Friday March 06, 2020
Following the disappointing news that targeted number one Bradley Wilson-Dean will not be ready for the start of the season having undergone an operation on his shoulder, the Somerset Rebels' management have looked westwards for a solution to their team-building plans - as far west as California!

21 year old 'Lil Missile' Luke Becker, a protégé of America's most successful speedway rider, Greg Hancock, has, according to Rebels' promoter Debbie Hancock, agreed terms for a debut season in the SGB Championship alongside establishing his Premiership career with parent club Wolverhampton.

The Rebels' boss however explains, "Bringing Luke on board was not entirely straightforward for, whilst he was particularly keen to ride for us and Wolverhampton supported us in our plans, we needed to secure a work permit for him to ride in both leagues. Because he held the appropriate documentation to ride for Wolverhampton in the Premiership, adding another employer, ie ourselves, meant that there was a change to circumstances and that necessitated us having to go through the process of obtaining a revised visa and work permit through the offices of the UK Border Agency."

"Gazza did a good job early on to find such a talented replacement and I am extremely grateful to Chris Van Straaten for all his co-operation in making things possible domestically, but we didn't want to expose our hand too early in case we encountered any issues with Luke's extended permissions. To that end, I wish to express my sincere thanks to Nigel Leahy who has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the UKVI rules and has worked tirelessly in helping to fast-track the application. Luke himself went beyond the call of duty in making personal visits to the US Visa Administration Offices in San Francisco, which is a couple of hours drive both ways from his Californian base.

Only this evening I received the call from Luke confirming that the appropriate documentation was in place and he was preparing to return to the UK next week, so it seems that we can now settle back and enjoy the opportunity to witness the development of a highly rated speedway rider."

Becker finished runners-up to Billy Janniro in the North American Final at the Perris Raceway back in January, fending off his 2020 Wolverhampton team-mate Broc Nicol in a medal position run-off and three weeks later paired up with Nicol to be crowned AMA Speedway National Best Pairs Champion at the same venue.

The American will start his debut Championship season on a 8.43 converted average which will elevate 2020 club captain Rory Schlein to the number one berth.

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