They were Prow Park Gladiators for a very short spell in 2023, but now, the ‘Thompson Twins’ will be returning to Plymouth to ride for the club from the start of the 2024 campaign.
Brothers Dan and Joe Thompson, 19, were signed at separate times last summer by Gladiators team manager Garry May, but for Dan, it was a move that never really materialised.
A host of rain offs followed by a season-ending shoulder injury whilst riding for Ipswich in the Premier League meant he never actually got to wear his Gladiators kevlars.
Joe, meanwhile, was drafted in as a guest for the last meeting of the season when the Gladiators beat Berwick Bandits and he contributed to the success by scoring 9+2. Now, both will be full-time members of the team heading into the new Championship season, joining Ben Barker and Alfie Bowtell in committing to the club.
“I am over the moon to be at Plymouth to be honest,” Dan, the older of the two by 17 minutes, said. “Obviously I signed half way through last year, but I never actually got a meeting in, so for them to allow me to come back and show what I can do is definitely a good thing for me and I think it is going to be a good season.
“We had a tough time with rain-offs and track work going on at the time, but I was always interested in Plymouth. I like the atmosphere there, there is a real family feel about the club and it was frustrating not to get going with them last year. But at least I’ll get my chance with them in 2024.
“Me and Joe ride well together and we do enjoy racing together. I certainly think that will help with the enjoyment side of things, going through the season, and the team looks good as well, so I am looking forward to a good year.
“The averages and what not have changed for this year and I think teams are taking a different approach to team building. I know some of the other guys and they are all great riders, so I am looking forward to working with them.”
Brother Joe added: “I am really excited and I am really grateful for the opportunity and that Garry May asked me to be a part of the team. I did a guest meeting for them and it went really well, so that just makes me all the more excited to get going now.
“I recognise a few faces from last year, although they are two very different teams. But I get along with all of them, so I am excited to get going. It’s nice to have familiar faces around and people we can work with and get along with.
“I feel 100 per-cent now. Me and Dan have been working very hard this winter on our injuries in the gym, so I couldn’t be happier with how that is going.
“We obviously fully support each other and it wasn’t nice last year to both get injured. We both know what we need to do and how to work on it and we are working hard.”
Both twins are also fixed up with Premiership clubs last year and in a quirky twist of fate, they will be riding for the team their brother rode for in 2023! Dan is heading to Joe’s former team, Ipswich Witches, while Joe will be riding at reserve for Leicester, in place of Joe.
“I have signed for Leicester in the Premiership next year, which should be good. Obviously it was opposite roles last year with me at Ipswich and Dan at Leicester, but it will definitely be a good contest.
“We can both help each other get dialled in correctly as we both had some good meetings last year, so we handed the set up over to each other. I think we are both just excited to get going now.”
Team boss May was delighted with the latest additions to the team and expects both brothers to kick on with their speedway careers in 2024.
“Hopefully, Dan will ride for us this time!” May joked. “Joe did one meeting for us and got a win for me in that last heat decider against Berwick, but those boys are lovely kids to work with.
“I have monitored them for a few years now and I think they are just coming through nicely. When I did the final a few years ago for Leicester against Poole and we were at King’s Lynn, I will always remember how they raced. I just said to them to go out and ride hard and they did that and came back with a 5-1 and big grins on their faces!
“I just like them and I think they are going to progress big this year because the league is a weakened league, so I am expecting those two to really push on this year. Plus, they are riding in the top league this year as well, so they’ll be riding a lot. But I am very happy to get those two.
“You have to remember that it is a weakened league this year with the 38-point limit and they will progress. They both love the track and they are so easy to deal with. I said to them: ‘do you fancy coming to Plymouth?’ they said ‘yeah’ and that was it. There was no asking for a week to decide, they just said yes and that was it.
“They help each other as well. That meeting I had with Joe, he was on the phone to Dan, who was watching the meeting on the stream and he said: ‘change this and change that’ so he did and that’s why he came good at the end.
“Their Dad takes them everywhere and is a lovely bloke as well, so I think they will really fit in nicely and I am really glad we have got them, the Thompson Twins.”
The club are still seeking sponsors for the new season and welcome people and business to discuss a host of sponsorship opportunities that the club can offer. For further details, please contact Mark Phillips on firstname.lastname@example.org or Paul Swarbrick on email@example.com.