Henry Atkins

It is with a heavy heart that the Plymouth Atkins Financial Management Gladiators have announced that their promising young Rising Star rider, Henry Atkins may be forced to withdraw from all racing for the remainder of the 2021 season on medical advice after dislocating his shoulder again.

Henry, part of the GB Speedway Academy, incurred the injury after two blistering wins for Eastbourne Seagulls at Leicester on Wednesday 19th May. Henry had to withdraw from the meeting after dislocating his shoulder during his third ride and cruised back to the pits where he put his shoulder back in place.

To assess the extent of the injury, Henry and his father Mike made the trip to see a Consultant at a Private Sports Shoulder Clinic in Wilmslow, Cheshire on Monday when the prognosis confirmed that Henry’s shoulder is in a bad way but, according to the consultant, Mr Morgan, can be repaired with surgery but that the healing process could possibly rule him out for 2021.

Henry had previously sustained a dislocated shoulder whilst racing for Somerset in May 2019. At that time, the shoulder was not realigned for up to 3 hours with no ambulance taking him to hospital and he waited in the queue to be seen.

Henry was discharged from the hospital and recommended to seek physio treatment. Henry’s father arranged professional treatment locally and this allowed Henry to resume racing (against Plymouth ironically) the following month.

Henry rode through the pain barrier for the remainder of the season and but called time in the Championship due to the injury, deciding to concentrate on his National League fixtures with Mildenhall and being able to retain his 250cc British Grasstrack Championship for the third year in a row. As witnessed in 2020, Henry made a stunning comeback and was in outstanding form for Plymouth and in the U19 British final.

With that in mind, when naming the 2021 Gladiators line up, it was a no brainer that the ever-popular Henry was the first name promoter Mark Phillips had on the team sheet.

Henry is understandably gutted with this outcome as he was looking forward to racing in the Gladiators team with two greats of the sport in Jason Crump and Bjarne Pedersen as well as his other teammates who have already built up a great team spirit.

The club also feel the same and now have a big hole to fill as Henry has shown he is a master of the Plymouth track and with his 2019 championship knowledge, would have been key rider of the team in the away meetings with Mark saying “Henry would have been pushing to get in the main body of the team for sure in 2021”.

Henry will undergo an operation in the coming weeks, similar to those carried out on Jason Doyle, Tai Woffinden and Kyle Howarth who has been particularly helpful to Henry since hearing about his problem and recommended that he sought advice from the Wilmslow Clinic.

Henry wants to thank everyone at the club and particularly the fans who have supported him throughout the off season, Mark Phillips for believing in him and given him the chance to ride again for Plymouth, a track Henry now considers his home, and his sponsors who, as always, have been very supportive.

The club is planning to arrange a collection for Henry to help meet the cost of his treatment and Henry is planning to attend all home meetings to support his teammates.

Photo Credit: bluemonkey media