lions, Lawson is delighted that it will now be his home circuit.

And he believes the club can look forward with real optimism to the new season, with expectations some way higher than during a difficult spell the last time they were in the Premiership.

He said: “There’s definitely not going to be a repeat of that. This team is being built to make a bit of a statement, and I’m sure it’s going to deliver that.

“I’m enjoying this league, it’s really competitive, and I’m excited to be a part of the Leicester side. They’ve got some really good riders coming in.

“I worked with Stewart (Dickson) a number of years ago and we’ve stayed good friends, so I was keen to get back under his wing, and that’s pretty exciting too.
“The track is also a big factor. I’ve had a lot of good scores around that place, mainly as an away rider apart from a couple of guest bookings here and there, and being a home rider there really appeals to me. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Boss Dickson has made it a priority to ensure he has several experienced, established Premiership riders to call upon, and says he’s been impressed by Lawson’s form in recent years, with his established record at the Beaumont Park venue being an additional bonus.

Dickson said: “Richard should be a good, solid signing for us. He’s a rider who has really stepped up in the last year or two, and he’s increased his performances at Premiership level.

“I think he showed that at the end of the season when he scored 14 for King’s Lynn at Sheffield in their last match, and I think even our owners were surprised at how powerful he was on that night.

“He’s also very, very good around Leicester as we’ve found to our cost a number of times, and he was very keen to come here.

“I’ve worked with him before at Glasgow, so I know what I’m going to get. He’s keen and hungry, and the fact that he wanted to come to Leicester ticks a lot of boxes for me.”

Lawson’s 7.91 average is reduced to 7.71 due to the 2.5% GB deduction, and it means with Fricke and Harris also confirmed, Dickson has 15.34 points to play with for three more riders, with a Rising Star also to be added to the line-up.

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July 18, 2024 19.30

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