Eli celebrates his 16th birthday today (April 23) and, whilst the Covid-19 lockdown may restrict his celebrations, he is delighted to have agreed his first full speedway agreement, claiming, “Firstly I would like to thank everyone at Somerset for giving me this opportunity. When Gary and Debbie first mentioned it to me I was extremely happy as it will help to boost my career and if someone else shows confidence in you it boosts your own. Hopefully it will help to bring me up through the ranks. “We are in strange times at the moment but during lockdown like everyone else I have been itching to get back on the bike but it has given me and dad time to get the bike ready and build a spare bike. I have also been improving my fitness levels with cycling and some weights although I don’t know about my diet!!” Rebels’ owner Debbie Hancock proclaimed: “As a club, we made a pledge to Eli a year ago that once he was old enough, ie 16 years of age, we would want to sign him on. “He contacted me recently to remind me about the Letter of Intent and with his birthday coming up this week was the promise still on the table? “I told him that indeed it was and we are delighted to see him follow in the footsteps of Henry Atkins in progressing from club mascot to club asset.” She added: “Eli is a great lad, very level headed and has made good progress. I am sure that once we get up and running again we will be able to celebrate with Eli him becoming a club asset. I am proud to have him as such and I would like to take this opportunity to wish him a very happy 16th birthday. “I can assure him that we will be closely watching his further development with an eye on being able to offer him a team place sometime in the future.”* The Somerset Rebels compete in the SGB Championship the second tier of British speedway’s three tier set up, and race from April to October at the Oak Tree Arena, Bristol Road, Edithmead, Nr Highbridge, Somerset.* The club’s sponsors include Cases, Salt Express, WNS Network Services, TQ Exel, Holley and Steer, Ancora Recruitment and The Oaktree.