Scunthorpe Scorpions skipper David Howe full of confidence after World Cup exploits
It was a meeting which left him battered and bruised physically, but Scorpions skipper David Howe is certain his long track exploits have left him mentally stronger than ever.
The Scunthorpe number one will return to captain his team tomorrow (Friday) having missed the last three meetings due to shoulder and rib problems picked up while representing Great Britain in last Saturday's Team Long Track World Championships.
He has already spent a large chunk of the season on the sidelines after dislocating his shoulder while racing grasstrack in April.
But the man himself insists that despite this week's setback, he is close to being back to his best.
That the latest injuries came as a result of the commitment and dedication which so typify Howe underlines just how much he has been missed by the Scorpions this term.
"It was our last heat and we needed so many points to guarantee our place in the final," the 30-year-old explained.
"Going down the back straight of the last lap, something went terribly wrong with the front end of the bike, then the front wheel started to fall out.
"Don't ask me why, but I decided to ride it out.
"I won the race but as soon as it cut off, the weight went on to the front end and I nose dived into the ground.
"I'm quite proud of myself for riding it out though, and winning the race!
"It meant we got into the final.
"The Germans beat us so we finished second but it was a good result for the team.
"Nothing was broken, I was just a bit battered and bruised.
"It's a shame because I was back on it, but that's how it goes."
It meant Howe missed defeats at Glasgow and Sheffield, on Sunday and Monday respectively, as well as a comprehensive 61-31 victory over Ipswich in midweek.
Tomorrow's Premier League clash at Somerset will be only his second since making his initial comeback on Bank Holiday Monday, when he managed just three points.
However, he will make the journey full of confidence thanks to the 18-point haul he bagged in France before his unfortunate spill.
"I knew I wouldn't slot straight back into it after my shoulder injury – I wasn't 100 per cent fit and it takes time," said Howe.
"But I've only really had that one meeting for Scunthorpe, which was my first one back.
"It just seems like I've been out for longer than I have. I've been back a while but not done any racing because of the rain-offs.
"I had one for Kings Lynn last Wednesday and the signs were I was nearly there, then Saturday went really well for me.
"It all clicked back into place and I felt good.
"I was unbeaten by the opposition in the Long Track World Cup, which is near enough as good as it gets.
"If I can do that there, I can do it in speedway.
"Coming back from injury is always a mental challenge. On Saturday I overcame that mental barrier that was in my brain."
Injuries have become an all too familiar theme for Scunthorpe this year, though with Nick Morris now added to the side, Howe hopes the Scorpions' bad luck is behind them.
"We've been injury ravaged this season," the skipper added. "Hopefully now it will settle down.
"Hopefully, if we stay injury free, we will have a good end to the season."