The Plymouth Gladiators have named Kyle Howarth as their number one for the 2023 season with the popular racer contacting team manager Garry May to make the move happen.
The 28-year-old racer now resides in Wiltshire and was keen to join a club that was not too far from home. After finishing last season having doubled up with Premiership side Sheffield Tigers, where he will ride again and captain in 2023, and in the Championship with Leicester, he was quickly on the phone to May to get himself fixed up with the Gladiators.
“After hearing the news that Leicester were going up (to the Premiership) I knew I’d have to sort a job out and without wanting to sound cocky, I knew I would get a job because of the year I’ve just had,” Howarth said.
“I wanted to try and cut travelling down for myself because it can get a bit too much during the season. I live near Swindon now, so it’s not too far on a Tuesday and with Sheffield on a Thursday, it frees up my weekends for me.
“I know you have your Fridays at Redcar, Glasgow and Edinburgh, so the only club riding on a weekend is Berwick, so that frees me up to maybe go abroad or, when I am not racing, spend time with the family.
“Racing for Leicester has been great for me and I get on with the promotion there, but the Saturdays were quite hard because I never got to see people really, they’d be off and I’d be racing.”
However, Howarth was equally keen to join a club with ambition and that is exactly the case with Plymouth. Despite chronic injury issues throughout 2022, the Gladiators did finish in the top four of the Championship and qualified for the end of season play-offs – Howarth often being drafted in to guest for the club.
Unfortunately, their mix and match team of guest riders were no match for Poole Pirates, who went on to beat Howarth’s Leicester side in the Grand Final.
“Plymouth have been in the Championship for two seasons now and I have guested for them a few times and rode against them, but I enjoy working with Gaz and I have had no problems with Mark Phillips, whenever I have met him,” he added.
“I know Gary is a man that wants to win titles, he’s a passionate man that knows how to play his team right and I didn’t want to sign for any old club, I wanted to sign for a club that would be running at the top because I want to win stuff. I want trophies and I want to add stuff to my CV. It was a no brainer, really.
“I’m a racer and I think my racing style suits how it is. I have that ‘never give up’ attitude; that’s how I race and I just race for four laps. I think we have a team full of racers and I think that’s what
Garry wants – he wants racers home and away and people that have watched me before will know that’s what I’m all about.”
Howarth will even have his own bike and engine made up to give him the best possible chance of being Plymouth’s star man in 2023. He added: “Once I find a nice little engine sorted out, that will work round there for me, I don’t see a problem. I am having a small bike made just for Plymouth because it is a small track and you don’t need a lot of power.”
May said that as soon as Howarth contacted him over a move, he knew it made sense to build his team around him. He said: “Kyle contacted me as soon as Leicester finished and he said he wanted to come. I have worked with Kyle before, when I signed him for the Bournemouth Buccaneers in 2010 and I signed him for Poole in 2012, and me and Kyle have been close buddies ever since then.
“There was a chance he was going to come the year before, but it didn’t work out, but this year, it has worked out and I am glad that he’s come.
“But Kyle is a good rider, he’s an exciting rider to watch and never gives up. His machinery is 100 per-cent brilliant and when a rider contacts you, that’s a good thing. He’s not coming for the money, he’s coming to win and that’s what Kyle is.”
The Gladiators are still on the lookout for sponsors in 2023. The club have a number of packages available at varying cost, so If you are keen to get involved, then contact Mark Phillips on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07766 700810.
Main Image Credit: Haggis Hartman