Howe dedicates first Bandits' maximum to his late father
David Howe raced to his first maximum for Berwick as the Bandits beat Sheffield at Shielfield on Saturday ... and immediately dedicated it to his late father.
Howe looked imperious as he stormed to a full 15-point maximum in Bandits’ 53-37 defeat of the Tigers, and afterwards he said it was his finally coming to terms with his father’s death which had helped him get his act together.
“It’s been a difficult few months,” he said, “no question about that.
“My father was always by me side in the pits and I didn’t realise how much of a miss he was going to be. We went everywhere together and were a team as far as the speedway side of things were concerned.
“When he died I thought I would just get on with it, but my wife Jo said there would come a time when it would hit me, and really I think that point came last week.
“I had a poor meeting against Ipswich. I sat at the tapes in heat 14 thinking ‘come in dad, give me something here,’ but it just didn’t happen.
“I was so low that when the riders went into the crowd at the end of the meeting I just made my own way back to the pits - it felt like the longest and loneliest walk I had ever done.
“Then, when I got back to the pits I had a bit of a break-down. I’m embarrassed but not ashamed to admit that I started to have a bit of a meltdown in front of Scott Courtney Jamie Courtney and Gary Flint in the office and typically with the way I have been dealing my instinct is to give up and run away.
“I offered them the chance for me to step down from the team as I didn’t feel I deserve to be at such a fantastic club. I was told that I’d be supported if that’s what I really wanted but in truth it’s far from what I want.
“After dad died I threw myself into anything, working, keeping busy, laughing, joking, denying, anything really to keep the little voice in the back of my head at bay.
“I could see the pain that people around me were in and even my daughter Ava struggling to understand what was going on, so I became the strong one, reasoning that if I could show I was ok, others around me would be too.
“This all worked fine until racing started, the hole that has been left and the weight I’ve been carrying has just been getting too big.
“The way I’ve been dealing isn’t healthy, you can only blow so much air into a balloon before it explodes and unfortunately depression has a way of working it’s dark tentacles into your brain when you are low.
“I’d finally reached exploding point and I am having to face reality and deal with my loss.
“My brain has been so cluttered that I’ve not really focused on anything I’ve just gone through the motions and to be honest it’s exhausting.
“But this week has been the turning point.
“Tonight I felt so focused. Over the past few weeks I was going to the tapes and things didn’t feel right. But tonight I wasn’t just seeing things clearly, it was like I was seeing them in HD!
“I know it’s a mental thing, it’s all been in my head, because I haven’t really done a lot differently from a mechanical point of view. I made a slight adjustment to my clutch, that was all, but it seemed to work.
“This is where I want to be. I love it at Berwick, everyone has been so supportive and hopefully my season starts now.”
David Howe wasn’t the only maximum man for Berwick at the weekend - Jye Etheridge, riding at reserve, achieved his first ever paid maximum in the UK with a 14+1 score against Sheffield.
And the young Aussie has no doubting what is down to his upturn in form .... “practice makes perfect,” he said.
“At the moment I am getting a lot of bike time. I am racing with Berwick in the Championship, Belle Vue in the Premiership, picking up the odd guest booking, and I’ve also been out to Poland this past week for a bit of practice as well.
“It’s all about confidence, bike time gives you that, and I’m really enjoying my speedway at the moment.”
The following night, at Newcastle, Berwick raced in the second leg of the Tyne Tweed Trophy challenge where they went down 53-37 (102-76 on aggregate).
In this meeting it was Aaron Summers who emerged as Berwick’s top scorer with three wins and a paid win as he netted 15+1.
* This weekend there is no meeting at Shielfield, the next home fixture is against Newcastle in the league on Saturday, June 2. Meanwhile, the Bandits will race their first away league fixture of the season at Ipswich tonight (Thursday), having already beaten the Witches at Shielfield.
Bandits scorers from the weekend were:
v Sheffield - Howe 15 (max), Etheridge 14+1 (paid max), Doolan 9+1, Summers 8, Gappmaier 5+1, Greaves 2+1, Jakobsen - rider rep.
v Newcastle - Summers 15+1, Howe 9+1, Doolan 8, Greaves 4+1, Etheridge 1, Gappmaier 0, Jakjobsen - rider rep.