December 5 2013 Latest news:
Friday, September 13, 2013
Some times I have to ask myself the question: why would anybody want to be a speedway rider’s partner?
You’re always travelling during the season, not around that much, and then have to cancel things when fixtures get rearranged. I was meant to be going to a wedding on Friday but because we faced Coventry I had to ring my missus (Gitte) and say we couldn’t go. She was disappointed. And so was I, because he was an old school mate of mine.
Being a partner of a speedway rider means you miss out on a lot of things. I always remember the story of Jesper B. Monberg. He had to leave his own wedding night to get to Poland for a meeting. In any other walk of life that wouldn’t be accepted. So it takes a special person to get involved with one of us.
I’ve been with my girlfriend for six months. We had plenty of time together and then the season started and she thought I was pretty busy. Luckily for her, I guess, I then got injured so we spent a lot of time together. But it wasn’t that lucky because I’m one of those riders who gets really, really angry that they’re injured.
You can’t earn any money or be out doing what you want to do to fulfil your own needs. But Gitte even put up with me until I was really happy that I could ride again, which is when of course I was off and away and back on the road. I’ll always appreciate how she put up with me and stuck by me for those two months. I was a really horrible person for a while.
In the four months since I reckon, on average, I’ve seen her once a week. If I get time off I head back to Denmark for a day or two at most. But I usually can only talk to her on Skype or the phone. I end up with massive bills but it’s the name of the game I guess.
It’s why rain-offs really anger us riders more than anyone. You fly from one country to another, with a flight booked for the way out, and then the meeting get called off. You have to spend up to 24 hours in a country you don’t want to be in when you could be at home with your partner making the most of the hours you’ve got together. You try to be organised to increase your chances of being home, by synchronizing calendars – and then English speedway comes along and sticks in a rearranged fixture – on a random night – and your plan goes to bits.
I nipped down to the workshop the other day when I was home in Denmark. I think Gitte thought I was going to be gone an hour. But I was out of the house for six. Then when you do have a day off, you’re usually talking to sponsors, press, team managers, and booking flights for the next couple of weeks. It’s because we simply can’t afford to pay someone to do it for us. There’s probably only four or five guys in the Grand Prix who can. I know even Niels (Kristian Iversen) is forced to do his own stuff – and he has a lot harder schedule to sort than me.
People say, well why doesn’t your partner go everywhere with you like they do in other sports? But there just isn’t the money in speedway to cover two salaries. Plus. The women have their own lives and careers too so why should they just drop everything?
We’re coming to the end of the season now and I suppose that’s where we can benefit by having lots of time off at once. But it’s not like you do nothing for five to six months. You have to sort bikes for next year, teams, sponsors and a whole load of other things. However, this is the time when you can catch up with your loved ones and spend some quality time with them. I’m looking forward to it – even though I know in about six weeks I’ll be missing racing. It’s what I do. It’s me.
It’ll be brilliant for people like Niels and Kenneth (Bjerre) as they will be dads during the off-season and they’ve seemed to plan it all really well. They’ll have a great couple of months. It makes me feel sorry for people like Nicolai (Klindt) mind. He had a tough time at the start of 2013 but people forget he was missing his kid’s first steps.
I’m not for one minute moaning about being a speedway rider. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. But it does come at a cost. Sometimes fans forget that. So I salute all the women, and men, who put up with us speedway riders. This isn’t just a job for us. It’s a way of life. And it’s why there’s only one thing you’re not certain of missing as a speedway rider – and that’s your own funeral.
Mads Korneliussen was talking to Gavin Caney.
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