STEELY Paul Starke says he wants to ditch his Iron Man nickname – because it means he won’t be risking serious injury in horror speedway crashes.
The 27-year-old has revealed he escaped a possible broken neck or back after he was sent smashing into the Ashfield shale last Friday.
Remarkably he was on his brakeless bike to race again moments after the 60mph pile-up, and hopes to take his place in the Glasgow line-up this Sunday.
The Tigers star, who gets his tag from Iron Man character Tony Stark, said: “The neck brace did its job – there are some big gouges in it.
“All the force was directed away from my spine, either side of it – so all the muscles in your back spasm. I’ve got really bad bruising and ligament damage, and it’s really tight.
“I just remember all of a sudden being thumped in the side and flying over the top. I went down really awkwardly and it might have looked spectacular – it felt pretty painful.
“When I was getting back on the bike after the crash I thought I could do it – but it wasn’t until I put the helmet on I realised it was probably a bad decision.
“The adrenaline starts wearing off then the pain starts coming through and it starts to hurt. I just couldn’t hold on then, I was just a passenger on the bike.
“The best thing I can do is just tape it up and hope for the best. It’s our jobs – we don’t get paid to sit at home – so we’ve got to race.
“I’m going to try not living up to the Iron Man tag any more because it means I’ll be staying on the bike!”
Starke is in action tonight in the Scottish Open, and guests at Berwick tomorrow, and hopes a couple of nights on track will help him prepare for Sunday’s crunch Championship Shield match against Workington.
The Tigers could take another step towards the semi-finals with victory, with racing starting at 4pm.
Starke said: “Being on the bike tonight and Saturday will hopefully stretch everything. It might be painful, but it’ll probably do me good to get on the bike sooner rather than later.
“Going into Sunday it’s better if I’ve got two days’ racing under my belt.
“We’ve got a really strong team and if someone doesn’t go so good, another guy can cover.
“But to bring home the trophies we want, we all need to go well. When we start to get going I don’t think there will many that beat us.”