NEWS Saturday 19th February 2022, 9:00am
Newcastle lad Josh Embleton is the first newcomer to the 2022 Armadale Devils, joining the four returning Devils of '21 previously announced. The cheery Embleton has been riding a few seasons but without having done as much racing as he would have liked.
That's because his team of 2021, Newcastle Gems, were pulled out of the league after two matches, both against Armadale. He said "I had a good year at Leicester in 2019, since then I've had mostly bad luck. Obviously Covid, then I ended up at Newcastle and they closed the team after two meetings. My average didn't really fit in anywhere, half way through the season it's hard to fit into a team.
"I didn't ride second halves at Newcastle after that. The fans were loving watching the Gems but after that I never had a single meeting. I couldn't get guest bookings because of my average. So I haven't really ridden all that much, Leicester was my longest stint. I had a track on my doorstep, travelled two minutes for home meetings and then it was finished."
Josh is quite surprised to find himself a Devil with a home track he wasn't at one time too keen on. "My two meetings in 2021 were home and away against Armadale. Before that meeting at Armadale last year I think it was my most hated track! I hadn't been there for a long time but when we came with Newcastle it was like a new place. Totally, totally different to what it used to be, it was really smooth, nice to ride, consistent. I think I will enjoy it there.
"I didn't expect to get the call for Armadale, I had to give John a little bit of hassle to be fair, to try and get a team! I was messaging quite a bit, they put their team together quite late. I messaged just about every team and they all said "We're already sorted!" and this was like really early doors – I thought how the hell have they all got their teams already?
"But eventually I got a message from John Campbell, I think it was New Year's Eve or something like that. He said I was going to be in the team so I was over the moon with that.
"I know all the guys that have been announced so far, they are a nice bunch of lads. I know Danny (Phillips) quite well because he's been at Newcastle, the Millers I know because they've been around for a while. And Al the team manager, he's a lovely man!
"Pretty much the same team as they had before so I'm going to be the odd ball, aren't I? I think we'll be a stronger team than they were last year especially if George Rothery stays on his bike! I remember when we were there last year, I was sitting behind Danny Smith because he's a new lad, trying to make him feel comfy, when George came up the inside of both of us. He went flat out into the corner and I thought 'He is never getting round that corner!' He drifted out and out and hit the fence. But he's exciting isn't he?"
Josh believes he is well set up with machinery, which really he had put in place a year ago. "I'll be using the same machinery I had last year. I've built a workshop during Covid and I've got two and a half bikes there. I've got a spare engine, I'm all right on equipment. I put a lot of money into it for Newcastle, to give it a good shot, and because they finished after two meetings I was sort of left stranded with it.
"I've tried to do a little bit of practise in the time that I've been out, maybe twice a month. So I've got everything pretty much sorted and I'm ready to go."