The ongoing pandemic hit speedway hard. With fans unable to attend race days, the sport was unable to stage a season and many of the riders were forced to find employment away from speedway.
Howarth was one of those riders, but he did not let the situation get the better of him. The 26-year-old was able to find work as a parcel delivery driver, he managed to recover from his shoulder injury and above all, he was able to raise thousands of pounds for the Speedway Benevolent Fund.
The lack of a season in 2020 meant that the charity has little opportunity to raise money. But an intervention from Howarth at the start of December provided the fund with a huge cash injection. The Sheffield rider swapped his motor-powered machine for a push bike and rode 156-miles around Wiltshire to raise a total of £4,652. But apart from helping raise funds, Howarth was pleased to have been able to challenge himself during a race-less year.
He said: “I hadn’t done anything all year and I’ve not really had anything to challenge myself. I’ve always wanted to do a bike ride. After my operation I wanted to start getting fit because I’ve been sat out for a couple of months, resting my shoulder, sorting that out and not really been doing a lot.
“I was talking to my friend Guy (who he did the bike ride with) and said ‘why don’t we do a challenge, a bike ride, and I’ll do it for charity’.
“It was very tough. A lot harder than I thought. But I was able to get it done and finish the 156 miles in one piece.”
When asked why he chose to raise the money for the Benevolent Fund he said: “They’re not just there for speedway riders now. They help speedway riders injured from years ago. People who are still in wheelchairs and people who suffer with injuries for the rest of their lives. They still help riders like that. They give out a £100,000 to people who are still injured and this year they didn’t have the opportunity.”
When asked about the 2020 season and a possible return to racing in 2021, he said: “There’s been no season here but it is what it is. Hopefully in the New Year things will start looking better.
“I know things have changed with tiers but there have been fans at football stadiums.
Hopefully, by next year we can have fans in stadiums and British speedway can get on with its season. You’ve got to stay positive – if not, what’s the point.
“I think it’s time for the world has to start getting back to normal because we can’t afford another year like this.
“For speedway in England it will be a big year. It will be nice with the TV deal, Eurosport. Things were looking great with them this year but they can happen next year.
“I’m very hopeful, I’m staying positive and I’m training, staying fit and healthy. When it does kick off, I’ll be ready.”
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