THE annual Volunteers Best Pairs speedway meeting at Ryde's Smallbrook Stadium — postponed a month ago due to the weather — returns on Thursday evening.  

The event, which will feature six pairs teams, has become a popular fixture since the first in 2016.

Last year’s meeting produced some of the best racing of the season — climaxing in a thrilling final bend overtake by Plymouth's Richard Andrews and Isle of Wight Warriors rider, Scott Campos, who both return to defend the trophy as The London Loonies.

Each of the six competing pairs has attracted team sponsorship, with local supporters managing the riders and their tactics.

The riders' task will not be easy as the line up has produced some evenly-balanced pairs, which organisers say bodes well for a closely contested meeting.

The format will be 15 qualifying heats, plus two semi-finals and a grand final to determine the winners, so there will be plenty of track action for the supporters to enjoy.

The event's co-promoter, Barry Bishop, enthused: “We are absolutely thrilled to stage this meeting again. It is one I have been looking forward to since the start of the season, as it encourages the riders to be aware of their team partner and work together.

"Team riding is something of a lost art in modern day racing, so it will be interesting to see if the pairs can plan a strategy that works for them.

"After last weekend’s outstanding show at Stoke in the Four Team final, I know all the Warriors riders are full of confidence and, with our hand-picked visitors sure to want to impress, it looks like another all-action summer speedway night to savour."

The other teams comprise Surrey Sliders: Ryan Terry-Daley (Leicester) and Danno Verge (Isle of Wight); Stamford Bridge Renegades: Jason Edwards (Mildenhall) and Shaun Tedham (unattached); Wight Spitfires: Connor Coles (Stoke) and Chris Widman (Isle of Wight); Three Amigos: Ben Morley and Connor King (both Isle of Wight) and Keen’s Warriors: Georgie Wood and Chad Wirtzfeld (both Isle of Wight).

Gates open at 5.30pm, with tapes up at 7pm.