Thursday September 10, 2020
LEICESTER’S hugely-talented Thompson twins are to become full-time speedway riders.

Dan and Joe, who were both set to line up for the senior Watling JCB Lions in the Championship this year at the age of just 16, have withdrawn from their places at sixth form college in order to pursue their sporting ambitions.

Instead, they will work towards qualifications in engineering via the Norfolk-based Poultec apprenticeship scheme, which has already had several successful speedway graduates under the tutelage of Great Britain joint-boss Olly Allen.

Both Thompsons have starred in the limited speedway events which have taken place this year, in the British Youth Championship and then when the Roger Webster Lion Cubs visited Scunthorpe last Monday.

And whilst the decision came after plenty of family discussion, they have the full backing of parents Darren and Jenny in the dramatic change of plan.

Joe said: “The plan is to take speedway as far as we can. With college, I think that would have limited us with time studying compared to time in the workshop.

“But with Poultec, it will give us that time during the month to keep up with fitness and track days and stay sharp for racing, which will help us progress forwards.

“Last year was a real eye-opener, especially to see that we were actually at a level where we could take it further, and with our recent workshop help from Richard Maull it’s been unreal progression.”

Brother Dan admits the racing which has taken place since early August has proved highly beneficial – and is already whetting the appetite for 2021.

British Speedway was forced to shut down in March due to the Covid pandemic, but meetings have gradually come back onto the agenda in recent weeks despite the official league season being cancelled.

Dan said: “Earlier in the year I was thinking maybe we should just end the season and start afresh next year.

”I didn’t want the averages to change for next year and team places to be muddled up, but now I’m really glad the season did happen.

“In the short space of time we’ve had I’ve learnt so much, and I feel so much more ready for the Championship next year as well.”

Lions boss Stewart Dickson, the man who handed Dan and Joe senior team places with the club for this season, has fully endorsed their latest move.

He said: “I’ve kept in regular contact with the boys, mainly through Darren at the moment, and although it’s a brave decision I do feel it’s the right one.

“They’re both ambitious and the more racing they get, the better. There was probably a risk that if they hadn’t gone for it now, they could fall behind other riders just because of combining speedway with schoolwork.

“The good thing is they’re intelligent lads, I know they were always up at the top at school, and I’m sure they will be able to pick up their education again if they have to.

“From Leicester’s point of view I think it’s fantastic because these are two local boys, they’re both really popular with our public, and it’s going to be great to see them progress.

“Some people said it might be too early for them in the Championship this year but I was always sure they would be ready, and the last few weeks have proved that.

“The other great thing is how they push each other on. Last year Joe had a National League average a point higher than Dan, but then look at how Dan’s been going lately. They help each other, and again that’s going to be good for us.”

*The Thompsons will be both be racing for the Roger Webster Lion Cubs in Sunday’s challenge with Scunthorpe at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena (5.30pm). Limited tickets are available from .

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