April 13, 2024
Speedway Hub - British Speedway News

Ben Barker the first 2024 signing for the Plymouth Gladiators

The entertainment served up at the newly extended Coliseum circuit will once again be at a high level as the Plymouth Prow Park Gladiators have announced the signing of all action racer Ben Barker for 2024.

The Full statement from the club about Bens signing is below:

IT was always on the cards, but now it’s been confirmed – fan favourite Ben Barker will once again be riding for the Plymouth Prow Park Gladiators in 2024.

Now 35, the popular Cornishman is part of the furniture at the Coliseum, where he holds the track record and takes such pride in being ‘king of the track.’ And once it was announced that Plymouth will once again be riding next year, Barker was the first rider to get nailed down for the Championship campaign.

“Plymouth is where I want to be, so I am delighted to get fixed up and glad to be back for 2024,” Barker said. “I was pleased with how I rode in 2023, but also very disappointed. My season ended with injury and I was disappointed in that.

“I was also disappointed that the Plymouth team was really, really good on paper but it just didn’t develop and we couldn’t achieve anything together, really. I don’t know why, maybe a clash of personalities.

“Hopefully, this going forward, we can have a great team spirit and you can win meetings alone with a great team spirit and all the boys digging in helping one another.”

Team manager Garry May was also delighted to have Barker as one of his heat leaders for next season, calling his return a ‘no-brainer.’

“What can you say about him?” May said. “He just gets on with it, he is 100 per-cent wherever he goes and it was a no-brainer to have Ben back.

“He knows the track, he loves the people and the people love him and he will get points at this level wherever he goes. It was just a no-brainer.

“He had a good year and rode well until he got injured in that meeting which finished his season off with a broken collarbone. But we see Ben as being our second heat leader.”

Barker certainly had an up and down year with the highlight being his superb third place finish at the prestigious British Riders’ championship at Belle Vue, where he shared the podium with the winner and popular GP rider, Dan Bewley, and runner-up Steve Worrall.

It was the third time Barker had finished third in the event, after similar finishes in 2010 and 2014, while he averaged 7.81 in league meetings for the Gladiators last season, but he will no doubt be disappointed to have won only eight of his 32 heats on home shale.

However, he again provided plenty of entertainment on the tight bends and short straights of the Coliseum before that season-ending collar bone injury he picked up just 24 hours after his heroics in Manchester. And with work to increase the size of the track for 2024, his time of 49.19 seconds will now be etched in Plymouth speedway folklore as the fastest time ever recorded on that track.

Now, as one of his targets for the new season, Barker is keen to set a new one when tapes go up on a new campaign in March.

“It’s going to be exciting, isn’t it?” Barker said of the track work. “I mean, I loved the Coliseum as it was but everything changes and hopefully the changes will be for the better. I have been fortunate enough to get the track record and it is nice to keep it that way!

That record will stand now, but it will be a new track, so I want a new track record and that is one of my aims for 2024 – get the track record at Plymouth, get to number one and become British champion.”

Barker is on the lookout for sponsors for 2024 and invites anyone interested to contact him through his social media, or by emailing

The club are also 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 Image by Plymouth Gladiators

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