Ben Trigger admits it is a dream come true to race for the Plymouth Gladiators after being confirmed as one of their two reserve riders for 2023.
The talented 16-year-old, who hails from Plympton, has been a regular on the Coliseum racetrack since the days his Dad, Lee, managed the club in their former guise as the Plymouth Devils.
Now, 11 years on from the first time he took to his home track, Ben will be riding for points and money and not just in practice and for experience, after being confirmed as the fifth rider to line-up for the club in 2023 after Richie Worrall, Dan Gilkes, Ben Barker and heat leader Kyle Howarth.
“I am speechless really!” Trigger said. “It’s hard to talk about it because I don’t know how to explain it, but I have grown up watching speedway, Dad was involved and I’d go and watch meetings with Dad and when he was team manager, I grew up around it and always wanted to do it one day.
“Now I am actually getting the chance to do it and I’ll be living the dream. My fantasy has become a reality; I didn’t expect it to come so early, but now I have been given the chance, I intend to take it with both hands to do the best I can, improve and do as much as I can to help the team perform and try and win some silverware.
“I’ve been riding round the Coliseum since 2012, so I have had a few laps around there on different machinery and now I’ll get to race in front of the crowd that have watched me riding around there since I was small. Now, I am part of their actual team and not the mascot, so I hope to put all of that track time and experience I have into next year and make it a really good year for myself.”
Trigger has shown steady progress year-on-year after riding professionally from the moment he turned 15. His maiden season in the National League for Leicester Lion Cubs went well and he then signed for Plymouth Centurions for 2022, where he again scored consistently well.
Although he suffered a broken leg midway through the season, Trigger was quickly back on his bike and ended the season well, which is why promoter Mark Phillips and Gladiators boss Garry May have decided to give him an opportunity now, despite his tender years.
“I was really happy with how the year went. I started well in the National League and was scoring some big points and I nearly doubled my average. I think I could have got even more than what my average is now if I hadn’t got injured half way through and broke my leg, but that was a minor setback in my progress, really,” Trigger added.
“I came back after two months off the bike and came back like nothing had happened. I felt stronger on the bike and carried on from where I left and everyone else was happy with my year and the performances I put in.
“The leg is perfect now, there are no issues with it. I chipped the top of my tibia off, it came away from the bone, so they pinned it back with two screws holding it all in place to avoid any lasting danger when I get older.”
Now, all thoughts are on 2023 and Trigger is keen to get fitter between now and the season starting in March. He is also keen to find a National League club after the Centurions were pulled from the division in 2023.
“I am hoping to get a place at Belle Vue, but even they have said that they aren’t 100 per-cent sure yet,” Trigger said. “It’s just a waiting game until everyone gets their team sorted and if we don’t get a National League spot, then hopefully we will get one during the season just to try and get more meetings and race more.
“I really enjoyed the year at the Centurions and it was obviously so much better for us not having to drive three hours just for a home meeting, but you can’t always have it your own way.”
Team boss Garry May said: “We are going to give him a chance and see what happens. You have to give these British riders a chance because if you don’t give them a chance, you don’t know what they can do. If no one gave Darcy Ward a chance, what would he have done?
“Lee’s good, he knows how I work and Ben knows the track. I think he will do well at home – if he gates, then he’s in there because it is hard to overtake at Plymouth, but I am looking forward to working with him.”
Ben will again be helped in the pits by his mechanic father, who could not hide his pride at his son signing for a club so dear to his heart.
“It’s fantastic and it really is a dream come true, not just for Ben, but for me as well,” he said. “I have grown up with speedway, been team manager of Plymouth and to have Ben now don the colours of the Gladiators – and not just as a guest booking – is fantastic.
“He had a ride there for Edinburgh last season, but this is what dreams are made of really. It’s like any young footballer in Plymouth playing for Argyle. It’s massive. We are under no illusions that it’s going to be tough, but you have to start somewhere.”
The Gladiators are eager to chat to potential sponsors and advertisers for the 2023 season. The club have a number of packages available at varying costs, so If you are keen to get involved, then contact Mark Phillips on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07766 700810.
Image credit: Jon Sproad