SMOLINSKI: TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
Martin Smolinski admits he has been keeping busy during the coronavirus shutdown with some off-track investments paying dividends.
17 / 05 / 2020, 11:39
German racer Martin Smolinski admits he has been keeping busy during the coronavirus shutdown with some off-track investments paying dividends.
The Bavarian star was drafted into the FIM Speedway Grand Prix line-up for this year after American legend Greg Hancock announced his retirement. But the 2014 SGP regular has been forced to wait for his World Championship return with racing across the continent on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Smolinski may not be able to earn on his living on the shale for now, but he admits a few business ventures away from the sport have kept him occupied – including one that has been supplying the high-grade face masks required by health workers to protect them from the coronavirus.
I’m not just a speedway rider. I am a lucky man. I am standing with two legs in life – not only one. It’s tough for some people, they only have speedway. I have a second leg on the floor.
He said: “We don’t make them but we do sell them. One of my mechanics Stefan, a good friend of mine, worked with me in Speedway Grand Prix back in 2014. He is a fire fighter.
“One of my main sponsors is a fire fighting equipment salesman and we just took over his business. We have quite a big network with all the companies where we get the stuff.
“Now we’re working a lot on selling FFP2 face masks. These are not like the homemade ones. They are designed for the fire fighters if they are working on a dangerous building. They need to wear these and now so do the health workers.
“We are just getting some more. We buy them and we know where we can buy them. Everywhere in Germany is sold out. But we have some good distributors and companies I have been working with for a long time. They have changed their production to face masks and we can use them.
“We didn’t plan to make money out of the situation, but that’s the way the world is.
"I have built the bridges and have the connections. Stefan is doing the business work. We work well together.”
Smolinski purchased retired Swedish engine tuner Jan Andersson’s equipment with a view to working on speedway motors in the months and years ahead. While engine sales have largely stopped across the world for now, a rare quieter period has allowed the German to set up his new business.
“You have to use the time you have,” the Masarna and Landshut star said. “Now I have a little bit more time to prepare everything. I still have stuff I want to make perfect in the workshop.”
The 2014 New Zealand SGP winner doesn’t just work with speedway machines – he also turns his hand to restoring vintage bikes.
“I can tell you I am still quite busy without speedway,” he said. “At the moment I have two big projects. I have a BMW R20 motorbike from 1937 which needs a full restoration. That will be four weeks’ work.
“I have a Jaguar cylinder head to do for a customer and I have some ice speedway bikes to fully restore for a museum.
“If I call around, some more work will come in. It won’t be a problem. I am taking it a bit easy at the moment. It is not as busy as usual. But I have plenty of stuff to do. There is no time to hang around and do nothing.
“I’m not just a speedway rider. I am a lucky man. I am standing with two legs in life – not only one. It’s tough for some people, they only have speedway. I have a second leg on the floor. I have worked as a motorcycle mechanic and I even have offers of work from friends if I can’t get work in my company.”