GLASGOW have snapped up one of the world’s top speedway riders with the sensational signing of Grand Prix star Craig Cook.
The 31-year-old Englishman is only the second rider this century to race regularly in the second tier while competing in the World Championship, following the exploits of Workington legend Carl Stonehewer nearly 20 years ago.
Cook arrives alongside talented youngster Nathan Greaves, who replaces the injured Lewis Kerr – with Richie Worrall also departing the club. The changes have been approved by the BSPA management committee.
The Great Britain international slots straight in as the Tigers’ No 1 and provides a huge boost as the club look to seal their first SGB Championship title since 2011.
He’s no stranger to silverware – he was British Champion in 2017 and helped Edinburgh to seven trophies during a hugely successful spell in Armadale – while he’s also won titles with Workington, Belle Vue and Buxton.
This year is his debut Grand Prix season and although he’s only taken nine points in the series so far, he had his best meeting in Sweden at the weekend and will race in front of 40,000 fans at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium a week on Saturday.
Greaves, meanwhile, makes his Ashfield bow this weekend as part of the GB team in the FIM Team Speedway U21 World Championship semi-final.
Cook, who approached the Tigers about a possible move in a bid to get more races under his belt, said: “Glasgow is a great track and with the Facenna boys coming in, they’ve really put Glasgow on the map.
“I’ve always enjoyed racing in Scotland and the rivalry between Edinburgh and Glasgow was phenomenal. There was always a good atmosphere with the crowds and between the two teams, and it’s something I’m really going to enjoy getting back into.
“I owe Edinburgh a lot for what they did for me and they helped kick-start my career, but it’s a new chapter for me and a new opportunity, and it’s moving forward.
“I can’t wait for my first meeting.”
Greaves said: “I want to get settled in at one place and make it my home, and hopefully Glasgow is the place for that.
“I really enjoyed the Glasgow track when I rode there last year. It’s a track where I can get dialled in fairly quickly.
“It’s good to get a practice when I come up on Saturday and I’m really looking forward to it.”
The club’s Peter Facenna hailed Cook’s arrival as a major piece of business for the club – but said he’d been forced to make a tough decision.
He said: “We had to replace Lewi but no one fitted the bill on his average – so we had to make two changes to make sure we weren’t weakened.
“What we’ve ended up with is a top star in Cook – someone who can win races on any track.
“In Nathan we have one of the country’s best prospects and someone who’s hungry to improve, and I’m delighted to bring them both on board.
“We’re sorry to have to let Richie go but he’ll be the first to admit he hasn’t had his best season, and our hand was forced in many ways after Lewi’s crash.
“I’d like to publicly thank Richie for the last two-and-a-half years and wish him well for the future. Richie won’t have trouble finding a job in the Championship and I’m sure he’ll be a success wherever he goes.
“Cook might be an Edinburgh legend but he’s happy to be in the red and white of Glasgow now and let’s hope he can play a big part in the success here too.
“As soon as he got in touch with us to say he’d love to ride for the Tigers we couldn’t turn him down.
“He’ll bring crowds through the gate on his own and we can’t wait to see him teaming up with Chris Harris – another rider with Grand Prix experience – to spearhead our title challenge.”
It’s expected Cook, who doubles-up with Premiership side Belle Vue, will only miss two or three of the Tigers’ remaining fixtures due to clashes with his SGP calendar, but his average allows for any of the league’s other top riders to stand in when available.
He will make his debut away at Scunthorpe the day after the British Grand Prix.
Greaves, 20, from Sheffield, races for Wolves in the British top flight and also had a brief spell covering for injury at Redcar earlier this year.
He starred for Ipswich last season and was instrumental in helping them defeat Glasgow at Ashfield in September, racking up three race wins in an 11+1 haul.