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Steve Worrall

“So this year will be a bit of a challenge settling into two new tracks. It’s not like I’m going to a team abroad and everything is completely new.

“I know a lot of the people at both Birmingham and Glasgow, plus the teammates are also similar to who I’ve ridden with in the past.

“It’s just all the tiny things. Like at Poole, I knew the lady who makes the tea and just silly things like that. It takes a few months to get used to somewhere new.

“The whole environment makes racing a lot easier. But hopefully the changes will be for the better. I’m looking forward to being at both clubs. It’s a fresh start.”

OR the second time in six years, Worrall came within four laps of being crowned British Champion at the National Speedway Stadium.

FBut on both occasions – behind Craig Cook and Dan Bewley – he has had to settle for silver.

However, the prize last season was the golden ticket as a wild card to the British Grand Prix at the wonderful Principality Stadium.

That certainly did not go to plan though with Worrall picking up just one point from five outings.

He has clearly analysed the reasons behind his below par result and wants another shot at the big boys.

He added: “Once you’ve had a taste of it, you want it again. In the British Final, I’ve been second before, that’s nothing new.

“But obviously finishing runner-up twice is frustrating. You are so close.

“In meetings like that, so many factors come into play, like the weather and how your draw goes. What gates you get when you are up against certain riders. There’s a lot to it.

“The Cardiff Grand Prix was huge. Maybe that’s the downfall of me being quiet, the confidence side of things.

“Going into that meeting, I knew I had raced those guys before but I probably had too much respect for them.

“Once you start lining up against them a few times, you think to yourself, ‘if I gate here, I’ve got you’. But when you are not racing them and just watching them on TV, it becomes different.

“I think at Cardiff that played a big part of it and the entire event. Most riders, all their career, want to get to that level. You get it and think, ‘Jesus Christ’. It’s strange, the whole day and your feelings.

“You are rushing around because you do the Fanzone, then getting back to be ready quickly for the presentation.

“Once you’ve done it a few times, you know how it all works. When you are new to it, you find yourself rushing because you haven’t screwed your clutch in.

“I’d love another go at it. I’d treat it all differently. I wouldn’t put so much pressure on myself next time. I’d have nothing to lose.”

EACEPictures:TAYLOR LANNING

WORRALL was on a crest of a wave after his first British Final runner-up placing in 2017. That dictated a callup to the Great Britain squad for the World Cup. But just as he was ready to push on for more glory, his 2018 season was shattered after just three laps after being wiped out by an opponent in a horror crash at Scunthorpe.

He sustained a badly broken leg and although he returned during his recovery for the British Final of that season, it was a severe setback to his career.

He added: “That was my breakthrough season on the back of the 2017 season, racing for Great Britain in the World Cup and second in the British Final.

“Going into that season in 2018 was massive for me. I signed up again in Poland. That was my breakthrough year but the only thing that I broke was my leg.

“When it comes to injuries, it always comes down to, for one, the seriousness of it. I underestimated how serious it was. I came back too early, which didn’t help because you are riding at 50 per cent and that makes things worse.

“When you get on the bike, you have to be able to give it 100 per cent. When it’s 50 per cent, you alter your style to compensate for your leg aching.

“I made some wrong decisions. It also depends on how strong you are in the mind to deal with it.

“Some other top riders have had really bad crashes and come back the next year and just been the same rider.

“Not that I’m a big girl, but the way I dealt with it wasn’t as quick as some maybe. Others can break a leg, flick a switch and be back to 100 per cent.

“It takes others time to build their confidence back up. That’s just the way I’m wired.

“Nothing crossed my mind about it being career-ending. I had set my goal to return for the British Final. Whether I was right or not, I was doing it.

“It was silly to do. But I had worked that hard that winter and invested that much. In my mind, I was very mentally strong, even though my leg was as bad as it was, I still felt I could do something in that British Final.

“I wish I had that mental strength now. I don’t know where it comes from or how you achieve it. I’m still trying to figure it out.”

DESPITE the difficult demands of the sport over the past few years, Worrall is still determined to make it to the top.

He goes into the 2024 campaign with his two British clubs, plus Daugavpils in Poland for a second successive season.

There is clearly a burning desire from him to find an extra gear to make that final jump to the top table of the sport.

He continued: “I wouldn’t still be racing unless I thought I could take an extra step and go up a level.

“I’m out in the Polish League with Daugavpils the same as last year. I really enjoyed myself.

“There’s a couple of things which I struggled with last year, I didn’t have enough speed. I’ve learnt a lot and I’ll hopefully solve that this year.

“With speedway, you get to a certain age and you realise it’s not a hobby anymore. At

• Steve has twice finished runner-up in the British Final, most recently last season behind Dan Bewley some point, you have to grow up, you have a family to support and you want to progress in life and go as far as you can.

“I have to knuckle down and I still feel like I’ve got a lot to give while I’m out on track.

“The goals are the same as they’ve always been. It’s about trying to get to the top. The hunger is still there.”

• Steve during the practice session for the British Grand Prix at Cardiff last season

February 17, 2024 speedway star 3

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