Plucky rider Ritchie keeps bounc­ing back

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Classifieds -

IF any­one de­serves a break in speedway, it’s Ritchie Hawkins.

The Yax­ley ace has had so many bad ones he could have been for­given for think­ing he was cursed. Just when doors are open­ing for him, they are nor­mally slammed shut in the shape of se­ri­ous in­jury.

The 2004 Bri­tish Un­der 21 cham­pion has spent more time in plas­ter and bandages than a mummy but ev­ery time he gets knocked down, he’s back up again.

“I’ve suf­fered so many bad breaks that I have pain for break­fast,” jokes a rider who has bro­ken just about ev­ery ma­jor bone and dam­aged ev­ery limb in his body. “I’ve never done any­thing to my back though, so touch wood I’ll avoid that.

“Oh, and I don’t think I’ve bro­ken my el­bows ei­ther!”

The glass is al­ways half-full where the Yax­ley-based racer (who is back in the area af­ter a few years based in Dorset) is concerned. And now he is get­ting his re­wards.

A hec­tic diary, a fine start to the sea­son for Premier League club Som­er­set and plenty of top-flight out­ings in the Elite League (both as Ip­swich’s num­ber eight and a guest for other clubs) all means he is back on the map.

The son of Pan­thers leg­end Kevin Hawkins ad­mits there have been times when he has thought about turn­ing his back on speedway, but he al­ways finds his way back to the shale.

He added: “I did think about giv­ing up a few times but I couldn’t think of an­other job I wanted to do.

“And I’m glad I kept on rid­ing be­cause things are go­ing pretty well now and I’m en­joy­ing my rac­ing more than I have done in years.

“I’ve had to work so hard just to get back on a bike af­ter my many in­juries that I’m ap­pre­ci­at­ing it more. The wrist I have smashed to bits twice is still giv­ing me grief and I’ve got to go and see a spe­cial­ist in a cou­ple of weeks, but other than that I’m happy.

“I feel as though I am back at the level I was at in 2006 be­fore all my in­jury prob­lems held me back. I’m av­er­ag­ing over seven in the Premier League in­clud­ing bonus points and get­ting my con­fi­dence back.

“I’ve done close to 30 meet­ings in the last cou­ple of months which means there have been a lot of pay­cheques com­ing in, but I’m pump­ing ev­ery penny I can into my equip­ment to try and im­prove.

“I’ve got a work­shop at home and an­other one down in Swin­don which is ideal for rid­ing at Som­er­set. I’ve even had to take a me­chanic on be­cause I’ve been so busy.”

Hawkins, who had a brief spell as a Pan­thers rider in 2005 only to be harshly axed, showed he is no back num­ber with a de­cent dis­play for Ip­swich at the Show­ground on Mon­day night. He notched 4+2 for the Witches as they went down 5039 de­spite lead­ing at one stage.

Hawkins is cer­tainly among friends at the Suf­folk club. The Witches are skip­pered by his best mate Danny King (whose spare room has be­come a sec­ond home to Hawkins) and he has also known Oliver Allen (an­other son of a Pan­thers great) for years.

“Danny fixed it up for me to go to Ip­swich and I’m lov­ing it,” con­tin­ued Hawkins. “I’ve had five meet­ings for them now and have done okay. The peo­ple there are great and Chris Louis has been a real help - he is even do­ing me an en­gine.

“It went well at Peter­bor­ough the other night and it was good to help the team get a 5-1 in one of my races. I’ve had a few other guest book­ings in the Elite League as well and it is nice to get those chances.”

THE WRONG TYPE OF BREAKS: For city-based rider Ritchie Hawkins.

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