Behind The Scenes: Neil Vatcher
Despite no UK racing and an injury to the captain, Great Britain were still able to send a youthful and exciting lineup to the 2020 FIM Speedway of Nations.
Image courtesy of CLS Photo
That youth has been nurtured in the Great Britain setup by long-term Under-21 Team Manager Neil Vatcher who saw Robert Lambert, Dan Bewley and Drew Kemp all represented the senior team just a year after they were all together in the FIM Under-21 Team World Championship final in 2019.
A part of being the Under-21 Team boss is seeing his more experienced riders graduate to the senior level but coping with the loss of riders such as Lambert and Bewley is par for the course.
Vatcher said: “It’s part of the game for me, I’ve been involved in the under 21 setup since 2011 so those type of things happen most years going back to Kyle Howarth and Adam Ellis.
“You get used to thinking this is the last year for some but you have to remain focussed especially on those riders that will still be there the following year.
“It’s the same this year we’ve put a lot of work into Tom Brennan and Drew Kemp, even young Jordan Palin who’s only 16.
“Those guys know they’ve got to step up, which isn’t easy but I’m sure they will make that step.”
Bewley was still in the team to lead GB Under 21's to a Bronze medal in the FIM Under-21 Team World Championship final in Denmark last year and Vatcher was pleased with the result given the lack of riding in the build up to the event.
“I was very pleased with a Bronze medal,” said Vatcher, “With the lack of riding our boys had - only one or two meetings prior to that - compared to the Polish and Danish teams who had been riding from May.
“The aim was to go and get a medal and the boys did a sterling job. It wasn’t ideal conditions; it had been raining all day but they all kept their heads up and brought home a medal.”
2021 should see much more riding for all British riders with the scheduled start of the domestic season coming in May but Vatcher is also keen to see his youngsters getting experience over in mainland Europe as well.
He said: “It’s definitely important for them to do their duties in Britain first and foremost but on the flip side of that, the only way to get to the top is to race against the best.
“It’s something I always try to achieve, to get them track time in Europe and this year we’ll have Drew Kemp at Gdansk, Tom Brennan has signed for Lodz and Leon Flint is at Rybnik which is great for them and can only help them compete on a more regular basis.”