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Road Racing returnee looking for Speedway Re-Ward
Road Racing returnee looking for Speedway Re-Ward

Racing back to the sport and determined to take advantage of the opportunities given by NORA Speedway at Kent in 2024 is the Kings’ youngest announced team member, Sam Ward.

The 26-year-old from Sandbach in Cheshire was something of a rising star up at his local track in Stoke a decade or so ago, but after team opportunities were hampered by early injury set-backs and then the closure of the Loomer Rd. track in the Potteries saw Ward take a different motorcycling direction for a spell.

“I got into Speedway when first attending Stoke at the age of four and I immediately loved the sport.  It was a thrill to wear the Potters race jacket and I also had some matches with Buxton Hitmen.
“I got into the National League [NL] side after coming second in a qualifying meeting at Stoke to grab one of the reserve slots, but in my first match I suffered a hand injury and smashed my coccyx badly”.

With opportunities fading as both Stoke and Buxton closed as League circuits, Ward began to follow another long-held dream: of following in his father’s tyre-prints and pursuing a career in motorcycle Road Racing – but then he had to overcome a significant health scare.

“COVID was a difficult time for us all of course, but I ended up hospitalised after a very bad reaction to the first jab – the medics at first suspected I’d had a heart attack.  That’s really frightening for someone in their early twenties, so when I got back on my bike I was determined to succeed, for myself and for my late Dad who’d also raced Road bikes.”

Wearing his late father’s no. 14 racing number, Ward competed in the East Midlands Racing Association’s [EMRA] 125GP championship,  winning 14 out of 16 races and taking the 2021 championship with one Round to spare.
“I also competed that same year in four Rounds of the British Championship on my 250GP bike scoring points at every event.”

Then Ward took a decision to return to his first love.

“Even with my success it’s very hard with rising costs to stay competitive in Road Racing and besides, I feel that I’ve unfinished business with the Speedway.”
Racing at training sessions and amateur meetings brought Ward back into contention for NL racing and some stand-in slots were secured, though a broken wrist in a crash at Edinburgh ended chances of a permanent berth in the 2023 season.

So riding for Kent Kings (with his debut coming up versus Eastbourne Eagles on the 14th. of this month) is a perfect fit for the lorry driver from the north-west,

“What I most need to progress my Speedway career is to settle into a friendly club, with good people; do well by them and they do well by me. I know I ride best when I’m happy and relaxed and after meeting the Kings management, my team mates and fans, some of whom are generously sponsoring me already is a real boost.”

Image courtesy of Niall Strudwick