The final piece of the Plymouth Prow Park Gladiators jigsaw for the 2024 season has been confirmed as seven-time Italian national champion Nico Covatti.
The 35-year-old, who hails from Argentina but races on an Italian license, will spearhead the Gladiators’ attack from next season after being named as their number one rider by team manager Garry May, who is delighted to be linking up with him again after a brief spell together at the Somerset Rebels.
“Nico rode with me at Somerset, so I have worked with him before, and he is a very good rider in this league and at this level,” May said. “He nearly made the GPs last year, I think he finished sixth or seventh in the GP qualifier.
“If he can get the hang of the Plymouth track, then he could be very good. He doesn’t create any trouble, he just gets on with it and as I say, he is just a very good rider at this level, really.
“He texted me and said: ‘Gazza, I want to come back and ride for you,’ so that was it really! I think he had calls from a couple of other clubs, but he sent me a text to say he didn’t want to go there, do me a deal! I spoke to Mark (Phillips), we did a deal and that was it. He was so easy to work with.
“He will fly in and out (of the UK) because he will go home and ride as well, but he said to me if he could ride in this league and do well with his bikes and everything, and someone gets injured in the top league, then he’s here and ready to ride. He’ll be a very good signing I think and he will be our number one.”
Confirmation that he will ride at number one means the team is now complete with Covatti joining Ben Barker as the Gladiators’ heat leader. Kyle Howarth, Richie Worrall, Dan Gilkes, James Pearson and Ben Trigger will not be returning to the Coliseum after riding for the club in 2023.
Covatti has not raced in the UK since 2020 when he finished an eight-year stint on these shores riding for Kent Kings. Before that, he represented Birmingham Brummies, Sheffield Tigers, Ipswich Witches, Somerset Rebels and Poole Pirates, but he can’t wait to return.
“I am happy to work with Garry in 2024,” Covatti said. “I had the opportunity to work with him in 2018 and 2019 with Somerset and the truth is he is a great team manager. With many ambitions to win, he transmits this to the riders and I think it is something very important.
“I’m very excited to be back in the British league. I have very good memories and I hope to give my best for the team. I’m looking forward to a great season and can’t wait to meet all the Plymouth fans as I am very happy to be part of Plymouth in 2024.
“During these years I was not present in the UK, I always remained active with speedway.
2023 was a great year for me and I won the Italian title for the seventh time, winning all the meetings. I also qualified for the SGP Challenge for the fifth time – and this is not easy.
“I also won the European semi in Hungary and qualified for the European final in pairs.”
On being the Gladiators’ number one, Covatti said: I think it is a big responsibility to be number one on the team and that is why I want to be very professional in my work and give my best in every meeting.”
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