Gollob’s off-track heartache revealed
SPEEDWAY: The person who brought new world champion Tomasz Gollob to Ipswich Witches in 1998 today revealed the heartache behind the 39-year-old’s success.
And Magda Louis insisted that the Polish superstar became a better rider during his three years at Foxhall Stadium.
Still living in Ipswich. Mrs Louis waved goodbye to speedway four years ago and is now running a successful translating business.
But she is still close to Gollob, and also Jarek Hampel another Pole she brought to Foxhall during her time as an official of the Elite League club.
Hampel is competing with 2009 champion Jason Crump for the silver medal this year with one more Grand Prix to come - in Gollob’s home town of Bydgozscz on Saturday week.
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But neither can catch Gollob who won the sport‘s top crown in Terazana, Italy last weekend.
“Tomasz is going through an acrimonious divorce and it is all over the papers in Poland,” said Mrs Louis.
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“Knowing his difficult circumstances it is even more of an achievement.
“He is back living on his own, and they are two nice people.
“But there is not enough sky in space for two such stars.”
The divorce is expected to be complete next month with a reported �1million settlement agreed between Gollob and his wife Brygida.
They separated before the current Grand Prix series began in the spring, with Mrs Louis recalling:
“I can remember hearing the heart beat of their daughter Wiktoria at Ipswich Hospital when Brygida was not well in the early days of her pregnancy.
“The couple spent a lot of time with my ex-husband John and myself at our house in Kesgrave when Tomasz was riding for Ipswich.
“Every top English club wanted him but he loved it at Ipswich and this is where he learned how to master smaller circuits.
“I first met him in 1993 and arranged for him to ride in the Telford indoor ice meeting in 1996 I think for organiser Graham Drury.
“He stayed in Ipswich that weekend and when he was persuaded to ride at Foxhall with the help of good sponsors he became an immediate hit and formed a strong top end with Tony Rickardsson and Chris Louis as Ipswich won the treble in 1998.“
Mrs Louis, who watched the Italian Grand Prix on TV, said that Gollob could always be relied upon when the going got tough.
“I used to go up to him before heat 15 and say ‘Tomasz, this is one race you have got to win’.
“And he always did.
“Eventually he used to know what I was going to say and used to joke about it and say ‘how many more times?’”
Gollob will be mobbed by Polish fans at Bydgoszcz, but Mrs Louis will not be there to see it.
“I’ve been to four GP’s at Bydgoszcz, but I’ve always stayed at the family home, which was amazingly a modest two-bed roomed semi.
“It wouldn’t be right to go back in the current circumstances.
“Tomasz texted me soon after his world title was confirmed and you could tell he was delighted.
“And he deserves all the praise he gets.
“He is a natural motor cyclist , who spent many years searching for a engine tuner he could trust.
“Tomasz should have won this title before, but now that he has become the first Pole to win the world crown since 1974 it will be great for the country and great for the sport.
“Like young Russia Emil Sayfutdinov, Tomas did some crazy things when he was younger - he was fiery and had no respect and could have a dangerous edge when racing.
“But he has matured and has a softer side that most people don’t see.”
Mrs Louis also received a text from Hampel another rider who used to ‘lodge’ with the Louis’ when riding for the Witches.
He is also an Ipswich asset, and he insisted to Mrs Louis that he is going to win the final Grand Prix.
“Jarek is furious that he was not given second place in the semi-final on Saturday as he said that he clearly finished ahead of Chris Harris.
“This would have kept the world title race alive, and Jarek is determined to show Tomasz, Poland and the world what he is made of on Saturday week.
“At 28, he has time on his side and I can see him following in Tomasz’s tyre tracks one day soon.
“But Tomasz has told me that he is already looking forward to defending his title next year, and if he keeps up his 2010 form he will take some stopping.”