A week in the life of a speedway rider
15:22 13 May 2014
© Archant Norfolk 2014
People often ask me what a normal week is like for a speedway rider. So I’ll try to explain how a regular seven days works for me to give you all a better idea.
I usually wake up in a hotel in Poland as I’ve ridden there the night before. I get an airport transfer after breakfast to Szczecin-Goleniów and I fly from there to Stansted. I’m usually in England by 1pm and if I haven’t got an Elite League fixture I go straight home to Peterborough. Sometimes I have a meeting, maybe at Belle Vue (like I will on Monday), so I have to get myself up to where we are riding. My bikes are with the mechanic, I have three across Europe – one in the UK – and they get taken to the track for me. It’s convenient as I don’t need the stress of sorting my equipment out as well. If I go home, I enjoy the rest of my day with the family and sometimes do some office work or squeeze in a little run.
I’m always up really early as I get the 6am flight from Stansted to Stockholm in Sweden. I go straight to the hotel next to the airport and go to sleep. I usually get a couple of hours on the flight, but I need to catch-up on my rest ready for that night’s meeting. Once I’ve done that I get picked up by the mechanic and we travel to the circuit. I do the racing, then we head back to the hotel where I sleep again before boarding the next flight. In my down time I try to do a bit of planning, or my own little work-out in a hotel gym or my room, or listen to my iPod. It is really boring being on your own so much, but you do get used to it. Technology helps. I tend to fly with Ryanair as it’s the most conveninent. The flights are direct, they’re quite cheap, and they’re normally on time. You do end up getting a lot of the same flights as the other riders so that’s quite good too. But once you land there’s no time for mucking about. You’re there to do something and I have a purpose. It’s not a holiday and you’re just waiting to ride so I don’t get to see as much of the world as people think.
We usually ride at King’s Lynn on a Wednesday so I fly back to the UK at 9.50am. If it’s a Danish meeting that day I will travel by van or camper through Sweden into Denmark and I’ll end up flying back to the England the next morning, where we sometimes ride on a Thursday. Every week is a bit different, especially because you can ride on any day in Britain, which doesn’t make planning too easy. It’s good that I’m not a nervous flier, although the travelling does wear you out. The meeting, unless it’s a big one which leaves you mentally exhausted, is not really the big challenge for your fitness levels, it’s the travelling.
This varies, especially if I’ve got a Grand Prix, but I sometimes end up having Friday and Saturday off before I travel back to Poland on Sunday. I try to get all of my work done so I can really relax when I’m at home, especially on a week when I’ve only got one or two meetings. But that’s not always possible. Starting on Saturday (May 10) I’m riding in a pairs’ meeting in Germany, on Sunday I’m in Poland, on Monday I’m at Manchester (Belle Vue), on Tuesday I’m in Sweden, on Wednesday I’m in Lynn, on Thursday I’ve got the Danish championships, on Friday I’ve got the GP practice in Finland, on Saturday I’ve got the GP and on Sunday I’ll travel home. It’ll probably be the busiest week of my season.
- Niels-Kristian Iversen was talking to Gavin Caney.
* To read Niels’ exclusive weekly column first, and in print – plus an update on Rory Schlein’s ‘Shave the Roo’ charity challenge, buy Wednesday’s paper. Visit www.edp24.co.uk/sport/kings-lynn-stars for an archive of Iversen’s articles.