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COOK TURNED DOWN POLISH OFFERS

Former FIM Speedway Grand Prix racer Craig Cook admits he received offers from Polish clubs for 2020, but opted against making the trip.

12 / 12 / 2020, 12:19

Former FIM Speedway Grand Prix racer Craig Cook admits he received offers from Polish clubs for 2020, but opted against making the trip.

The Cumbrian took a year out following the cancellation of the British leagues due to the coronavirus outbreak, but he is set to return to action after a well-spent season off working on his mental approach to the sport.

Any Brits seeking to race were forced to relocate to Poland – the only country to stage a full league season in the face of the pandemic. But Cook did not feel making the move to the sport’s leading nation made sense financially.

If you race over in Poland, the tracks are like billiard tables and they race with 100 percent commitment to the track. They don’t even think about avoiding holes, bumps or soft patches.

Craig Cook

He said: “For me to go and ride in Poland for 10 matches and put thousands of pounds of equipment out there just doesn’t make sense. It just doesn’t add up. For me to go out there and put myself through a lot for no reward, I didn’t see the point.

“There is a lot more I have achieved without riding speedway this year. It has helped get me back on the right track.

“I got a few phone calls, but it was an easy answer for me to say no. It’s very difficult to go to Poland and try to race with the guys over there. The style of racing is completely different to the UK.”

Cook, who was due to race for King’s Lynn and Glasgow this year, feels the general standard of tracks in the UK makes it tougher for British riders to adapt to racing in Poland.

He said: “In the UK we get used to the tracks over here – mainly negotiating the bumps, the ruts, the holes and whatnot. If you race over in Poland, the tracks are like billiard tables and they race with 100 percent commitment to the track. They don’t even think about avoiding holes, bumps or soft patches.

“The racing is a lot closer and a lot more intense. I think that’s where a lot of the UK lads get left behind. We get stuck in a rut over here, negotiating the tracks. If they want the UK riders to succeed and move forward, the tracks have to fall in line with the European standard.”

Cook insists not all British clubs can be accused of poor track preparation and feels there are some who deliver fantastic action.

He said: “You have the likes of Berwick who are not a rich club, but the guys that run the speedway muck in and put a bit of effort in. It isn’t costing them any money, well maybe it is, but I wouldn’t say it’s a massive amount.

“At the end of the day, those guys want speedway to succeed. Credit to them – they want speedway to move forward. They are not just skimming the money off the top and not putting it back in. They are trying to create a better product and get crowds through the door.

“You only have to look at what Glasgow has done too. In 2017 and 2018, when I first went there, the track was a bit deep and it wasn’t great racing there. Last year was the best racing at Glasgow – week in and week out. It was the best racing in the whole country.”

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