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By GAVIN CANEY, Sports Reporter
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Bravery comes in many forms in the sporting world. It’s often what separates those who become champions and those who don’t.
Having the courage to take risks in search of glory in any walk of life takes a degree of inward strength than many can simply not muster. But every person who climbs onto a speedway bike is as brave as they come.
For starters there’s only one place they’re going if they’re coming off – and that’s the ground.
Now add to that the fact they’re flying round a tiny oval track with three other riders, all of which – like themselves – do not have the luxury of a normal stopping system. Namely brakes.
However, it’s their incredible ability to race through the pain barrier, or overcome mental torture, that sets speedway riders apart from many other sportsmen and women in the world.
Take 39-year-old Joe Screen for example. The veteran injured ankle ligaments last week riding for Glasgow and could barely walk the next day. Yet one day later he was back on his bike having “taken some painkillers and strapped it up” to ensure he could ride.
He recently signed for King’s Lynn Stars, a club who ride at a track where he broke his leg in 2001. But Screen just shrugs that fact off with a “it could have happened anywhere” response to whether that fact plays on his mind.
Screen, probably with a smile, then said: “You sort of get used to riding with pain I guess.” It’s statements of that type that ensures most speedway riders will always be champions of one thing – the bravery stakes.