HEREFORDSHIRE racer Paul Starke is going back to the future having joined Plymouth Gladiators for the new speedway season. 

Hereford-born Starke, 32, spends his summers banging handlebars with the best Britain has to offer, charging around an oval circuit for four laps, a total of more than a kilometre in less than 60 seconds, on motorcycles with no brakes.

There are individual events but riders make their living as part of teams with Starke snapped up by Plymouth in the SGB Championship – the UK’s second tier – on Tuesday. 

He finished last season with Oxford Cheetahs but links back up with Gladiators boss Garry May, the team manager who worked with Starke at Premiership and Championship level during a trophy-laden spell at Somerset.

It also sees Starke return to the scene of his first club trophies having won the Conference Trophy and Knockout Cup at Plymouth when the club was in the third tier back in 2008. 

“I have worked with Gazza before and my ongoing conversations with him were one of the big reasons behind joining,” said Starke. 

“I know Mark (Phillips, promoter) as well, I rode for Plymouth some years ago and know a lot of the fans so when the opportunity came up I knew it would be good to be a part of it. 

“To already have that relationship with the management before you head somewhere is always helpful and I am looking forward to getting started.

“I have done plenty of laps down there and had those couple of seasons in the Conference in my younger days.”

Many UK-based riders compete in both professional leagues with Starke representing Ipswich in the Premiership last season but he revealed he would need to secure the right deal to add the top flight to his commitments for 2023.

“I have had some enquiries but the travelling can be a killer,” he added. 

“I did Newcastle and Ipswich from the start of last season and they were both five hours away for me. 

“I would like to get something a bit closer to home but that limits the tracks I can go to. It would have to be the right deal because the travelling was a lot.”

Now based in Symonds Yat, Starke continues to receive support from local businesses such as Ledbury Welding, Ledbury Holdings and Gurney’s Family Butchers helping to fund the equipment he needs.

“The backing I get from these local companies makes all the difference, particularly at this time of year when we are preparing everything and gearing up to have a good go at a successful season,” added Starke. 

“If there are any local businesses that would like to come on board, any help would be greatly appreciated.”

Prospective sponsors can contact Starke via email: