“It’s usually something that you’ve got three or four months to prepare for, I had to do it in five days. It’s not been easy getting sponsors on board but plenty have helped which is great.”
Summers slots in quite comfortably into an Oxford side bulging with experience and potential. They are led superbly by Scott Nicholls, Troy Batchelor along with team bosses Jason Crump and Peter Schroeck.
He burst back on track in a sensational race broadcast live on the British Speedway Network. There was certainly no rustiness, just pure thrills and skills as he burst between Glasgow’s Ulrich Ostergaard and Ben Basso from the start. It appeared that it was a first race back win but the referee surprisingly gave the on-line verdict to Basso.
But Summers, still only 34, looked at ease in the Cheetahs pits. He added: “I’d not been on a speedway bike for four months. To go out leading the first race and felt I’d won it to be told I lost it on the line, that was a shame.
“It was a good first race back so I can’t complain, it wasn’t a bad comeback in my mind.
“When Batch and Scotty are up north they are usually in my workshop. So it’s not like coming into a new team.
“The boys have been messaging me straight away, so I’ve dropped straight into the side.
“The problem at the minute is that prior to Glasgow I’d been off the bike for so many months. I had been planning to get in a few laps at Duns before my first meeting but that didn’t happen.
“I have been doing supermoto. But that is off-road and on-road, a motocross bike with road tyres and the suspension is different.
“The riding style between the two sports is very different, body-wise you’re not using the same muscles.
“But it’s not like I’ve not been on a bike at all. I get out and ride on a bike with my son as well. I should be pretty good as far as race fit but we will see how that goes.
“I’m a racer, I want to go out and win every race I can. I just want to turn the wheels, get the rustiness out the way. We’ve started off good so we’ll keep going.
“I’ve never raced at Oxford or even seen it yet. It’s a new track for me and it’s an awesome stadium so it’s a very exciting new start.”
In truth, it had been an uninspiring end to Summers’ career last September. A two-point return for Berwick, ironically against his old club Glasgow at Shielfield Park. He simply didn’t deserve to bow out in such dismal circumstances.
For 15 years Summers had served up so much excitement and always 100 per cent. He was the Aussie Under-16 champ and arrived in 2007 for the Buxton Hitmen.
Just a year later he delivered the star performances as Edinburgh won the Premier League Grand Final, amassing 28 points in the win over King’s Lynn. He also took the chequered flag at Birmingham to give Monarchs victory in the Premier Trophy.
Since then he’s been part of Elite League glory with Coventry, Premier League Fours with Birmingham and won the KO Cup with Glasgow in 2016.
There’s certainly no regrets for Summers but this time he’d certainly love to go out with a bang.
He added: “I don’t think many riders start their career without wanting to be World Champion.
“You’re not a proper racer unless you want to get to the highest place possible in the sport.
“That definitely was an ambition. But I’m not disappointed in any way I didn’t make it that far. I’ve enjoyed my time on bikes every year. It’s been good, I’ve been to plenty of
E IT HOT
places and different tracks.
“I’ve been fortunate to be part of meetings that will go down in the record books and what I’ve won and achieved.
“I’ve not set any major targets this year. I’ve been on a lot higher averages before, things tailed off a little bit. I haven’t got any real targets as such. Hopefully we can just be successful and get into the Play-Offs.
“If we could finish that this year by reaching the Play-Offs and making the Grand Final, that would be awesome.
“To win some trophies this year would be nice and finish on a real high. It’s a great bunch of guys, there’s no reason why we can’t do it.
“There’s so much experience in this side along with Peter Schroeck and Jason Crump as the management. I don’t think there’s any reason why we can’t put a run together, we’re a strong side especially if we all ride to our potential.”
There’s also the distinct possibility that the sweet smell of methanol has seeped into the Summers offspring with older sons Senna and Oakley both more than capable on two wheels.
Does he envisage a continuation of a racing family in the future? He adds: “Senna is down south and is doing a plumbing course. He is still racing motocross down there. He knows we want to go to Australia and wants to go there as well.
“He’s now 17 so racing is probably not going to be possible. He’s been on a 500cc and he goes fine on it. But he’s still young, he may get on to it.
“Would I encourage him? I wouldn’t stop him. He’s been around many tracks and ridden on them, it’s not unusual for either of the boys.
“They’ve been doing the minibike series that Jamie Courtney runs, they enjoy it and everything works good.
“Oakley’s enjoying doing some tennis at the minute, so it’s not just a focus on one sport.”
Summers really is on his last lap of British speedway at Sandy Lane before a return to the promised land of Oz.
He said: “I am looking forward to a new chapter in my life. During Covid we didn’t get back to my sister’s wedding in Australia. We missed that and my family haven’t seen my daughter Maeve, only on FaceTime.
“We are excited to get back there. It is a working lifestyle but I do have plans on what will happen.
“I will just concentrate on the rest of this season now, not think about what’s going on outside of that and look forward to getting back to the sunshine at the end of the year.”
The blazing heat of Australia can wait just a little bit longer. This Jack
Sparrow Summers has unfinished business before sailing into the sunset.
June 25, 2022 speedway star 3