When Mitchell Davey flew over the safety fence at Sheffield Tigers and broke his right femur in 2013 while riding for Edinburgh Monarchs, many feared the book would close on the Australian’s UK racing career.
However, Davey is about to write a new chapter for his story after the Capital club re-introduced him to their ranks as their new No.7 for next season at Armadale.
“It was a little bit of a surprise,” said Davey. “There had been some talk of me rejoining Edinburgh – I think they were waiting to see if they could fit me in. I’m looking forward to it.”
Davey’s horrific crash at Sheffield resulted in five rounds of surgery and kept him out of the sport for 25 months. He said: “During the time I had off and the trouble I had with all the different surgery, I did have doubts about whether I would race again. It was only after my final surgery in 2014 when I was able to walk comfortably again for the first time that I figured out it was possible to make my speedway career happen again.”
One factor in that belief was Davey’s acceptance that he was the one to blame for the pile-up. He said: “The crash was my fault. I misjudged the other rider’s speed and the speed I carried into the corner. I got it wrong. I caused it and paid the price for it and just had to blank it out of my mind.”
Davey admits the horrific smash interrupted Monarchs’ title challenge that season and revealed: “I had only returned to the team having broken my wrist in another crash a few weeks earlier, it was so gutting.
“The timing was not good as I was trying to regain some form again. Edinburgh were in a good spot that year to the build-up to the play-offs and then everything took a different turn.”
Yet Davey’s mental resilience despite weeks of physical discomfort proved to be a laudable attribute which earned him a return to regular racing with Coventry Storm in the National League this year, which he views as a good grounding for his return with Monarchs next spring.
Davey said: “Riding for Coventry was great experience for me and more importantly got me back into racing again and got me used to a racing routine once more. I was also able to test out different things that I hadn’t had time to do before and that was a good benefit for me personally.”
Davey acknowledges that stepping up to the second tier after so long away will present certain challenges, but he isn’t afraid to confront them to help Monarchs regain their crown.
“It’s going to be difficult,” said Davey. “I genuinely believe the rebranded Championship division is nowadays tougher, if not tougher, than the Elite League (now the Premiership).
“There are no easy races in the Championship, but I guested for Edinburgh at Scunthorpe this season and went about my work and did what could be perceived as scoring the points which earned Edinburgh a draw on the day. And I did that by outscoring Scunthorpe’s No.7 and I figure that is going to be my job next year too.”
Davey will occupy one of Monarchs’ pivotal reserve berths and knows he must get the measure of his visiting counterparts to make his mark at the tail-end.
“Obviously a lot of riders in the reserve roles are labelled guys who have a good future ahead of them,” he said. “I feel I can adapt to track conditions better than them, and that’s down to little things I’ve learnt over the years that they have still to learn.
“From a mechanical perspective I’ve worked with several riders and you pick up certain tricks to keep you ahead of your rivals. So age and experience will be an advantage for me.”
Davey says he is ambitious and doesn’t just want to live up to his three- point starting average. “You need to progress on your average and that means doing your job and giving Edinburgh the best possible chance of winning the league,” he said. “I have an idea in my head about what I want to achieve in 2017 as a stepping stone to rebuilding my career, but I’m going to keep it under wraps. I’ll know from week to week what changes I might have to make to get me there.
“I also want to upgrade my machinery. The biggest thing is sponsorship, but my work situation will always dictate how much I can invest in my bikes. You can’t spend a fortune and not make it back.
“I have two good bikes as it is but I want new stuff. I’ll be turning up with the best bikes potentially to score points with. I’ll never be on bad bikes that I can’t score on.”
On his return to Edinburgh, Davey concluded: “The opportunity Edinburgh have given me is hugely important. I’m not getting any younger and have to show the Edinburgh management and supporters what I can do and play my part in getting Edinburgh that sixth title. I like the Armadale track – I did not at first!. But Monarchs have a strong home advantage and that is always a big plus.”