SAM REGRETS MELBOURNE MELEE
Aussie wild card Sam Masters admitted “I thought I’d made a fool of myself” as he reflected on his Melbourne row with Team Pedersen.
28 / 10 / 2015, 13:03
DON Smallgoods Australian SGP wild card Sam Masters admitted “I was halfway back to my pits and I thought I’d made a fool of myself” as he reflected on his Melbourne row with Team Pedersen.
The Newcastle-born racer went into the meeting as a rank outsider for the semis, but quickly blew the formbook out of the window with some superb speed and fearless racing and was unlucky not to score more than five points.
I don’t have a problem with Nicki, but his mechanics obviously have a problem with me.
But the Etihad Stadium crowd didn’t go home talking about his riding; it was his race-eight scrap with Nicki Pedersen that truly set pulses racing.
Masters took exception to being squeezed hard on the back straight by Pedersen and angry words were exchanged on the track and at the pit gate.
As the Edinburgh and Leicester star was walking back to his pit area, he was confronted by Pedersen’s mechanic Marek Hucko and Masters responded with a right hook, before being dragged away.
While Masters was unhappy with Hucko’s behaviour in the incident, he regretted the altercation instantly.
He said: “I have spoken to the FIM. I got a fine and that’s part of it. I’m pretty upset with myself. I was pretty apologetic. I was halfway back to my pits and I thought I’d made a fool of myself. It was stupid, but it’s the past.
“Nicki is just a hard rider. That’s just how he rolls and operates. Everyone knows that. I put myself in the position for him to squeeze me up the fence.
“We had a couple of words on the track and we didn’t agree with each other, obviously. But then his mechanics got involved which I didn’t like. I don’t have a problem with Nicki, but his mechanics obviously have a problem with me.
“Nicki ran into me (at the pit gate), so I just said ‘what are you doing?’ I never once wanted to fight him. That’s why I was walking away. I didn’t want to fight at all. But the mechanic walked from the pit gate about 15 metres to push me and tell me things I didn’t want to hear.”
Pedersen insists that Hucko didn’t attempt to inflame the situation. He said: “Marek said to him ‘you have to calm down a little.’ That’s all he said.
"The guy can hardly speak English. It’s not like he said any bad words.
“I have no intent to wind anybody up. They just have to grow up a little bit. No-one else is racing harder than anyone else. We’re all racing for the championship and I know I did nothing at all on Saturday. I’m glad I stayed calm in the pits because what happened was not nice.
“They were prima donna girls and thought they could do whatever they liked. But I know the FIM Jury did something and I’ll leave it to them. It’s not ideal to start fighting someone without a helmet on.”
It may have been an expensive night for Masters, but it was one that proved he has what it takes to mix it with world speedway’s elite.
“It was good,” he said. “At the end of the night, I was pretty satisfied with my efforts. I thought I could get one or two more points. But it was a good night. It was good to have all of my family there watching and I had a good time.
“It’s all experience and I had the speed, which I was pretty happy with. I’ll know more next time and hopefully do better. But I feel I’m mixing it with the world’s best and hopefully I can move up in the leagues as well.
“This meeting showed I can beat these guys and mix it with them. I’m pretty happy with my performance. I didn’t think I was far off the semis, but I learnt a lot and that was the main thing.”