Tony Jackson says he hopes speedway fans will travel across the A66 and follow a Workington Comets side for the first and possibly only time in 2019 when they contest the Ben Barker Testimonial at Redcar on Saturday (3pm start.)

The West Cumbrians were forced to withdraw from the Championship in January through concerns over finances, despite the club celebrating their most successful ever campaign by triumphing in league, cup and shield competitions last year.

But multi-British finalist and ex-England World Cup star Barker handed Jackson the chance to re-form his side, for one day only, when inviting the Comets to take on Redcar, Newcastle and a team representing the old Middlesbrough Bears, who raced at Cleveland Park until 1996.

And the Comets’ boss has assembled a foursome including several of the squad he proposed to track before the financial axe fell, with England International Steve Worrall initially signed with a view to leading the class of 2019, wearing the number one race-jacket.

He is joined by local favourite Kyle Bickley and Simon Lambert, another early winter acquisition, who, like Worrall, will now line-up for Newcastle in the new season, which gets under way at tracks across the UK during the next week or so. Jackson’s quartet is completed by Danish one-time Premier League Riders Champion Ulrich Ostergaard, who steps in to replace New Zealander Bradley Wilson Dean, and is not a complete stranger to long-standing Comets supporters, having raced a dozen matches for the Derwent Park club as a replacement for injured Carl Stonehewer towards the end of 2007.

Jackson enthused: “It will be good to put on the manager’s blazer one more time and I hope and think that quite a few Comets fans will come over the Pennines to wave the Workington flag.

“Unfortunately they are not going to see any speedway in Workington this year , although we are still working hard aiming towards running again at Derwent Park in 2020, which will be our 50th anniversary.

“I was devastated for all the fans and the riders when we were forced to pull the plug, so I’m obviously pleased that Steve and Simon have got themselves sorted out with rides at Newcastle and Kyle has got fixed up at Glasgow.”

Bizarrely both Worrall and Lambert will ride against their new club on Saturday in a meeting fundamentally aimed at rewarding 31-year old Barker for his services to the sport.

“We’ve always got on well with Ben who has guested for us on many occasions down the years and always gives 100 per cent whoever he’s riding for.

“I think the idea is provide a good afternoon’s entertainment, which should happen with four fairly well balanced teams on show.

“Hopefully, we can do Workington credit on the day, especially following the success we had at the end of last season.”