'˜Phoenix' Howe confirms his decision to retire from speedway

David Howe has announced his retirement from competitive speedway.

Monday, 22nd October 2018, 1:19 pm
Updated Monday, 22nd October 2018, 1:23 pm

The 36-year-old, who spent a season-and-a-half with Berwick, has decided to hang up his Kevlars after a long and impressive career.

He made the announcement to supporters at the club’s end-of-season presentation party at the Ord House Caravan Park, and for many in the room it did not come as too much of a surprise as he had previously hinted he may be calling it a day.

Howe rode for a host of clubs in the top two tiers of British speedway and was British U21 champion in 2000 and third in the World U21 championship two years later.

He also raced for clubs in Sweden and Poland and had a distinguished grass and longtrack career.

But at the end of the 2018 season, after finishing runner-up in the end-of-season Bordernapolis at Shielfield, the Phoenix, as he had been labelled, hinted it may be time to look at other options.

And on Saturday, he confirmed his intention when he said: “After my injury in 2015, I hadn’t even been to a meeting for nearly a year.

“Scott and Jamie [Courtney] gave me a chance to change that and, from the moment I joined, this club and team felt different, and that bond has become stronger over the last 18 months.

“It’s no secret that I didn’t know what the future held for me, but I do know that I will always be thankful to the Bandits for giving me a second chance to do this my way. I feel that even though I’m nowhere near the rider I was, I have regained a bit of pride and dignity.

“So on that note, I would like to use this opportunity to announce that the Bordernapolis was my final meeting as a speedway rider, but I say this happy and content, even though it’s tinged with sadness. I think deep down I knew before the Bordernapolis that this would be where I was heading as I was able to put more into it mentally.

“I just wanted to lay it all out there and to see what happened, and it was almost the perfect ending.

“Okay, so I didn’t win, but I managed two things, not only did I beat Jye [Etheridge] in our final race, but I out-gated him and I’ll never let him forget that,” referencing the phenomenal bond the pair have developed over the last year.

He went on to say: “I also beat Nikolaj [Busk Jakobsen] that night, and he’s since seen the funny side that he has a mechanic who can beat him!

“On that point, I will still be heavily involved in the sport, and, if I have my way, Berwick too as I will be working full-time in the UK and abroad for Nikolaj and hopefully help to guide him to the big things we all know he is capable of.

“I’ve always given it my best on the day and worn the Bandits logo with immense pride.”

The Bandits’ Academy collectively received the Young Rider of the Year award.

Theo Pijper, who earlier in the evening was presented with the Supporters’ Club Rider of the Year award, took the Riders’ Bandit of the Year trophy and Jye Etheridge again lifted the fan-voted Rider of the Year award,