The sponsorship will cover the travel costs for the National League Team, which will be named Devon University St Mark St John Demons, so they can now compete in national leagues. The sponsorship also includes the University’s free services and specialist training for the physical, psychological and physiological demands of the sport. This involves video analysis, heart-rate monitoring and techniques in mental preparation. The team will have free access to the Strength, Conditioning and Fitness programme, based in the University’s Sport Science Laboratory.
The relationship will enable the University’s students to experience a professional environment with a more unusual sport, keeping their skills flexible and applying their education to different sporting environments for future careers in management or coaching.
Ashley Taylor from Plymouth Devils and Devon Demons Speedway said, ‘The partnership between the University of St Mark & St John and the speedway team, brings together for the first time in the history of Speedway Riders in Plymouth, the use of excellent sport-science facilities and the unique opportunity for the University to study the particular fitness requirements for their athletes.’
The University of St Mark & St John is the only university in the country to support a speedway team and Plymouth Devils and Devon Demons Speedway is the only club of its kind in the South West.
Lance Doggart, Head of Sport and Health Sciences at the University said, ‘The partnership with Plymouth Devils and Devon Demons Speedway is an exciting and challenging opportunity for the Sport Science Support Team at the University of St Mark and St John. The sport is unique in its physical, physiological and psychological demands especially at national-competition level. The prospect of working alongside these athletes is fantastic for students on our sport-related degree programmes.’
The club takes children from as young as four years old and teaches them to ride laps. There is a family atmosphere that provides a safe outlet for their liveliness, meaning they learn about boundaries. This encourages their talent and can lead to careers, as it did with Ben Barker, who races and earns a living travelling internationally. Ben used the therapy laboratory at the University’s Sports Centre to treat a knee injury.
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