tech tips

Rider Tips

Contribution: Philip Small

Section 1. Really Want To Go Quicker

Section 2. Make Sure Your Equipment Is In Good Order

Section 3. Get Yourself Physically Fit

Section 4. Stay Focused On Race Nights

Section 5. Have The Support Of People Around You

1. Really Want To Go Quicker

I found there was a certain point in my racing career that I stopped going to speedway meetings to enjoy the riding, and started going to enjoy the results. Of course, it's important to enjoy being involved in speedway in any capacity, but I found myself going home disappointed if I had not gotten a good result. I had been concentrating for so long on trying to ride and slide the bike well, I had forgotten it was a race and the idea was to try to win. What I'm trying to say is you won't go any quicker if you don't want to pass that rider in front of you. Once you get the mind set to cross the finish line ahead of the guy in front, you will find your speed picks up naturally. It's also a blast trying to win a race from the back. I should know, my gating is lousy! Be warned however, taking this attitude can result in frustration at times and there's a fine line between hard enjoyable racing and finding yourself, and everyone around you totally p****d off!

2. Make Sure Your Equipment Is In Good Order

So now we've gotten the mind set we want to win. We can't possible give ourselves a

chance of doing well if our bikes are no good. I'm not saying we all need the latest, most expensive equipment. Just make sure the things are well enough maintained and prepared so they start reliably, run smooth and are safe. It is impossible to enjoy a nights racing if our machine typically takes a lap of the track pushing before it splutters into life. And equally important, it is impossible to ride a speedway bike well if it does not run smooth with good throttle response. No misfiring is A MUST! If you can't figure it out yourself, find a friend in the know in the speedway fraternity and get them to look at it. Have confidence when you unload the machine on race night that it will work well. And don't forget to check those brakes!

3. Get Yourself Physically Fit

It is SUPER important that speedway riders are fit. "The race only lasts a minute", you may hear people say. Then I ask you this, "Is a 100 meter sprint athlete any less fit than a marathon runner?" The answer is no. Anyone involved in sport should keep themselves as fit as their daily schedule allows. This becomes even more important when you reach the twilight of your speedway racing career. Joints and muscles are typically less flexible when the body ages and so the chances of injury rises dramatically with age. The other factor here in Canada is the heat and humidity. It's unusual if we are not racing in 90 Degrees of heat and 95% relative humidity. With wearing leathers and all the other protective equipment, the heat itself can be a major drain on the body's energy levels on race night. Building muscle is not the correct type of fitness regime for speedway. Cardiovascular fitness and suppleness are the important factors. During the off season I work out 40 minutes per day on an elliptical trainer in my basement (excellent low impact workout for my old injury-ridden body) and then do some push-ups and sit-ups every night. I also do a lot of stretching exercises to give myself a chance of bending rather than breaking when I crash. During the racing season, riding the bike is training enough. Actually there is absolutely no substitute for practice and becoming "bike fit". Give yourself a chance to win by being fit enough to hang on without becoming dangerously tired.

4. Stay Focused On Race Nights

Difficult to comment on this as I'm sure it's different for everyone. All I know is that if I'm not totally focused before each race, then my result usually suffers accordingly. We all have our own mental preparation before a race. Make sure you take time out to go through your routines and get in the right frame of mind. However, that word of caution again, the people around you are your friends and loved ones and they are usually there to help. Don't become so selfish that it upsets them. Again, I am speaking from personal experience here and it's still something I need to concentrate on. It's that fine balance again. Make sure everyone enjoys their speedway experience, but get your racing head on!

5. Have The Support Of People Around You

This is incredibly important for me as I try to go quicker and quicker, and by doing so take more risks. We all have responsibilities to our families and friends. I am the first one to accept that speedway is probably not the ideal sport to be doing whilst trying to contribute to a family, pay the mortgage etc. It is therefore very important (to me anyway) that I have the support of my family to go and try harder in my racing. It's not just the risk of injury either. It's all the money that gets poured into the sport for little or no return. It represents a huge financial commitment, one which many of us can ill afford. I am very thankful I have the support of two sponsors for this season which has certainly made the financial side of things easier. But knowing that your family are at the sidelines cheering you on and wanting you to win is the greatest help of all to me.

Thanks for taking time out to read this and thanks go out to 'Tiger' Tom Marriott #13 for prompting me to write it.

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Thanks to our Contibutors ....
Phillip Small
Aaron Hesmer
Scott Collier
Ian March
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