Drew doesn’t remember a time when he wasn’t having fun on two wheels, “I always loved
riding my pushbike” said Drew. “When I was four, my grandad surprised me with a
Yamaha PW50. We took it to a field near where he lived and that was it. My grandad used to do scrambling when he was younger in the 1960's, so he knows how much fun there is to be had on two
wheels!" Drew’s grandad is James Gant, who rode at Rendlesham and District Scramble Club on a Greeves.
Drew continues “When I was five he bought me a small wheel KTM 50, which I used to practice on at a few
local tracks near to me.” In March 2009, at six-years-old Drew used the KTM 50 in his first ever race at the
Norfolk and Suffolk Junior Motorcycle Club in Hockham. He finished 4th in that first race but it wasn’t
long before he found his winning ways, and he was eight when he won his first race at motocross on the
KTM 50. In 2013, he moved on to a KTM 65 and became the Eastern Centre Champion, Norfolk and
Suffolk Champion and was 5th overall in the British Youth Nationals. He was on a KTM 85 for the 2014 season where he was again Norfolk and Suffolk Champion and 8th overall in the British Youth Nationals.
“I just loved the speed of it” says Drew when remembering his first few laps on a 500cc speedway bike in October 2015. Although he had limited his racing to motocross, he was a regular visitor at Ipswich to see the Witches speedway team race at Foxhall Stadium, so when the chance to try the sport came up Drew was excited to have a go. “John Carpenter knew my grandad and he suggested I should have a go at speedway, so I went to Iwade to see what I thought of it” said Drew. “John let me have a go on his 500cc that day and I’ll never forget how it felt to have that speed for the first time. I just loved it, although I do think I scared John a bit!” Drew immediately had the bug for speedway and continued to
practice at every opportunity while continuing his motocross season. “After I had finished the 2015 motocross season I began to do speedway properly on a 250cc with the intention of entering the Young Lions 250cc British Youth Speedway Championship in 2016”. Drew was soon excited by the challenges ahead, “Everything changed when I was given the opportunity to try speedway and if I keep my head down and work hard, who knows where this journey will take me”.
Drew Kemp embarked on a new adventure in 2018, making his British league Speedway debut racing for the Mildenhall Fen Tigers in the National Development League, the Cradley 'Heathens' in the National Trophy and ended the season joining the Ipswich 'Witches' in the Championship league. He made some guest appearances for the Fen Tigers during the latter part of the 2017 season when he reached the required age of
15 to compete, but 2018 was his first full season of league racing. "I was focused to do well for my teams, and the experience gained from racing a full season of league racing was so
valuable." Drew, who rode motocross before taking up speedway, lives in Great
Blakenham, Suffolk recently completed his studies at Claydon High School, focusing on
Business Studies, Design & Technology, PE and Geography.
Drew began his competitive Speedway racing in the Young Lions 250cc British Championship at Glasgow on 10th April 2016 where he scored 3 points from two starts. “There was a massive difference from practising to suddenly having 3 guys next to me heading for the same line and going all out to beat me” remembers Drew, “but I learnt so much, so quickly”. It didn’t take him long to find his feet and in the second round at Scunthorpe as he scored 7 points and recorded his first competitive win. Drew was placed either second or third in the remaining six rounds of the championship finishing the competition in third place overall, but it was the experience he gained that benefited him most, “Riding in the 250cc championship gave me so much” said Drew, “to suddenly have people like Neil Vatcher encouraging me was priceless, and I was soon planning for my assault on the 500cc in 2017.” The Young Lions Youth Championships has become a breeding ground for emerging talent, with riders like Zach Wajtknecht, Jack Parkinson-Blackburn and Robert Lambert coming through the ranks and riding at the top level. After his 2016 debut, Drew was out to make an impact in the 2017 Championship season.
“I had always wanted to be a British Champion when I was doing motocross, so to end up as the 2017 British Youth 500cc Champion in speedway is quite amazing really. I always felt capable of winning it, but until it happens I just had to keep working hard.” Drew began his championship attempt at Peterborough and although mechanical problems limited his score to 6 points, he won the ﬁnal. “I had some bad luck with a couple of crashes and an engine failure in the early rounds but the rest of the year was good for me. I won all the rounds apart from the ones I had engine failures in. I had my first win at Peterborough and my first maximum at Redcar, I enjoyed that round. I dropped a point at Scunthorpe but I liked the track because it’s quick and Belle Vue is just an awesome place to ride.” At Belle Vue, he enjoyed a spectacular duel with Kyle Bickley, with the lead changing several times before engine failure ended Drew’s race while he was leading. Drew secured the championship with a win at Glasgow before the ﬁnal round was still to be held at Leicester, where he finally got his hands on his first British Championship trophy.
“My initial aim for the 2018 season was to gain experience and hopefully do well in my first full season in the National League for the Mildenhall Fen Tigers.” 2017 was certainly the year British Speedway took notice of the 15-year-old following his 500cc British Youth Championship success. There was a host of clubs vying for his signature but joining Mildenhall made sense. “I liked the track, which is fast and suits my style. A Sunday track suited us as well and is only 45 minutes from home. There were great people there such as Rob Henry, James Easter, Phil Kirk and Kevin Jolly who are just great. It seems they planned out what they were going to let me do and they were absolutely fine with me not being around when I did my exams. I wanted to do well in those so I can have something to fall back on but there is never a doubt in my mind that I’d like to make a career in speedway.”
Starting the season on an assessed 3.00 average, Drew soon made a mockery of that figure, ending the season as the clubs No.1 rider on 9.24, joint 8th in the leagues top rider averages. He also completed for the Cradley Heathens, scoring maximums and double figures in each meeting. But the true crowning jewel of his season came from a call from his local club Ipswich, who signed Drew into their Championship side towards the end of the season. Riding in the higher league against seasoned professionals and international riders didn't faze Drew, as he quickly made his presence felt throughout the league, making British Speedway promoters up and down the country sit up and acknowledge his talent and potential.
With the superb debut season in his pocket, Drew headed into the 2019 season with a team spot again in the Championship League, only this time switching to join the Sheffield Tigers, whilst also being picked up by the Kent Kings in the National League. It was a steady season, seeing Drew swiftly move up out of the reserve berth for the Tigers and lineup in the difficult No.2 position. Despite increasing his starting average and bringing home valuable points in the main body of the team, Drew returned to the reserve position before being released from the Tigers outfit. In the National League, Drew continued to produce big points hauls helping Kent into the play off finals. On a personal note, becoming British Under 19 Champion, National League Pairs Champion with Anders Rowe and gaining a Silver Medal whilst racing for Great Britain in the World Under 21 Team Championships were the highlights from another productive and successful season.
DATE OF BIRTH : 11th August 2002, Osnabruck, Germany.
BRITISH CAREER : (2018) Mildenhall, Cradley, Ipswich : (2019) Sheffield, Kent
MAJOR HONOURS : British Youth 500cc Champion : British Under 19 Champion
500cc British Youth Champion
Round 1 Winner (Peterbourough)
Round 4 Winner (Scunthorpe)
Round 5 Winner (Redcar)
Round 7 Winner (Glasgow)
Round 8 Winner (Leicester)
National Trophy Team Champion (Mildenhall)
National Development League Team Runner-Up (Mildenhall)
National League Knockout Cup Team Runner-Up (Mildenhall)
British Under 19 Champion
National League Pairs Champion
World Under 21 Team Runner-Up (Great Britain)