A COUNTY speedway rider has targeted riding abroad after making a name for himself in the high octane sport.

Paul Starke, from Glewstone, near Ross-on-Wye, is currently the seventh best British rider following a meeting in Manchester in June.

And the Somerset Rebels and Leicester Lions star believes now is the time to kick on in his career.

"The aim is looking towards next year and getting a place abroad," said Starke.

"I think, if I go to somewhere like Denmark, then I can have a good base there.

"I'm at the point now that things are starting to get serious – it's been a long journey, but I've worked really hard to get there.

"There is a big team of us now and I've got a lot of support around me.

Speedway riders travel around the UK and Europe a lot, competing for a number of teams.

Starke said he has had to get used to his busy schedule.

"It is tough – I can be working 14 days straight and working in the Lake District one night and having to go to Plymouth the next," said Starke.

"The last two years have been really intense, but it's going well."

Starke's 10 points at the British Final was the same as three other riders, including Scott Nicholls, who has won the British Championship seven times.

But Starke missed out on making the semi-finals due to only winning one race in the heats.

If he had won the Championship, he would had been handed a wildcard slot for the prestigious Adrian Flux British FIM Speedway Grand Prix at Cardiff's Principality Stadium.

"To get a wildcard slot there would have been brilliant – that is definitely an aim of mine," added Starke.

The 25-year-old, whose father is former grass track rider Tony Starke, was born in Hereford and studied at Holy Trinity Primary School and John Masefield School in Ledbury.

Starke started his speedway career in 2007 with the Buxton Hitmen before having spells at a variety of clubs, including the Plymouth Devils, Rye House Rockets and Isle of Wight Islanders

He then started to make a name for himself when he joined the Cradley Heathens in the National League 2013.

While he was at the Black Country club, Starke won two league titles and formed a formidable partnership with Steve Worrall.

Starke then made the step up to the Elite League – the highest division in speedway.

However, his time with the Birmingham Brummies was a disappointing one.

After being selected in the reserve rider draft, the club closed midway through the season due to financial problems.

However, Starke was back in the Elite League in 2015, joining reigning champions Poole Pirates.

"Poole are the top team and I've got a good connection with them," said Starke.

"Hopefully I will be back with them one day."

Starke, who is sponsored by Ledbury Holdings and Gurneys Butchers of Ledbury, recently hosted a presentation for Newent Rotary Club following his seventh placed finish in the British Final.

To find out more about him visit paulstarkeracing.co.uk