In Krakow, he was the team leader. An outbreak of a coronavirus pandemic stopped his further aspirations. This year Tero Aarnio, a Finnish speedway rider, wants to reach the next goals in his career.
In this first part of the interview, the current issues in the career of 37-year-old Tero Aarnio were mainly discussed. He also talked about ice speedway and long track, which he also races. We invite you for the next part of the interview with the Finn tomorrow, on Sunday.
– Magdalena Magdziarz (speedwaynews.pl): From what I have seen, you have already started the first training laps on the track in Tarnów. Admittedly, this is not your first race this year – you already took part in the competitions in the Great Britain. What are your first impressions, of being on a motorbike again? Tero Aarnio (rider of Unia Tarnów): So far I raced in England only for a few days. Tarnów? It was good. I enjoyed it a lot. In 2019, I rode for Kraków. I trained once in Tarnów. I like the shape of the track, the surface is good too, so I'm very happy. The training went well. I'm looking forward to the start of the season. We have another day of practice ahead of us, and the day after that we leave for France. I am going to race in the French league on Sunday. The coming three days will be very busy.
– You have already made your first starts in the UK, where you will also be racing this year – again on British tracks. – Yes. The last two years in terms of speedway were very difficult because of Covid, just like 2020. There was no speedway in the UK and almost everyone asked me to move to Poland, but for financial reasons, I couldn't do it. So then the speedway season was practically lost for me. In 2021, on the other hand, it was very difficult to travel. I rode for the team from Poznan in one meeting, in which I didn't do very well, and then it was no longer possible… Poznan didn't organise training sessions where I could show that I belonged to the team. It was a shame.
– The optimistic point is that in case of a pandemic, more and more countries are lifting restrictions and restrictions. However, as far as I can see, there have been, and still are, visa problems in the UK. – Yes, there have been many problems with this, and last year still, some players did not get visas. I applied for a visa there because I wanted one. I don't just ride speedway, where I can do any job I want, but I didn't get it. So there is a problem with the visa, which is true. Now everything is fine. I have the visa there. There is a very long process. It doesn't take a week or two. It's several months, even for a sports visa.
– What will the coming months look like for Tero Aarnio? In which teams are going to race? – I am going to ride for the Scunthorpe Scorpions in England. Besides, of course, Unia Tarnów and Indianerna Kumla in the lower league in Sweden. So I'm going to start in three countries and then, if I have time, although it looks like I don't have much of it, I wanted to do some long track riding. But it looks like speedway will continue to be my main interest. Poland, Sweden, England. I won't have too much of that time to ride a lot on long tracks. But for sure, I would like to do it more often in the future. Last year I took part in one competition, and it was superb and fun. You are fast on a motorbike. Unfortunately, it's also very expensive, and the money on the long track is not the same as in classic speedway. It's more of a hobby than an occupation. You have to have a lot of sponsors to ride long track.
– What about ice speedway? As far as I know, you have experience in this type of sport as well. You raced in Drift on Ice in Germany. – It's also a hobby. Covid has a lot to say about money on the speedway, as well as on the ice speedway. Of course, I fully understand all the clubs and organizers that they can't pay the riders, now that there are no crowds. Sponsors are also very careful and may not give as much money as they used to. That's why I haven't participated in more than one Drift on Ice event this year. In recent years I have taken part in the whole series, but this year I only took part in one event because of the money I needed for work at home. I want to do well on speedway this year.
– Which part of the sport, I mean ice speedway, is the best for you, what makes you feel comfortable riding a motorbike for ice speedway? – It's a completely different sport than a normal speedway. It's more technical, exciting and a lot of fun. I think more clubs should organize such races. I think it's a good way to keep people aware of speedway in the winter. The winter is long, we only ride on normal speedway six, seven months of the year, and then for six months people don't even hear about speedway. I think that would be a good way to do it.
– Are you following the finals of this year's World Ice Speedway Championships? Next weekend in Heerenveen, there are going to be two final rounds. Who do you think has the best chance of fighting for the championship title this year? – I follow them on a regular basis. But it is the Russians who are the real world champions, they are the best, but they are no longer in the competition. We all know the reason for that. So, I don't know who will really be able to do it. Whoever wins now will not be the real world champion. I hope that one of the Finnish ice racers will do well in the front, either Max or Archie. They are my friends, so it is obvious that I am rooting for them.
– I have also heard comments from riders racing in ice speedway who are not from Russia regarding this situation. They said that these races will be more like the European Championships, not the real World Championships. – That is exactly right. Now it is the European Championships.
– But this is our reality and there is not much we can do about it. What about ice speedway in your country, Finland? How is the sport doing there? – Unfortunately, speedway is such a small sport in Finland that the authorities don't support speedway or motorsport in general very much. That's why it's so difficult to organize any competitions in ice speedway. There are not many meetings. There was only one meeting this year. So there is only one club that undertakes to organise ice speedway. On the other hand, the whole world is changing a lot. It is more and more difficult to organize competitions on ice because there is a warming of the climate, so even in Finland it is more and more difficult to prepare enough ice for races. At the moment, I don't see a very good future for ice racing.
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