Gladiators confirm 4th place with victory

The Plymouth Westcolour Gladiators completed their 2022 season with an entertaining 54 points to 36 points success over The Glasgow Tigers at The Coliseum last night.

The win enabled the Westcolour Gladiators to claim 4th place in the Championship League for 2022, which is a significant progression on their 2021 season placing and the highest that Plymouth Speedway have finished in the three tier pyramid, not only under the current Club Promotion, but for many years.

The Westcolour Gladiators were very much indebted to regular Guest rider Richie Worrall whose superlative 6 ride paid Maximum (5 race wins and a 2nd place behind his teammate) culminated in a new track record in Heat 15 in a time of 49.39 seconds.

The fact that a track record was set in the final heat of a meeting is very rare, as Track surfaces tend to deteriorate during a meeting.  Once again, testimony to the hard work and skills of Mark Phillips and his outstanding team of track volunteers who have battled intense heat, heavy rain, an arson attack on vital track machinery and other issues in 2022, to once again provide a consistently excellent race track.

To cap a memorable night for Worrall and the home supporters, it was announced that he will join Plymouth Gladiators as a full time member of the team for the 2023 Championship season.

He was ably supported by veteran Danish star Hans Andersen who scored 13 points from 5 rides to underline that there may be plenty more to come from him should he continue in British Speedway in 2023. 

Another guest rider James Wright chipped in with an impressive 11 points and Ben Morley, who was voted 2022 Rider of The Year by supporters finished an excellent season with a return of 7 points. 

Ben joined the Club as a replacement for the injured Dan Gilkes in May and has enjoyed his most consistent season at Championship level. Lee Complin and Connor Coles chipped in with vital points and have proved excellent short term acquisitions as the club endured a season long injury crisis.

The Glasgow Tigers were weakened by the non-arrival of Heat Leader and talisman Craig Cook who was affected by van problems on the long trip down from his Cumbria base.

Their outstanding Danish prospect Benjamin Basso delivered an exciting display with 11 points and was supported by Tom Brennan with 9 points and Guest rider Paul Starke with 8 points. Former Gladiator Dylan Ruml stepped in as a late replacement for Cook but despite a valiant effort did not trouble the scorers.

The Plymouth Management will now look forward to the Sports AGM in November when the make-up of the various Leagues and structures will be decided and also the vitally important “points limit” that each club must build to. 

Until such time as the structures and points limit are decided, a full announcement of 2023 plans cannot be made, but we are sure that once the AGM has decided everything, that there will be news of both the League structures and signings that the Gladiators will be working on in the interim based on various possible permutations. 

The progress made on and off the track in 2022 has been both visible and exciting and all of this despite some horrendous bad luck with injuries, some controversial decisions on the track, some mindless vandalism off it. 

This has to be measured against a backdrop of a growing domestic economic crisis, that has had an impact on attendances and which impacts all of us. Whilst there are going to be difficult choices and decisions ahead, the club will be looking to do all it can against this backdrop to make further progress in the sport, whilst ensuring that everything is done on a sound and sensible financial footing.

A number of riders are still recovering from serious and significant injuries, most notably Dan Gilkes whose meteoric start to the season was curtailed by serious arm and rib injuries in May and Michael Palm-Toft who is still struggling in the aftermath of serious injuries following a controversial incident at Poole in mid summer when he was forced at high speed in to the safety fence. 

Alfie Bowtwell, who was having an excellent season is recovering from serious knee ligament damage and Edward Kennett, who aggravated a serious arm injury in his first meeting for the Club in the Spring, is still suffering considerable pain and aggravated tendon damage which and is still awaiting a long delayed operation that is intended to alleviate some of the problems of the initial plating in his arm, to hopefully improve and reduce the continual pain and discomfort he suffers. 

Ben Barker, who was suspended in the late summer, in the midst of one of his best seasons in the sport, will hopefully return when his short ban for over-medicating with prescription drugs contrary to the Sports Governing Bodies strict Guidelines, ends in March 2023 and will hopefully then make a return to the sport. The aforementioned Hans Andersen and Ben Morley have been consistent points scorers throughout despite both suffering injury too and Harry McGurk and Henry Atkins made contributions too during their time with the club as did late season replacements Lee Complin and Connor Coles.

The Management would also like to thank all Guest riders who donned the Westcolour Gladiators Guest race-jackets in 2022, they certainly had an inordinate amount of use and everyone will be hoping for a far quieter and calmer season on the injury front in 2023.

Massive thanks go to all of the staff and volunteers behind the scenes and to the Paramedics, Printers, Programme Contributors and Editors, BluMonkey Media covering our social media, the wonderful Gladiators TV, and web Administrator Ian Smalley, who have raised the bar amongst speedway club media again this season, to the British Speedway Network on an excellent debut season, and especially to our Team Sponsor Westcolour Print; and to all of our loyal Sponsors and Season Ticket Holders and supporters for your magnificent support and to anyone we have inadvertently missed out.  THANK YOU.

We will keep everyone updated with news once the BSPL AGM has taken place in November. 

Plymouth Gladiators = 54 

1. Richie Worrall (G) – 3, 3, 3, 3, 2’, 3 = 17+1 PAID MAXIMUM

2. Ben Morley – 1, 2’, 0, 3, 1 = 7+1

3. R/R for Ben Barker (BM – 2’, RW – 3, HA – 3, JW – 3) = 11+1

4. James Wright (G) – 3, 2’, 0, 3, 3, 0 = 11+1

5. Hans Andersen – 2, 3, 3, 2, 3 = 13

6. Lee Complin – F, 1’, 1, 0, 2’ = 4+2

7. Connor Coles – 1, 1, 0 = 2

8. Ben Trigger DNR

Glasgow Tigers = 36 

1. Benjamin Basso – 2, 1, 3, 2, 1, 2 = 11

2. R/R for Ulrich Ostergaard (PS – 0, BN – 0, TB – 2, PS – 1) = 3

3. Dillon Ruml (G) – 0, 0, F = 0

4. Broc Nicol – 1, 0, 2, 2, 0 = 5

5. Tom Brennan – 3, 1’, 2, 2, 0, 1’ = 9+2

6. Paul Starke (G) – 0, 3, 2, 1’, 1, 1’ = 8+2

7. Connor Bailey – 2’, 0, 0, 1 = 3+1

Heat Results

Heat 01: Worrall, Basso, Morley, Starke 4-2, 50.82

Heat 02: Starke, Bailey, Coles, Complin (F) 1-5, 5-7, AWARDED NO TIME

Heat 03: Wright, Morley, Nicol, Ruml 5-1, 10-8, 51.43

Heat 04: Brennan, Andersen, Complin, Bailey 3-3, 13-11, 51.60

Heat 05: Worrall, Wright, Basso, Nicol 5-1, 18-12, 52.00

Heat 06: Worrall, Starke, Brennan, Morley 3-3, 21-15, 51.35

Heat 07 Re-Run: Andersen, Nicol, Complin, Ruml 4-2, 25-17, 52.51

Heat 08: Morley, Brennan, Coles, Bailey 4-2, 29-19, 53.90

Heat 09: Andersen, Brennan, Starke, Wright 3-3, 32-22, 52.04

Heat 10: Worrall, Nicol, Morley, Ruml (F) 4-2, 36-24, 51.92

Heat 11: Basso, Andersen, Starke, Complin 2-4, 38-28, 53.64

Heat 12: Wright, Basso, Starke, Coles 3-3, 41-31, 53.72

Heat 13: Andersen, Worrall, Basso, Brennan 5-1, 46-32, 54.06

Heat 14 Re-Run: Wright, Complin, Bailey, Nicol 5-1, 51-33, 52.41

Heat 15: Worrall, Basso, Brennan, Wright 3-3, 54-36, 49.39 NTR

Courtesy of Speedway Updates

Image credit: Jon Sproad