Plymouth Gladiators End Speedway Season On A High
Nikki joined the Plymouth Gladiators team and their fans for a night of fun and laughter to see the end of their speedway season on Saturday 30th November 2019. Held at the Kings Tamerton Community Centre in Plymouth, not the easiest place to get to by bus or the easiest to get a taxi from on a Saturday night evening too. But a big thanks to Tower Cabs who came to Nikki's rescue.
It started on a somber note from Mark Phillips who talked about how the season had started with a sensible team but didn't have the best of seasons overall. The team and management were applauded for their effort. He handed over to Mattie Bates to start the award presentations.
It started with the youngsters who support the team including one young man who had asked if he was going to get a bottle for his mum, which was duly supplied. It was then the turn of the riders.
Starting with Kris Andrews, who stepped up alongside his brother in the team from the Exeter Falcons. You may remember him as being nicknamed by Nikki as "the one that shouts at her" after the fun at the Falcon's 90th celebrations earlier this year. Followed by Jamie Bursill who it was said will be "famous one day not for speedway", not sure where that comment was leading? Adam Sheppard, another Falcon who has stepped up this year and been on Chesil Radio before started the audience into a rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday", Nathan Stoneman was next, a former mascot for the team in the past and said "couldn't ask for a better team to ride for!" and finally on the night in attendance was Richard Andrews, brother of Kris and also with the Chesil Radio nickname "Mr Wheelbarrow".
It was then time to announce the Social Media Rider of the Year which was tightly fought out by eventually two riders, in 2nd with 9,750 votes was Nathan Stoneman and the winner with 14,250 votes was Richard Andrews.
Most improved rider of the year, chosen by the team, who wasn't present was Adam Extance and the Rider of The Year, also chosen by the team was Nathan Stoneman.
There was an extra award, which was presented to Mark Phillips with a big yellow sponge, not sure if I should call it the Fan Power award, but was presented to Mark after having a tough year particularly on social media.
Mattie Bates then thanked his dad for supplying the trophies. There was then a break for drinks and to start eating the buffet which was delicious.
We returned to a talk from Mark Phillips and Ian Jordan, the commercial director of the Gladiators, who you may have heard the name from our trips down to Eastbourne in a similar role. In this talk, it was as frank as they could be about the situation of not going up a league an in a nutshell "gutted". There was talk of financial guarantees that varied from team to team, that seemed crazy to Nikki listening, but also that previous promotions had harmed their chances for this season but they were not to be defeated to try again next season. There was some talk that they may have been allowed to join still before the season but without guarantees very sensibly they have chosen to remain in their current league. Ian will be full time soon with the Gladiators. I haven't gone into everything as the spirits were flowing on the night, but I am sure that Mark, Mattie and Ian will do all they can to secure that place in the next league in 2021.
Following that the fun stepped up, with those of a nervous disposition leaving for party dances and beer to flow freely for our Nikki up to the midnight hour. Nikki would like to thank everyone at Plymouth who made her feel welcome throughout the season and especially those who stood with her when she lost her dad earlier this year while live broadcasting. Nikki loves going to Plymouth, as its not just the riders who go up and say hi to her but the supporters in the crowd makes her feel so welcome. We hope to do more meetings next season live and will keep you posted on those as the dates for the meetings become available.
We apologise for the delay in this blog but as you will know Nikki took poorly last week and has been ill all week and unable to give a full report back for this blog, apologises for any inconvenience.
At Plymouth on that night Nikki was broadcasting and lost her dad, she was there to complete an article for the Speedway Star that was never published. We feel we have given them long enough to publish this story so we hope before Christmas to give you an insight of behind the scenes at Chesil Radio's Speedway coverage.