AFTER breaking both wrists and his arm during a dramatic crash last season, county speedway rider Paul Starke is back fitter than ever for the forthcoming campaign.
The 29-year-old, from Glewstone, near Ross-on-Wye, was bidding for his first ever British Championship crown when the race incident happened in July.
Starke was looking confident in the qualifying rounds of the British Final when the incident happened, ending his season.
“For me I want to be British Champion and have seen my friends do it over the years,” said Starke.
“The British Final sees the top 12 guys in the country go head-to-head and last year could have been my year.
“I had already done three races and my points were looking good for a semi-final place.
“In the race it happened I had a really bad gate position which ended in me getting boxed in.
“Somebody clipped my right arm and I went cartwheeling down the straight. I put both hands down resulting in me breaking my arm bone down the middle and both wrists.
“I was full of adrenalin, the other rider who put me down was excluded and I went out for the re-run. It wasn’t until I couldn’t hold on and it was pretty painful that I realised the injury.
“That was a big eye opener for me and I’m now much fitter and better prepared.
“At the time my team Glasgow would have probably gone on to win the league had I not broken my arm and wrists, so it was a blow for everybody involved.”
Starke has joined Kent Kings in the Championship League this season and is looking forward to a new challenge.
For the past two seasons he rode for fellow Championship team Glasgow Tigers but felt the travelling to Scotland hindered on his race fitness.
“Pretty much every week we were travelling up there for three or four days at a time which was difficult,” added Starke.
“It has been a good decision to ride for Kent as the travelling will be easier as it was having an effect physically and mentally.
“We are working hard to make sure everything is right racing closer to home.
“Kent race in the same league as Glasgow and it’s the first year Kent have been in this division after stepping up.
“It should be a good challenge. I rode for their owner Len Silver five years ago which is where the relationship came from.
“There will probably be 40 league meetings and then other cups along with my individual meetings myself.
“I’m getting there now with new sponsors on board along with existing ones.
“I’ve been in the gym every day and I’m fitter than I’ve been for a long time.
“I’ve worked harder than I’ve ever done since January. I’m better prepared that I’ve ever been and I’ve got a good feeling this year is my year.”
Whilst out injured Starke was helped by the Speedway Riders Benevolent Fund, which is a charity that financially supports seriously injured speedway riders.
To give something back to the charity Starke will start his season with the Ben Fund Bonanza in Scunthorpe on March 14.
A week later Starke will turn out in the Stuart Robson Farewell meeting in Redcar to celebrate the retirement of his friend.
In addition to his previous sponsors Starke has added John Meredith Plant Hire to his supporters.
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