Cycle Speedway – Ashley Hill

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Ipswich, Suffolk, Great Britain

14 JUN 2015 - IPSWICH, GBR - Ashley Hill (left) of Ipswich Eagles challenges Steve Harris (right) of Poole Comets for the best line into the first bend during their Elite League cycle speedway fixture at Whitton Sports and Community Centre in Ipswich, Suffolk, Great Britain (PHOTO COPYRIGHT © 2015 NIGEL FARROW, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED) (NIGEL FARROW/COPYRIGHT © 2015 NIGEL FARROW : www.nigelfarrow.com)

(PHOTO COPYRIGHT © 2015 NIGEL FARROW, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

14 JUN 2015 – IPSWICH, GBR – Ashley Hill (left) of Ipswich Eagles challenges 1999 World Individual Men’s Champion Steve Harris (right) of Poole Comets for the best line into the first bend during their Elite League cycle speedway fixture at Whitton Sports and Community Centre in Ipswich, Suffolk, Great Britain

With the twisting and turning of their bodies and pedals, and the pulling and pushing on the handlebars from the start of a race, cycle speedway riders need to be in good physical condition to compete at the top level. Though amateurs, like professional sportsmen and women, many still supplement their on track training with gym work.

“I’ll go anything between two to four times a week really when I have time,” says Ashley Hill, a member of the British team that raced at the 2013 World Championships in Adelaide, Australia. “Me and (Ipswich rider) Charlie Rumbold go together. Its quite handy always having somebody there to push you so you are not on your own really. You give each other ideas on what to do and different lifts and stuff like that.”

In his last year at college Hill included an optional gym instructor course in his studies where he learned which muscle groups were used and how they could be developed through exercise for different sports and their various types of competition. For his final assessment he created a complete gym training programme for a cycle speedway rider.

It is this session on which he now bases his gym work targeting the quads and hamstrings in the legs, and the biceps, triceps and shoulder muscles in the upper body.

He also uses his road bike to supplement his other training adjusting each ride to benefit his racing so working on his cardiovascular system whilst respecting the difference between road racing and cycle speedway. “Cycle speedway is quite a short sprint so if you go for a road ride you need to go for a ride but add in short sprints.”

26 MAY 2015 - IPSWICH, GBR - Ashley Hill (centre) leads Ben Harvey (left) and Fraser Harris (right) during an Ipswich Cycle Speedway Club championship night at Whitton Sports and Community Centre in Ipswich, Suffolk, Great Britain (PHOTO COPYRIGHT © 2015 NIGEL FARROW, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED) (NIGEL FARROW/COPYRIGHT © 2015 NIGEL FARROW : www.nigelfarrow.com)

(PHOTO COPYRIGHT © 2015 NIGEL FARROW, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

26 MAY 2015 – IPSWICH, GBR – Ashley Hill (centre) leads Ben Harvey (left) and Fraser Harris (right) during an Ipswich Cycle Speedway Club championship night at Whitton Sports and Community Centre in Ipswich, Suffolk, Great Britain

Hill started in the sport about nine years ago when he and his younger brother Matt went to a Come and Try session at Ipswich Cycle Speedway Club track near his home on a Bank Holiday weekend. “We started going to a lot of training sessions and then the next season we carried on and kept going.

“Then as we both got better we enjoyed it, met new people so thought we’d stay at it. It was quite good because we all got involved as a family and then my sister started learning to ride a bike because she saw us do it, so she started to learn to ride a bike on the track.”

These days Hill can find himself riding with his brother in one of the clubs teams or against him in individual events.

“I like riding against my brother. As a team it is quite good because we ride quite well together and then individually theres that sibling rivalry, like track rivalry as you are like friends but then its your brother as well so you want to beat your brother. We’re just as good as each other really. He’s just a little bit smaller than me so I can out power him sometimes but he is quite tactical so it’s good.

“I think we are even at the moment, he’ll beat me and then I’ll beat him.”

19 APR 2015 - IPSWICH, GBR - Ashley Hill (left) and Matt Hill (right) of Ipswich Eagles walk to the start of a heat during the Elite League cycle speedway fixture against Sheffield Stars at Whitton Sports and Community Centre in Ipswich, Suffolk, Great Britain  (PHOTO COPYRIGHT © 2015 NIGEL FARROW, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED) (NIGEL FARROW/COPYRIGHT © 2015 NIGEL FARROW : www.nigelfarrow.com)

(PHOTO COPYRIGHT © 2015 NIGEL FARROW, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

19 APR 2015 – IPSWICH, GBR – Ashley Hill (left) and Matt Hill (right) of Ipswich Eagles walk to the start of a heat during the Elite League cycle speedway fixture against Sheffield Stars at Whitton Sports and Community Centre in Ipswich, Suffolk, Great Britain

The limited number of riders means racing repeatedly against the same people is a given and could be considered to be a stumbling block in the development of the sport. Hill takes the opposing view. “I think it makes racing more interesting really, especially around here in Ipswich. When we do our individuals, because we are constantly racing each other, we know each others weaknesses so we’ve got to be a lot more tactical just to be able to beat them, and everyone knows each other ‘they do this, this, this’ so you’ve got to be a lot faster.

“I think because we are all about the same ability we can all push each other so we’ve all improved throughout because we are always pushing each other. Everybody wants to be better than each other and everyone is trying that much harder.”

Being such a small sport also brings other advantages. “Its like a family really. We all know each other through it and we keep in contact. When we went to Australia we were all like one big family. We don’t see each other much but when we get to see each other it is a lot of fun because we have a bit of banter and stuff like that.”

05 MAY 2015 - IPSWICH, GBR - Ashley Hill of Ipswich Eagles Cycle Speedway Club waits in the pits for his next heat during a club championship night at Whitton Sports and Community Centre in Ipswich, Suffolk, Great Britain (PHOTO COPYRIGHT © 2015 NIGEL FARROW, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED) (NIGEL FARROW/COPYRIGHT © 2015 NIGEL FARROW : www.nigelfarrow.com)

(PHOTO COPYRIGHT © 2015 NIGEL FARROW, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

05 MAY 2015 – IPSWICH, GBR – Ashley Hill of Ipswich Eagles Cycle Speedway Club waits in the pits for his next heat during a club championship night at Whitton Sports and Community Centre in Ipswich, Suffolk, Great Britain

Though friends off the track the competition between riders on the track for titles at this years World Championships will be fierce. Aside from the more established contenders Hill recognises there is a threat from riders such as Aaron Morgan, Jack Harrold and Ricky Johnson who have all risen through the junior ranks alongside him and are also now in their first year as seniors in the UK. He also expects a strong challenge from abroad headed by Bartek Grabowski, the 2013 Junior Men’s Individual champion from Poland but is not discounting Shane Bentley from Australia. “He’s probably one of the best younger riders whose coming up from junior level.”

Asked who he would like to beat most at the world championships it is another two Australian’s he has in his sights. “Probably the Chadwicks (Cody and Joel). They are the top of the racing in Australia.”


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