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The Talented But Wayward Ward
By Gareth Hinton

Darcy Ward

The talented young Aussie Darcy Ward made the headlines for all the wrong reasons recently, when the twenty-two year old was banned from participating in the Latvian Speedway Grand Prix, for failing an alcohol test on the morning of the event.

But Ward has made a name for himself as a very talented rider and his off track shenanigans should not take the gloss from his on-track ability.

Darcy Ward broke on the scene and rose to fame in 2009 when he became World U21 Champion when he was just seventeen, the same year he became Australian U21 Champion for the first time. He repeated both those feats the next year and was already being touted as becoming a regular Grand Prix rider. The following year Ward finished 2nd in the under 21 World Championship, but he did win his third Australian U21 crown, something that only Chris Holder and Leigh Adams have done.

As Darcy was making his name in the sport he was never too far away from controversy, Ward was charged and later cleared of the charge after an alleged sexual assault in Dorset, whilst riding for the Poole Pirates. By the time of the incident the Australian was now riding in three different leagues across the continent with, the Poole Pirates (Great Britain), Gdansk (Poland), and Lejonen (Sweden) and scoring well for all his clubs. Although Ward declined an early GP slot due to it being to soon in his career, he competed as a wildcard in the Torun GP of Poland. He had a very impressive meeting and finished the night in third place.

His bronze medal subsequently earned him another wildcard offer for the 2013 series, this time he accepted and was installed as a GP permanent rider the following year.

Ward has enjoyed a good time in the 2013 since his involvement in the series. Ward suffered an injury in the early rounds of the competition which ruled him out for some time. On his return to injury, Ward produced an outstanding performance in the Parken Stadium, Copenhagen and won the meeting. The young Aussie went on to finish the season in eighth place, thus qualifying for the next years series.

This season Darcy Ward has kicked-on from last year and has had a very good and successful season again. He captained his country in the first event of the World Cup and was installed as Poole Pirates captain at the start of the season. The twenty-two year old was third in the world after a very consistent series. This was obviously until his big error of judgement by being intoxicated whilst being ready to ride in Daugavpils, Latvia. The Poole star went on record and said "It's the worst day of my life and it'll never happen again. I'm having a bad time and I should have hydrated. I got some bad news yesterday and had dinner and a couple of drinks - obviously one too many." He now finds himself tenth in the standings and it's still not confirmed what the punishment will be.

Darcy Ward has all the credentials to become World Champion one day. He is a superb rider and has been at the top of his game for quite some time now. Darcy enjoys the 'party lifestyle' and due to this he has had quite a few controversies - Ward also was banned from driving for two years for driving under the influence and failing to stop for police whilst driving in unregistered and uninsured vehicle. All these set-backs are sure to effect Ward, but if he concentrated on his riding he could have a very successful speedway career.





This article was first published on 21st September 2014

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