Saturday May 09, 2020
There is never a good time to be under a lockdown situation, but when you are just receiving the 'key of the door' then it must be an even greater frustration.

If there is one thing that Anders Rowe would love to be doing on his eighteenth birthday, it would be getting out on a track and making his bike slide sideways. Instead though, in line with the Government advice, on Saturday May 9th Anders and his family will be celebrating his ‘of age’ birthday by staying at home, but he admits "to be fair we never planned anything really special to mark my eighteenth. , but he admits "to be fair we never planned anything really special to mark my eighteenth. We kept the date free because there was talk of a Team GB meeting that day and so I didn't want to plan anything and then get asked to ride as it means a lot to me to be involved with the national set-up. If I wasn't riding then I guess I would have been washing bikes and stuff and then we probably would have gone out for a family meal, but as it is, we will just stay home and do some chilling out. I know for sure that I will never forget my 18th!"

The winter plan ahead of the 2020 season was to leave the National League behind him, retain his place in the SGB Championship with the 'Cases' Rebels but also to test himself at SGB Premiership level, having been given the chance with Swindon. As with all things speedway that blueprint has had to be placed on ice but Anders is, like so many in the sporting fraternity, just itching to get going. "I just want to be able to get out there and ride my bike, but I am sure that is the same for all my fellow speedway riders. I was really looking forward to this season and the chance to build on my progress with Somerset and also test myself in the top league, hopefully we will be able to get some racing in this season once this Coronavirus crisis eases, but we will have to wait and see what the Government allows us to do as a sport"

In a recent social-distancing interview with both Anders and Rory Schlein the youngster admitted the turning point of his season came just a week or so before his 17th birthday, when the club eventually got around to commemorating their 20th Anniversary after the first attempt had been rained out. It was a challenge match against Poole and having taken the decision to revert to set-ups he had been running in 2018, Anders admits "things began to come together then, the changes we had made at the beginning of the season weren't really working for me so we went back to the way I had things in 2018 and it worked for me. I was able to get my confidence back up and I felt a lot better from that point."

Rowe scored six points that night, a treble of second places to his name from his opening three rides and as the season progressed there were even better returns, despite taking the bold gamble to move out of the reserve berth and into the main body of the side when team boss Garry May was forced to redeclare the side towards the end of July. "Going to number two was definitely so much fun for me. I knew it was going to be hard and Gazza spoke to me before it happened to see how I felt about it. I looked at it as having nothing to lose and I wanted to test myself, I always want to do that and to be honest it was the best thing for me. It certainly made me ride better and really pushed my season on and I think that was proven the night I rode for Team GB in the Test Match against Denmark."

Anders was at reserve for the National side in that meeting and returned a highly credible paid 12 score from five outings as the home nation ran out 53-37 winners at King's Lynn, so was that his high point of the season? "There was a lot of good moments for me to be honest but I must admit that when I look back at the night we went to Glasgow in the play-offs, I remember it most fondly. I was loving it that night. I felt very fast all night and made some awesome passes. I also enjoyed the night we raced against Edinburgh at Somerset and I got paid for three race wins. That was a bit special."

Once elevated into the team Anders forged a racing partnership with Rory Schlein, a rider that through the No Limits training scheme has helped Anders' racing development. "Rory is a very good team partner. He is safe and he will always look out for you and that is good. We had some good times out on track last year and hope to do so again this year if possible."

In the meantime though it is just a matter of waiting to see what provisions the top brass of the sport can organise as and when the green light is given, but if there is one 18th birthday present that Anders really hopes for it would be news along those lines so that he can go racing his speedway bike once again.

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