radley Wilson-Dean & Josh Auty
HE 2022 British speedway season was meant to be one where everything got back on course for Josh Auty.
TInstead, it’s turned out to be another which could leave him questioning his future in the sport.
It’s fair to say it’s been a testing couple of years for the experienced British racer.
He’s openly spoken about some tough personal issues throughout the pandemic and was looking forward to focusing on his speedway once again last term.
But a crash at Leicester less than a month after racing resumed post-Covid saw his season ending early after being replaced by Scunthorpe, bringing an end to his long association with the Scorpions.
The North Lincolnshire club honoured his Testimonial this March though, and the 31-yearold was optimistic about the months ahead after linking back up with Birmingham, the side with whom he reached the Elite League Grand Final in 2013.
But less than a month into his latest stint with the Brummies, Auty was again sidelined after crashing out of his first ride of the abandoned home fixture against Berwick, ploughing through the home straight kickboards and breaking his leg in the process.
“I just lay there thinking, ‘this is just my luck’,” Auty said. “After a tough start to the year, I’d just got a little bit of form back together with a decent score of eight points at Redcar the week before.
“I’d got my engine serviced before that meeting; it felt good, and by the end of the night I felt as if that was going to help me to settle down and focus purely on racing my bike again.
“In speedway, you do have to constantly reinvest in your equipment to stay competitive. People may not always realise how much, but it is a super-expensive game to just remain competitive nowadays, but I felt good again and I wanted to follow that up in that meeting at Birmingham.
“I’d gone into that night wanting to build a bit of momentum, and you only get that by winning and the confidence flows from that.
“It was just one of those incidents where I got a little bit out of shape and stuff like that happens so fast. When you get out of shape, sometimes you get away with it, other times it can have catastrophic consequences and unfortunately that was one of those times.
“When I went through the fence, my initial thought was that I’d compound fractured my leg, which was strange really.
“I wanted to get my boot off straight away because of the sensations I’d got, but it wasn’t particularly that painful to begin with.
“It did kick in after a short while though, and I was soon on the morphine and on my way to hospital.”
He viewed 2022 as the year to get back on an even keel but, instead, Josh Auty finds himself frustratingly sidelined and wondering about his future, as he tells RYAN GUEST
said. “On June 1, I had my cast removed and a boot fitted. The surgeon told me I can’t fully bear weight on it for another three or four weeks or so yet, so July 20, I think that’s realistic.
“That will be three months exactly since I had the accident, and that’s a good amount of time in terms of recovery.
“At first, I’d thought around June 20, but that would’ve been way too early when you consider the severity of the fracture and stuff.
“I want to, and have to, make sure it’s right before I come back because if I was to take another prang on it, you’re going to add another three months or so onto your recovery at least.
“I’ve done my ankle before and things, but they were only very minimal fractures and I came back in very good time on both occasions.
“But in this one, the shinbone was pretty much snapped. The surgeon wasn’t too concerned about that though, because it has a pretty good blood flow and it only bears about 25 per cent of your body weight.
“The tibia had a big chunk cracked off and has got screws and plates holding it together, so that’s the more severe one.
commitments to Birmingham this year as much as I can.
“It’s frustrating because right now there’s nothing at all I can do apart from do as I’ve been told, be patient and wait for the time to come around.
“I haven’t won a race since pulling their race-jacket on again this year, and that’s something that is bugging me, that is frustrating me, and that does make me even more determined to get back out there this year and try and finish that last part of the season as strong as I can.
“Once the season’s over then
I’ll reassess everything and see what direction I
want to go in.”
• A fund-raiser for Josh Auty has been set up to assist the rider while he’s on the injury list. Donations can be made to: www.just giving.com/crowd funding/joshauty fundraiser
Whilst refusing to acknowledge whether or not retirement at the end of 2022 has crossed his mind during the past seven weeks or so whilst hopping around on crutches back at home, Auty was quick to state his intentions on the immediate future.
“That’s the bone that takes the majority of your body weight as well so that’s the one that needs to be strong.
“Hopefully by mid-July that will be the case and I’ll be ready to get back racing again.
“I do want to get back into it this season,” he
“More than anything, I want to fulfil my
Pictures: IAN RISPIN and STEVE BROCK
June 11, 2022 speedway star 3