Johnno: Riders have to close their minds

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches skipper Steve Johnston says that speedway riders have to close their minds to the dangers of the sport.“If we worried about getting hurt every time we lined up at the tapes it would make it worse,” said the Australian.

Elvin King

IPSWICH Evening Star Witches skipper Steve Johnston says that speedway riders have to close their minds to the dangers of the sport.

“If we worried about getting hurt every time we lined up at the tapes it would make it worse,” said the Australian.

“There would be even more crashes.”


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Johnston was reflecting on the number of injuries suffered this season - with former Witch Kim Jansson confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life after a heavy fall in Sweden last month.

And Piotr Swiderski was lucky to come out alive - let alone virtually unscathed - when he was flung 16 metres through the air after a full throttle spill at Foxhall Stadium on Thursday.

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“It you let these things cross your mind all the while you would give up,” added Johnston.

“You can understand why some riders lose their bottle. To carry on you just have to concentrate on the job in hand.”

And 36-year-old Australian Johnston is frustrated by the lack of regular activity this season - with a lack of continuity in home fixtures.

“With the rain-off at Wolverhampton last Monday it will be yet another two-week break by the time we race at Poole next Wednesday,” said Johnston.

“This gives you no time to gel and get bonded as a team.

“And it also hits your pocket. How are you meant to earn a living when you are not racing?

“We only get paid for winning speedway races, not like footballers who get paid 12 months of the year.”

Johnston would like to see the Craven Shield and Knock-Out Cup put back to their more traditional spots at the end of the season.

“If you are successful then you ride until the end of October. What is wrong with that,” he said?

“This year we have Belle Vue finishing their fixtures inside the next two weeks. What is the sense in that?”

Ipswich were working most of yesterday trying to re-arrange a new date for Thursday's rained-off home meeting against Coventry.

Monday was a possibility but has been ruled out because Coventry would be without Hans Andersen and Billy Janniro plus injuries to Simon Stead and Olly Allen.

The likely alternative now to get the fixture run before the play-off deadline of September 25 is a double header when Poole visit on that night.

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