July 17, 2024
Speedway Hub - British Speedway News

Alfie Bowtell returns to the Plymouth Gladiators for 2024

THE second signing for the 2024 Plymouth Prow Park Gladiators needs no introduction as he is already familiar with the club – but race fans will be delighted to know that Alfie Bowtell is returning for another year with Plymouth Speedway.

The 26-year-old was a Gladiator from 2020 to 2022 before he left for a year with the Birmingham Brummies in 2023 but, after a year away, he is delighted to return to the Coliseum and join Ben Barker in yellow and blue for the 2024 season.

“I am really happy to be back,” Bowtell said. “I am grateful to Mark (Phillips) for the opportunity and I feel like I have unfinished business at Plymouth. I feel that Mark puts in a lot of effort down at Plymouth – and so does everyone else – and he deserves to get something back, at least into the play-offs and hopefully a little bit of silverware at some stage.

I know it’s a bit of a drive, but everywhere is a drive in speedway! But it’s better than having a day job, that’s for sure!

“I wanted to come back last year, but I think it has done me the world of good having a year away from Plymouth, to go and prove it on a bigger track. My average has gone up a bit, so that is always a good sign and I am enjoying it more than ever.a

“I know I can do well at Plymouth, it is just the away meetings that I was struggling with a couple of years ago, so hopefully I can prove that next season.”

Bowtell’s return was met with delight by team manager Garry May with the two putting a disagreement over his exit from the club behind them ahead of the new season.

“I know we had a bit of a disagreement when he left the year before over certain things, but sometimes, I think you have to move away from a track where you are comfortable in order to progress,” May said. “Then you can come back because you have learnt more.

“I used to have this at Somerset with Alex Davies. He would get 9-12 points at Somerset every meeting easily. But away, he’d only get two or three. He went away and was going to come back, but he didn’t get a visa, but he would have come back a better rider and I think Alfie will come back as a better rider.

“Alfie was a no-brainer really because he rides Plymouth good. He really does like Plymouth and the first year I went there, when he was at reserve, I know we didn’t win many meetings with Bjarne (Pedersen) and all that, but looking at the meetings we did win, Alfie probably won them for us and he was at reserve.”

Bowtell, who also works as a plumber, will be in the main body of the team for 2024 after a year in which he didn’t just impress for Birmingham, but he rode well for Mildenhall in the National Development League as well. In fact, Bowtell’s 9.65 average in NDL saw him finish in the top five riders in the league and he hopes to carry that form into the new season.

“I was a bit hit and miss early on in the season, but I got something going with my bikes and it was good,” he said. “The odd away one was bad, but all in all, it improved my average – I think my away average went up about 2.5 points, so I have definitely improved a lot and it’s done me the world of good.

“Even riding for a bigger club – I know Birmingham isn’t the biggest track, but it’s bigger than Plymouth – but that has helped to bring me on as well, which is nice.

“I also had a good year at Mildenhall and broke some records, which was nice. I won the most races in a season (37) since 1987 or something crazy. But I had a good year in National League. I am not sure if I am going to be riding National League next year because all the averages and stuff are changing, but I am looking to make the step up in my career and really go for it.”

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 mark@plymouth-speedway.com or Paul Swarbrick on paul@plymouth-speedway.com.

words and feature image by Plymouth Speedway

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