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a m H a g o n off but landed awkwardly into the fence.

“I don’t think it would have been so bad if it hadn’t been the second-half. The weather was quite cold and the track had become icy.

“It was my own mistake. I thought someone was going to fall off in front of me and I took avoiding action.

“It was the worst injury because I couldn’t walk after dislocating my right hip.

“I originally thought I had broken my leg. To be fair, after they had popped the hip back into place, I was actually walking that night.

“After about three weeks, I was okay to walk again properly. I was kind of back to normal, it was still painful and I had moments when it was really bad.”

UT FOR Hagon, it’s gone from dislocated hip to hip, hip hooray.

BHis 2023 season saw a huge leap from the National League to Championship, mainly thanks to a challenge match he wasn’t even meant to be riding in.

He rode for Swindon at Poole, made a huge impression, and then landed a place at Birmingham in the second tier. Now his eyecatching results have seen him snapped up by the high-flying Pirates.

He added: “It was a good half a season at Birmingham, it was good to be in the Championship.

“By the end of the season, I was scoring well both home and away. I felt quite good until I obviously broke my hip.

“Going to Poole is really good. It’s one of the best clubs in British speedway. It’s nice to be recognised by them and wanted by them.

“I think going there came about after the challenge match for Swindon at Poole.

“Strangely enough, I don’t think I was supposed to be in it. I think someone pulled out and I got chucked in the meeting.

“I’d had such a poor meeting when I rode in the challenge for Swindon at Oxford, I didn’t think I’d get another chance.

“I maybe wasn’t meant to be there, yet it ended up being one of my breakthrough moments in my career. It got me a Championship club and it opened doors for me.”

OW HAGON joins the most decorated club in the UK this century in Dorset.

NBut he remains very level-headed about the task and weight on his shoulders. He added: “Matt Ford said when he signed me that there would be extra pressure on me at Poole.

a bit more. I want to end next year as a second string for Poole, that is achievable.”

AGON’S super-laid back approach might be a result of so much experience back of belt in his genes.

HHis dad Martin and granddad Alf were serial grasstrack champions while his mum Charlotte Dugard is part of the Arlington dynasty which included great grandfather Charlie, granddad Bob plus his brothers John and Eric Dugard as riders and then in the modern era both uncles, Martin and Paul.

He continued: “I think it’s a benefit of having a good pedigree. I’ve had Martin Dugard working with me for the last year and a half.

“He was such a good speedway rider and it’s helped me make such a big step up. He obviously helped Tom Brennan as well.

“Martin was a Grand Prix winner at Coventry. He’s been under pressure and had the injuries, so he knows the sport inside out and what I need to do in situations.

“I think people do expect maybe a bit more out of me because of my dad and granddad. I do prefer it and enjoy it when someone actually underestimates me.

“I’d say that Martin Dugard is more laidback than my dad.

“When you get to know him, he’s different than the person he was on track. He knows how to deal with problems along with my dad.

“There’s so much more to speedway than just racing. It’s running a business as well. My dad obviously has his own business so it’s a massive help when sorting tax. It’s handy to have people around me who have been there and done it before.”

T

HERE’S little doubt that you can feel the energy and burning ambition oozing out of every pore from Hagon.

He has set himself big but realistic

“But I genuinely feel I ride better with pressure on me. I’ve got a bit of experience now and it’s not going to be my first year in the Championship.

“I know that the fans and the track are brilliant at Poole, so I know I can do a good job.

“The Championship is slightly weaker next season with the third heat leader a bit less powerful. I think that can maybe bring me on

RE!Pictures: TAYLOR LANNING

Pictures: TAYLOR LANNING

targets from the next couple of seasons, including grabbing a Premiership place and winning the British Under-21 title.

He continued: “I want to be a Rising Star, by the latest, in 2025. I think I can make that next level.

“To be fair, last season I did okay in my Premiership appearances. In my last Ipswich meeting, I got paid five. I got a bit lucky in a couple of rides.

“I want to keep pushing and win the British Under-21 in the next couple of years. I’ve got targets that I want to achieve.

“I can also look to Tom (Brennan) as a good example. He made that move from nowhere to Rising Star and British Under-21 title.

“I get on really well with Tom, he’s pretty much my family. It’s definitely good to have someone who has done it recently.

“Winning the British Under-21 semi-final at Workington was definitely one of the best things I’ve ever done. No one expected me to win it.

“When people were talking about it before the meeting, I wasn’t even mentioned. I didn’t even go into that meeting to win it. Of course I wanted to but qualification was my only aim.

“I did a couple of rides and then suddenly realised I could actually go on to win it.

“I then lost one of my heats to Nathan Ablitt after we had a good battle for a couple of laps. Luck was on my side as well. But I also performed to the level I wanted to.

“Winning the Under-21 semi-final has just spurred me on to win the actual championship. It has proved to me that I have the ability to make that step up now.

“So that’s definitely on my to-do list for 2024. I felt like I did okay in the final at Glasgow last season. But next year I know I can win it. There are a lot of aims and ambitions. It’s just making them happen now.”

December 9, 2023 speedway star 3

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