STALYBRIDGE speedway rider Kyle Howarth is swapping his motorcycle for a push bike in a marathon charity challenge.
The 26-year-old is undertaking the 156-mile bike ride on December 5 to help raise money for the Speedway Riders Benevolent Fund.
Kyle, who rides for the Leicester Lions and Sheffield Tigers, will begin his marathon from Swindon’s Abbey Stadium and complete it at Belle Vue’s National Speedway Stadium.
He predicts the feat will take him at least 13 hours.
The Speedway Riders Benevolent Fund is a registered UK charity dedicated to providing short and long-term support for riders following serious injury that renders them unable to work.
Kyle himself has benefitted from the invaluable assistance provided by the SRBF after an accident that left him with significant shoulder injuries.
He said: “I first dislocated my shoulder in a crash two years ago and, after going to a specialist in Wilmslow, I was told it would either be fine or would continue to cause me pain.
“At the time, thankfully, it was the former but then in 2019 I fell while riding at Eastbourne and it’s just been a nightmare ever since, even the most basic movements would make it pop out of the socket.
“It got to the point where it was so unstable that surgery was the only option and, with the speedway season cancelled, I wasn’t missing any racing and I wanted to get myself back to full fitness.”
After his surgery in July, Kyle embarked on a rigorous rehabilitation course with the assistance of the Ben Fund, and it was during this time that the idea for the charity bike ride struck.
He continued: “It can’t be emphasised enough just how highly we riders regard the fund. It is literally a lifeline for us when we’re injured because, for most of us, riding is our full-time job.
“Normally there would be loads of track collections and fundraisers, but with the Covid situation they haven’t been able to do even half the normal things they do to raise money.
“I really wanted to give something back to the fund to thank them for all the help they’ve given me, and then the thought occurred to maybe do a charity bike ride to raise vital funds.
“I don’t recall how the idea to cycle from Swindon to Manchester came about, but it has been well received by the public and I just want to raise as much money as possible for a good cause.
“I’ll have a support crew with me who will have supplies like food, water, tools and spare equipment and if all goes to plan we should be on the road for just over 13 hours from start to finish.”
• Anyone who would like to donate to Kyle’s fundraiser for the Speedway Riders Benevolent Fund can do so via his GoFundMe page: www.gofundme.com/f/speedway-benfund