Ipswich to Cardiff walking challenge to support injured Speedway riders

John Curtis (right) is walking from Foxhall Stadium to the Principality Stadium in Cardiff in August. John with good friend

John Curtis (right) is walking from Foxhall Stadium to the Principality Stadium in Cardiff in August. John with good friend Lawrence Hare. - Credit: John Curtis

An Ipswich man will walk to Cardiff from the home of the Ipswich Witches to support efforts helping injured Speedway riders after his friend's paralysis.

John Curtis, 53, will be setting off from Foxhall Stadium on August 4, and will walk 264 miles to the Principality Stadium, in Cardiff, by August 12, in time for the Speedway Grand Prix in the city. 

He is doing it for the Speedway Racers Benevolent Fund (SRBF), which assists British speedway racers, their dependants and family, following serious or life-changing injuries.

John Curtis in 2000 with World Champion Mark Loram.

John Curtis in 2000 with World Champion Mark Loram. - Credit: John Curtis

John has been involved in Speedway since the mid-90s, and was even part of Mark Loram’s team when he won the World Grand Prix in 2000. 

Mr Curtis, who will be 54 when he does the walk, is doing it 20 years on from when his friend Lawrence Hare had a crash in Newport which paralysed him. 

John said: “I was looking to do a personal challenge anyway and my previous involvement in speedway and the fact that since covid, this is the first year since the two-year break that the grand prix for Speedway is back in Cardiff. 

John Curtis with former Ipswich rider Savalas Clouting (right) and his son Jacob who now rides for Ipswich Junior Team

John Curtis with former Ipswich rider Savalas Clouting (right) and his son Jacob who now rides for Ipswich Junior Team - Credit: John Curtis

“I looked at that and looked at the mileage and thought that is kind of a challenge.” 

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John will be walking roughly a marathon distance every day during his journey, mainly sticking to dirt tracks and footpaths. 

“I will literally just be walking on my own, I want to not zone out so I don’t really want to play music and take my mind off it, I want to be in the moment. 

“I don’t plan on doing this any other time so I want to try and enjoy this as much as I can.

John Curtis has been practicing for his walk by walking around Suffolk including a 57.2 mile walk along the Sandlings

John Curtis has been practicing for his walk by walking around Suffolk including a 57.2 mile walk along the Sandlings - Credit: John Curtis

“I fully expect it to be painful and gruelling but I want to enjoy it as much as I can and experience it.” 

In order to prepare for his 264-mile walk, John has been doing daily walks locally around Suffolk, including the 57.5 mile Sandlings walk.

He said the "first aid kit is getting bigger and bigger after every walk".

“It got to the stage that if I don’t do it now, I never will. I just had to bite the bullet and commit to it.” 

To support John on his mammoth challenge, donate to the SRBF here.

The route John Curtis will be taking for his walk

The route John Curtis will be taking for his walk - Credit: Speedway Riders Benevolent Fund