CLUB HONOURS: Four-Team Championship winner: 2009 [Workington]; Young Shield winner: 2010 [Workington].
RIDER LINKS: Son of Steve Lawson (born: 11 December 1957, Workington, Cumbria).
2012 STARTING AVERAGE: 3.00 (EL).
Lawson – the son of the highest scoring rider of all-time in the old National League – forged a successful career in moto-cross, prior to taking up speedway at the age of twenty-two in 2008. His two major achievements in the discipline occurred in 2003, when he became British 125cc Youth Moto-cross Champion and Moto-Cross Champion of Champions.
Having taken his first speedway skids in a practice session at Workington in 2008, Lawson burst on to the scene when he joined Redcar’s then-Conference League operation. Indeed, in a remarkable debut for the Cubs, he netted 16+1 points at Sittingbourne on 10 August, before going on to total 81 points from nine official meetings for an impressive 8.65 average.
Like his father had done back in 1974, Lawson linked with Premier League Workington at the start of the 2009 campaign, as he embarked on his first full season in the sport. He was subjected to a considerable amount of scrutiny in his debut term simply because his dad was one of the true legends at that level of the sport.
That wasn’t really fair, of course, but in any case the youngster got stuck in and posted a number of eye-catching scores, which culminated in him playing a part in Workington’s fifth Four-Team Championship success in nine seasons at Derwent Park on 25 July.
However, not long after that success, Lawson was in the wars whilst representing the Comets in a league match at Somerset’s Oak Tree Arena on 14 August. In heat seven, home representative Mark Baseby collided with the Whitehaven-born rider on the pits bend and sent him careering into the safety fence.
The upshot was a painful back injury and a trip to hospital and, although he subsequently tried to ride through the discomfort, the pain proved too much and necessitated a spell of recuperation. Lawson had hoped to resume racing for Workington on 11 September, but was forced to hang up his leathers for the year on the advice of a specialist. Aside from the effects of his back injury, the season had seen the youngster suffer a couple of shoulder dislocations.
Having achieved a real-time average of over 5.5 points per match, just after the season’s end Lawson was confirmed as a definite starter in the Comets’ 2010 line-up. And, in January, he was named as the final member of Wolverhampton’s squad in the No. 8 berth, ahead of their defence of the Elite League title.
Lawson sustained an injury whilst making a guest appearance for Sheffield in a league fixture at Berwick on 14 August. He received the knock in heat eight, when he had to put his bike down after temporary team-mate Hugh Skidmore had fallen in front of him, but he landed awkwardly and suffered an injury to his shoulder. It was, in fact, dislocated but the track doctor managed to put it back into joint on the night.
However, he was very sore afterwards and also justifiably concerned because it was the same shoulder he’d had pinned the previous year. As such, he went to Warrington for an MRI scan and subsequently consulted with the surgeon who had carried out the operation. Thankfully, there was a positive outcome and he was able to return to action for the Comets in a home league encounter versus Berwick on the 30th of the same month.
Right at the season’s end, he played in big part in Workington winning the Young Shield for a third successive term. Indeed, in the final, they had to pull back 20 points against Rye House in the second leg at Derwent Park on 30 October, but won emphatically on the night, 66-28; Lawson hitting 12+1 points from five outings.
In total, he rode in forty-four official meetings for the Comets, which yielded 277 points and a 6.63 average. Meanwhile, he made just a solitary appearance for Wolverhampton, failing to score from four rides in a league match at Peterborough on 14 May.
Following satisfactory rental negotiations between Comets’ owner Keith Denham and Dave Bowden of Workington Town RLFC – the owners of Derwent Park – Lawson was named as the first rider on the club’s team sheet for 2011, the news being confirmed on 19 November.
On 13 April, Peterborough revealed that they had added the former British Moto-cross Champion to their Elite League squad. Lawson joined the Panthers’ set-up as a replacement for the injured Alex Davies, with a view to taking top-flight outings when fellow ‘doubling-up’ rider Dakota North was on duty for Somerset.
Workington overcame several injury setbacks to defeat Somerset 53-41 in a Premier League encounter at Derwent Park on 4 June, with Lawson piling up an impressive 17-point total. Comets’ boss Tony Jackson rated his performance ‘outstanding’ and said it was the rider’s second-best showing in a Workington race-jacket, following on from a tally of 18+1 points from a reserve berth back in 2009.
Then, on 2 July, he proved the match-winner with a 16-point haul as the Comets survived a mid-match scare to overcome Newcastle 51-42 in a league fixture, as they maintained a 100 per cent record at Derwent Park.
Lawson will remain at Workington in 2012, but will be getting some top-flight action as he again doubles-up with Peterborough.