Fan-favourite Tero Aarnio will be back with Workington Comets next season.

Finnish racer Aarnio spent 2018 with Newcastle Diamonds but has been snapped up by Comets as they look to build a competitive team capable of defending the silverware they won last season.

Aarnio has enjoyed a long career in British speedway, joining Berwick in 2008 and riding for Scunthorpe, Wolverhampton, Glasgow and Newcastle since then.

He also rode for Workington in a short spell from 2012 to 2013 and clearly made a big impression on supporters as he has been a warmly-received guest for the club since then, most notably in the play-off final last season when he helped Workington lift their first league title.

A two-time Finnish Under-21 Champion, Aarnio has plenty of experience to offer with a never-say-die attitude that endears him to the crowd and is at home on the big Derwent Park track.

Club owner Laura Morgan said: “Tero was one of the first riders we signed when I bought the club ahead of 2013, having joined the Comets mid-way through the previous season when the club was owned by Keith Denham, and I know that he was disappointed when we couldn’t accommodate him the following season; but sometimes building a team becomes a numbers game unfortunately.

“Since then he has spent much of his time with Newcastle and he had a superb season in 2018 culminating in playing a crucial part in both legs of our league title Grand Final as a guest.

“Tero has bags of experience to pass on to the younger guys and with Tero you always get one hundred percent effort. When he was with us previously, and in his guest appearances since, he has always been able to pull out a big race win when it was really needed.

“When we knew Tero was available and made contact with him he jumped at the chance to return to the Comets for 2019 and of course with him knowing us, and us knowing him, he should settle back in at Derwent Park very quickly; which all helps to get the all-important team spirit going.”

Team manager and co-promoter Tony Jackson added: “We have always kept in touch since he last rode for the Comets and I am very much looking forward to working with Tero again. He is really keen for next season already, when he believes he can build on the superb season he had in 2018.

“As well as helping us in the play-off Grand Final I won’t forget the fact that last season he was prepared to fly in from Italy to ride as a guest for us at Scunthorpe and then fly back to Italy the next morning to re-join his mechanic and ride in a Grand Prix qualifier that night. That was a special effort, which typifies Tero, and we were very grateful for that – even if he then had me driving the long way home so I could take him to Manchester airport after the Scunthorpe meeting!”

Aarnio's signing follows hot on the heels of Great Britain international Steve Worrall, who was announced earlier this week, and leaves the club needing two more riders to complete their septet.

They join Mason Campton, Kyle Bickley and Bradley Wilson-Dean in the team, leaving 8.88 for the last pair of riders.