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Ryan Douglas

Poland this year in the second division. That’s going okay but I still need a lot of improvement. I want to go up a division over there, maybe one day in the Ekstraliga would obviously be ideal.

“At the moment I’m just looking at every meeting and trying to do my best. I know I can get to the high levels.”

Douglas has that archetypal personality of the Aussie beach dude. Nothing raises his blood pressure or rattles his cage. It’s actually hard to imagine how he assumes a hard edge to race a speedway bike competitively.

He openly admits that his attitude was in the past to his detriment. But a new professional set-up is paying dividends, adding: “I’m a bit too laid back at times. I don’t let it get to me. I want to do well and I just go out to do my very best every time. Sometimes it doesn’t happen and you don’t have a good meeting, I kind of just brush it under the carpet and move onto the next one.

“Fortunately I’m doing that well so I can just go to the next meeting and make it a fresh start.

“I’m also lucky to have a good mechanic in David Howe in England. That takes the pressure off me as well.

“Before I had to do the bikes and being laid back I was probably a bit too lazy. Now I know it’s 100 per cent and I’ve got good equipment. Now I just need to get on the bike and ride it. That helps having that support system around me.

“I’ve been around David a few years, he knows what I’m like now. He just tries to make the bike work for me. He takes it just as seriously as me, he likes helping me I think.

“He loves having the bikes look immaculate. When I’m losing races I’m not happy or nor is he. When I’m winning he seems happier than me!

“It’s awesome to have someone who believes in me. Sometimes it’s easy to question yourself on how good you are. But when you’ve got good people and advice around you, it definitely helps.

“I think it’s important not to put too much pressure on yourself. I know I can ride a bike and I’m getting better. As long as that’s happening, I’m happy.

It’s never going to be an overnight success, I just know it will improve along the way.”

Douglas has made a cracking start to the season for both his sides but a nasty incident and crash halted progress a week ago.

After missing Wolves’ home defeat to Ipswich 10 days ago, he returned for Scunny and appears to be back to full fitness.

He said: “I was racing in Poland in Heat 14 I think, I went up the inside and one of the young Polish riders in my team, I thought he was going wider but cut back in front of me a little bit.

“I just ran into the side of him and went over the right handside of the bike and landed on my head and neck. It’s very stiff and sore but I’m starting to get there now.”

There have been two surprise home defeats for the men of Monmore. Dougie forms a Down Under dynamic spearhead with Sam Masters and Nick Morris. But it’s not quite clicked so far, a shock for a side that for a large part of 2021 looked bang-on favourites to win the Premiership, only to fall at the semi-final stage.

Typically he is not worried about the form, adding: “We’ve got a good team spirit. This year I’ve stepped up into a more important role in the team. It’s going well. It was tough to lose against Ipswich without me but it’s still early days. Anyone can beat anyone anywhere in the Premiership.

“I think it’s not too much to stress about, I think we can go to any track and get a result.

“Last year we were definitely unlucky not to make the final. Peterborough got through after it was raining in our home leg and they adapted to it better on the night.

“On another night we could have turned them over and it could have been different.

“We are definitely confident we can be there at the end of this season and hopefully go that step further and make the final.”

Certainly since that career crossroads moment in 2018, Douglas has made his own step onto the ladder of success.

He is on the verge of big things in the UK and Europe. If he can achieve that, life really will be a beach.

Pictures: TAYLOR LANNING and IAN RISPIN HOT DOUG!

May 21, 2022 speedway star 3

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