ERMAN racer Martin Smolinski may be a man who likes to plan ahead when it comes to his racing, but even the bestlaid plans can be thrown up in the air.
His 2020 preparations suffered a setback at the German national team training camp in Abensberg last weekend when a warm-up routine with a medicine ball went wrong, leaving him facing three G
weeks on the sidelines.
He said: “We started in the morning relaxed. Then we played a small game. I was running backwards and turned my ankle over. It was very unlucky. I snapped the left ankle ligament and damaged cartilage.”
Luckily for Smolinski, he has friends in high places in the Bavarian medical profession and was quick to get sound advice.
“The physio I have here is from FC Bayern Munich,” he said. “So he’s one of the best ones in the area. He says I have to do nothing at all for seven days.
“After that, he said I can start again with the physiotherapist and the plan is that within three weeks I will be fully fit again.”
Smolinski couldn’t have picked a better time to get injured with even the earliest of European meetings still two months away. But no rider likes to see their pre-season preparations disrupted and set back.
“There is plenty of time,” he said. “But it still affects my pre-season training. That makes me a little bit angry because pre-season planning is quite tough and so is all the fitness stuff. My plan has changed a little bit now. But that’s the way life is. I have to take life how it comes and make the best out of it.
“I had started training already, but I was keen to be part of this weekend with the national team. It was mostly the young riders – all the older ones maybe think they’re all good enough anyway. I always come here because I like it and it was a shame I couldn’t compete for the whole weekend.”
Smolinski may be laid up this week, but he isn’t a man who stands still for long. His preparations for this year have involved far more than fitness camps.
As well as working on the man, riders have to work on their machines, and most do this with the co-operation of an engine tuner.
Smolinski has gone a few stages further – he bought retiring Swedish engine wizard Jan Andersson’s tuning equipment, freighted it to Germany and intends to take care of his own machines.
“I bought Jan Andersson’s company at the end of last season,” he said. “I would say Jan was one of the best engine tuners of the last 10 years in Speedway Grand Prix.
“It has never been official, but I have always been working on my own engines. I have also done a lot of engine stuff for juniors and hobby riders – guys just doing it for fun.
“It’s an interest for me. It’s not only about speedway; I’m quite interested in engine rebuilding and motorcycle and engine restoration. My hobby is vintage car racing.
“I think I will still work with my longtrack engine tuner this season. I still have a lot of good stuff for speedway from engine tuners, but my plan is to work with my own engines.”
While so many riders over the years have pointed the finger of blame at their engine tuner when they lack the required speed on the shale, Smolinski will no longer have this luxury.
But he isn’t going into the tuning business to fail. The 2014 New Zealand SGP winner has proved he can mix it with the best on the track. Now he’s ready to compete in the workshop too and claim a slice of the tuning market.
He said: “The level Jan was working at was quite high. I picked up some quite cool secrets from him. In Speedway Grand Prix, there are not many people who tune engines for the top three when you look around.
“You never know what will come up with speedway. Everything is possible. Maybe when my stuf f is going well, people will ask for some engines and want to have the same.
“My goal is I want to be at a high level with my own engines. Then I’m sure some other riders will come to me – some high quality riders. I’m sure.”
While tuning appears to be one of the few ways to get rich in the shale sport – provided you’re successful – Smolinski isn’t ready to turn his back on the racing side of the game just yet.
The 35-year-old said: “Speedway is good and I still plan to race 10 years of speedway. But you need to have something after speedway.”
A training camp mishap has interrupted Martin Smolinski’s winter plans, but he’s still working on getting things back on-track within three weeks