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PACO'S SON TURNING POINT

Italian champion Paco Castagna admits his Monster Energy FIM Speedway of Nations struggles proved “the turning point” in his 2018 season.

23 / 02 / 2019, 10:27

Italian champion Paco Castagna admits his Monster Energy FIM Speedway of Nations struggles proved “the turning point” in his 2018 season.

The Birmingham signing is set to go professional this year as he swaps a full-time job in his homeland for an SGB Championship ride with the Brummies.

He flew the Italian flag in Manchester last June, but scored just two points as his country exited the Monster Energy SON.

I can tell you I cried a lot after that SON meeting because I was so annoyed with myself. I decided it was time to grow up and say ‘okay, we’ll jump on the boat and try to make this long, long journey.’

Paco Castagna

As he made the long trip home to north east Italy by road, Castagna admits his struggles lit a fire inside him, inspiring him to push his speedway career to the next level as he ended the season by lifting the Italian Championship.

He said: “Coming from the Speedway of Nations, I made a lot of changes with my equipment and my team. That I could say was the turning point.

“I went back with my mechanics and we were talking a lot. We said ‘okay, now it’s time to speak straight – do I want to do this for fun or be serious?’

“My bikes were good. I changed engines last year and got a little bit better, but after that meeting, I grew a little bit in my mind.

“You have to sit down and really look yourself in the mirror – did I really want to spend so much money, time and energy training on my own, sweating like a pig and then crying because I’m losing meetings?

“I can tell you I cried a lot after that SON meeting because I was so annoyed with myself. I decided it was time to grow up and say ‘okay, we’ll jump on the boat and try to make this long, long journey.’

“Since then, I have made a few changes. Everything is working very well I would say. I did the European Pairs semi-final in Lonigo last year. Italy qualified for the final and I scored 13 paid 14 from a possible 15. That was the meeting where I believed I was on the right road.”

Castagna feels speedway isn’t a business you can take lightly. He said: “Speedway is not a nice game. It is a very dangerous game. You can’t play it like you play football or tennis.

“If you go racing, you need to be 100 percent ready, mentally fit, strong and there’s no bull. If you make one mistake, it can cost your life.

“There are no games and I am not kid where I say ‘on the Saturday I’ll pick the bike up, go for a practice and have some fun.’ It’s not like that anymore. I need to make it a proper job and focus 100 percent on it.”

 

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