Inside Track 2013: Captain Mads Korneliussen’s weekly look inside the Norfolk Arena
- Credit: IAN BURT
I can't see how new riders are going to get involved with speedway because the sport is just becoming too expensive.
I am genuinely worried about the future of league racing in countries. I can't see it lasting much more than three to five years if things keep going the way they are. It'll just be the Grand Prix and the World Cups which are left.
The big riders will get big sponsorship, like in the Moto GP, and the rest will just be unable to keep going because there are loads already who have had to give up because they can't actually break even.
You would have hoped that all of us riders would have been able to profit off the back of the success of the GPs. But that hasn't happened. It's not pulling people through the gates at league level like we all would have hoped.
I worry hugely about how it all affects the next generation. Some young riders are well sponsored and they have an easy life. They will make it, while others won't. It's the name of the game, but in my own brain, in a fantasy world, it would be nice if people were level-pegging.
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In Denmark, there are something like only 76 riders in total. There used to be loads, and three leagues. A Conference division was for the newcomers. But now they have to start in Division One where they could race against people like Patrick Hougaard, Nicolai Klindt and me. That's not acceptable.
When you're paid, per point, and you have a bad night it can barely cover your fuel. So if you're just starting out, and running in lots of zeros, ones or twos, how can you earn any money? When you're relying on points to get paid, and you're not getting any, no wonder it's a struggle.
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It's also less expensive to get into other motorsports. It's why so many youngsters take up motocross as a hobby. A good bike will cost you say £5,000 – obviously you can pay less – and then you can ride three times a week. You can spend more time on a bike, at a cheaper cost.
To get into speedway you often need two bikes. That's £15,000 down the drain before you even think about anything else. Which isn't great as the cost of everything has gone through the roof. Tyres used to be £20 a pop. Now they're £40. So that's £120 for some meetings.
The price of boots has gone up. The price of silencers has gone up. And don't get me started on the cost of fuel. I reckon it costs me £16-20 every time I go out to do a heat when I add up all the costs.
I've ridden in England for nine years and I still get travelling expenses of 10p a mile. That was the same for some in 1989 as far as I know. So while the cost of everything else has gone up, what we're getting paid hasn't.
One of the worst things is when you blow an engine. You can go from a paid win and getting good money in a race, to spending a whole lot of money. I had one recently, and thankfully one of the sponsors picked up the bill. If it wasn't for those guys, who I can't thank enough, I think it would be even harder for me than it is.
Sometimes people ask why I race abroad. But I have to race in different countries to break even. I would make more money in a 9am-5pm job. But I do this for my love of speedway. I just wish we would get some more help.
The governing bodies need to use common sense. Next year, we might all have to buy new leathers. And then they think: 'Oh well, it's another bill they can pick it, that's not too bad'.'
My final worry about speedway is that if Sky Sports pulls the plug on the Elite League at the end of the season then there'll be even less money in the sport than there is now. If I'm being honest, I think the Elite League just wouldn't be able to carry on. And that is a serious, serious concern.
Back to Lynn matters, and we've got Eastbourne tonight and although I ride with a few of their guys in Sweden, and they are good riders, we'll be looking to get three points.
- Mads Korneliussen was speaking to Gavin Caney.
• Read Mads' exclusive column first every week on Wednesdays in the EDP.
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