NEWCASTLE Diamonds’ new signing Tero Aarnio has declared the bosses’ new direction and the team’s strong lineup could take the Speedway GB Championship by surprise this season.

The news comes after club officials revealed that season ticket sales are soaring after the club nearly shut its doors at the end of 2017.

Among a number of returning riders, including long-time captain Ludvig Lindgren, young gun Ashley Morris and veteran Diamond Stuart Robson is Aarnio, who rode for Newcastle in 2015 and 2016 before heading south to join the Scunthorpe Scorpions.

The Finnish racer says coming back to the Tyneside stadium is like heading home, and he feels that the squad can challenge for the top of the order this season if its remaining signings prove reliable.

“Newcastle feels like a home to me, and there we have a big home advantage on track,” Aarnio told SportsByte. “When I look at the current team I see really nice lads… I think the main factor is that seven riders work well as a team.

“At the moment I’m a little scared that everything looks too good! But George has been there so long, he knows what’s good for the club and he knows what to do.

“We won’t be predicted to finish too high in the standings, but we still have names to announce, and you need to have strong reserves too. We have a good chance to shock lots of people

The Tyneside speedway squad, which races home matches at the Greyhound Stadium in Byker, was dangerously close to folding just months ago as attendances continued to fall.

Long-time club promoter George English even called for people to show up for one of the last matches of the year, which had to be rescheduled, “If [they] want to see Speedway at Newcastle in 2018.”

But Diamonds officials reveal this week that they were inundated with the positive feedback from fans after launching season ticket sales late last month.

A club management representative said: “We are overwhelmed at the current response for season ticket. It is showing a tremendous backing of the new regime from the supporters for which the club is extremely grateful.”

The team kicks off its 2018 campaign against Berwick Bandits, who finished the 2017 season at the bottom of the Speedway GB Championship.