King’s Lynn Stars’ Kozza Smith’s love of speedway helped him get through nightmare 2012

King's Lynn Stars rider Kozza Smith. Picture: Ian Burt

King's Lynn Stars rider Kozza Smith. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

King's Lynn Stars' Kozza Smith admits it was his love of speedway which helped him get through the dark days of 2012.

The popular Australian was named in the Stars' line-up for last season but spent the whole year on the sidelines after breaking his leg at his national championships in January.

Twelve months of rehabilitation in his homeland has helped the 24-year-old keep his place in the Lynn team and Smith feels those long months of hard work to get fit have been worthwhile as he prepares for tapes up this term.

'I had a long time off the bike and it was a big injury. The hungriness was to just get back on the bike as I'd missed out on so much,' said Smith.

'I wanted to get where I was as I'd felt good on the bike and I was scoring loads of points in 2011. It's probably going to be a little bit slower to start off with but I do feel hungry to get the year underway and start building. 'I had to grin and bear it. It's only an injury. It's pain, it goes away. You have to come back and try and be bigger and stronger for it. Some days you do think 'why do I keep doing it?'. But once you start riding again, and you go to the workshop and see the bikes, you love it.

'You just want to keep doing it. And I can't give it away. It's going to be a hard day when I have to hang the helmet up as I haven't ever thought about that. I think that's why I'm so hungry as I still love the sport and I love riding my bikes.'

Smith, who has been at the Norfolk Arena for four years, is certain his leg will not play on his mind once he gets into Elite League action in the coming months.

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And a small spill in the Tomas Topinka farwell meeting has further served to encourage the Aussie that he is fit and raring to go ahead of his return to competitive British action.

The fans' favourite said: 'It's good to get that knock over and done with so you know you're ok. It didn't hurt. And now I can go to the tapes knowing I'm 100pc fit and not having to worry about that leg at all.

'The track had one little patch and of course, with my luck, I'll hit anything that's there. When I came out of the rut I just lost control and I didn't react quick enough. I went down but it doesn't matter as the leg feels good.

'I'm back where I belong in the Lynn colours. We've got a good bunch of blokes in the team and hopefully it's going to be a good season for us.'