'Sleep to me is a waste of time' - Stars boss Alex Brady
- Credit: Ian Burt
Alex Brady believes sleep is vastly over-rated – which is just as well.
Brady is managing director of property company Minors & Brady and team manager of King’s Lynn Stars speedway team; an unlikely combination on the face of it. Until you sit down and speak with the man himself.
It’s press and practice day at Lynn – an event being replicated at speedway clubs throughout the country as they drum up interest ahead of the new season.
Lynn’s is a little different: Brady has invited some of his work colleagues along and among the leathers and well-worn pits attire, they stand out a little. But it’s Brady who is the exception to the speedway rule. Neat and trim, the father of two looks every part the successful businessman. And just 30 years old.
He isn’t there to tinker with the timing of a 500cc bike, nor to tweak the gearing or keep a revving engine cool. Brady’s engineering is more between the ears; to make men go faster, not just their bikes.
Just as well, because while his experience of speedway is broad, the same can’t be said of his hands-on racing experience.
“I did a power slide day here 2005 or 2006 with Tomas Topinka and Kevin Doolan as the coaches,” he recalled. “It was a really good day - my granddad came and filmed it all on a JVC camcorder, but that’s as far as my riding experience goes.”
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That will change soon – Brady is planning to build a 200m track at his home near Bradwell, with the help of Stars rider Jack Thomas.
“I know bits and pieces,” he said. “I know just about enough, but to be honest, all these guys have full-time mechanics, that’s their job, my job is to make sure they get the best out of themselves and make sure they are upbeat and ready for it and that is probably the hardest challenge from last season really.
“It is more the mental side. I can’t ride a bike for them, I can’t make them go quicker, I can’t make them overtake or get out of the gates any sooner, but what I can do is make sure they are prepared as best as they possibly can be, mentally and physically, so we are doing a lot of work around that and making sure it is a happy environment because professional sport is a high pressure environment and it can be really, really trough. Some people struggle with it and my job is to make sure they struggle as little as little as possible and making sure a happy rider is normally a quick rider.”
Brady first took charge last summer, following the departure of Peter Schroeck, and while he won his first meeting, he was unable to stem the flow of adverse results and Lynn ended the season bottom of the Premiership table. Big changes have been made to the team – and big targets set.
“I won my first meeting and a lot of people said I should have retired after that,” he said with a smile. “We have the cup to start with, next Thursday at Ipswich, and the expectation there is to make the final of that as a minimum standard, so beating Ipswich and Peterborough in the group stages, and obviously to get into the play-offs at the end of the year, that is the aim.
“And I really do think we have assembled a team which far surpasses the expectations that I probably thought we would and I seem no reason why that is not a realistic aim for the end of the year.”
Like the day job, it’s high-pressure stuff: how do you combine the two?
“I’m one of these people who can’t stop,” said Brady. “Sleep to me is a waste of time. I’d rather be doing something.
“I find my thinking time is when I go for a run every morning before work. Both jobs are quite high pressure, but I wouldn’t have it any other way, I thrive off it, I always have done.
“Challenges don’t faze me at all, hence why I took the job on in the middle of last year. It would have been easy to walk away and leave someone else to deal with the mess, but I wanted to get my teeth stuck into something and try and progress and try and help the club that I have loved for a lot of years.”