WARD EYES WINTER RACING DOWN UNDER
Darcy Ward is working on plans to extend the season Down Under as he bids to help Australian youngsters make the grade on the shale.
29 / 06 / 2020, 12:20
Former SGP star Darcy Ward is working on plans to extend the season Down Under as he bids to help Australian youngsters make the grade on the shale.
The Queenslander was forced to retire from racing due to serious spinal injuries in 2015, but became a regular visitor to North Brisbane Speedway before the coronavirus pandemic put track action on hold.
Ward fears that Australia’s youngsters are being left behind when the country’s top stars pack up and head to Europe.
All the riders come back from Europe to race here in our summer and speedway is great here in Australia. But then all those boys go back to Europe and everyone else is forgotten about.
While he’s unable to go into detail about his ideas at this stage, he’s hopeful of finding a way to give riders based in Australia more action during their winter months to ensure they’re better prepared to turn professional in Europe.
He said: “We have so many good riders that have previously been developed here in Australia. But at the moment, Australian speedway probably isn’t where it should be with the riders we are producing. What kind of stage do we give them to become somebody? It’s not much.
“All the riders come back from Europe to race here in our summer and speedway is great here in Australia. But then all those boys go back to Europe and everyone else is forgotten about.
“I am looking to change that and get people riding more under the lights and against everybody in Australia who isn’t racing in Europe – not just their local club riders. I want to get everybody together for bigger meetings and see what we can do with the kids and the sport.”
Even when the European-based riders head home for the Australian summer season, Ward is still worried those based Down Under get left behind.
He said: “When all the boys come back from Europe to race in our summer, there are about 16 of them and the field for the big meetings is full. The kids who are trying to be them see their spots taken by the guys coming home.
“It’s just the way it is. There are 16 riders and you have to fill the field with the best of them.
“It’s good when they come back and ride in the summer, but I am here during the winter too and my advice would benefit the kids trying to get somewhere and make it to Europe.”
While Ward continues his rehabilitation from his injuries with Gold Coast training centre Making Strides, he is glad to be playing a more active role in the sport where he made his name once again.
He said: “I guess it has taken four years for me to be involved, but that’s not because I didn’t want to be. It’s just because I was learning my new life. I am a different person now.
“I have come to a time where I’ve been going to my local track – North Brisbane Junior Motorcycle Club. That’s where I grew up racing and I had been going out there a bit more than normal in the couple of months leading up to the Covid outbreak.
“Before when I used to go there, I’d sit on the hill and didn’t interact a great deal because it’s quite hard for me to get around there in a wheelchair. There is a lot of grass, so I didn’t really bother.
“But when it was up and running, I was getting involved more and showing my face in the pits. I helped out a couple of kids with their bikes.
“That has led to some projects I have in the making, doing a lot more stuff with speedway. It has given me that little bit of hunger to help these young kids. They all look after me at the track. It’s still a nice feeling to be somebody to some people.”